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Listen: CTIPP Team Discusses Trauma-Informed Integration



“Trauma-informed” is not a checklist or destination–it’s an ongoing commitment to a process that is nearly always evolving. How do these concepts, policies, and practices manifest amongst co-workers? How can your team enliven trauma-informed principles in their work and interactions? 


This episode of Transform Trauma features the CTIPP team discussing how they’ve co-constructed their work culture and integrated trauma-informed principles into their operations. Join Whitney Marris, LCSW, Jesse Kohler, Antron McCullough, and Laura Braden as they break down what’s working, challenges encountered, and lessons learned along the way.


Transform Trauma is a Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice (CTIPP) podcast. We’re building a national movement that integrates community-led, trauma-informed, resilience-focused, and healing-centered prevention and intervention across all sectors and generations through coalition-building, advocacy, and policymaking. Learn more at CTIPP.org.


ROUGH TRANSCRIPT


00:00:02Welcome to a very exciting episode of the Transform Trauma podcast, where it is all for members of the current CTIPP team, and I am thrilled to be joined by my colleagues Whitney Marris, Laura Braden, and Antron McCullough. And I am Jesse Kohler. Just to lead us off really quickly, we're going to be talking about, you know, we we've had conversations on this podcast before about trauma-informed workplaces. But at CTIPP, we take it really, uh, we think it's really important to model the model and to be to, to continue to reflect on our own ways of thinking, being and doing as we continue to journey toward becoming more trauma-informed, recognizing that it is a process and not a destination. And this podcast is an opportunity for for us to talk about how we've seen that in our organization and in the work that we do in, in our own lives. Um, and so I'll, I'll start off where we're going to start this part off chronologically. And of the team, I have been with CTIPP, uh, the longest I, I joined when I was 24 to support the board, um, back in 2018, um, as an intern initially when CTIPP was a completely unfunded organization. And I've always said that I have had the great privilege of getting to stand on the shoulders of giants and see tips board was founded by many, many leaders in the field who have been doing this work for longer than I've been alive. Um, and I've had the great privilege of getting to learn alongside so many different folks, um, both on our board and the communities that we work alongside and on this great team, um, to build. And then, uh, we developed a campaign in 2019 following a federal hearing on the impacts of childhood trauma that really was a spark plug for the organization and the organization's growth. And then in hindsight, we know that 2020 was a world altering year. And when Covid hit, CTIPP started to get funding as the need for trauma-informed approaches to policy and practice broadly, uh, became much more known, it's been necessary for. Arguably forever. It's been a long time, but that. But Covid was a real spark plug for when Foundation started to reach out. And in small ways we started to do some fundraising, and at that time I had the great privilege of being able to become CTIPP’s first executive director and have now been in that role for the last three years. Um, and it's been an incredible learning opportunity, and I continue to grow in new ways. Um, and with that, because I don't want to go on for too long. Whitney, I'll pass it off to you, uh, to introduce yourself and your history with the organization.


00:02:50Thank you so much. And thank you for anchoring our conversation and giving folks an idea of sort of how we came to be. Yes, my name is Whitney, and I am the director of Trauma-informed Practice and System Transformation, which means essentially, I am tasked with aligning our internal operations and work with the principles of a trauma-informed approach in terms of our team dynamics, our organizational dynamics, and also that I'm responsible for facilitating learning and growth in our network of advocates, activists and partners in change really around key concepts for trauma-informed advocacy, um, as well as supporting folks in mobilizing that collective wisdom and action toward trauma-informed transformation in our systems and structures. And I've been working with CTIPP also as a volunteer on that national trauma campaign since 2019. Um, and it's just been really cool to see this organization become what it already has and is really exciting to continue to see us grow. Um, because I'm going to go ahead and pass it to Laura, who can speak a little bit to some of the ways that we have seen ourselves grow, um, in expanding our team from that volunteer campaign that we began with.


00:04:17Thanks, Whitney. I'm Laura Braden. I am CTIPP’s director of communications. I started with the organization in early 2022, which is wild. That's already been two years. Um, as of this recording. And it's been a really fun experience for me because I have gotten to help the organization really expand its infrastructure when it comes to communications, the content that we put out, the level of design, um, you know, we've updated the website. We've really built out the brand, not just with brand guidelines internally, but just externally, with different videos and infographics and PowerPoint templates and all sorts of things that we put out to the movement. Um, and it's also been fun to sort of watch the evolution still in progress of how we talk about these things, how we talk about them within the movement. And also just with, you know, the general public can be very different as well as with legislators as well as with media. So we have a lot of different audiences we have to consider when we communicate, and it's been really fun helping to build out what that looks like. Um, knowing that just like trauma-informed policy and practice is a process, so is the communication side of things. Um, so that's been really great. And then I'll kick it over to our newest member.


