Member CEO Engages Public Sector Around Important Issues

At the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, we work hard to make sure we ensure the excellence and influence of our network in various ways. We take very seriously our role in providing our network with unique opportunities to build new knowledge, network with one another and with colleagues in the public and corporate sectors, and have influence on policy makers at all levels of government.

When I was honored with an invitation from the National Governors Association to attend its 2016 Policy Institute for Governors’ Human Services Advisors, I picked up the phone and called Denise Cross. Denise is president and CEO of Alliance member Cornerstones of Care in Kansas City, Missouri, and a member of the Alliance CEO Council. I asked her to attend on behalf of the entire Alliance network and to participate in a panel discussing the future of human services.

Sponsored by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, the event was an opportunity for Denise and others to address what they can do to collaborate for the most impact in human services. As Denise explains, “The event was an opportunity to engage with public sector leaders from across the country around common issues that we are all trying to address.”

Her panel discussion focused on trends in the sector and how the panelists have been a part of addressing those trends collectively with states and nonprofits. Denise and the other panelists discussed what they see as opportunities for the future using technology to gain even greater collaboration between the public and nonprofit sector.

Denise told me that the event proved to her that the collective impact and/or systems change that we all want to achieve must include effective communication and true engagement. She noted that the examples of successful collaborations all featured real authentic engagement early on in the process. This included both parties identifying the problem, and then jointly developing solutions, which allowed them to establish joint ownership right from the beginning for both successes and failures.

“Sometimes when entities may not be in total agreement, they will remain at the table and work it out because there is agreement on the final outcome they are trying to reach together,” says Cross.

Many thanks to Denise for representing our network and demonstrating once again its great distinction. We are stronger and more influential together!

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