As we begin 2022, and continue to face an out of control pandemic, we are excited to announce a new chapter of leadership at Center for Health Progress. We have made significant gains in our priority to disrupt hierarchy--moving towards shared and distributed power across the organization. Over the past year, we began to put our new 2021-2024 Strategic Framework into action in meaningful ways.
Grassroots Core Leaders Driving Change
Our top priority was to build a powerful base of community leaders who drive our work. We feel that it's essential that our community leaders see themselves as owners of our organization. After many years of transition and evolution, in 2021, we realized our goal of becoming a power building organization.
To us, power building is how we organize ourselves and our communities to grow a large base of people who act together to set, win, and govern an agenda. In 2022, we are ready to advance a bill that would provide health coverage options for kids and pregnant people in Colorado without documentation. And we're moving this policy in a way that is changing the game in Colorado health care politics. Our grassroots core leaders, who are all directly impacted by lack of coverage—sometimes due to unaffordable options, mixed immigration status within families, fear of being tracked in the system, or challenges navigating enrollment—are at the forefront of decision making and strategy.
Shared Leadership in 2022
We've committed to “trying on” ways to flatten our organizational structure at the staff and Board levels. For instance, late last year, we created "Co-Chair" roles and a new Equity Officer position at the Board-level. The two of us are thrilled to have been voted the first Board Co-Chairs at our December meeting.
Beginning January 1, 2022, we also began a 1-year trial of a co-leadership model for staff, with Theresa, Dana, and Joe serving as Center for Health Progress’s very first Co-Executive Directors. We are advancing this model because we want to disrupt the status quo of non-profit leadership. The Board is grateful for Theresa, Dana, and Joe’s willingness to explore this model.
We believe the traditional Executive Director model is toxic, unsustainable, and designed to intentionally concentrate power. Therefore, we need to adapt the power structure to create resiliency in our senior leadership positions. A Co-Executive Director model will promote strong collaborative leadership and deepen the leadership expertise within our organization. Additionally, we feel it will support our senior leadership in maintaining their commitment to this movement.
Exponentially Better Results
We’re inspired by other organizations that have embraced shared leadership, and we are energized by their reflections and takeaways. They emphasize that the results are exponentially better. Our research has affirmed that the values and practices we’ve been cultivating for years–including racial equity, mutual trust, accountability, and transparency–position us for success.
This is just the beginning of a deeper revision of our organizational structures. A Co-Chair Board model and Co-Executive Director model only disrupts hierarchy at the top of the organizational structure.
These first steps are the bare minimum of what our organizational redesign process could look like in 2022. We believe this will help us imagine other new possibilities, and we can’t wait to share more about our shifts, as they unfold in real time. Thank you for your continued support of our work and vision for a better future, both inside our organization and in our communities.