00:05:36I have been with the CTIPP organization for going on about nine months now, so it's kind of crazy to think about just where the time is going and the work that we're doing here within this space. I am the director of Engagement and Empowerment, so a lot of what I do has to do with. Advocacy work for youth and being able to give youth a voice and being able to just really co-create with different organizations and different partners on what trauma looks like from different perspectives. And so I've been able to enjoy this time and continuing to learn and continuing to build my knowledge as an individual who has some background within trauma. Coming from the child welfare and serving systems, and being able to just implement what I've learned in the past into this work now with trauma. And so it's very exciting time to be here and to continue this work that we're currently doing.

00:06:39I love this team so much. The you know, I think that like I tried to say earlier, um, I'm not seeing Whitney's words on the prompt that can help me better or what I, what I hope to say in my ramblings to start is just that, you know, nobody told us to necessarily engage in a trauma-informed process. We have taken it to heart to help co-create an organization, um, because we know that if this organization or if this movement, um, you know, that CPTPP has a great. Privilege and honor to get to be a part of um at the national level is going to be as impactful as possible. Then we had to. Be the movement that we wanted to see in the world, right? To not as well dictate. Um, that great quote. Um, but, you know, I think that one thing that we do really well on this team is that we're not the positions that we hold in the titles that we hold. I think that all of us see each other as just the humans that we are, and try to keep in mind through the hardest of times, the humanity, um, on every part of this team, on our network and everybody that is involved, um, in the work. And that part of the process for that has been reshaping our like old ways of thinking, being and doing. We all come from different backgrounds, which has built a really wonderful team to help advance this work. And also there are different cultures of organizations and companies that we've come from that have helped to shape us. And so, you know, what ways for the team of like, uh, what are what are some of the old narratives or ways of thinking that we've noticed ourselves having to let go of or come up with new stories about? And, and part of that is also recognizing adaptively why those were created and how they helped us to survive other spaces and places that we've been in.


00:08:43One aspect of our work that has been really edifying and interesting for me to watch evolve as a team member has really been our internal processes for folks joining the team, um, as there really have been so many lessons learned there. And I think that our lessons learned in the hiring and onboarding processes have also helped us zoom out to think about our broader process as well. And, you know, that is really the key word I heard you say at Jessie. I'm hearing myself say it now. It's really this idea of being process oriented, right? I think one of the things that is really been beautiful to watch us move away from, even though we are this sort of fledgling organization that is sort of in survival mode in a lot of ways, trying to find funding and sustainability, um, in a, in a space that is so vast. Right. And yet we've I really seen us work on moving away from that scarcity mindset where we are outcome oriented, looking at what needs to be accomplished and who is going to do it. Um, getting really myopic about that versus seeing the full human, as you said, right? Seeing the desired outcomes be sort of this guiding light, this North Star, yet with greater spaciousness in the process and really thinking about our why, right, our meaning, what are we doing here? And so I really noticed us more moved toward thinking about alignment with our mission and vision and values really meaningfully. And I've seen us really consider how each team member stands with their own gifts and wisdom and lived personal and professional experiences that they bring to the work. And as we have found our footing, I think I've really seen us just all create more spaciousness and think about how each of our humanity fits together with this existing culture and the culture we're continuing to co-create over time. And I would say that the second part of that, that I really want to speak to, has been watching each person integrate this framework into their learnings, and I'm so excited to hear from you all about what's really been sticking with you in terms of learning and unlearning and relearning. Um, because I've seen everybody really work on modeling the model, not just talking the talk, walking the walk. Right? We've collaborated, we've sought feedback, we've co-created the context and conditions for each of us to stand empowered and to call each other in, to explore how we'd like to move forward when there's conflict, and how to get consensus around standards and practices and culture. So each of us feels trusted and safe to take the lead on our work and to show up as real humans who are perfectly imperfect. Right. And so those are really the things that have stuck out to me. And I just am so curious to hear what you all have to say and what you all have been noticing and unlearning and relearning.


