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Patrice Linehan

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Giving a voice to undervalued perspectives

This portfolio highlights key milestones and turning points along my journey as a social learning leader. It reflects the various leadership roles I have undertaken to amplify the voices and perspectives of underrepresented groups. Much of the portfolio focuses on my 15 years of experience inviting people to participate in joint learning activities that advance research and policy to practice through the IDEA Partnership – a network of 50 national groups that form learning partnerships around multiple domains with the goal of improving the lives of individuals with disabilities.

The IDEA Partnership Participatory Framework provides a structure and rhythm of interaction that promotes learning across roles and levels of the system. My portfolio details ways that I work within the Partnership network to enable learning and collective action. Within the broad network of partners, people often identify complex problems that require deep ongoing work to resolve. One of my roles is to convene communities of practice that bring diverse groups together around their common interests, engaging them as allies in working with the state, and bringing fresh approaches to persistent problems by uniting groups that all have a stake in the issue.

In addition to creating a space for learning – and a culture of sharing – among state and organizational partners, I have taken a leadership role in assessing the value created within the Partnership communities and networks. For my certificate project, I am documenting my experience applying the framework to three state based communities of practice on school behavioral health. The three state stories will become part of the project evaluation for the IDEA Partnership, with the potential of informing the work of 30 other states participating in the National Communities of Practice. Over the year-long certificate journey, the value creation framework came to life for me in very personal ways, especially while putting together my project portfolio. The framework helped me gain insights into my own leadership, and the value my contributions bring the work. I have gained a stronger sense of direction and a clearer vision of future leadership roles I would like to pursue. Over many years, I have been forging multiple paths to promote systems change and they are converging in exciting ways.

By the end of the certificate journey, I was thinking about how each personal decision we make affects the world. This realization strengthened my commitment to an important IDEA Partnership value of “leading in place,” which encourages each of us to lead from any role or level of the system in which we are situated. I decided to explore the way my own leadership can bring value across the five cycles outlined in the framework. I invite you to enter my value creation story and share what I’ve learned. Then, let me know what resonates with you as a Social Learning Leader. My hope is that we can harness the power of learning together in positive ways … and change the world!

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