As I shared with you at the October area meeting, AJLI has spent the last two years refining the JL Values Statement and presented seven values that are meant to inspire and impact our work in the league. They help us find meaning and give us guidance when we face tough league decisions. Throughout the year, I will be addressing these values, demonstrating how they impact our vision for JLOEB and influence our strategy.
So, consider the value of Community. The related AJLI value statement is: We believe a strong sense of community is essential to human well-being. Living the value of community provides a foundation of inclusion, which allows us to make a greater impact on the world around us.
There are different levels of community that we have as JLOEB members: our east bay community, our non-profit agency community, and our JLOEB community. We are residents of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. We are members of the social safety net for these counties. We are a group of like-minded women serving and playing together. We also need to consider the value we provide in these levels as we create our vision and strategy for the League.
At this time in our League’s life, valuing community generates a vision for JLOEB around membership-driven strategic planning and community needs research. As we develop a strategic plan it is imperative that the leadership and membership collect the League’s needs, wants, and dreams and compile the data for charting the future of the League. Community needs research can also help us with strategic planning. Understanding where the critical needs are in our community helps us define our impact area and apply JLOEB’s skills and abilities to solve real-world problems.
The final step in our formula is strategy. The value of community translated through the vision of membership-driven strategic planning led the League leadership to launch a 3-month data collection process including a focus group at the October Area Meeting, a summary and clarification session at the November GMM, and a draft plan membership review in December.
The tactics to deploy community needs research are less formal, at least for now. As President, I am going out into the community to learn more. One thing I am doing is attending community events that address our four pillars or help us meet new agencies for DIAD-work or for future Community Partners. For example, recently I attended a state assembly candidate forum addressing Food Systems issues. I learned about the complexity of the food pillar. Another one of my forays into the community is attending Leadership Contra Costa, a class sponsored by the Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce designed to train leaders to understand the needs and issues facing Contra Costa County.
Values create vision which launches strategies for the league. Community inside and outside the league involves effectively matching our time and treasure to needs in our region.