10.17.2017

2019 Power Up Youth Leadership Conference is ON!!


Great news, peeps! The uber amazing Power Up: A Leadership Conference for Youth Managers and Staff will be back. Mark your calendars for March 28-29, 2019 and join us at the beautiful Pyle Conference Center right on the UW-Madison campus for all things youth library staff and leadership.


Watch for requests for conference proposals to be out in early 2018 and registration to open in early fall 2018!

10.13.2017

Happy 10th Birthday to Tiny Tips!


Happy 10th birthday to the blog. It's always a surprise to think it's been around, albeit vaguely lately, for such a long time. It has connected me to you, and for that I am forever grateful.

During all those years, I've been so excited to see the growth of blogs about creating innovative youth services join in the conversation.

Again this year, I can't promise more regular posting but like a comfortable old pair of shoes, I think Tiny Tips has a few miles left to go yet!

Thanks, dear readers, for your support!

10.10.2017

1000 Books Before K Resuscitation


After reading Jenni's recent post at From the Biblio Files on re-launching her library's 1000 Books B4 K program, it got me thinking - what are keys to continuing success in a long-term program? How can we keep it fresh?

From my observations and listening on my consulting travels and in my CE teaching, I have gathered a few clues particularly about 1000 Books programs.

Do Ongoing Promotion 
Long-term programs need far more continual marketing.
- Work through schools, preschools and child care centers to get the word out at parent nights, through newsletters, at preschool and kindergarten screenings and registration, in pediatric clinics at baby "showers" or preschool fairs and celebrations.
- Present at service organizations to keep the word circulating in the community.
- Meet with your United Way, Literacy and Reading councils, communities of practice and any other professional organization and promote the benefits of parents and kids reading together and library use.
- Do annual press releases and send annual short-reports to your elected officials, board and to your library networks.

Do Specific Active Programs to Support This Passive Program
- Hold annual "graduation" parties for participants.
-Open the library before or after hours for 30 minutes and invite parents and kids to spend time reading together. Consider serving a snack, having a costume character come by or another short activity to get them excited.
-Hold an annual celebration with a performer or concert to celebrate the number of total books read and visits made to the library (every 100 level sheet bookmark equals 100 books and one visit to the library). Before you know it, you have some powerful stats to share!)

Don't Let the Materials Get Tired
Jenni hits the nail on the head with her changes. Restructure your theme; restructure your 100 level sheets to make them easier; restructure your incentives. A good hard look can suggest ways to make the program less cumbersome and more inviting.

Change Your Visuals
Consider updating your wall or door display that charts kids' progress. Make it bright and interactive like Knutson (Coon Valley WI) Memorial Library. They purchased pre-made material and added little kid craft stick people that kids could move up the chart. A little play literacy goes a long way!


Don't stay stuck on your theme. La Crosse Public Library changed from flowers to trucks for their wall progress chart and use zoomed up again!
Change out your poster and handout designs often. When people see the same thing repeatedly, they stop "seeing" it.

What are YOUR go-to methods to keep your long-standing programs fresh?

Note: For more information on 1000 Books programs , research to use, how to set them up, where they started, etc, stop here.



          

10.04.2017

ALL.THE.THINGS.AGAIN.


I have been fortunate over the past few years to be able to morph from FT children's librarian/manager to retiree to consultant and educator. I really meant to just do a little of this and that after retirement but found my ability to say no has apparently deserted me.

This fall my yes's led to my second year of YS consulting for the 28 member library Southwest (WI) Library system; commuting to UW-Madison iSchool to teach the on-campus grad class on Public Library Youth Services; an 8 week CE class on the basics of youth services and a brand new, albeit temporary, gig as YS consultant for my old home system, the 32 member Winding Rivers Library System, while they search for a full-time replacement for the former consultant. I added to that attendance and presenting at the MN, WI and WA state library conferences, a stray webinar or two. Jeez.

All that was planned and booked long before what became an emotionally wrenching summer that made preparing much of anything impossible from May-August. So understandably I hit September and all the commitments for the next few months feeling like this:


The good news, though, is that all the project management skills and comfort and meditation skills I learned over the years helped calm the madness, get some clarity on planning and prioritizing, do some comforting and heart-self-healing and made it possible to enter fall feeling like things weren't spiraling out of control. I am filling up my time with things I love: family, friends, teaching, consulting and spending time outdoors.

