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"Connect" is CAN's internal newsletter for staff, interns, volunteers, board members, and anyone else who would like to receive bi-weekly updates regarding highlights, announcements, and ongoing training/professional development updates. Welcome and join us in our virtual community-building endeavor!

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How We Lead

Updated: Feb 1, 2021

"A leader is anyone who takes responsibility for recognizing the potential in people and ideas, and has the courage to develop that potential." --Brené Brown, Dare to Lead

At Community Action Network, we strive to work together to pave a way to a life with more equal access to opportunity for all. We are a team, collaborating with one another to lift each other up -- co-workers, volunteers, clients, interns -- anyone who comes through our doors should feel welcome and know our centers are a space for restoration and growth.

However, cultivating this space doesn't happen overnight and we have so many different players coming in and out of our doors, this work has to be a daily practice starting with us.

In the following section, I will be drawing directly from this source because I think this information from Brené Brown's "Dare to Lead" is broken down in a very useful and understandable format. Thank you in advance to the incredible work done by Brené Brown and Dave Romero from Unboxed for making it possible for us to share out how we can aim to be great leaders.


How do we become effective and meaningful leaders according to Brown's research?

Rumble with Vulnerability --

Brown writes, “If we want to people to fully show up, to bring their whole selves including their unarmored, whole hearts – so that we can innovate, solve problems, and serve people – we have to be vigilant about creating a culture in which people feel safe, seen, heard, and respected.”

Romero continues, "Google’s five-year study on highly productive teams found that psychological safety – team members feeling safe to take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other – was “far and away the most important of the five dynamics that set successful teams apart.”

So, how do we train our leaders to create these kinds of environments? We need to train leaders on listening, honesty, and keeping confidence with a heavy emphasis on emotional intelligence."

We might all have different comfort levels with the amount of vulnerability we are willing to bring to the work table, and this is okay. It takes time to build a foundation of trust to create a space in which someone is comfortable with saying that they are not comfortable.

This is why it is especially important that we also...

Live Into Our Values -- Romero writes, "It’s not enough for organizations and leaders to just identify values, we have to teach people the skills they need to demonstrate them. I think Brown explains it best when she says, 'The reason why we roll our eyes when people start talking about values is that everyone talks a big values game but very few people actually practice one.'

And the proof is in the pudding, according to Brown, 'Only about 10 percent of organizations have operationalized their values into teachable and observable behaviors that are used to train their employees and hold them accountable.'"

In other words, we can't encourage each other to be effective leaders if we haven't defined what successful leadership looks like!

And frankly, CAN has not done a great job of clearly defining our Core Values, which is why we are doing so now. You can be a part of the construction by completing this survey:

Braving Trust -- Brown breaks down what what trust looks like into seven elements to make sure we know exactly what she means and to help us be clear with one another about what we mean when we talk about trusting one another:

  1. Boundaries: You respect my boundaries, and when you’re not clear about what’s okay and not okay, you ask.

  2. Reliability: You do what you say you’ll do.

  3. Accountability: You own your mistakes, apologize, and make amends.

  4. Vault: You don’t share information or experiences that are not yours to share.

  5. Integrity: You choose courage over comfort.

  6. Nonjudgement: We can talk about how we feel and ask for help without judgment.

  7. Generosity: You extend the most generous interpretation possible to the intentions, words, and actions of others.

Learning to Rise -- Daring leaders need to be resilient. Brown says, “We can’t expect people to be brave and risk failure if they’re not prepped for hard landings.”

She calls this process "Learning to Rise":

  • The Reckoning: Knowing that we’re emotionally hooked and then getting curious about it.

  • The Rumble: Acknowledging the stories (often untrue and based on our fears and insecurities) we tell ourselves to make meaning of hard situations.

  • The Revolution: Taking off the armor and rumbling with vulnerability, living into our values, braving trust with open hearts, and learning to rise so we re-claim authorship of our own stories and lives is the revolution.


If you liked this outline, then I recommend "Dare to Lead" by Brené Brown in addition to her other leadership materials on her Dare to Lead Hub:

You are doing great, CAN Crew. Your lights are just shining so bright right now and we are so grateful for you!



Welcome back to a new semester at CAN to our returning staff and interns and welcome aboard to our new team members! We are so excited to collaborate with you in 2021.



  • CAN staff, interns, and a few qualifying volunteers are now eligible to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine since CAN has been approved as a 1B provider. Derrick sent an email out to qualifying listservs with more details. Please contact your supervisor if you have any questions or if you think you qualify but did not receive the initial email.

  • CAN is open on President's Day (February 15), so please plan accordingly! You can find CAN's official holidays & other news on our Google Calendar.

  • January 29 at 2pm is our "All Staff Fun Day"! Because many of us are working virtually, this is an opportunity for us to better get to know each other. This will take the place of our All Staff Meeting, but please still attend as you would an all staff meeting.


Tips & Tidbits

Volunteer Shift Sign-Up Calendar

We've just published the new Volunteer Shift Sign-Up Calendar for volunteers to put their own names on the program attendance list to help program directors and teams know who is coming to volunteer at their programs (which is/was currently all being manually coordinated by our fabulous Director of Volunteers). This is a very new tool so there will be a definite learning curve, but we are excited about this new feature!

Due to COVID, we currently only have the Bryant Market Volunteer shifts available for our trial run with this new tool, but eventually, we hope to add all of our programs that volunteers can sign up to join.

What can you do with this knowledge? Let your volunteers know this exists! Encourage volunteers to use this tool to sign up for shifts and familiarize yourself with this tool so you can help walk them through it if they need a little nudge or guidance.

Head to CAN Academy to check it out!


How do I become a CAN Academy Member to comment on these posts?

  1. Click the little profile icon in the upper right hand corner of the website header

  2. Sign Up with your email and create a password

  3. Your request will be approved and you can go into your CAN Academy profile to update the information

  4. Make your profile "public" so you can add comments below


Thanks for reading! If you have any questions or comments (or highlights, announcements, etc.), please email Katie at

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