In 2022, LEE members made an impact on educational equity in their communities in countless ways. By stepping forward in policy, advocacy, organizing, and elected office positions, our network demonstrated that making a commitment to progress is the only way forward.
We’re proud of the 335 members who completed national LEE workshops, the 111 members who served in LEE fellowships, the 825+ who participated in career-related coaching, and the 210 members who ran for elected office over the course of the year.
With so much on the horizon for our country in 2023, now is the time to reflect on the changes you want to see in your community this year and make a plan for your own leadership.
Using your experience in educational equity, you can be the voice for forward momentum and equitable policies – this can be your year to step-up, speak-up, and serve in your community.
Below are ways to help you identify how your leadership can serve your local community and enable you to pursue it.
Get started this January making 2023 your year of impact with these 5 steps.
1. Create your vision of impact.
Making an impact begins with a solid understanding of the issues your community is facing and determining the ones you want to tackle. Whether you’re a long-term resident of your community or new to town, building up your knowledge of local policies, practices, and changemakers can help you determine where there are opportunities for improvement.
Here are some critical questions to consider as you get started shaping your impact:
- What social issues are important to your community at the moment?
- How are these issues affecting the people in your community? Who’s directly affected?
- What issue or cause are you most passionate about?
- What is the specific change that you want to achieve with respect to these issues?
Our virtual course, Your Vision of Impact, is the perfect place to begin to define your impact.
2. Reflect on the ways you can challenge yourself.
In addition to developing your perspective on what work needs to be done in your community, building your internal language around equity and dismantling oppression is critical to positive progress.
If you’re new to this type of work, you can get started by reading about liberatory consciousness. Author and activist Barbara J. Love defines liberatory consciousness as reclaiming choice in our values, attitudes, and response patterns that would allow for “greater flexibility and propensity for change” from systems and institutions. Learning how your identity and experiences make you an effective liberation worker is important to becoming a changemaker.
As you work to become the leader your community needs in 2023, you will personally grow and develop in new ways you may have never expected.
3. Research opportunities to impact your community.
There is so much opportunity to serve in your community, no matter where you live. Take time to research how you can serve and find the right fit for your background and interests. Whether it's serving on a local board or policy-making committee, advocating for change with a community organization, volunteering your time to organize people and motivate others, or running for elected office, there are endless ways to get more involved.
LEE can help you translate your experiences and vision into real policy change, advocacy efforts, organizing work, and elected leadership. By finding the right fit for yourself, you can be in a position to influence laws and change systems for the better.
Get started by defining the leadership path you want to take. LEE’s Exploring Your Leadership course can help you narrow your interests. You’ll reflect on your own interests, motivations, and strengths as a leader and find concrete ways to take the next step.
If you already know which leadership pathway is right for you, check out step #5 – meet with a LEE coach to develop next steps.
4. Build-up your ecosystem of civic leaders & changemakers.
Impact does not happen alone. Creating change means cultivating a movement, and although the issues are real and heavy, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the process with like-minded leaders at your side.
As LEE members, we’re all connected in the work. Impact happens through connections, stories, and intentionality. Forming these connections, coupled with the work of researching issues and where you’d like to make an impact, is the foundation for forward momentum.
With nearly 51,000 members, LEE members are in every state organizing for change, working in policy or advocacy roles, or exploring their own leadership, like you. If you’re newer to the network or haven’t connected with us in a while, one of the best ways to get started is to join a national program, workshop, or fellowship, like the 450 members who did in 2022.
Log in to your account to find upcoming national workshops, fellowships, and regional events.
5. Connect with a leadership coach in your region
LEE coaches can act as your impact guide. A LEE coach can help you cultivate the knowledge and mindsets to become a more effective changemaker in your community, and provide thought-partnership and guidance along the way.
To get started, you can visit the Find Your Coach page to see a photo, bio, and link to schedule a conversation with them. Your LEE coach would love to talk with you about the best ways to reach your fullest potential as a changemaker in your community. You can discuss the important issues in your community and even share your vision for impact with your coach.
Finally, plan the impact you want to make.
Focus your resolutions on leadership actions and steps you want to take to build a more equitable community or workplace. Write down the ways your leadership skills can serve your community, draft specific, actionable goals for the year ahead, and then get to work!
Knowing the key policies that you can address right now in your neighborhood, city, or workplace, and then what you aspire to address in the year ahead, is critical. By following the steps listed above, you can plan a role in advancing these changes and work towards your vision.
Make “impact” your word of 2023 – LEE is excited to help you get there.