Which brings me to one of the things that I love the most and makes me feel the most hopeful, the most excited, the most astounded and the most thankful that I get to be part of this great big thing called librarianship....road trips to libraries!!

My new four month consulting job requires me to travel to all 32 libraries (plus 7 branches) before Dec. 31. This means I get to travel to a wide range of libraries, primarily in small and rural communities, and talk to a wide range of staffers who work with children and teens. I get to hear how they run their library good. I also get to put my head together with theirs to listen to and talk out problems and issues and sing their praises. It's pretty sweet.

Today was the first day of many library trips. It was crispy cool, sunny and bright, and I traveled up and down the hills and valleys of the driftless region drinking in the views of fall colors, farms, vistas, small towns, rivers and at the end of each leg of the journey a warm welcome from library colleagues and a chance to dig into the guts of librarianship. I think that makes a perfect day.

As busy or as hard as life gets, it's this stuff that keeps me going. And I can't wait for the next stop.

8.24.2017

Registration Discount for Youth Services 101 Course


August 27 is the registration deadline for a 10% early bird discount for the YS 101 continuing education course I am teaching for UW-Madison iSchool.

The 8-week course starts Sept 11.

It's a "basics" course perfect for library para-pros, volunteers, directors who want to know more about the ins and outs of administering youth services staff, staff at small libraries who do ALL.THE.THINGS. and anyone who wants to get an overall view of youth services. This post has a few more details.

Please feel free to share the info. And see you all in school this fall!

8.11.2017

Mission to Mentor



ALSC is looking for mentors. Can you help?

Lots of us mentor colleagues and peers everyday. We share and learn from people in the library to people in neighboring libraries and systems to state association colleagues to our networks on social media (Twitter, Facebook blogs) to our cohort from school or workshops or learning opportunities.

People who are mentored have a leg up in dealing with the picayune and the profound.

People who mentor are willing to share their thoughts and networks to help peers - and gain more knowledge and skills from their proteges.

What does it take to be a mentor?  A desire to share and support; encourage and listen; learn and explore.  We can all be mentors.

You don't have to be a decades-long employed librarian to be a mentor.

You don't have to know ALL.THE.THINGS. to be a mentor.

You don't have to have started a thing or achieved a thing or be involved in a thing to be a mentor.

As Nina Lindsay, ALSC President writes,  "Mentors need not be experts. A good mentor has experience, a grounding in standards and trends, a willingness to share and an eagerness to learn.  I have found mentoring to be much more rewarding than I ever anticipated, and I have learned much from my mentees."

If you would like to be a mentor, please consider stepping up to be one for ALSC. Over 30 people have applied to have a mentor - and there is still a need for mentors to match them with. You can apply by Sept 1 to be a mentor (more details and application here)

Youth services folks are effective because of our networking and support of each other. This is an opportunity to make a difference. Hope you will!


6.29.2017

Back to School!


I'm excited to be teaching a fall online UW-Madison SLIS/iSchool CE class that has been a long-time dream - Youth Services 101. It's an eight weeks "basics" course perfect for library para-pros, volunteers, directors who want to know more about the ins and outs of administering youth services staff, staff at small libraries who do ALL.THE.THINGS. and anyone who wants to get an overall view of youth services.

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From the beginnings of youth services through looking at future trends, we'll examine the how's and why's that make youth services great. Topics include: child development info; programming mightiness; collection development skill-building; planning and visioning; advocacy; partnerships and communities of practice, success with difficult patrons; and creating kid-friendly environments. No textbooks needed for this wild ride into the guts of great youth librarian-ing!

Registration is now open (with a 10% discount if registered by August 27).

And if you've got the basics down, don't forget to check out the other great library and youth courses
Fostering Inclusivity; Creating Top Notch Customer Services; Programming for Tweens; The Disability Community in Your Library; and Creating a Coding Club at the Library.

A huge thanks to the University of Wisconsin Madison SLIS/iSchool CE department for supporting great CE for library staff at all levels and in all types of libraries!

Come on! Let's learn together!!

5.22.2017

Saying Yes

In our Youth Services Section of the Wisconsin Library Association, the board is currently reaching out to association youth folks to consider running for board positions (vice-president elect and directors).

