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  • Writer's pictureNathan Victoria

Remembering my why…

Three concentric circles, with Why in the center, How around the Why, and What around the How.

My Why: I stand on the shoulders of those who have come before. Not everyone can speak their truths, but I have been fortunate and privileged in having found mine. Through inspiration, innovation, and improvisation, I empower those around me, squeaking strategically, to make agents of change.

Last week, I had the opportunity to further reflect on the driving reason I am doing this dissertation…my why.

Many of you know that I am a proud member of the 2013-2015 Cohort of the Diversity Executive Leadership Program (DELP). This prestigious leadership program, sponsored by the Detroit Metro CVB and run by ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership, creates opportunity for "under-represented identity groups to advance into the ranks of leadership in the association management profession. DELP scholars participate in an accelerated leadership program of education, mentoring, and volunteer service in the association community." (Learn more about the program year).

Nathan Victoria with the other panelists and moderator of the session smiling for a selfie.
Our short-form content panel and moderator. Irving Washington, Me, Jackie Price Osafo, Sharon Newport

At this most recent DELP Reunion (alumni and current scholars come together every year to learn from one another, as well as to see what new things are going on in the D), I had the distinct honor and privilege to serve on a panel regarding presenting short-form content, from the "why did you submit what you submitted" to "how did you prepare to present" and "any tips on presenting in this unique format". I was representing the Ignite format, where you have 5 minutes to present your topic, but your 20 slides automatically advance every 15 seconds. For many, this may sound extremely daunting. For me, it allowed me to share personal content and have it be legitimate. Because when I commented that these presentations take more work and are just as legitimate as the hour-long "data-driven" sessions, I got a lot of "mmhhmmm" and "yaaasssss" and "giiiirrrllll" from the audience, all of whom were black and brown folk. I seemed to have triggered a nerve regarding legitimacy…=).

One of the key findings I've already discovered in this dissertation process is that minoritized communities must continually defend the fact that personal experience is data, that just because something is laden with emotion, story, and "bias," does not make it any less true or valid. The unique thing about short-form content is that this vulnerability, these personal anecdotes, this bias is exactly what makes the difference between good short-form content and great short-form content.

In 2016, my Ignite session I presented at the ASAE Annual Meeting was titled "How Why has shaped my Who, What, Where, and When." If you watch the video below (for those who need the transcript [apologies for the lack of captioning], please just email me), I think you'll realize why I do what I do, why I choose to act in the way I do, how I plan to make change with this dissertation. My introduction starts around 1:35.

As I start to turn the bend and see the finish line (for at least for the arbitrary stop I am putting on for this dissertation, I realize I have failed this BuildingBayanihan community with sharing updates. That's why I'm going to try and commit to semi-regular blog posts moving forward. Yes, I realize I did keep it vague as far as how often, but just follow me on social media, and you know I'll be sharing it there.

Photo of blonde girl on the beach looking out

Although the what, where, and when are still being determined for my dissertation (chair is back from sabbatical in three weeks so more to come regarding that), my why remains central to the goal of this dissertation. I want to start creating a communion of critical consciousness. I want to create dialogues with and for racially minoritized communities to elevate their perspectives. I want to make the world a better place for my little Maggie and all those who come after me. To do all that,

"I squeak strategically, finding others to share my concerns in concert together. And in sharing my why, I initiate change on a systemic-level by making more inclusive policies and practices to elevate the forgotten and the ignored."

Care to squeak along with me? Head on over to the Contribute section and share your perspective! And comment below on what you think about this post or if you have other things you want me to write about!

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