00:11:47I think for me, I've had to just believe it. Um. Believe that it's possible. I think only in hindsight did I realize how not even skeptical cynical I was coming into this whole idea of, you know, us as a team, integrating trauma-informed principles into the way we interact with each other. Um, I think every job up until this point, uh, has had some level of toxicity associated with it. And even looking back on, like, people who were my office best friends, you know, my office wives. That was a trauma bond and a lot of reasons. Right? It was literally like two little life rafts holding on, trying to navigate this crazy, chaotic environment that we found ourselves in. Um, so yeah, I think just even is it possible and also, is it realistic to expect that in a workplace? Because again, where I, where I worked previously, like it was not even it was just the status quo? Your thank you and your gratitude was in your paycheck that you got every two weeks. Right. So sit down and keep working hard and making money for other people. It's just not even been something that was ever on the table, right? Let alone discuss, let alone had a vocabulary to ask for it or to, you know, know how to advocate for it. So it's been really neat for me to sort of stop disassociating and be present and be vulnerable and have that be well received.


00:13:12And I would just, um, kind of add to that and really speak to just being able to work within this space and to let go, um, of all ways of thinking, um, being able to just really, uh, process the work that we're doing. And as Whitney mentioned a little bit earlier, not having that scarcity mindset, but having that mindset of abundance of what we're doing and where this can go. Um, I think even for me, it was more so that feeling, uh, fear, um, feeling of failure. Um, I've heard different individuals at time who kind of talk about the work that they're done in the process and what it takes and how that work is working with other individuals. And for me, I've always wanted to see some kind of success within the work that I'm doing. And so whenever you're coming into a new organization, you know, you have that fear of failure where as someone who played sports in the past, I was more excited about actually not losing than I was winning games. Right. Um, because when you lose, you have to think about what did I do wrong? What could I have done better? And so there was always that, that that mentality of having to fear, um, instead of actually looking at that fear and saying, hey, this is an opportunity to learn. This is the opportunity for me to be able to grow within this space. And so, you know, stopping the negative self-talk and creating affirmations and, you know, more fluid fluidity and growth within this work space, um, that we're currently doing. And so for me is just really looking back at different organizations that I've worked with and where I've been within those organizations and where I'm at now, and how I can continue to contribute and how this organization is just has such an open space, um, for us to have dialog like this and really kind of, you know, speak to what it looks like from a smaller level to a much larger level and where this work can get to as we continue to do this.


00:15:28Picking up on the scarcity mindset thing. I mean, my most of my career, with the exception of one year long internship and one job that I was at for a year before, uh, stepping into this role, uh, more full time is was with small nonprofits and, you know, so I think the part of, uh, what we've been trying to get to is like, objectively, from a budget perspective, we are a small organization. Um, but, you know, I think that through the process that we'll continue to talk about, like, we have a big footprint, um, and really trying to step into an abundance mindset instead of the scarcity mindset that I've sort of been trained on, of grants are scarce. Um, you know, we know that there is going to be turnover and roll over, uh, you know, because we just can't afford to, to pay market wages. And there will always be better opportunities when the source of gratitude is the paycheck. Um, is a lot of the organizations that I came up in and really trying to step away from that, which is difficult when I'm in the budget and like crunching numbers all the time. Um, and has certainly gotten easier of everything that's possible, um, with the resources that we do have. Because again, when I came to the organization, we had $0, and now we have a budget of a few hundred thousand dollars. And to think about that growth as opposed to how much larger I wish and hope we we are, has been a process for me that has opened up new opportunities and new possibilities, um, for the work that we've done, um, because when we when we think about when we have that scarcity mentality, it becomes very restrictive that there is much less room for innovation and freedom to explore. It becomes very like outcome. It becomes very outcome oriented because that's what you need to meet the needs of a small budget. The next year, instead of thinking about what catalytic and exponential growth can be common. And that's been a process that I still have to catch myself and fortunately have a team to catch me on when I fall back into that way of thinking. Um, but that's been big. And then the other thing is, in those smaller organizations, um, conflict was really discouraged, which made conflict rise up all the time, like, because we just kept falling into collective denials. And it's sort of like we, we, we move on because we have a mission to serve. We have we have other people that we are serving. Um, and so whatever's going on for us, like. Until it becomes cataclysmic. We've got to sweep it under the rug and just keep doing that. And, Whitney, you you've told me a number of times in the five years that we've worked together now of like conflict is an opportunity for growth, right? That there are opportunities to explore growth edges when conflict arises. And getting more comfortable leaning into that space are two of the biggest, um, relearning things that I've had to do, especially in the role that that I hold, um, with the organization right now. Um, because that creates conditions for others. To be able to do the wonderful work you do.


