Living the Values; Doing the Work

While there are many aspects of the work that require explicit goals, the underlying condition that prevents us from making even more significant progress is the lack of internal capacity.  My colleague and I are working unsustainable hours. For this reason, I am focusing this professional goal on increasing the organization’s human capacity. Achieving this goal will be the foundation of achieving even more wins in the near future.   


Increase the Center for Community Wealth Building’s capacity by hiring a Deputy Director by December 2, 2019. 


  • Access to another thought-partner
  • Diversity of experience and skills that contribute to the work
  • Shared responsibility
  • More work/life balance
  • Manageable schedule without sacrificing outcomes


  • Balancing urgent needs with the significant effort needed to do a search process well
  • Low unemployment rate makes it difficult to attract talent
  • Longer application window might be needed to attract talent
  • Specialized skills needed
  • Systems-change work is challenging  


  • Ability to do a search process
  • Ability to interview candidates
  • Ability to screen for qualifications
  • Knowledge and connections to strong networks 


People – Michelle Sturm and Carlos Valverde

Organization – CNDC as our fiscal sponsor

Partner organizations – Interfaith Alliance, Mi Casa Resource Center, RMMFI, Colorado Solidarity Fund, and Transformative Leadership for Change

Networks – Colorado Nonprofit Development Association, Rosemary and Cafecito’s Group, LatinasGive! Giving Circle, New Economy Coalition, Colorado Nonprofit Association, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Network, Rich Male’s Listserv 


TaskDue DateLeadStatusDate Completed
Secure funding10/1/2019YessicaCompleted10/1/2019
Write job description10/10/19CarlosIn progress
Get approval from CNDC10/10/19Yessica

Incorporate feedback from CNDC10/14/19Yessica

Distribute job posting to identified networks10/15/19Michelle & Yessica

Share post on social media10/15/19Yessica

Email job posting to partners10/16/19Yessica

Create screening tool10/25/19Committee

Receive applications11/1/19Yessica

Review/assess applicants11/1/19Committee

Develop interview questions11/1/19Committee

Schedule interviews11/1/19Yessica

Interview applicants11/8/19Committee

Schedule 2nd interviews11/8/19Michelle

Conduct 2nd interviews11/15/19Committee

Check references 11/15/19Yessica

Make a decision11/18/19Committee

Offer the job11/18/19Yessica

Facilitate onboarding with CNDC11/18/19Yessica

Prep for CCWB onboarding11/25/19Yessica & Michelle

Deputy Director starts at CCWB12/1/19


My sister and her husband fell in love with the idea of co-housing. They are in a situation where the concept of family co-housing makes sense. They are in the process of selling their house and co-buying another one with another close family. Eventually, it will be a great situation for both families, but in the meantime, it has become very stressful. Most of the stress comes from the fact that they have to be out of their current house by October 23rd, but their new house will not be ready until December. I had helped them find other options, but everything was very expensive.

A couple of weeks ago, my tenants notified me that they could not complete their lease and would be out of the property by October 13th. In any other situation, this could have been very stressful for me. However, I believe that the Universe works in mysterious ways. I am grateful to be in a position to help my sister, but the next two weeks will be a wild ride. For this reason, I have set my personal goal to get the house ready.


Get the house ready by updating the carpet, kitchen floor, and painting by October 22, 2019 using local, People of Color vendors.


  • A sister who is less stressed
  • My sister and her family will have a place to go when they sell their house
  • Safe place for my nieces
  • Affordable housing option for my sister
  • Peace of mind for the family


  • Quick turn-around time
  • Busy work schedule
  • Travel to DC
  • Limited availability of PoC vendors
  • Vendors that are slightly more expensive
  • My own need for perfection 


  • Knowledge of vendors who can meet the needs
  • Connections to trusted people who can assist with the process


People – Eddie Holguin, Leticia Guzman, Omar Sotelo, Alex Hernandez, Carlos Valverde, Irma Holguin, and Gabriela Holguin


TaskDue DateLeadStatusDate Completed
Assess update needs10/1/2019YessicaCompleted10/1/2019
Identify PoC vendors10/09/19Carlos & YessicaIn progress
Contact paint vendor to get quote10/10/19YessicaIn progress
Get 2nd quote if needed10/12/19Yessica

Contact floor installer to get quote10/10/19YessicaIn progress
Identify a point person for painter10/11/19Yessica

