As a native Detroiter, Alyssa Williams joined the Challenge Detroit because she wanted to learn more about her hometown and to be a part of its revitalization. Learn more about her experience so far and what she is learning about the city.
As the school year picks up, it can be difficult for teachers to find time to connect and, most importantly, unwind. There are assignments to grade, lessons to plan and classes to lead. That is why facilitating social events for local educators is such an important part of our work at Teach 313. Like many professionals, teachers need a place to connect with others in their field, celebrate each others’ work, and have fun.
Headshots are often the first thing people see when researching you or your organization online and, in a sense, they are the logo for your personal brand. It’s easy to think of a headshot as just a photo, yet it can often be a matter of socioeconomic status, capital (social or financial), and confidence.
We are excited to be growing our SCP team! Liza Lucky--a local and national strategy, talent, and equity leader--joins us as our Managing Director. Liza will serve as a senior leader within the organization, charged with continuing to grow and strengthen current talent partnerships, as well as lead SCP’s team internally in creating culture and infrastructure that will see SCP into our next phase as an organization.
Liza has spent over decade working in education as a classroom teacher and leading recruitment strategy nationally. She has led districts to build inclusive environments for students and staff through various equity analyses. Informing and directing strategic direction and continued evaluation of practices, Liza’s work has resulted in more targeted, equitable and goal-driven recruitment practices and organizational strategy. Liza is committed to working alongside communities and organizations to drive towards becoming more efficient, equitable and sustainable.
Join us in welcoming Liza to the SCP team and learn more about her career, passion, and impact here!
Women's History Month may be coming to an end, yet every day SCP lifts up women--because women lift up the world! Today, we lift up phenomenal women in leadership. We had the opportunity to lift up ten powerful, passionate, trailblazing women—we are grateful for their leadership and contributions to our community, and we hope you can join us in celebrating them!
Chanel Hampton, Founder and President of Strategic Community Partners
Dr. Leah van Belle, Director of School Partnerships and Clinical Practice at Wayne State University
Courtney Smith, Executive Director of Detroit Phoenix Center
Jennifer Presley: Director of Community Engagement and Strategic Community Partners
Laura Khalil, Women’s Empowerment Coach and Keynote Speaker
Sandra Ware: President of Avail Concierge Services, Inc.
Jessica Jackson: Managing Director at Strategic Community Partners
Natalie Fotias: Director of Communications at The Skillman Foundation
Bernita Bradley: Advocate, Author, and Orator
Nearly four years ago, Strategic Community Partners (SCP) was founded—with a believe that communities and their every day citizens have the solutions, are the leaders, and deserve passionate, excellent, ethical leadership.
Every day, SCP has the honor and privilege of working in communities that raised our team members, in communities we are passionate about, communities where we live and/or raise our own children. Each day, we partner with organizations furthering education, equity, and justice—by pairing community and cultural context with exemplary strategizing, planning, management, and execution.
It is also critical that we continue to build our team’s capacity, talent, and diverse perspectives—all toward living out our vision and mission as an organization.
We are excited to hire for our next three roles, including a Communications Manager, Executive Assistant to the President, and Manager of Education and Community Initiatives. You can view our job descriptions and deadlines (starting Friday March 22, 2019) here.
If you are interested and fulfill the description for a given role, we hope you apply! If you know someone you believe would be a strong candidate, please share this opportunity with them!
We are only four years in and we have a powerful, exciting road ahead—we are thrilled to continue to grow our SCP team to scale and evolve our collaboration with community and partners, ultimately furthering our collective impact.
-Chanel Hampton, Founder and President
SCP is continuing to grow our team--to grow our collaboration with partners and our impact! We are thrilled to welcome Marcus Sumrall as our Manager of Educator Talent! Marcus brings expertise in talent and recruitment--with a specific lens toward education--as well as social media and communications. He is charged with leading Teach 313’s recruitment and retention efforts to ensure we are making Detroit the best city in America for teachers (and have a robust pool of teachers, decreasing teacher vacancies and attrition)--in partnership with Early Childhood and K-12 leadership and educators working toward this in Detroit each day.
