A Two-Way Street on Dialogue and Leadership

After my time at the Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP) conference this past week, I walked away with a lot of reflection points. What struck me most about the conversations I experienced, both during the sessions and with colleagues, was that they were not just about vision, change, and success in philanthropy. They also were about being conscious of the things that can inspire us to do better, both today and in the future.

In particular, the conversations between Next Gen professionals and those with many years of experience felt fluid and practical. It was reassuring to hear that seasoned leaders have experienced a variety of ups and downs. Along with accomplishments and successes, there were also periods of doubt, stress, and isolation. Issues that many professionals experiences during their career, but that many times are never openly talked about.

Salon sessions conversations were very much a two-way street. We were asked what type of advice we could provide on issues such as leadership and work-life balance in order for others to understand how to improve the culture of their respective organizations.

While EPIP has been very intentional about creating a space for these candid conversations, I hope the energy and dialogues do not end there. I’m hopeful that the conversations and openness continue throughout the Council’s Annual Conference and beyond. These conversations create a natural pathway for mentorship and guidance in our field and build a knowledge base for all of us-all by simply listening to one another.

Allison Lugo Knapp is associate director of The Grantmaking School at the Johnson Center of Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University.

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