Presenter Q&A with Christina Krasov and Robert Albright: it’s all about collaboration
// By Jacqueline Brennan
Q: If you could change places with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
CK: Oprah Winfrey. She gets to use her talents in connecting with people to give space to reflect on human needs that we all face, and taps into underlying motivations that make us better citizens, better humans, better parents, better friends, better teammates.
RA: I’m going with Bryan Stevenson from the Equal Justice Initiative. I know a lot of people have praised his work lately. He’s a work idol of mine. I just really respect how he brings his faith and values and work there, and how he’s thought about really changing the narrative around mass incarceration and equity. He has a really hard job, but I think it would be interesting to be in his shoes just for a day to see the impact that he and his organization are having.
Q: What one change can we make right now in the United States that would make the greatest impact on helping people to thrive?
RA: What comes to mind is equitable funding for schools — everything from teacher salaries to facilities to administrator pay to equity in how schools are funded. Funding isn’t the only answer, but there are a lot of inequities in how our schools are resourced. So, that would be one wish.
CK: I think the power of a lived experience identifying the right solutions for the thing you’re trying to improve is undervalued. Putting people with direct lived experiences in positions of power would be a game changer for me and that is what we try to do at Thrive Chicago.
Q: What’s one thing that would help you do your job better?
RA: I wish there was more time in the day to meet people’s needs, share what we’ve learned, and learn from others. But I also know it’s not all about me and doing more work. If I didn’t have more time in the day, my wish would be even more efficient use of the time I already have to do my work better.
CK: Putting youth and their families at the center of our work.
Q: What in life is truly objective, and not subjective?
CK: Everything we do is relational at the end of the day, regardless of what level in an organization you are. Nurturing relationships is part of systems change.
RA: Anything we’re trying to accomplish as a community, or organization, or individual hinges on trust and relationships with others. It’s really difficult to achieve change on your own – just how important it is to be in community and relationship with others.
Q: What one thing would you change about the sector right now if you could?
CK: We don’t approach youth development in a cohesive way. We’ve fragmented it so much that it’s hard for young people and their families to find the services and to go through important critical transitions in their lives. Ultimately a lot of young people, even though they have talent and do a lot of the right things, end up falling through the cracks because the system has made it too complicated. So just starting from the point of view of a young person would be a thing I would change. Redesigning the whole ecosystem to focus on that young person and not the adult systems that we’ve created around them.
RA: I think because I work on the topic of effective collaboration, I’d love to see more examples of silo-breaking, truly collaborative efforts that are really getting at root causes of inequities. That’s going to require people letting go of their organizational identities and thinking more about what’s best for kids and families and the communities they’re trying to serve, and working in partnership with others to address that.
How to Create Resilient Systems Change is happening Thursday, November 14 from 9:30 to 11:30am.