With a passion for education and a strong skillset in communications and relationship-building, Marcus led recruitment efforts for City Year Detroit. Recognizing a strong track record, desire to grow his capacity, and potential to lead on additional fronts, he was promoted to Regional Recruitment Director. In this role, Marcus led recruitment across the region, managed a team of ambassadors, as well as created and executed social media strategy. These efforts contributed to significant growth of brand awareness, engagement, applications, and, ultimately, incoming City Year corps. After the greater part of a decade with City Year, Marcus desired to be more rooted specifically in Detroit, where he lived and was deeply invested--as a professional, community member, husband, and father. He transitioned to Eastside Community Network where he coordinated community relations efforts, including engagement initiatives, events, as well as overall website management and additional creative support. Throughout his career, he has also contributed to community-based and start-up organizations’ talent recruitment, social media, and overall communications infrastructures--including coaching and building capacity of local organizations to sustainably operate these wheelhouses within their respective organizations.
Join us in welcoming Marcus to the SCP team and learn more about his background, expertise, and passion for education and talent here!
I know first hand the importance of a building and creating a strong support system of women on whom I can lean on. Throughout my professional career I have had many women pour into me when I needed it the most. In fact, early in my career I experienced imposter syndrome in a professional role. This fear that I was not enough for my role would at times be all-consuming, but my mentor coached me on how to mediate and overcome this fear. She set me aside, encouraged me, and reminded me that I was not alone. Her continued encouragement has helped me advance in my career. Without the support of other women, I could not have navigated my way through the ups and downs of being in a professional career in today's workforce. Having relationships with strong and intelligent women, who's only motivation is our well-being provides us with a myriad of opportunities to grow--professionally, personally, civically, to name a few. Magic happens when women come alongside one another. We help each other become the best version of ourselves.
Strategic Community Partners understands the importance of women supporting women. That is why we have partnered with Rebel Nell and Coalition on Temporary Shelter (COTS) on Woman 2 Woman, a networking event for women by women. This event on January 31 at Bamboo Detroit, from 11:30am-1:00pm is open to seasoned professional and emerging professional women. Our hope is that we are able to form a network aimed at the professional development of women provided by women. In addition to the networking aspect of the program, we will be hosting a pop-up shop of professional attire for women involved in Coalition on Temporary Shelter (COTS). If you have any clothing you’d like to donate, Donations will be accepted until January 25. Donation drop off at Bamboo Detroit, 1420 Washington Blvd., Detroit, MI 48226.
We look forward to your support and engagement!
As I reflect on our mission-driven work at SCP, it’s undeniable that community engagement is paramount. In my role as Director of Community Engagement, I not only constantly review trends and research strategies focused on Community Engagement, yet I directly engage with those we serve in all we do--as those we serve are our community. I’ve found that community engagement can be operationalized in many ways--from feedback to community events--but the important role it plays in decision-making and strategy is consistent.
If you intend to successfully work with and in the community, it is important that you engage the community. This engagement will directly affect the longevity of your business or organization.
I firmly believe that community engagement inspires human connection across diverse groups of people, this is why it is my passion. Community engagement allows folks to come together because of a shared interest and for the common good.
In my first two months at Strategic Community Partners (SCP), I have seen first-hand, the importance of community engagement and why it matters to our mission-driven work.
On November 9, we partnered with United Way of Southeastern Michigan and over 75 other community organizations and stakeholders to host over 1,500 high school freshmen from Detroit Public Schools Community District at Ford Field for the second annual 2018 Find Your Future: Career and Exploration Fair. Every aspect of this event was designed by engaging the community--from discussions with our partners, facilitators, volunteers, and most importantly, our students. This event brought together people from many different backgrounds; working alongside one another for a common goal: The future of high school freshmen. This event is one example of how our community comes together to further the interest of Detroit youth in diverse career pathways, college attendance, and engagement with resources that support them along their journey.
While the Find Your Future Career Exploration Fair was incredible and impactful, it is not the only project wherein I’ve witnessed the power of community engagement. That said, I offer a few tips to put community engagement at the forefront:
There must be a strategy in place to help guide the efforts to engage a community.
Don’t define your goals before you engage! People want to feel a part of the process and projects that affect their communities.
It is important to embed community in all of your operations, you can’t silo the work--it has to be a part of everyone’s role. Create your strategic plans with the community at the center—this will produce better outcomes.
