This guest blog post is written by
Senior Evaluation Associate and Project Manager,
Creative Research Solutions
The Expanding the Bench® (ETB) Team connects Funders of Evaluation and evaluators from the Advancing Culturally-responsive and Equitable (ACE) Evaluation Network through monthly one-on-one Coffee Breaks for intentional relationship-building, to expand their networks, and to discuss the practice of culturally responsive and equitable evaluation (CREE). After the March round of connections, ACE Evaluation Network Member Nivedita Ranade, PhD, reflects on her experience with ETB Coffee Breaks:
My name is Nivedita Ranade (she/her/hers) and I work as a Senior Evaluation Associate and Project Manager at Creative Research Solutions (CRS) in the Atlanta, GA metropolitan area. I am also an ACE Evaluation Network member and have participated in several ETB Coffee Break sessions to meet with funders for the purpose of networking and business development.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the Coffee Breaks as they have given me a chance to meet passionate, like-minded people who do the ever-important and hard work of achieving equity and justice for all, one day at a time. I think of myself as an emerging CREE evaluator and the Coffee Breaks have provided a safe, non-judgmental space for me to express and refine my CREE practice. Lastly, but certainly not least, what stood out to me the most was that these breaks gave me an informal and neutral ground to practice and perfect my storytelling skills. Well-told stories have the power to break down walls, build trust and relationships, and inspire action. The Coffee Breaks have provided me a platform to narrate my personal and professional journey as a CREE evaluator as well as describe CRS’ roadmap in working to diminish social, economic, and racial disparities in the U.S. and globally.
In short, for me, the coffee breaks have taken the ‘work’ out of networking by embracing my quiet tendencies while still allowing me to make genuine connections and build successful partnerships for CRS!
Thank you, ETB!
Note to self: During the next round, make myself some coffee to sip on during these breaks!
Connect with Nivedita on LinkedIn!