Some folks contacted say yes; some say no - or indicate they are no longer members.

I want to send out a call for all of us to consider putting in some time and support for our state (and national) library associations both as dues-paying members and as active participants.

I will say here to you what I have said personally to countless colleagues around our state to encourage them to step up and out into association membership and work.

As youth librarians, library associations need our voice.

As youth librarians, they need our leadership.

As youth librarians, they need our advocacy skills.

As youth librarians, they need our innovative ideas and flexibility.

As youth librarians, they need our compassion and our passion.

As youth librarians, they need our skill sets.

And what do we receive in turn from these associations?  Among many positives, I would include the opportunity to:

  • strengthen our leadership skills
  • grow our network of peers from outside the "youth services silo" to include colleague from all library types, ages and persuasions
  • effect change by plunging our hands into the guts of an organization
  • be organized for legislative action to protect library access, IF and our core mission and values
  • find common ground and lifelong collaborative partners and friends
What other more intangible benefits accrue with association membership?

As a hiring manager, those candidates (MLIS or not) who were association members always went to the top of the "resumes-considered" stack. Their membership told me they were open to a larger view of librarianship, valued networks and a willingness to pitch in on behalf of the profession rather than just their own interests.

Plus active association membership (working on committees, boards, conferences) offers a pathway to leadership that makes the leap into management easier. Again hiring managers recognize that the candidate brings more than just experience at their day job to the table.

Association members have a network of peers IRL and in real time to tap and don't just rely on co-workers for all their support. This "long-form" peer mentorship of people is invaluable.

Please, when you get the call, say yes and stand up for your association and great libraries in your state. You will have the support and fun of working with other young, mid-career and veteran leaders and a chance to help support libraries in more than just your community. 

And you will not be alone. Your association peers and mentors will help you every step of the way (and if they don't, YOU will become the peer and mentor to lift those who come behind you up to successful leadership).



4.27.2017

It's Not "Just the Facts, Ma'am" - Celebrating Info Books


In a word of alternative facts, our information books (aka non-fiction; factual books) should be front and center in our celebration of literacy and reading with our kids. After last year on the Sibert committee, reading and being delighted by so much great NF, I'd be remiss not to encourage everyone to leave behind the bland series nonfiction books and dive into and purchase the great info books being published. Below are some tips I'm sharing on the road this week (the slide deck is linked at the end). A big thanks to the Great Brian at PUBYAC for their willingness to share their ideas. You all rock!

SELECTION TIPS
Major review journals, publishers catalogs, hands-on book looking are all ways to identify the amazing fact books coming out. If you have a small budget, wait for the end of the year "Best of" lists, CCBC Choices, and the award winners like ALSC's Sibert Award, the YALSA Excellence in NonFiction Award and the NCTE Orbis Pictus Award. Don't forget to check awards like Coretta Scott King, Pura Belpre, South Asia Book Awards, American Indian Children's Book Award and Americas Award to find more quality informational books.

WEEDING TIPS
Definitely weed but don't use the "informational books with a copyright older than five years should be tossed" rule - or mis-rule as the case may be. Quality children's information books are made to last. If you have a copy of Franklyn Branley's 1987 gem The Moon Seems to Change  or the D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths or Jean Fritz's Homecoming, you're still good to go. The information, the writing and the clarity are still as good as when these books were first published. Be selective in what you weed to make sure that you keep an interesting, eye-catching and browsable collection. By all means weed out material that is out of date - but do it book by book.

"FREE THE CATALOGING" TIPS
Dewey doesn't really do it for kids. If you can, consider combining kids information and fiction picture books together. Or if that's too radical, simplify Cutters to first letter of author's last name only. Or back to radical, consider truncating Dewey numbers and doing a little creative cuttering. Football can go from 796.332 to 796 F (for football!) or Wisconsin and Minnesota could change from 977.5 and 977.6 to 977 WI and 977 MN!

