Hello Brigade Leaders,
What a year it’s been. I want to share some key updates and a few of my own thoughts on the transition we’re experiencing right now – as a community, on the Network team, and as a country as the world changes. This is a long note; I thank you for taking the time to read through it when you have a few minutes.
This content was also sent to the brigadeleads listserv. I’ll also be cross-posting in Slack, #brigade-leadership.
Summit Ticket Updates
First, a reminder! I want to make sure you all received information about tickets to this year’s virtual Code for America Summit on May 12-13. Because of the relatively low cost of admission this year, we only have a small number of free tickets available. Please consider filling out this form for yourself or other Brigade members who would otherwise not be able to attend by May 2. We’ll let everyone know by May 3. Note that tickets increase from $50 to $75 on April 30.
…In the world and in our lives
As humans, we are (and have been) experiencing incredible amounts of transition in the last year+. From the way we organize our lives to the relationship we have access to, to the economy to our experience of our external world: it’s been a lot to adjust to and it’s only the beginning as the world begins to open up in new ways. Our individual and collective resiliency is tapped out, and many of us are struggling with the mental, emotional, and physical demands of trauma, change, and transition. As a community please know that we see you, appreciate you, and want to support you. Some of these resources may be helpful. If you’ve found other good resources or tactics that have been helpful for you in navigating these wild times, we’d encourage you to share them in #brigade-leadership. As a community, let’s do what we can to be extra kind and gentle with one another as we build up our collective resilience again.
…Via Network ReVisioning
In many ways, our Network ReVisioning effort is the reflection of the transition that’s ripe for our community and accelerated by the global events of the last year+. For many, this effort to define and reevaluate our purpose, relationships, and resources is long overdue. And for others, it feels new and uncertain. Both perspectives (and everything in between) are real and true. If you and your brigade have not already engaged in this work, the organizing team will be reaching out to you soon for “peer to peer” conversations and other ways to provide feedback on the Brigade Network’s way forward.
…With Network Team Staffing Changes
As you have likely seen from their announcement emails, our team is losing two valuable staff members, Ceci and Veronica, in the matter of a few weeks. Neither were looking to leave, but got recruited by other orgs with amazing offers, because they are brilliant. We’re sad to see each of them go, excited for their new opportunities, and are embracing this moment to reflect and reimagine how the Brigade Team staffs up and supports the incredible work that each of you do in the Brigade Network. It’s also an opportunity to continue to invest in and prioritize the Network team’s culture and structure, which we’re proud to say has one of the highest average tenures at the org and relative to the industry as a whole.
As I’ve been saying lately, there’s always beauty in transition if we chose to open up to it. What will these transitions help grow and create for us as individuals and as a community? I’m excited to find out.
Staffing & Capacity
Network team (particularly the Brigade side of the Network team) capacity will be more limited in the next 1-3 months as we restructure and staff up. In the short-term, we’ve brought on Code for BTV co-captain Irit at ~25 hours / week and she is already stepping up in critical ways. Ceci will also be staying on for ~5 hours per week over the next several weeks to support brigade administrative needs, and Will is returning from his personal leave of absence on Friday, April 30. We’ve also brought on additional paid support from two Brigade Leaders to help staff the ReVisioning effort.
In the longer-term, we’ll be making 2-3 hires on the Network team. Stay tuned as we evaluate what roles we need and work with our hiring team to open up positions.
Changes for Brigade leaders and members to be aware of:
- [Sharing Slack Space](Community Slack Guidelines): While not a significant change, we created some documentation around Slack usage and how to best reach staff, including explicitly naming the channels we will actively monitor. This will be pinned and shared to new Slack users.
- Responsiveness: You can expect that because of our limited capacity, it may take more time for Network team members to get back to you (our usual goal is no later than 2 business days). We encourage you to ask questions in the #brigade channel on Slack, or sending a message to firstname.lastname@example.org as opposed to emailing or sending a message to any Network team members directly, to allow us to better triage requests and share responsibilities of responding to messages.
- Onboarding: Through the summer of 2021, we plan to pause the onboarding process for new Brigades. Given how intensive the onboarding process is on staff, and that we’re in the middle of a ReVisioning process, we identified this as a key opportunity to pause, and then double down with the clarity of the ReVisioning. We are open to your feedback and discussion on this if there are key reasons to continue onboarding.
- Monthly Standups: When Will returns from his leave of absence, he will be evaluating if we should pause our regular monthly project standups/workshops for the foreseeable future. If we do, any Brigade leaders who would like to host regular meetings or coordination spaces will be provided zoom links and other resources that might be helpful in making that happen.
- Programming: Adapting with your input. We anticipate with the ambiguity around in-person opportunities this fall coupled with limited staff capacity in the short-term, National Day of Civic Hacking and Brigade Congress may need to look different than they have in the past. We’ll be working closely with the committees for these two events, the National Advisory Council, and Code for America CxO to determine what looks and feels right this year. If you would like to join the planning committee or have suggestions or input on these two events, please do let us know in the comments or by emailing email@example.com.
- Code of Conduct: Our team often can spend a significant amount of time assisting with Code of Conduct complaints from Brigades. We are committed to creating safe spaces and want to make sure that everyone is aware of the extensive Code of Conduct resources available to you here.
Thank you, so much, for everything you do for your community and our Network. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with your questions or concerns.