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The Power of Pausing: A Tale from our Fellowship Program

In a culture, and a sector, where urgency can be the name of the game, taking an intentional pause can be as rewarding as it is rare. Explore the impact of slowing down, reflecting, and integrating learnings when it comes to programming, with our flagship Fellowship Program’s intentional pause as an example. This longform conversation with two members of our Fellowship team (Yecelica Jaime Valdivia & Flo Sum) take us on a journey through how they recognized the need to slow down, made the decision to pause their programming, what changed as a result, and why it matters to slow things down. 


Show Notes

[full transcript]

Overview of the Community Impact Fellowship, including the decision to take an intentional, programmatic pause.

How the Fellowship program recognized the need to stop delivering programs and why. (6:26)

The process of making the decision, especially in our feedback-oriented self-managing structure. And the reasons, and values we centered, in saying “YES” — including resisting urgency in balancing serving community and sustainability.  (10:53)

Making the decision had a big effect on creating space for program design and staff/team development – both the expected and the unexpected  (17:30)

Fellowship program redesigned!  What folks reflected on and how they changed the program. Preview: there were many things! (24:49)

“Don’t be a hypocrite!” It takes time to reflect and integrate feedback, and can be beautiful.  (28:30)

Slowing down can have big impacts. In this case, the ability to create more aligned roles and deepen leadership, program capacity, and decision-making power as a team. (31:28)

For folks considering slowing down, and maybe struggling with it, here is the learnings the Fellowship team has got for you. (37:17)  

And why it matters to take pauses and slow down.  The big conclusions! (41:05)

“Having space to reflect should not be a privilege, it should be integrated in our work” – Flo Sum 

Quick Links:

In this Episode:

Yecelica “YJV” Jaime Valdivia (they/them) is RVC’s Fellowship Program Strategy & Capacity Lead. YJV’s work has been at the intersections of personal and societal healing and transformation. They have a background in anti-racism, youth-centered political education, generative somatics and trauma-informed practices, and prevention work.

Flo Sum (they/she) is RVC’s Fellowship Program Manager. Their experience in nonprofit organizations led them to their graduate education and to RVC’s fellowship. Florence graduated from the University of Washington with a BA in American Ethnic Studies and Communications, and an MA in Public Administration with a focus on nonprofit management and education policy.

Roshni Sampath (she/her) is RVC’s Co-Executive Director, and the lead for RVC’s national relationship-building, thought leadership, evolutionary purpose, and conflict resolution. She has worked with nonprofits for the last 13 years in areas of fundraising, communications, human resources, and program development and delivery.

RVC Shout Outs:

Christian Moore, Fellowship Program Coordinator, is the third member of our Fellowship Team.

Abesha Shiferaw was the Director of our Fellowship Program at its inception and was responsible for establishing and growing our fellowship program. 

Johnny Fikru is an alum of our fellowship program and worked at RVC in the fellowship program during the intentional pause.

Vu Le was our founding executive director.

Thank you to Umpqua Bank for sponsoring this episode!

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