CREATIVE PLACEMENT
Consider putting poetry books with their subject area rather than hidden in 811. Who doesn't want a cat poetry book with their Abyssinian book? Ashley Bryan's new Freedom Over Me and Carol Boston Weatherford's Freedom in Congo Square would be amazing with other informational books on slavery in Amercan history. Why not put author biographies by their books. Melissa Sweet's Some Writer would be right at home by E.B. White's fiction. Consider breaking out easy NF or quality series NF (Let's Read and Find Out; Gail Gibbons; Scientists at Work; etc) into permanent display shelving to highlight them for kids

READER'S ADVISORY TIPS
Don't be fiction-centric. Check with children about their interests and lead them over to those info books! Include information books in outreach collections and booktalks; in SLP book prizes or 1000 Books Before K book selections. Make sure these are your best quality books in high interest areas and kids will flock to them.

PROGRAMMING AND INFORMATION BOOKS
Include info books in storytimes and programs. In information-based, STEM and STEAM programs, the possibilities are endless in highlighting non-fiction. Passive programs that bring NF to the fore (scavenger hunts, pick-a-stick with NF numbers etc) are great ways to high;ight your robust info book collections.

DISPLAY TIPS
More face-out and shelf top shelving
Try bundling 3-4 info books together on a similar subject with a rubber band
Do "Mystery Reads" or Blind Dates with a Book" and be sure to include NF
Make sure info books are part of all displays
Do create info book only displays, changing them out monthly or even weekly ("Fact of the Week")
Use social media or podcasting to do quick promotions of new cool info books
Tie in your info books to media trends (Pokemon characters can have books about their special interest - singing, electricity, fire - near their pictures).

Stop here to see the slidedeck with more pix and tips! And let me know YOUR tips and tricks to make your information book collection mighty!



4.03.2017

How Did You Get to Leadership?

The ALSC Emerging Leaders team is asking youth folks to fill in a brief survey to help them in studying the potential for new pathways to library leadership for youth and school librarians. Leadership for the survey is defined as the career roles of manager, director, supervisor, etc. The results of this along with other related research will be released in June by this busy team.

It's always interesting to reflect on how we get to the path we are on. While leadership can mean direct supervision of others, I have always found that too narrow a definition. In the halcyon days of my non-management early career, I channeled my leadership potential into getting active in professional associations (regional, state, and national). Those opportunities afforded me a powerful path not only to leadership but to a strong peer and mentor network that still sustains and supports me (and pulls me up short when I gallop off in a bizarre direction!).

One question that I enjoyed thinking about in the survey is whether, at this time, I had achieved the leadership/management position I wanted.

I was totally, YES!!  I now work as a part-time consultant and part-time educator, teaching both CE and grad courses for UW-Madison SLIS...all after retiring from an exciting, inventive, sometimes challenging full-time career as a front-line children's librarian/manager.

In my young-itude I dreamed off having a great career with kids and staff. Check!

I also dreamed working with others to make a difference in children's librarianship and my communities. Check!

As I got older, I dreamed of being a consultant and mentor - supporting and helping other libraries and getting the great gift of being able to learn in return. Check!

In my secret heart of hearts, I dreamed of teaching at a university grad level. I developed workshops, webinars and presentations but never believed I could have that opportunity - until the stars aligned and I thought of a CE course and pitched it. That first CE course birthed others and resulted in teaching at the graduate level in SLIS. Check!

It occurred to me that all those dreams were ones I actively turned my path towards and acted on. So what I dreamed and visioned came true - in small part because I walked a path towards them and in large part because I was supported and nurtured along the leadership paths by organizations and colleagues who believed in me.

Lots of people believe in YOU too! What paths will your leadership take? I can hardly wait to find out!


4.02.2017

And the First Ever Power Up Conference is a Wrap!



via GIPHY

Yep, that's how I feel about it! What a debut for a national conference addressing youth library leadership and management issues! From it's humble "Let's do this" in the summer of 2015 to its hatch last week, it was a magical process and result. As consultant to the conference I had an inside view and high hopes.

The aim was to have a national conference to support those both in - and aspiring to - library management/leadership. It was to have a conference with content given by and helpful to attendees and presenters from all sizes of libraries; a conference that would take us beyond "Library 101" sessions to content that stretched out all who came; and a conference that would appeal not just to in-state folks but to library staff across the country.

Thanks to our amazing UW-Madison SLIS CE conference leader Meredith Lowe for guiding and coordinating this conference every step of the way. She was the might behind the well-planned and executed event. And mighty as well - powering through despite being sick at the conference itself.

