Dispatch from #ForumCon19: A Focus on Philanthropy Serving People


*This post, authored by Catorina Gironda, FCAA’s Research & Program Manager, was originally appeared on the United Philanthropy Forum blog.

In 2017—my first full year working in philanthropy—I attended the United Philanthropy Forum’s annual conference in San Francisco. It was the first year the Forum opened membership to national philanthropy serving-organizations (PSOs), and the big unveiling of its new name occurred in conjunction with my initiation to this massive and incomparable community. I was alone from my organization and slated to present at the Emerging Practitioners pre-conference session on behalf of EPIP – another organization I was brand new to and had sought refuge in early on. The Wick Poetry Center was in attendance at that 2017 conference, and as an introvert, I found solace in the quiet reflection and space it provided. This year, I was pleased to see its return to the conference, and my familiar words from 2017 appear on the collective poem it circulated on note cards.

“My voice is a poem folded into an origami crane, written on little pieces of paper, scraps of thought hidden in the folds.”

Everything about it reminded me of how unsure I felt just two years ago, learning to fly in this daunting field. I recalled how empowering that first experience was, though, and how proud I felt now to be returning to this conference with my new role, new confidence, new relationships and friendships, my colleague in tow, and a chance to present the fruits of our labor at the KM Users Group.

There is so much about the programmatic content of The Forum’s conference that can and should be discussed. The value of learning a simple tool, the partnerships and the power they hold, the impact of relearning forgotten histories. Much of this has been mentioned by my colleagues in previous blogs, so I want to focus on something more personal, more precise yet harder to pinpoint; something rare in professional settings. As a young, introverted woman with a severe deficit in confidence, a heavy dose of imposter syndrome, and a plethora of passion and desire to effect change, professional spaces have been extremely difficult for me to navigate. It is often assumed that the best path to leadership and success is to pretend that you do not experience these emotions, that you do not have struggles and challenges, that you are a beaming ray of confidence at all times.

Read the full post here.