WELL BEGUN….Is HALF DONE
WELL BEGUN characterizes the ENF legacy created by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation at the turn of the 21st century. Since then ENF graduates have invested their talents in organizational transformation, community and civic engagement, heath care redesign, policy influence, developing future leaders and workforce, and mastering opportunities at every turn.
History was made in February 2016, when 95 ENF alumni met at the annual meeting in Amelia Island, FL to voice their desires to remain a leadership force in the changing landscape of the RWJF vision for a Culture of Health while embracing a collaborative and unified new initiative to explore the co-creation of activities in concert with other closing, continuing and new advancing change leadership programs by the Foundation. The February meeting boasted the largest attendance of ENFs since the Foundation concluded fully supporting alumni to attend annual meetings in the latter 2000s. The theme of the meeting was TRANSITIONS- a fitting tribute to a rapidly changing industry, professional and personal reinvention, and the emergence of new evidence to guide the creation of health in our communities.
This alumni meeting was actually the second of historical FIRSTS by the ENF alumni organization which two days earlier had developed and convened the Co Creators Meeting for a Culture of Health Entity: The Power of Unified Action. At this meeting of the 10 closing and one continuing RWJF programs, 25 leaders convened to discover commonalities in focus, desires for future engagements, networks of influence, and opportunities to prove: the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. At the conclusion of the meeting, the disparate alumni groups wondered aloud as to why it had taken so long in our history to discover and name the power of the collective, to visualize the opportunities for interprofessional and multisectoral engagement, to seek a unified vision for influence, and to act as a force multiplier of social movement. Each group affirmed three principles to guide our continued exploration and that the next steps are to canvass their membership for a solid commitment to new unified actions and to the development of a vision, form and structure to inform the future. Half the groups were empowered by their members to commit onsite and the remainder will convey the nature of their commitment by June 30, 2016. Meanwhile, ENF committed to organizing monthly calls among all participant groups to build on the momentum and explore collaboration ventures. Each group is currently vetting a unified message for use by all 11 groups as to our intent to proceed with exploration. For the ENFs, we will continue to count on our strategic planning committee to advise us as we unpeel the potential of the future. Clearly our commitment to building our ENF networks within our group while expanding our networks among the RWJF programs will challenge us to balance the polarities inherent is such a venture.
So… HALF DONE is a fitting perspective going forward. ENFs are strong in our membership with 65% of our graduates paying dues BUT we would benefit from even stronger membership numbers as we progress in our collective action planning to leverage our power. Membership gives you voice… and why would you not want to leverage your leadership voice? I challenge each of you to recruit one non-member in 2016! Our fiscal health planning for our future must start today with an active development plan, realistic revenue streams, and valued return on investment for membership dues, programming, and expanded networking engagements. Soon you will see a call for committee appointments and with 65% of our members now engaged in the work of the ENF organization imagine how much more we could accomplish with additional thought leadership on all committees as we develop forward!
Words on paper cannot nearly capture the spirit of community, good thinking, excitement, rapid learning, and the potential for influence experienced by the ENF alumni at the annual 2016 gathering. This spirit, evidenced by the ENFs, was mirrored just 48 hours earlier in the meeting by the other 25 RWJF alumni leaders. Clearly there is a belief we can accomplish more together, discover new horizons, and actualize our commitment to be a force multiplier for health in our communities by harnessing the collective thought leadership… And this is the HALF DONE that lays before us!
Franklin D Rosevelt: There are many ways to move forward and only way to stand still
Ann Cary, PhD MPH RN FNAP, RWJF ENF Alumni Association President