Thanks to our main speakers, Gretchen Caserotti and Deborah Taylor, who set the tone and inspired us throughout the conference. Thanks also go to the many speakers from all library sizes, from all age/experience groups and from teen and children's backgrounds who created sessions that rocked our socks off: Elizabeth McChesney, Bryan Wunar, Amy Commers, Lora Siebert, Leah Langby, Alea Perez, Katie Kiekhafer, Jenni Francham, Sharon Grover, K.T. Horning, Allison Tran, Jennifer Weeks, Amy Koester, Alicia Woodland, Krista Riggs, Shawn Brommer, Kevin King, Renee Wallace, Kelsey Johnson-Kaiser, Brooke Newberry, Lara Lakari, Erin Shaw, Lori Romero, Kristen Bodine, Mel Depper, Claudia Haines and Darrell Robertson. 

Thanks to the CCBC who hosted a delightful reception on Thursday evening so attendees could explore the legendary CCBC book examination center, chat and enjoy nibbles.

Thanks to UW-Madison SLIS who, in celebration of the Wisconsin Idea, offered ten full registration scholarships to WI library staff.

Thanks to the Pyle Center for a great venue - delightful food (ice cream at afternoon break!), top-notch AV and tech support, and space to make hallway networking connections a snap. The location on campus and near State St made social gatherings easy peasy.

Most importantly, thanks to all who attended. The energy was electric, the sharing sublime and it was a great opportunity to get to know new folks and say hi to old friends!

Don't be sad if you missed this first conference. You can get a taste of the conference on Twitter at #PowerUp17.  Abby the Librarian posted a list of books mentioned by speakers (truly "reading wildly!"). There will also be handouts and slidedecks shared on the main conference page in the next month or so,  so check back. 

The hope is that the conference will be offered again in the future (it would be a biennial event). So think spring 2019 and keep an eye out for a proposal call in early 2018.  

3.19.2017

What Does IMLS Do for You?


I am over at the Wisconsin Library Association's Youth Services Shout-out blog today sharing links and action to take to save IMLS. Leah Langby writes an important reminder of the many state-wide and system-wide projects and initiatives that WI libraries have benefited from thanks to federal money through IMLS.

As always I am inspired by the work of my colleagues in WI and across the nation as we continue to take action on behalf of libraries and our communities.

3.17.2017

Overcoming Project Management Obstacles - Perseverance

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The final part of this series, based on a workshop (Walls, Windows and Doors: Overcoming Obstacles in Project Management) I presented in Eau Claire and the crowd-sourced wisdom of the attendees, addresses perseverance in how we manage obstacles.

Sometimes projects stretch out longer than we expect or, if they are an unending part of our job, take on a feeling of drudgery. They also can undergo significant change in the process that appear to be obstacles. Looking for the doorways through can feel discouraging. But persevering to what can be  unexpected outcomes can often strengthen not only the team but the project.

Perseverance Strategies
  • Incorporate new information – stay current on the project but don’t be afraid to adjust as new info changes focus or as the project evolves
  • Be Patient - projects take time. You may need to adjust deadlines and timelines to adjust for real library life
  • Flexibility - be ready to change and adapt an idea to make it project stronger
  • Keep vision of outcome ahead of you to stay on track/inspired
  • Keep lines of communication open
  • Be sure to nurture yourself to avoid burn-out
  • Find others to build/maintain enthusiasm with you
  • Know your strengths/limitations
  • Be willing to allow “thinking stage” time to allow you to tackle parts of the project in a way that lets you work on those without swallowing the whole project.
  • Make a chart that shows progress of project
  • Consider narrowing focus to a smaller aspect to move project forward and make it more manageable
  • Believe in yourself AND those who you are working with to bring change about. Be convinced you CAN do it! It helps you be a good advocate.
  • Celebrate the success of each piece of the project and thank those who worked on the process 


Thanks for sharing the journey. Here are links to part one (process) and part two (personnel). And last but again not least,  huge thanks to the generous participants in the workshop who so kindly combined and shared their great ideas with us!

3.15.2017

Overcoming Project Management Obstacles - Personnel

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This is the second in a series based on a workshop I recently presented on Project Management combined with the crowd-sourced input of the attendees who shared their strategies and wisdom.

