By Emily Smith
Last week, OSI invited connectors from our OSI-Baltimore Community Fellows Network to a two and a half day Fellows Network Summit at the Tidewater Inn in Easton, Maryland. The connectors were identified through the network analysis process undertaken last year and span every cohort year from 1998-2015. The Summit, crafted with input from a creative team of current and alumni Fellows, was designed specifically for these network leaders to deepen relationships and to develop strategies to enhance the power of the network and advance social justice issues in Baltimore.
At the summit, Fellows reflected on the first moment they recognized or understood their role in the world of social justice. In peer-exchange clinics, they presented leadership challenges for peer support and feedback. Fellows working in various artistic disciplines led interactive creativity workshops, which emphasized the power of art for self-discovery, expression, network leadership, and social justice impact.
Having laid the important groundwork of relationship building, reflection, and creative collaboration, Fellows immersed themselves in network theory, discussing the power and potential of networks in this digital age and what it means to think and lead in a networked way. They engaged in a rigorous exchange of ideas about the OSI-Baltimore Community Fellows Network, coming up with strategies for network impact, development, structure, and management. Fellows considered questions such as how to use social media to deepen connections within the network, how to build a more robust infrastructure to facilitate network management, and how to optimize the network’s potential for advocacy. The fruit of these conversations will enrich our continued efforts to build and strengthen the OSI-Baltimore Community Fellows Network.