00:18:53Absolutely. I'm so glad you you mentioned that to and something I'm noticing that I'm just synthesizing through a through line that everyone has shared in this. Right. Is that what we're doing is countercultural and it's not easy and it's is not always, you know, toxic positivity. It's not about pretending stuff, isn't there. It's about digging in to that humanity. And, you know, I think that a lot of this is really in it's it's a parallel process. Right. Because trauma-informed approaches counter the status quo as well. But when we think about what we've all just been saying, we've had to unlearn a lot of really deeply entrenched personal and professional habits. And we each come to this work with our own stories, right? That, you know, I recognize for myself a lot of those messages that I received that were deeply unhealthy, unhealthy and harmful in workplaces were exacerbating dynamics that were my own existing tendencies and trauma responses. Right. Just of who I am stepping into this work. Things like perfectionism being rewarded, things like having no boundaries and working inordinate hours without complaint being affirmed and actually held up as exemplary. Right? Almost a badge of honor to not get sleep because you're working so hard, being told under this like colonized guise of quote unquote professionalism that, to your point, Jesse and Laura, emotional concealment is not only desired, but required. Right? And so it's really taken a lot of time to lean into genuine connection and to feel safe and to trust that at least my full humanity will be held with reverence and compassion and curiosity. And that's even intellectually knowing that we in this organization are striving to that. So it's really, you know, really important to notice that our full humanity that we bring to this work and what we're trying to do with this work sometimes can clash and make it really challenging to. So as I'm just hearing all of you share this, I'm really recognizing, you know, putting this all together, how remarkable it is that we've already been able to do what we've been able to do. And it certainly hasn't been without pain points. Right. So I'm just I'm really struck by the way that these pieces come together and, and that sort of countering the status quo aspect of things that were all really speaking to.


00:21:27There's been a lot of pain through the process for sure. Um, which again, going back to what I was saying, like that, those are opportunities for growth and to figure out why some of those spaces hurt, um, so much. But I just want to uplift that. I think, um, you know. One. One piece that I've had to do a lot of reflection on is like intent versus impact. Um, as I navigate this role, um, because I think for the whole time we've had a team, I've been the youngest person on the team and certainly don't consider myself the expert. Right. I have a title that. Is more so about fundraising and administrative capacities than like being in authoritarian leader, which is a lot of what had been modeled. Um, but I also, um, have been granted a lot of privilege in this world as cisgender, white male, um, in this patriarchal society. And there has been a lot of unintentional harm that I've created out of this role because of the hierarchical structure that exists. Um, and I just want to, uh, spotlight, uh, a huge learning that went on, um, after some turbulence within the organization. Um, you know, a little bit over, uh, over, over a couple of years. I mean, as Dan got sick and Dan Press is one of our founders, and he was really the leader, and I was brought into this role to serve more of as his right hand man. He was just retired and not going to take on like an executive director role. And so I got a title. And then when he got sick and, and, uh, passed away, you know, I had a title and had the history to, to step in, uh, more to that space. But I think that in the void of his leadership and everything that he knew about policy and brought to the trauma-informed space, um, that I just don't have because of the 50 years and just different experiences, you know, that that that we had, um, differently than one another, that there was a lot of turbulence that came up from that. And as we grew as an organization, um, and Dan made a catalytic investment in the organization that allowed for us to really hire, um, a full staff. And there was just a lot of turbulence. And our board, our longtime board chair, who's now our past president, uh, Sandy Blum, developed, uh, an organization, uh, an organizational, uh, a model to promote organizations and democracy that we were fortunate enough as a small staff to. We tried really hard to work internally on things, um, and to have that external voice that helped to be able to see things from a more objective perspective and kind of move us through that creating presence work that we got to do with Sara, in addition to the Sandy school that we had, um, really was incredible to develop more bioclimatic processes, right, to see our organization is living and having its own history and traumas and and hope and and and and everything. Um, that I think has spurred a lot of wonderful conversations and then coming back to owning the ways that unintentionally there's there's just room to grow always. And I just, I more so appreciate and try to learn from the spaces that I've unintentionally, um, created harm and, uh, also appreciate the ways in which our team has understood my humanity and, and trusted that, you know, learning will go on through the process.


00:25:24One of my favorite parts of our process has been working with, um, doctor Sandy Bloom and Sarah as a group to sort of put the pedal to the metal in terms of like, how do you actually do this? We all agree that it's great. We all agree it's the ideal. But how do you actually do this, particularly when no one's ever been taught or it's never been modeled for you? So I think those sessions were really helpful to translate all of these incredible concepts and principles and to day to day action and reaction and or really more response. Uh, and so that I think was really, really helpful. And one thing that helped me was just the general willingness everyone had to confront issues and work through them. We developed by and for that very early as a group. And I don't think that trust or that boundary has been violated, at least for me. So it feels like a safe place to be in. If I have an issue, I feel comfortable bringing it up. And I feel most, most somewhat, mostly confident that I know how to navigate it in a trauma-informed way. And also there again, I find grace from y'all back to sort of what Jesse was talking about, you know, intent versus impact. Um, I think we've just done a really good job setting that intent so that we can work more on the impact.

