On September 1 I joined Rainbow Research as the new Executive Director. After a long-lived experience of organizing, teaching, facilitation, and research at the intersections of many social justice issues, I discerned that landing at Rainbow would provide with me a fabulous capstone project for my career.
Rainbow was looking for someone to offer a novel approach to executive leadership focused on playing more of a coaching and mentoring role rather than the more typical hierarchical leader form of an executive director. Having served as an executive in many diverse organizations and knowing the limitations and challenges of this role, I was attracting by the opportunity to lead differently.
At Rainbow, we strive to practice internally what we hope to see in the world around us. We want to honor and nourish the capacities of each staff to do our best work individually and collectively. We want to practice an elevated, and always co-evolving form of direct participatory democracy in the way we share leadership and decision making. We want to attend to the ways in which we each bring into work the internalized patterns (in our minds and practices) of colonization and commit to decolonize the way we think and work and relate.
This internal work is done to support our collective capacity to be a novel 21st century resource for the diverse organizations and networks that utilize our research and evaluation services. As a BIPOC-led firm committed to supporting research and evaluation for the common good, I am very happy to enter an organization with such a great staff with many new contributors (Kshitiz, Martha, Thao and me), and three anchoring staff who have been here longer (Beki, Ivan, Lateesha).
I am looking forward to digging in and examining our body of work since Rainbow’s founding in 1974, and work with staff and board and key community partners to engage in a re-branding and strategic focusing process to support the evolution of our work going forward. Upon entering I asked that we expand our scope of work to include one scope of work (environmental justice), and to expand the scale of our work (more national work), and to offer leadership in a particular way of working (intersectionality research and evaluation, and critical participatory action research). I do not think I could have found a better place to land.
I am glad to be here to support the evolution of our praxis in support of the many organizations and networks that invite us to support them on their journeys to midwife wisdoms in praxis that nourish desired outcomes in lives, communities, regions, and relations. Let’s make a difference together that brings smiles and healing to the world around us.
Dr. Samuel Leguizamon Grant