Joining Vision and Action’s new facilitation and planning manager, Jenn Doe, joined the team earlier this month. Now that she’s had a little time to settle in, we asked her to tell JVA’s friends and partners a bit more about her inspiring skill set and background. The other members of the JVA team are already big fans!
What kind of work will you be doing with JVA?
I’ll be serving as lead/co-lead on projects related to various planning processes that our clients are engaging in. This could include facilitating and writing reports for strategic planning sessions, as well as helping changemakers develop plans for engaging and collaborating with stakeholders on multidisciplinary planning processes. Put simply, I’ll be running a lot of meetings and coordinating the efforts of project teams.
What excites you the most about your new position? (and/or) What is your favorite thing about this type of work?
I really enjoy working with public sector organizations to help them move their work forward effectively, especially around issues of equity and social justice. One of my strengths is the ability to see the “big picture” issues that get in the way of creating social change, and streamlining systems and processes for achieving day-to-day tasks.
What appealed to you about working at JVA specifically?
Over the last decade or so, I have held positions working in nonprofit organizations in direct service and program level positions, as well as nonprofit management and leadership of multidisciplinary collaborations.
I know how hard it is to see the big picture when you are on the front lines, and how easy it is to lose connection to the day-to-day work when you are responsible for the overall success and sustainability of an organization. I have seen the obstacles this can create within organizations and collaborative partnerships, and I see my role at JVA as an opportunity to help our clients overcome and manage these types of challenges so the important work they are doing can continue.
I am also really excited for the opportunity to work on a wide variety of issue areas.
Much of your professional experience has been in the field of domestic violence prevention and advocacy. Do you feel like your work in this field taught you any particular lessons that are more broadly applicable – to your work or to life in general?
Domestic violence (DV, aka intimate partner abuse or IPA) work started as an offshoot of the larger civil rights movement and is rooted in grassroots action from a feminist perspective/framework. What this has looked like in my educational and professional experience is ongoing education and critical conversations about intersecting forms of oppression and how they impact the work, both internally and externally.
DV is a very misunderstood issue by the general public and has historically been seen as a private family matter. In reality, it is very much a social issue that relates to other social issues like food and housing insecurity, access to education and empowerment of girls and women, and societal norms around race, class and gender, to name a few.
People working in DV prevention and advocacy also experience a great deal of exposure to trauma, and many come to the work after their own experiences of violence and abuse. This compounds many of the challenges faced in social service and helping professions and results in high rates of burnout and staff turnover.
I’ve seen many of the inequities and power dynamics that are central to the issue of DV play out in organizational culture. I am deeply interested in how we can reduce the negative impacts of doing DV work and other social change work to create more healthy and sustainable workplaces for those who find themselves drawn to these fields.
Tell us about one of your favorite projects or an accomplishment you are especially proud of.
For the past few years, I had the opportunity to work in collaboration with the Colorado Office of the Attorney General and the Colorado Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board to manage the production of annual reports intended to encourage systems and policy change. Through this work, I was able to connect with professionals and leaders across the state to gather data from the worst-case scenario of DV cases and use that data to tell a story and drive change.
I’ve played an active role in the passage and implementation of new laws and had the opportunity to connect with survivors and their family members to witness their resilience and strength first hand. I was introduced to DV fatality review work as a graduate student, so being involved in this project was a culmination of years of learning and working in this arena.
You mention in your bio that you make wearable art. How did you become interested/ involved in that, and what do you enjoy about it?
I have a background in art and design and have always enjoyed creating things with my hands. A few years ago, I became interested in metalsmithing and started taking classes as a way to maintain balance in my life and reconnect to my creative roots. I fell in love with the medium of metal, primarily silver, and the ability to manipulate and shape it in to beautiful objects to adorn our bodies with.
There is so much to learn about this craft, and I see it as something that will be part of my life for decades to come. That said, it’s an expensive hobby, especially since the price of silver has more than doubled since the start of COVID, so I sell my work primarily to fund the purchase of tools, materials and ongoing education.
You can see my portfolio and available work at www.doesigns.com and follow me on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/doesigns/) for updates and more info about my process.
You also mention in your bio that you are a facilitator at the Conflict Center. Can you share a little about that organization and what you do there?
The Conflict Center is a longstanding Denver nonprofit that works to prevent violence by equipping people with skills and tools to manage conflict and build relationships. They offer training for youth and adults on conflict and anger management, facilitate restorative justice practices, and do social norming and hot spot mapping in local schools.
They have a very small staff and a large network of volunteers and contract facilitators like me. My work with them involves facilitating classes and workshops on conflict management for individual and organizations. They also have a deeply engrained focus on equity and social justice and you can learn more about their amazing work in the community here https://conflictcenter.org/.