00:26:40Everyone being open and willing to help, um, in a smaller organization like ours, understanding that we may not have as much capacity because everyone is working on something else, uh, or working on their own work while at a much larger organization, you can go to many different individuals and potentially, um, get different answers and different responses. And so it really challenges your way of thinking in how you do things. But with us having a much smaller organization, it may be at times, you know, difficult to be able to speak with someone within a given time. But I feel that when we do have those conversations, one, we always try to make it work as quickly, as smoothly, as easily as possible, but then it's also not a rush. Um, they really thought, thought provoking, uh, conversations that we are having like this one today. And so just really being able to have everyone, you know, just kind of on board, it feels more run like a family than it is just the just the business or just the organization, um, to trying to get things done. And then we also have things like processing calls to get an idea of, you know, how's everything going for you? Like, are you understanding everything? Is there anything that we can help or anything that we can assist you with? Is there anything that we can do better on our end to help kind of, you know, push this, uh, work for but also help you within the work that you're doing. And even with the work that we're doing, even sometimes taking a step back and saying, hey, you know, if this is too much for you at this time, then you can always come back to it. Don't feel that. You know, you have to get this done right here. Now, you know, there going to be times that Jesse has always said that we work longer hours, some weeks and, um, some weeks we work shorter hours. It's not a traditional 9 to 5 type job. And so I just think that coming into this organization with the whole onboarding process and everyone be really being there for me and seeing how they can assist me coming in. And now that it's been nine months, um, it's just really amazing to see, you know, how far that I've been able to grow within this space.


00:28:52And I just, I, I'm noticing that some of the themes here, right, are like how we show up for each other in really meaningful ways and not in that sort of toxic. We're constantly on each other. We are micromanaging one another. But this really supportive, spacious way that we are engaging with one another feels really special. And it would be easy to say, oh, we just picked all the right people. And I think, of course, the the gifts that we bring to the work, the skills, the wisdom, the vibes that all matters, having that sort of synergy. And also we each are working to be intentional in this every day. Right. This is something that becomes more integrated the more we practice it. This being trauma-informed, there's no end destination. It's an ongoing process of responding to these emerging and evolving changes and challenges and stresses and beautiful moments. Right. And I've just been really struck to hear that. It feels like that intentionality is really unique, and we know that we are institutionally supported to come forth with that intentionality. Right? So just noticing how many things really need to sort of fall into place and to be intentionally, um, massaged and nurtured for this environment to really happen in this way. And I think, Laura, that speaks a little bit to what I heard you mentioned, which is really this aspect of, okay, we know the things now, what do we do with it? Right? The skill building aspect. And one of the things that I've noticed is that and it's been so beautiful to witness as somebody who's gotten to see the development of many, um, folks on the team, because I've been here since, you know, Jesse, you to the volunteer piece, being able to see people learn and find their footing and integrate this and feel permission to be and think and do and relate and connect in ways that feel good for them. Trying these skills on for size, helping one another consider and inviting one another to think differently, to be differently. Um, but not in a you're doing this wrong kind of way, but an invitation of hey, I noticed xyz. I wonder if you'd be willing to consider ABC and learning from each other right in that way, that synergistic way. And I think the thing that's really striking me as I'm externally processing this is that we each are leaders. This is really one of the most lateral organizations I know I've ever had the opportunity to be a part of. Right. Um, we each are leaders. We each are trusted to do what we need to do. We trust one another. And that has been something that we've developed over time. I think it's really important to acknowledge what y'all have put out here is that it really takes intentionality and institutional support for this to happen, for this magic to to sort of happen.


00:31:41To create a decentralized leadership structure, like the vulnerability and authenticity and ownership that the entire team has had to come to the work with is really important. And that shared learning that has developed trust, that has made that process better and allowed for us to work, I think outside of the scope of our what, what is. Probably perceived as our capacity limitations. Right. Like, I was, uh, reminded of when you and Laura did the trauma-informed Women's Health Toolkit and podcast. And I remember that was a learning for me from you, Laura. Um, because you sent me the the podcast to, like, give, give a check mark on and just review. And I was like, I like I am far from the expert in this and was not involved. Like, I trust you, uh, you all and I, I listened to it. It was wonderful. But I was like, I'm not sure why I need to even give my sign off, like, I, I trust you all. And you were like, no, like you're the executive director. And in case someone asks a question you should probably like, you should probably be able to just at least have told us that you listen to it and like, sign off on. And I was like, oh, that makes sense. And the other the other pieces that I'm thinking about is like how the evolution I think that two of the places that are probably definitely less seen by, you know, our network or anybody else, but that I've seen such tremendous growth is is in our couple hiring processes, as well as the onboarding processes and the continued learning and growth that has been shown and reflected in those two spaces, as well as the benefits of that collective and shared learning and making those processes work better based on our experiences through them, has been a really fun opportunity to what Antron was talking about earlier. And it's fun to hear Antron talk about how rewarding that onboarding process was, because I know how much we thought about, you know, how we were going to structure that. Um, and there's definitely room for growth there. But I think in reflecting like those little places, um, have been really wonderful to get to look back on.


