Our former board chair, Charles Rucks, has a wonderful expression that the “biggest room in the house is the room for improvement.” In that spirit, I have been thinking about some of things that I want to improve on in 2013. While I’m sure my family could think of many things I could do better at home (cook more, nag less), I’m focusing this post on some areas for professional improvement. So here are some key challenges that I will be working on this year:
- Travel more: With my office located in downtown Boston and most of my regular meetings also in downtown Boston, I need to make more of an effort to visit our members across the Commonwealth. I also hope to travel a bit around the country this year to see how the field is evolving nationally as we can learn a great deal from our colleagues in other states.
- Collaborate better: Virtually everything MACDC hopes to achieve in 2013 will be accomplished through various collaborations and partnerships. This includes implementing the Community Development Partnership Act (working with DHCD, DOR, United Way, and others), passing a new Affordable Housing Bond Bill (working with Building Blocks Coalition), enacting Transportation Finance Reform (working with Transportation for Massachusetts), advancing smart and equitable development policies (working with MA Smart Growth Alliance), and successfully staffing the Mel King Institute (working with LISC and our many other partners.) Therefore, I resolve to be a better partner this year. This means listening first, searching for common ground, sharing credit and following through on the commitments that I make.
- Read more: I’m going to make an effort in 2013 to read more about what is happening in our field and related sectors so that I can be a more thoughtful and informed leader for MACDC. When I read something that I think others might find interesting, I will be tweeting about it, so I hope you will read alongside with me by following me on twitter. (And send me your suggestions for what I should be reading.)
- Speak more clearly: One of the key challenges for our field is clearly articulating what we do and why it is so vital for our communities. Community development is a broad term and I have struggled at times to find a way to express what it is, and what it is not. I will be working with my colleagues at MACDC this year, including our new Director of Communications, John Fitterer, to tell the story of our field more effectively. This will include building a new website, designing a new MACDC logo, and a revamping the social media strategy for our organization, so be on the lookout for those changes!
In addition to these new resolutions, I need to follow through on a very important commitment that I made last year when lobbying the Legislature and the Governor to support the Community Development Partnership Act. Throughout the year, I repeatedly told them that we would implement the law in a way that would make them proud. With the Community Investment Grant Program starting in 2013 and the Community Investment Tax Credit scheduled to start on January 1, 2014, now is the time to fulfill that promise and I am resolved to make sure we do. Of course, I made this promise on behalf of the entire community development field so we all have to work on this one together!
Feel free to suggest more opportunities for me to improve – and to hold me accountable on these resolutions!
Happy New Year!