June 2020 Leadership Council Meeting Recap

On June 4th, Convergence hosted our first virtual Leadership Council meeting. The meeting was the first time the LC had met since the COVID-19 postponement of our spring session and new CEO David Eisner’s first meeting. The themes that emerged from the forum were a focus on the multiple crises facing the nation, the importance of keeping equity central to our work, and the urgent need for Convergence to quickly identify strategies to help the country’s rebuilding effort. You can view the full LC meeting below.

David announced new goals and innovations for Convergence, including plans to launch four to five dialogues in the next 18 months on issues that are fundamental to the nation’s recovery. We will reconstitute some past dialogues to leverage the trust that exists among stakeholders and find solutions quickly. New projects will also deliver interim results throughout the dialogue in addition to the traditional consensus recommendations at the dialogue’s end. By doing so, we hope to help others understand the issues in real time and identify areas for impact throughout the dialogue.

Russell Krumnow, Convergence’s Senior Director of Projects, previewed new dialogues we are launching now. With millions of people unemployed, our first new project, “Economic Recovery for America’s Workers,” will focus on reconnecting people with jobs. The table will be a partial reconstitution of our previous project, Working Up, which will allow us to build on previous work and accelerate ideas to aid the economic recovery. The second project is tentatively called “A Better Conversation about Guns.” With widespread concern that suicides will increase in response to the crises, we found from over 100 interviews that the timing is right for a dialogue on reducing firearm-involved suicide and gun risks.

In March, Convergence’s first state-based project, the California Health Reform Initiative (CHRI), released its report. We also concluded our national health care table, the Future of Health (FOH). Convergence is exploring follow-on dialogues for both projects to respond to the urgent issues raised by COVID-19.

LC members were also briefed on the new opportunities that virtual convenings bring to Convergence. LC members were enthusiastic about the potential to include more participants in our dialogues and expand the diversity of voices at our tables. Convergence staff and LC members emerged from the session energized by our focus on finding real-world strategies that rise above political dysfunction at a time when bridge-building is needed most.

The next Leadership Council meeting will be held November 12, 2020. It will also be virtual.