00:33:58I think the other thing, too, um, with being able to work with this organization, organization is being able to have projects of interest for us. Um, I know that we have specific tasks and work that we have to do, but I find it, you know, very helpful. And it keeps me energetic when Jesse always comes to me and says, hey, you know, I was speaking with someone who I met and want to consider bringing you on into this project if it's something you're interested in, but also in a way where it doesn't feel like it's pressured, right. Um, where I'm able to have a sit down conversation and speak with people and then come back and make a decision, is this something that I want to do? Um, one of the things that Jesse and I have talked about in the past is being able to have that professional development. Right? And so not just the projects that we're working on for the organization, but projects that can that we can work in collaboration with, um, other organizations and bring that same work that we're doing here into those and being able to just continue to grow as individuals and grow as people where it doesn't feel, again, like, you know, it's being forced or, hey, this is something that I want you to do or something that I need you to do, but more so on the strength of. I believe that this could kind of build your portfolio within the work that you're doing, and I think that this would be good for you. However, with this opportunity, I want you to make the call on that if this is something that you're interested in doing. And so even going back from the onboarding process and working with everyone and Whitney each week and all the questions that she was asking, you know, really starting to open my mind up to trauma and what that is and what that looks like. And speaking to what Laura stated a little bit earlier, is we have it now, what do we actually do with it? And so with my onboarding process, being able to take all this information and say, hey, you know, I finished all of this in a couple of weeks. Now, where do I go from here? Um, what what am I doing with this work? Now that I've learned all of this, how can I actually implement it into these different tasks and into these different projects that I'm working on? So I just think the organization for really being open minded to different things that we're able to bring to the table, um, different suggestions that we make. And just Jesse really saying, you know, if this is something that you want to take on, um, it sounds good to me. I'll let you take the lead and we'll just bring it back around and see how it fits within this trauma work that we're doing.


00:36:40On. Speaking of onboarding, I wonder how y'all think about that in the future, because our onboarding process is pretty intense. It's very time intensive. Um, there's a lot, you know, to throw at somebody, um, whether they're new to this work or not. C tip has an incredible history already. We have a tremendous amount of resources and content to work through, in addition to just for folks who are newer to the subject, you know, there's a lot there's a lot to learn. Um, I've been here two years, and I feel like I'm just scratching the surface. Right. So I know that's normal and common and actually a good thing because again, it's it's an ongoing process. But I wonder how y'all think is do you think that's going to be a challenge as we grow?


