November 2020 Leadership Council Meeting Highlights

At Convergence’s Leadership Council meeting in November, participants discussed the urgent need for post-election bridge-building leadership. The election results show a country deeply divided, with most voters on either side of the divide finding it hard to fathom the perspective of the “other side.” Supporters of each Presidential candidate attribute malicious and anti-democratic motives to the other. Leadership Council members discussed how the growing bridge-building field can offer leadership in this moment and what authentic national healing might look like.

You can view the full LC meeting below.

6:10 – Implications of Election/Connecting Question
9:25 – What the Election Means for Convergence’s Work
37:34 – Program Report
50:50 – Convergence Award to Representative Kilmer
1:17:02 – Breathing and Stretching with LC Member Jessica Dibb
1:30:18 – Leadership Discussion on Bridge-Building Field
2:10:45 – The Leadership Council Advances

Four leaders of other bridge-building organizations discussed their efforts to increase respect and empathy across ideological, economic, political, demographic and other divides, along with strategies to find common ground on key issues and create grassroots culture change. Convergence CEO David Eisner moderated the discussion, focusing on the challenges and opportunities the bridge-building field faces in questions to Joan Blades (Living Room Conversations), Jillian Youngblood (Common Ground Solutions), Michael Murphy (FixUS at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget), and Frederick J. Riley (Weave: The Social Fabric Project at the Aspen Institute).

In a Leadership Council first, David Eisner presented U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer (D-WA) with Convergence’s inaugural “Convergence Award for Extraordinary Leadership in Bridge-Building” for the Congressman’s success in bringing Democrats and Republicans together through his work as Chair of both the House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress and the Bipartisan Working Group. The award recognizes breakthrough leadership that is likely to “move the needle” toward normalizing bridge-building across American institutions and society.

“I’m honored to be recognized by Convergence as we work to bridge the partisan divide,” said Rep. Derek Kilmer. “We all need to work together to solve problems…Too often, that’s missing in our government today. That’s why I’ve focused on progress – not partisanship and playing political games.”

Eisner predicted Kilmer’s commitment to reaching across the aisle will be uniquely important for the new Congress when it convenes next year.

Finally, the Leadership Council turned toward itself in considering how it can best support Convergence going forward. The group is discussing enhancing meeting structures and formats, with many members interested in supplementing our existing three annual meetings per year with committees through which smaller groups would delve more deeply into elements of Convergence’s work.