On Saturday, July 27, 2019 the Community College Initiative (CCI) Program hosted CCI LIVE: Amplify Your Impact, a virtual conference for CCI alumni. The 3.5-hour conference brought CCI alumni together in a virtual space to learn from subject matter experts who encouraged them to think purposefully about the impact they are making through their work and community projects. 187 alumni representing 15 countries and all 12 program years registered for the event.
The conference opened with a keynote speech, “Be a Difference-Maker,” by Scott Geddis, President of Inspired Engagement. Geddis guided alumni on how to develop their signature voice, encouraged them to surround themselves with the right people, and inspired them to make the impossible possible.
Three breakout sessions followed the keynote. During “Crafting Your Legacy Statement,” Executive Director of CO+HOOTS foundation Lisa Glenn Nobles introduced attendees to the purpose of a legacy statement, offered examples, and guided participants through steps to build their own legacy statement.
“I learned that we can align our occupation with our values, even though they don’t seem to be related to each other.” – Jamila Ruiz Paz (Colombia, Bunker Hill Community College, Early Childhood Education, 2018-19)
Alumni who had already developed impact projects and wanted to learn how to involve others joined the “Building Community Engagement” session led by Dr. Shivaani Selvaraj, Director of Urban Engagement at the Penn State Center Philadelphia. Selvaraj covered a spectrum of strategies for building meaningful relationships with partners, volunteers, and other relevant groups.
“In order to build a relationship we need to understand the culture of those people and also that it’s really useful to use story because to it allow us to connect with others and also find meaning for what we are doing and for what they are expecting in this kind of community engagement projects.” – Claudio Martinez Mora (Dominican Republic, Houston Community College, Information Technology, 2017-18)
In the “Evaluating Your Impact” session, Bernadette Wright, Founder of Meaningful Evidence, provided tools and tips for identifying and monitoring key measures to evaluate the results of social impact work. During the session, Wright responded to CCI alumni questions about how to use surveys, respond to stakeholders, and interpret data.
After the three breakout sessions, participants joined one of three concurrent regional networking sessions. During the sessions, six CCI alumni moderated conversations between fellow alumni about how to amplify their impact and continue to make a difference as exchange alumni. Alumni moderators included Paromita Basak from Bangladesh, Muhammad Arham from Indonesia, Edier Gomez from Colombia, Marlin Estevez from Dominican Republic, Olivia Aboui from Cote d’Ivoire, and Tumelo Mosweu from South Africa.
The networking sessions allowed alumni to share challenges and achievements related to fundraising, volunteer recruitment, evaluation, and other aspects of impact work. CCI alumna Prodencia Mbwanwei of Cameroon who studied health at Northern Virginia Community College during the 2011-12 year said, “We ourselves are resources for one another insofar as we commit ourselves to working together.”
The conference concluded with a Q&A with keynote speaker Geddis, followed by reminders from NOVA’s CCI alumni staff about other opportunities available to CCI alumni.
“Such kind of events not only provide us valuable insights on crucial issues for advancing our career but also strengthen our bonds as member of one family that is CCI. … Surprisingly I found so many old friends doing similar work that I am doing right now to empower my community … Now we can share our experiences with each other and collaborate.” – Zulfi Sheth (India, NOVA-Annandale, Business, 2011-12)
Alumni who were unable to participate live can view recordings of each session of the conference by visiting the Archives on the CCI Live webpage.