The workshop was titled Walls, Windows and Doors: Overcoming Obstacles in Project Management. It is based on my belief that the most successful project leaders and managers, when confronted with a wall (obstacle) don't bang their heads against it and curse. Rather they look over it, around it, step off to the left or right until they find a window or door or a low point that let's them go forward. This going forward is simply another way of saying "problem solving".

Today, I'm sharing our crowd-sourced solutions that often happen around the "personnel" part of project management. People can be a project's greatest asset AND greatest liability. This includes not just a project team, but other staff members in the library and partner organization, stakeholders and the community. A reluctant partner, a prima donna on the team, a bully, a negative personality, an unbudgeable patron are just a few on the types of people who can impede project progress.

Personnel Strategies
  • Coach – work with more difficult team members/partners on ways they can play a more positive role. Kindness and respect are the operative words in coaching
  • Communicate – both listen and share in a way that keeps everyone informed and feeling like they are truly a stakeholder
  • Support – through leadership and empathy everyone on the team and in the partnership
  • Provide clear and careful vision and care of the project in your leadership
  • Examine our strong “No!”s to see if they are age-based or based on the facts
  • Strip away emotion from interaction in order to see what the facts are
  • Gut check- if you are losing sleep over an interaction, take action to remediate it
  • When working with a difficult person, be sure to listen to what s/he is saying
  • Look at an unhappy stakeholder as a “devil’s advocate” who can improve the overall project
  • Create a safe space to allow discussion to include difficult subjects or disagreements
  • Easy to get caught up in “loud voices”; seek out quieter people for their perspective and support them
  • Recommended reading/listening - Brene Brown – Rising Strong  - the power of vulnerability; learning to fail and get back up
Stop here for part three (perseverance) - and here again is the link to part one (process). A huge thanks to the wonderful participants in the workshop who so kindly combined and shared their great ideas with us!


3.13.2017

Overcoming Project Management Obstacles - Process


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Whether we label what we do in youth services "project management" or not, it is actually, in essence, what we do.

On a day to day basis, we manage our seasonal programming offerings, our outreach, SLP,  collection development, displays, advocacy,  early literacy area, teen space, our school age areas, etc. We get from point A to point B with good planning, wise use of time (and staff time), careful consideration of desired outcomes, and reflection on how we are doing all along the way.

We also manage larger, more specialized projects that help us move our service to the community ahead and which we think of more traditionally as "projects." The project might be starting a 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program, creating a makerspace for teens, creating a new service with a community partner, creating Picture book neighborhood, etc.

No matter the project, obstacles or seeming dead ends can crop up. How we problem solve and "manage" those obstacles often contributes to the ultimate overall success of any project - whether day-to-day or a special project. Good project management suggests that rather than cursing the obstacle or banging our heads into a wall, looking for different routes or doors or windows along the wall can suggest ways to solve the problem encountered.

In a recent Community Engagement Project follow-up workshop at the Indianhead Federated Library System in Eau Claire, the attendees and I created a roadmap of ways to more successfully navigate obstacles in project management. Today, I'm sharing our crowd-sourced solutions to obstacles that crop up in the "process" portion of project management.

Process Strategies
  • Make sure you have administrative/training support before you begin
  • Do the groundwork – do your research, know justifications and what’s behind project
  • Make sure everyone – from participants & partners to stakeholders -  know the goals
  • Consider doing a smaller prototype project first to see how it goes
  • Break your project into smaller, doable parts and work on them piece by piece
  • Prioritize each smaller section so you can see your progress
  • Delegate appropriately – don’t do it alone
  • Renegotiate with partners/stakeholders if necessary
  • Communicate and articulate project and outcomes clearly and make sure all stakeholders are in the loop (not just partners but staff, community as well)
  • Build ongoing advocacy into the project to keep everyone informed
  • Consistently re-examine and re-evaluate the project to stay on track
  • Consider delaying less integral parts or expanding timelines if the project runs into trouble
  • Be ready to bring in additional partners
  • Set firm deadlines if the project begins to stretch out
  • Attach your project goals to your annual professional goals to keep project in forefront
  • Balance competence/confidence with being willing to take advice
  • Reach out beyond original partners to involve other natural partners
Stop here for the parts two (personnel) and three (perseverance). A huge thanks to the wonderful participants in the workshop who so kindly combined and shared their great ideas with us!