Ultimately, community engagement helps all people in our communities. It helps us to share, to listen and to understand one another; and at the end of the day, people want to be heard, understood, and supported. This is foundational to community engagement. And this is the heart of our work at Strategic Community Partners.
While visiting partners in Washington D.C., I was struck by a critique of cultural competence. Robert Simmons, Chief Executive Officer at Maya Angelou Schools/See Forever Foundation and long time partner of Strategic Community Partners, critiqued professional development aimed to build cultural competence as insufficient. He asserted that training and development needs to be aimed toward equity. Robert suggested that training should start at equity literacy and not cultural competence.
As an educator and lifelong learner, I was fascinated by the use of a literacy model to guide professional development around diversity and equity. I reflected on the ways that capacity building intersected with equity and questioned How. I began researching the work on Equity Literacy by Ed Change to determine the scaffolding necessary to develop equity literacy. As I researched this model and the four abilities of equity literacy (the ability to Recognize, Respond to, and to Redress biases and inequities, and the ability to Sustain equity efforts), I couldn’t help but wonder, How can one inspire educators and leaders to develop and practice equity literacy?
As I grappled with this question, I remembered a leadership training hosted by Black Family Development, Inc. that I had previously attended. This training on Restorative Practices shared the fundamental unifying hypothesis of Restorative Practices per the International Institute for Restorative Practices. This hypothesis, that “human beings are happier, more cooperative and productive, and more likely to make positive changes in their behavior when those in positions of authority do things with them, rather than to them or for them” aligns to the work required in equity literacy development.
Restorative practices offer both practical applications and a theoretical paradigm to build relationships, forge community, and restore harm. The underpinnings of Restorative Practices are helping me to answer the question of “how”. Restorative Practices teach that we all have value and should all be treated fairly, that human relationships are best when there is free expression of affect or emotion, and that there are healthy processes we can implement to respond to conflict. And I believe that if one can leverage Restorative Practices as tools with leaders and educators, one can inspire them to develop and practice equity literacy.
Ofelia Martinez, a Community Organizer with the Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation, who attended Restorative Practices Training with me, shared that Restorative Practices do advance equity work stating that “It [Restorative Practices] clears the tension with people and their goals are more meaningful and actually can complete them, it gives the person motivation to actually DO the work.”
However, I know Restorative Practices are only a piece of the puzzle to advance equity in an organization. What are other resources have you used in your organizations to advance equity? Share your thoughts!
SCP is growing our team to continue to grow our partnerships and impact! We are excited to welcome our first Director of Community Engagement—Jennifer Presley! Jennifer joins us with a wealth of knowledge and expertise in events, community engagement, strategic planning, and public-private partnerships. She is charged with continuing to grow and strengthen our community-driven events locally and nationally with an eye toward public-private partnerships to collaboratively sustain the work of powerful communities.
Jennifer Presley has experience in both the private and public sector. Most notably working in Community Affairs and Special Events with the Detroit Tigers, she desired to more directly work with, in, and for communities. Taking an array of strategic planning, community engagement, and data-driven decision-making skillsets, Jennifer joined Focus: HOPE’s team to serve as the organization’s first leader of Event and Cause Marketing. In this role over the years, Jennifer created and launched several signature events and led other existing programming. With a keen eye on inclusive community engagement and collaboration, Jennifer re-introduced specific populations to Focus: HOPE, such as the Young Professionals Committee that is now integral to engagement and key efforts for the organization. She also established several public-private partnerships for the organization. Jennifer’s expertise in strategic, inclusive, and innovative events are necessary and critical in community work--providing the lens and capacity organizations need to live out their missions to the fullest extent.
Join us in welcoming Jennifer to the SCP team and learn more about her background, expertise, and passion for mission-driven work here!
As a child, I was enamored by the architecture of the Renaissance Center. It was industrial and modern and didn’t quite fit into the archetype that was the Detroit Art Deco Skyscraper. Still it was beautiful in its own regard and without it our skyline would be incomplete. I suppose it was a symbol for how I felt in Detroit--always looking for something new, but also feeling radically connected to the Detroit ethos.
In my adult life, this connection has become even more ubiquitous--a connection inherent in my work, social life and most notably in my personal assets. Assets which include my hustle, passion, and resilience. Assets which not only stem from my upbringing in Detroit, but have been reflected in the mission-driven work I’ve engaged in throughout my career and especially since my homecoming this June.
