In March 2020, the WiLD Project adapted to the global pandemic by moving our signature organizing workshop online. Within a moment of great uncertainty, we saw an opportunity to come together and inspire leadership. As shown in this evaluation report, the results were promising.
This week's organizer spotlight features Carlene Bechen of the Wisconsin Fair Maps Coalition: 1) What have you learned from organizing "fails?" Over the course of my varied career, I've made more mistakes than I can count. I don’t consider them "fails," though, because each one has enlightened my next steps and influenced my path. Perhaps the most important lesson I’ve learned is to communicate as fully and honestly as possible with the people I am working alongside, and to seek their input and ideas regarding the best path to follow. Withholding information creates power dynamics that impact trust and disempower [...]
This week's organizer spotlight features Valeria Cerda, Civic Engagement Director at Wisconsin Voices: 1) What have you learned from organizing "fails?" I remember when I was a fairly new organizer and having trouble setting boundaries between work and my personal life. The result was not "producing enough" at work. Now looking back, I realize how I was not able to offer myself any grace and how I was conditioned to think that my value is tied to how much I can produce—which is not true. I had really low self-esteem as a person and organizer, and didn't have the wisdom [...]
This week's organizer spotlight features Melissa Winker (candidate for State Assembly District 38) and Tom Palzewicz (candidate for the 5th Congressional District): 1) What have you learned from organizing "fails?" Melissa: Being a candidate requires an enormous personal commitment of time and self-reflection. I have an amazing campaign cabinet, and my leadership “fail” surfaced earlier this year, when it was brought to my attention that I was not living up to the standard of appreciating the needs of others. We held a special check-in to revisit expectations and emerged with fresh commitments to the hard work ahead. I learned again [...]
This week's organizer spotlight features Shawnu Ksicinski and Cheyenne Otto-Defoe of Progress North: 1) What have you learned from organizing "fails?" Shawnu: In this work, we fail as much as we succeed, and I sometimes learn more from my fails than I do from the wins. I can think of a number of times I experienced this, but the lesson overall is to move at the pace of relationships. Our work always seems to move at warp speed and, during a local issue campaign, I remember not taking the time to learn people's personal stories and connection to the issue. [...]
This week's organizer spotlight features Chia Lor and Gunther Melander, both staff members of Vote Mob: 1) What have you learned from organizing "fails?" Chia: In my organizing/leadership journey, there was a time I was under the assumption that I needed to know everything and have clarity on every single decision that was made. This made me not have enough faith in others and struggle with imposter syndrome. For example, when I was working on our campaign, “Dare to Divest,” I struggled with having a clear vision for steps as a team. However, I was able to push through that [...]
This week's organizer spotlight features Markasa Tucker, Director of The African-American Roundtable (AART) and Co-Founder of LiberateMKE: 1) What have you learned from organizing "fails?" Taking advice that was not culturally sound and actually leaning into and applying it to a campaign. It caused my organizer to walk away. I learned I need to trust myself and my own and my people's experiences and apply that to my work. I may not know it all, but what I do know is no one knows my experience, my need or the impact of it all and that is what should always [...]
We are excited to kick off our weekly organizer spotlight series with Heather DuBois Bourenane, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Public Education Network (WPEN): 1) What have you learned from organizing "fails?" Credit: Joe Brusky One thing I've learned from WiLD trainings and the amazing organizers I've met through WiLD is how to appreciate and evaluate the "small wins" and identify organizing victories even in the face of "political" defeats. Constantly reflecting on how we can "learn forward" to be better leaders helps keep the focus on the community we build through our organizing and the importance of [...]