00:37:22Uh, I think that one of the big learnings, Laura, that that, that I have and spaces that I see us going because, uh, to support the movement like we need to grow, it has been incredibly tiresome, uh, and rewarding for the work. But but to sustain and scale the impact that, you know, communities and advocates all over the country and growingly around the world are creating. I think that to live in, to our mission, to create a trauma-informed society in which every individual, family and community has the opportunities and supports necessary to thrive. We cannot operate on two like the equivalent of 2 to 2 and a half full time staff, because, you know, 75% of this team is part time. Uh, it is it is very challenging to navigate in that space. Um, but what I was talking about with Antron, as I've reflected on his onboarding, because I think that we were so, um, intensive and and meaningfully so to bring someone into the culture of a small team, it was really important. Um, but there was a it was probably like three months worth of, like, content and curriculum that, that we sort of put on you, um, you know, and, and I think that moving forward, it doesn't need to be that same thing that there can be the trainings and that can go on and reading the toolkits and understanding and having conversations. But I think that there's an opportunity where really the growth exists, like, yes, in the content knowledge. But we have also gotten better at in the, uh, hiring process, making sure that folks already have certain ways of thinking, being and doing that align with the ways that we do work. And so I think that in addition, I think that we think about I talk about how we're kind of in this second wave of the trauma-informed movement that recognizes some of the maybe shortcomings that the movement has had so far. And I think that we are good about integrating trauma-informed approaches, um, in and thinking about it in kind of an ongoing process way instead of a checklist item way. And I think that to that extent, rather than just pedagogical kind of here's content, learn it, we can discuss it a little bit more andragogy of leading from behind and coaching through the integration of the understanding and and nurturing and ongoing process of learning and growth. Um, from early on, I mean, there's there's a certain amount of systems learning and signing folks up for, for like, you know, and the admin side of an onboarding process when someone comes in that there's probably like a week or two of, you know, content heavy kind of here's, here's what we need to do to onboard you. Um, but instead of so much content heavy, uh, as the primary kind of like letting folks engage and make mistakes, and then we go through a process of learning from what we've done, what was strong, where can we grow, and that coaching side, as opposed to just like a training specific side of onboarding? I think we'll allow for scale. And then the only other thing that I'll say, because I want to hear what you all think as well, is that as we grow, I, I again, I think that we are going to hit a catalytic exponential growth size. If there's anybody listening to this podcast, I think that CTIPP would be a wonderful, uh, space for your donations as we continue to grow and we have a strategic plan for exponential scale. But as we work toward, um, that growth, we will be smart in how we onboard a team where I don't think that if we get $1 million right out of nowhere and triple the size of our budget in a single donation, we would not hire for a $1 million staff. I think that the next move is to hire 1 or 2 people that help to build out the team and coach and and train and integrate that strong team for 3 to 6 months at least. So that way we are not losing the special. Special sauce isn't the right word. But like what we have developed and what we're talking about here. Because if you grow too quickly, the culture gets lost. But if you scale the stages of growth to where we bring on a few. People, and then we can bring on maybe a little bit more on the next tranche. And that's how we think about growth for the organization. It allows for us to keep the culture that we've developed, where it's not like we're just growing 400% at any given moment. We are being very strategic in the way that we think about growth. So that way we can continue to do the good work and the process of the work that we've been doing. But again, I I'm curious as to all of your thoughts on the process as well.


00:42:11I would just say that, um, within that process, um, of learning is being able to network, uh, with the different individuals. And I know that, you know, really takes the time for all of us to be able to introduce ourselves to, um, each person that's working. And again, we're a much smaller team. So we don't have like a number of different, um, departments. Right. However, being able to just really build a network that, you know, early on can really provide some valuable, um, support in insights, um, for the individuals and I would say even potentially taking on a mentor mentee type, uh, role. Right. Um, identifying who is that person who can really provide guidance to the individuals who are coming into this work that we're doing and really helping them to be able to navigate the organization as a whole. And I think one of the things that you just brought up that's also very important, Jesse, is also really being able to understand the culture. Right. Uh, one of the questions that I've been asked in the interview process is, are you a cultural fit or cultural act? You know, what can you bring to what can you bring to this organization? Can you come in and just listen and just do the work, or do you actually want to come in and provide some insight and provide some ideas, maybe even out of the box ideas to allow the organization to grow and being able to build upon this work that we're doing. And so it really just understanding what the culture is like and being able to pay attention to those norms. Right. Um, the values that the organization has and being able to communicate that effectively and be a part of the decision making process and, you know, talk about conflict resolution, um, and how that's typically handled. But I also think that when we're looking and trying to understand the culture, also being able to adapt, right, being able to be flexible and just really adapt our behavior, um, at all levels to really align again with the organization's culture. Um, while we're being able to at least continue to maintain that authenticity.


00:44:21And encapsulating something that I'm thinking about as I'm putting all the pieces of what folks have shared today together. And it's this aspect of what do we want to see happen, right? It's a both and because it's what do we want to see happen. And it's also what does that mean to us? What makes that important to us? It's a process of meaning making. It's not just you either read these 8 million things and understand, see tips, culture and everything we've ever done or you don't. Or right. It's really to your point. And on this aspect of like how do we help people make meaning of this? How do we enliven our mission, our vision, our values? How do we create space for folks to be additive to that and to help us, who maybe are insular in our own sort of echo chambers, of what this work means and how it matters and how it shows up in the world. What can others bring into that vision? How do we continue to zoom out and be inclusive and institutionalize practices that encourage belonging, so that people feel safe in being able to contribute their own ways of thinking, being, doing, knowing, relating? Um, and so it's such a it's a it's about the meaning to me. So it's, it's the why in addition to the what. Right. And I hear that come through in so much of what we've talked about today that has made us special and that has helped us surmount these barriers that I think, honestly, could have completely destroyed some other types of organizational cultures. Right. And navigating some of these really hard conflicts that we've that we've navigated. And, you know, as we are bringing our time to a close, I feel like this is really beautiful because it is about what the future holds, right? It's how do we think about ourselves modeling the model, continuing to grow, making meaning, being together in this work, um, and supporting one another in ourselves in this work. And I think that, you know, I can I can sort of get us started there because I've been really hearing, um, a lot of and feel called to uplift how important just remembering the human is in our work based on what we've been talking about today. Right. So for me, when I think about Ctrip's future, I'm thinking about continuing to message and embody action that creates spaciousness for that humanity and for imperfection and. Learning and growth because, you know, we will have some distinctly human moments in this work. It's inevitable. It's understandable. It's expected. And so I think by putting out pieces like this one, even right where we share our ongoing processes of addressing our growth edges and lessons learned and integrating new processes and learnings into our work and what has helped us remain cohesive and resilient in spite of a lot of challenges along the way. That's really an important piece to me of being able to model what striving to even be. You know, trauma-informed really means and looks like and feels like and is. And I'm really proud to be a part of an organization that is telling the truth and getting radically honest in a world of gaslighting structures and systems that make people feel bad or like there is something wrong with them when they are having a natural and normal human reaction to systems and structures and settings that operate in ways that ask us to engage in deeply unnatural and abnormal human behaviors to survive. Right. So I think for me, seeing the vision, seeing the the future is really just saying cheers to all of us coming forward together or coming together to see what's possible and to do this work imperfectly and with humanity, even when it's really hard to do that.


