The Bush Foundation hosted the 2015 Bush Fellows and all Community Innovation grantees at two gatherings intentionally scheduled around bushCONNECT. The Fellows participated in a two-day kickoff retreat that took place before bushCON, and the Community Innovation Grantee Convening was held the day after. All three events offered people a place to network, share stories and learn about the best in regional leadership development.
Fellows got to know each other on the first day of their retreat with help from The Theater of Public Policy founder—and 2014 Bush Fellow—Tane Danger. Fellows finalized their individual project plans, tapping into their peers for insights and feedback. An evening panel discussion featured program alums including Danger, Rajiv Tandon, Steve Newcom, and Teresa Peterson. The following day Michael Bischoff and Christine Capra from the Social Innovation Lab led a workshop on network analysis; 2004 Bush Leadership Fellow Vickie Allen talked about the importance of self-care for effective leadership.
Grantees from all three years of the Community Innovation Program were invited to the first-of-its-kind convening. The day was designed to deepen relationships, build new connections and showcase the range of problem-solving capacity across the region. Panel discussions about community engagement, collaboration and risk and innovation opened the morning session. Program directors Molly Matheson Gruen and Mandy Ellerton facilitated afternoon conversations and storytelling exercises based on topics grantees wanted to explore.
Amelia Franck Meyer, a 2015 Fellow and the CEO of Anu Family Services, a 2014 Bush Prize grantee, had the unique experience of attending all three events. “Coming in for five days was hard at first,” she said, “But by the end I liked the intensity of such an immersive experience. I got to focus on myself at the Fellows Retreat, plunge into the greater community at bushCON and bring it all back to an organizational focus at the Grantee Convening. The only thing that was missing was not having a place to put my overwhelming gratitude!”