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Collective Power: Using Participatory Leadership Facilitation in Evaluation Design - previously recorded eStudy 114

Rita S. Fierro, Ph.D., Katie Boone, MA & Sharon Attipoe-Dorcoo, Ph.D.


Have you ever been scared to invite certain stakeholders to an evaluation meeting because of tension management in a charged context? Have you seen a stakeholder bored while you tried to explain logic models? Participatory Leadership (PL) practices, from the Art of Hosting tradition, provide tools to help evaluators design inclusive evaluations without teaching evaluation concepts. You can involve as many as, or more than, 250 people in your design with relatively little time, allowing for community inclusion. The creative tension can be used to identify creative solutions that leverage the group’s collective power. These processes increase our ability as evaluators to sense, listen, and recognize the culture and history, the power dynamics, and the common threads among seemingly conflicting voices in the organization or in the community. We can readily support organizations in producing their own social change if the evaluation process is in sync with stakeholders' perspective. By having a controversial conversation about white supremacy in our profession, we will introduce tools, that, when mastered, will never have you scared of losing control of a meeting again.

Learning Outcomes:
Attendees will learn: To experience a meeting environment that facilitates meaningful and deep conversations where all participants contribute and the environment isn't dominated by a handful of participants even in the presence of dissent;

  • To experience dynamic engagement in a controversial conversation where            localized knowledge and the inherent power differences amongst multiple stakeholders are made explicit;
  • To use a minimum of three different facilitation technologies for small (<20 people) medium (20-50 people) or large groups (50-300+ people) for evaluation design;
  • To learn how to use these facilitation technologies to understand the culture, status, and priorities of an organization before finalizing the evaluation design;
  • To identify four facilitation skills (sensing, synthesizing, holding space, and pausing to discuss processes and/or group dynamics);
  • Understanding of 2 facilitation theories that identify the importance of emergence and collective intelligence to engage with social complexity and how it is relevant to evaluation design.
This workshop is aligned to AEA’s Competencies as follows:
  • The methodology domain —for it includes original ways to listen to stakeholders as to inform design and various stages of the evaluation cycle in ways that supports power-sharing; 
  • The context domain—for listening to stakeholders in new ways allows a more detailed, curious, and creative understanding of their context; and 
  • The interpersonal domain—because the way we listen allows for higher quality relationships, power sharing, and seep listening, building relationships that are co-creative, not extractive.

This workshop is aligned to AEA’s Guiding Principles as follows:
  • Systematic Inquiry – by becoming more systematic in how we organize meetings and document results that allows for co-creation in all stages of the evaluation process
  • Integrity—learning creative ways to facilitate hard conversations allows us to practice what we preach: that all voices are included, instead of the danger of not inviting those who are likely to voice dissent for fear they will “disrupt our meeting.” To truly be in integrity, we must build our capacity to see disruption as a creative force that can move a group further than they would go if they suppressed dissent.
  • Respect for People—Respecting people means handling dissent, not controlling meetings and designs so as to limit disruption and contradictions 
  • Common Good and Equity—we cannot build an equitable world by suppressing dissenting voices and avoiding uncomfortable conversations. Equity requires we build our capacity to disagree, to inquire, to be curious, no matter what

Facilitation Experience:
Dr. Rita S. Fierro The founder of Fierro Consulting, I am an intellectual artist who combines innovative and analytical thinking by bridging groups, networks, and arenas that may seem far apart. I’m able to provide conceptual clarity where others see chaos. I’ve been a facilitator since the age of 15 and an evaluator for the past 20 years. I’ve worked globally on a variety of projects, from leadership, to violence against women, to mental health. I have served on the Board of the American Evaluation Association. With a Masters in Sociology, a Ph.D. in African American Studies, and a certification as a Reiki Master Teacher, I am deeply committed to being accountable to the communities we serve by making a difference we can measure.

Katie Boone. My work is rooted in my experience co-designing innovative breakthrough systems that enhance the access, equity, and vitality of families, organizations, and communities. I’m a life-long learner who brings a social-entrepreneurial mindset to my work and have a passion for discovering collective impact through collaborative, multi-sector strategies. I am an Innovation Manager at Future Services Institute in the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.

Dr. Sharon Attipoe-Dorcoo. I am a children’s book author, consultant, member of the Advancing Culturally-responsive and Equitable (ACE) Evaluation Network and ORISE economics fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. My Ph.D. in Management and Health Policy, from the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston, is the foundation for my innovation, creativity, and technical support to organizations using analytics, critical research, and evaluation. I have worked at the University of Cape Town as the lead investigator on an international research fellowship studying media coverage of a national human papillomavirus vaccination campaign and evaluated a mobile technology program for rural pregnant women. I also serve on the Board of AcademyHealth. I am deeply committed to a passion for public health and the involvement of individuals and communities in innovation and health.

Primary Audience:
Our primary audience are evaluators and program managers who are looking for ways to include more voices in their processes in a way that holds space for complexity, opposing viewpoints, and authenticity. Even collaborative evaluation designs are laden with the fears of evaluators and upper management. Participatory Leadership allows an evaluator to:
  1. Get an overview of the culture, history, state, and power dynamics of the organization, program, or its local community context,
  2. Leverage opportunities for dialogue among perspectives before the evaluation starts; 
  3. Foster organizational, social, or systems change;
  4. Leverage the power of fractal dynamics in your evaluation. We will teach three facilitation technologies, two theories, and four skills that will help you understand before the evaluation, what kind of organization or community context you are working with and what power dynamics are present.
You will no longer need to risk being blind sighted mid-way through the evaluation. You will also learn to use differences as a resource and position yourself as an instrument not only of research, but of collective power.

April 16th, 2021 12:00 - 1:30 PM EST
April 30th, 2021 12:00 - 1:30 PM EST
May 14th, 2021 12:00 - 1:30 PM EST
May 24th, 2021 12:00 - 1:30 PM EST

Once you purchase the eStudy you must register for each session. Recordings will be made available to registrants unable to attend sessions live. Recordings will be made available to all registrants for 90 days.