The African American Leadership Forum’s (AALF) Collective Impact Task Force includes 12 Black leaders from across Minnesota, each with a unique skillset and community engagement experience. These leaders are chosen via an application and interview process and have spent the past several months utilizing principles of Human-centered Design to create problem statements that help empower the African American community in the Twin Cities around Education, Health & Wellness, Economic Development, and Family & Culture .
We recently reached out to one of our Task Force members to get their insights on what’s happening in the program.
What topics are you currently discussing in the program and how do they relate to your personal community engagement experiences in the Black community?
Hebert: The Task Force has had the opportunity to discuss and reflect on many topics related to my personal engagement experiences, but the topic that sparked my interest the most is: who are we and what should we call ourselves? We discussed identities such as ADOS (American descendants of slavery), descendants of enslaved Africans, African American, etc. Understanding that African Americans are not a monolith and, although we may share some history and culture, the differing ethnicities under the “Black” umbrella are not unified.
Of AALF’s four leadership personas (Ambassador, Builder, Influencer, and Thought Leader), which do you most identify with and why?
I’m definitely an influencer who is minoring in being an Ambassador. The power of influence and gaining buy-in speaks to my leadership persona because I thrive on synergy and helping others discover their area of input.
What have you learned about your leadership style since beginning the program?
Since beginning the program, I have learned that my leadership style is more geared toward helping others find common understanding and language. When you have a group of well-spoken, educated, and passionate people, you can find yourself saying the same thing, but not feeling on the same page. I began to see my role as the person who helps to clear the brush so others can find mutual understanding.
Why is AALF’s Collective Impact work relevant? Is there anything about the program or its structure that you find innovative or a new approach to solving challenges in the African American community?
AALF’s Collective Impact work is relevant on so many levels; from providing a forum for Black professionals to connect, reflect, discuss and solve the issues and challenges impacting our community, to taking that input from theory to practice. The program itself is quite innovative, as many organizations don’t know how to — or aren’t able — effectively engage members of the community and show the value of their participation; AALF was able to do that in six months!
Learn more about the African American Leadership Forum’s (AALF) Collective Impact Task Force.