00:48:14Really being able to embody this work that we do. Right? Um, informed principles, uh, within the organization and having that deep commitment to being able to understand the impact of trauma, um, but also being able to really foster a supportive and safe environment and continuously just really just adapting different practices. Uh, within the work we do that really meets all the needs of each individual within this organization. Um, but also providing somewhat of a holistic approach, um, that's able to integrate policy and practice and even within our personal behavior, just to really create that supportive workspace over.


00:49:01I think that one of the greatest threats to the movement right now, which one of the greatest opportunities is that there was growing support and recognition of the importance of being trauma-informed. One of the greatest threats that comes out of that is that, like we said earlier, it is not a checklist item. It is not just, oh, we've had this training and we are trauma-informed. I think that we all believe that it is a commitment to an ongoing process of learning and growth that is embedded in certain shared principles and values, some of which are somewhat universal and others of which fit differently in different cultures and contexts. You know, continuing to grow in and learn and be curious, uh, is is really important and recognizing also, I think as we grow our role, um, in the movement, when we're small, as we grow and thinking about the ways in which, um, how we create space to co-create instead of sort of dictate, especially at a policy level, which I think is kind of one of the first niches that we found as an organization, you know, is, is really to promote a certain mentality and model around advocacy that supports advocates to move in the direction of wherever their passion lies, because you can do trauma-informed work in a variety of contexts, and we need a movement of people who are doing this work in all the possible contexts. And so how do we create space as an organization that is supporting that work? And how can we as a national organization create a space? And I think that the answer is moving toward more of an intermediary type of organization as we continue to grow, but that allows for different individual advocates and coalitions at a community level, allow for them to lead in the ways that they see fit, that that work in their contexts, and creating space for the beautiful diversity that exists in our country as a whole and our world as a whole. And even within communities and organizations, there's there's different ways that this work can be applied and, and continues to be curious and learn and model that growth. I mean, the the last, the last thing that I'll share is that I think, you know, one of the things that's been really funny, working with you and Laura over the last couple of years, especially, um, is we've said for like probably going on a year plus, like we have developed a tremendous amount of content and thought leadership pieces. And we've kept saying, like, we're getting into like, like it feels like a little bit of like a content factory. It feels really fast paced and like fast moving. And yet we've continued to come out with like more and more resources at faster and faster rates. That that has been like, we've been like trying to figure out how to how to press the break there. Um, while also not like while doing the important work and following our passions. And I think that that's part of that ongoing process. It's just been funny to watch the two of you like working together and coming out with all these new toolkits and guides, and there's like always two in the queue as we're coming out with the one, while also saying, like, you know, we I need, I need time, like we need to slow down. But I, I think that as we grow, there is space to learn from the network of advocates and communities that we work alongside that are doing this work in a number of different ways and kind of expedite in evidence based development and uplift promising and emerging practices that may otherwise not be heard of at scale and allow for that co learning and co-creation of the movement to take place. That also models a much more trauma-informed model than someone just saying here's the model, here's what the framework is, here's how you implement it. Kind of learning and nurturing that process all over, um, is where I see us going. And I think that that's where we've been growing as well, even in our own work and our own process. That's been really wonderful to hear. Um, throughout this conversation even.


00:52:53Well, today's conversation was really interesting and I hope it was helpful to everyone who listened. And for those who are interested in learning more, please come check us out at npr.org CTP. Org and we're also on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. Thanks, y'all. Appreciate your time.

 

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