When I returned home this summer, I jumped head first into the launch of SMASHxWayneState. As the Residential Director, I led a team on the development of a residential curriculum that fostered social awareness, civic engagement, and critical thinking to encourage the next generation of Detroit youth to reach their full potential and achieve their dreams in STEM. Though my hustle shined all summer, the hustle of our Detroit youth was unmatched. From networking with key stakeholders, to developing business plans, these scholars spent 5-weeks of their summer working their tails off--by choice. It is this hustle that has become synonymous with Detroit, and this hustle that informs the Detroit Renaissance.
Hustle however, would be static without passion--and Detroit has no shortage of passion. Just this week, in my new role as the Managing Director of Strategic Community Partners, I connected with partners from The Skillman Foundation, Black Family Development, Inc., Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation, CeaseFire, and the Detroit Crime Commission
and was moved to tears by the immense passion for and dedication to black and brown youth in Detroit. But this passion is not unique to this collective. Since coming home, I’ve been reminded of my roots, have felt more connected to work, and witnessed a deep sense of ownership and commitment to the Detroit (my) community. This passion, I imagine, is the same passion that ran through Berry Gordy’s veins when he established Motown records, and it is the same passion that fuels the Detroit resurgence.
While I have had amazing experiences since returning home and throughout my career, it wasn't always easy. I grew up in a single parent household and relied on public assistance for survival. As a child, this didn't feel like a badge of honor--but rather a burden. However, it is this same experience that has helped me persist in the face of struggle today. And it is this ability to overcome that is the quintessential Detroit. A characteristic that I see manifested daily through our Detroit educators. As I sit in conversations about Teach313--a movement to make Detroit the best city in America for teachers--I am filled with pride that I was educated in Detroit Schools, and that my legacy is the result of some of the most resilient role models in the world.
My homecoming is a testament to the Detroit renaissance--there are places and spaces that are new and unfamiliar, but the ethos of Detroit remains unscathed. Detroit’s current renaissance does not diminish the hustle, passion and resilience that has always been here, and I am incredibly excited for the opportunity to rejoin the Detroit Renaissance with SCP and our community partners and to continue to share and claim these Detroit-native assets.
We are thrilled to welcome our first Managing Director—Jessica Jackson! Jessica will be joining us as a senior leader with the organization, charged with continuing to grow and strengthen our strategic efforts and forward-thinking collaboration with partners locally and nationally.
Jessica Jackson has worked within a myriad of educational contexts addressing access, retention, and success of diverse students. Her passion for diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the core of her work; and she has been recognized at the international level for her advocacy and strategic program development. Her expertise in strategic planning, assessment, and program development coupled with her dynamic facilitation and training skills, enable her to create sustainable impact within organizations.
Join us in welcoming Jessica to the SCP team and learn more about her robust career, passion, and impact here!
Over the past three years, Strategic Community Partners has collaborated with our partners to propel forward powerful missions. Two years ago, Alaina Dague joined our team as a consultant. For the past year, Alaina has served as our Manager of Partnerships and has helped us scale and evolve our work.
At SCP, our commitment to education, equity, and justice isn’t just “work,” it is personal. Alaina began her career as a teacher and, this fall, will be returning to the classroom to teach again! “My commitment to education is part of what compelled me to join the Strategic Community Partners team full-time--I deeply believe in the work we do and our commitment to education, equity, and justice.”
While we are beyond thrilled for another great teacher to return to the classroom, it’s also bittersweet. “The mission and work of SCP continues to resonate with me and I will certainly miss working with the team and our partners.” Alaina is part of the SCP family--and our partners love her. She will still be a close friend of SCP and even continue to engage and support from time-to-time, yet for now--we are ecstatic to see her return to the classroom!
Please join us in celebrating Alaina--her work has impacted thousands of students, parents, community members, and beyond across Detroit, DC, and nationally!
Strategic Community Partners was born with a vision of catering to mission-driven clientele through partnering strategy with community and cultural context. As the national demand for our work has grown, our team has reflected on the quality and strength of all of our innovative partners and leaders that have been collaborated with us along the way! Our #CommunityLeaders initiative is a space created within social media, uplifting influencers of change, as well as encouraging more meaningful dialogue across social media channels.