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frank makes welcome mean more

Several of my colleagues have shared reflections on frank, the gathering and community we’ve helped build for public interest communicators. As I consider the gathering and my work in our field, I celebrate 10 years of frank, look forward to the world we want to live in and know we must welcome and surface new approaches that will make that world possible.  

Speaker at the frank gathering talks to an auditorium full of attendees.We all seek insights and relationships that sustain us. Some are tried and true: the partners and practices we know we can rely on because they care, they work, they promote confidence. And some are new: fresh perspectives that tickle our brains, new stories that spark our imaginations and new people who we hope will become pals and co-creators. Acknowledging this reality is vital to field-building. And ten years into the frank community, we’ve learned a lot and have so much more to do.  

We need our people. 

The name for our field, public interest communication, is relatively new and important to recognize as a distinct practice with intentional goals, approaches and outcomes. And although the name is newish, the work isn’t. Shared purpose and practice bring us together into an authentic community, builds the public interest communication field and leaves each of us feeling like, “Yes! I’ve found my people.” No longer is communication for racial, social and environmental justice a side conversation at a comms event: it’s the main attraction because of communities and gatherings like frank. We’ve found our people, and time with them invigorates us.  

We build community connections that make learning likely. 

When we’re in community, we’re with people we trust – or with people we’re eager to get to know and engage in collaborative, trusting relationships. Community makes learning likely. I’m not only talking about new information that we pass along, but also the tougher stuff: being vulnerable and naming mistakes or mishaps, considering what could be better and adopting new ways of thinking. frank is that community for changemakers who stay with important efforts for justice over the long haul. And every time franksters gather, with longtime and new community members, we get better at what we do. 

We enthusiastically share what works. 

franksters’ feelings of comfort and delight, coupled with insight that improves our work, position us to be truly authentic ambassadors. We excitedly pass along insights that will help another changemaker understand the audience they need to engage. We want to bolster the movements making racial, social and environmental justice possible. We do see information as power, and it’s power we share with each other and every changemaker we meet. 

A drumline performs on the mainstage of frank 2023. Everyone working in organizations committed to social change has participated in conversations about how we can center racial justice in our work, represent new perspectives, consider nontraditional approaches and speed progress toward results we need in our world. frank is making all those things happen by putting this thinking into action. To you franksters, our people, I ask you to care for and sustain our community of changemakers.  

  • Are you a new frankster? I’m delighted to meet you and hope we’ll work together.  

  • Are you a funder? Support this changemaking work that’s acting on our shared values, building capacity and making our work more effective.  

  • Are you a connector? Please welcome the folks you meet to the public interest communication community. We love new people and fresh ideas.  

Thanks for reading frank reflections from Spitfires, and please share your thinking with us! We’re committed to sharing what works, improving our changemaking efforts and sincerely welcoming new partners in this work.  

This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 23, 2023 at 13:39 pm and is filed under Coalition, connection and network building and Frame, narrative and message development. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.