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Dispatch from #ForumCon23: My People

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

This is a guest post by Eliane Walters, Program and Systems Manager at Philanthropy Colorado.

Earlier this summer I had the opportunity to attend the 2023 United Philanthropy Forum Conference in New York. This was the second Forum conference I’ve attended in my three years of working within the sector. What most excited me was the chance to network with my peers from the Knowledge Management community and see the various panelists scheduled to speak.

During the Membership peer sessions, we discussed each other’s organizational procedures and policies which engage and maintain our community. I spoke with Hana Watkins (Director of Membership) from Council on Foundations, who shared a wealth of knowledge with our group. Being able to connect with every level of sector professionals was extremely valuable to my work in the Colorado community. These moments of sharing build deep connections within our sector and re-ignite the passions that drew us to this work.

I attended the Reimaging Equitable Access to Data, Tools, and Services session where members from Forefront, Candid, and the East Bay Community Foundation spoke on equitable methods in the sector and how to lead by example. As a data management professional, it was empowering to learn more about the best practices to remove barriers and create a more equitable sector.

Seeing many of my Knowledge Management peers at the networking breakfast was very fulfilling. Although I meet with these folks on Zoom every other week, connecting face to face was even more meaningful. This group is full of users of varying experiences, all of whom struggle from time to time with the multitude of technologies we use in this field. The Knowledge Management group maintains a space of open communication where we can lean on each other. I could not do this work without them, and it meant the world to me to express my gratitude in person.
My experience at this year’s conference was incredible (and well worth the trip to Times Square). Between the thoughtfully curated content, the phenomenal speakers and powerful community leaders, and the peer networking opportunities, I found myself feeling at home among “my people”. I want to say thank you to the Forum staff for cultivating this experience that brought us all together. I am truly looking forward to next year’s conference.

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