Hard Work and Even Harder to Explain


I’ve often been asked why I chose such a challenging career path when there were other less stressful and better-paying options.

In hindsight, being a community builder somehow chose me. Once I found the right path, there didn’t seem to be a choice. Of course, I had no idea how challenging or complex that path would be.

The complexity path is not typically crowded; however, it’s often where you’ll find social innovators and entrepreneurs. While working toward meaningful impact comes with its perks, it can also be lonely and lacking in support in terms of policy and funding. If people don’t have a bucket for new ideas, they aren’t quite sure where to put them. As a result, they are often dismissed.


As a result, it has been crucial to be part of a global network such as Catalyst 2030, a social entrepreneur and innovator-led movement committed to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Recently, as I worked with Luis Patricio from the Pillar Non-Profit Network to prepare a session to deliver during Catalyzing Change Week, we discussed our respective work and how challenging it has been.

We also shared the many ways we have tried to explain and justify our commitment to an integrated or whole-community approach over the years.

After preparing the first draft of the presentation, I may have placed too much emphasis on the how-tos gained from our work and the lessons learned from communities across the country.

Once I shared that first draft with my colleague, he kindly and tactfully suggested that while all the learnings were good, it might be best to focus more on the stories.

I knew he was right and adjusted accordingly.

However, today, there is a greater readiness for new and more collaborative approaches that lead to better-informed decision-making. While I’m not sure we can simplify the complexity of communities, we have worked hard to make it simpler to understand and apply.

If you’re interested in how Luis Patricio and I worked together to explain the importance of a whole-community approach during that webinar, you can check out the recording at this link.

This blog may also be of interest if you want to learn more about a whole-community approach.

Posted on 06-25-24

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