House is painted10/17/19Omar

Schedule floor measurement session10/10/19Yessica

Meet with installer to measure space10/13/19Leticia

Select flooring options10/14/19Yessica

Create a list of materials & supplies needed10/14/19Yessica & Vendor

Schedule floor installation10/14/19Yessica

Purchase materials & supplies10/15/19Yessica

Floors are installed10/21/19Vendor

Clean up10/21/19All

7 thoughts on “Living the Values; Doing the Work”

  1. I love this post, Yessica. It’s so real! That a lot to juggle right now. Thanks for sharing super timely and relevant goals with us. I too love the idea of co-housing. In fact this summer, my gf and I shared a house with another couple we’re good friends with. The house has 1.5 bathrooms. We survived! In fact, it was lots of fun. We had many good late night convos on the front porch, co-hosted some backyard BBQs, and had a rotating family dinner schedule. So I’m hopeful good things await your sister and her family 🙂

    Congrats on having the funding to grow the team! A huge step forward. I hope it takes some of the pressure off your schedule.

    The seems like a valuable means to an end – a sustainable schedule. I can see why you’re plenty motivated to grow the team. How’s it feel to be in that position??!

    Do you have any doubts about your team’s ability to find an effective candidates? Do you have the support you need to do that task effectively?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the thoughtful questions and for sharing your co-housing experience.

      Yes, you are correct in pointing out that my motivation is at its highest level right now. It feels great to finally have the power to do this. I also believe that I have the support I need to get the word out about this position. I guess my fear comes from thinking all the “what ifs”. What if the ideal person just accepted another position before even seeing this one? What if…? It is at this moment when I have to trust that it will all work out- because it will.


  2. Hi Yessica, I am in a co-housing situation too! It is a great fit for my and my husband’s lifestyle and I sincerely wish you the very best of luck getting the house ready for your sister and her family. The stress of home projects in a short time frame can be very taxing, so I hope it feels relieving to see a plan laid out, especially when you are already working unsustainable hours!

    On the topic of your current work load, I am curious how you and your colleague plan to write the new position’s job description (due today!)? You state that, “Achieving [your goal of hiring a new deputy director] will be the foundation of achieving even more wins in the near future.” Have you two spent time identifying the aspects of your job that you plan to hand over to a new colleague, or are you thinking about reframing how you all complete work altogether once a third person joins? Are you each maintaining the tasks that best meet your and your colleague’s existing skillsets? You mention one of the obstacles will be in finding the skillsets you seek in a new candidate. Is this because the Deputy Director will have a very specific job function that you expect this person will fulfill, or is there opportunity to be flexible in your organization given the size of your team?

    Within our small business’ small team, we are constantly trying to find ways to leverage each other’s skills. Sometimes people write their own job descriptions in which to transition if they think they are better suited for a new role, and we find ways to share work load to understand how to shift tasks while amplifying the tasks people enjoy/operating a conventional business that needs to generate revenue. I am not saying it is easy (at all), but while you have the luxury to ideate on the role, how are you approaching writing the qualifications/requirements?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Alessandra, thank you for sharing your co-housing experience and your positive energy!

      I appreciate your thoughtful questions. When we were envisioning this position, we first thought about all the “other” things we could be working on. One day, my colleague and I (incredibly tired) looked at each other and said, this person needs to help alleviate some of this load. Since then, it has taken an intentional effort to ensure that we’re not adding too much more, but rather, handing off some of the responsibilities that were are currently doing. I will admit that this is a constant struggle, but I am motivated by the fact that I do not want an organization with now three tired people.

      Regarding finding the skillsets needed, I have prioritized the “must must-have”. I believe that there are some things we can teach or provide training for if absolutely needed. However, there are some things such as, “Deep commitment to racial and economic justice” that I simply cannot teach. The beauty of this position and our small organization is that we are flexible and adaptable. This will also contribute to our success!

      Enjoy your Saturday!


  3. Yessica, Thanks for your great work here. Kudos on your first post.
    What was the most helpful part about this prompt / project for you?
    Is this how you always approach projects? Or did this prompt ask something different of you?

    Your naming of “My own need for perfection” as a key obstacle stuck out to me.
    What do you currently do about this? What do you want to do about this?
    Has anything from Steven Pressfield or adrienne maree brown been helpful to you?

    What are the 3 things that you can do to make sure you have the strongest applicant pool?
    I was surprised not to see more names in the people section. The networks seemed like a strong start. Will any of the people in those networks (or from this incubator) help reach out to their networks?

    My sense from you — just in reading this post — is that you like to have detailed plans and work your plan. What might lead this plan to change? What things might be important enough to evolve your thinking on your hiring process?

    How do you hold loosely your strength in rigorous planning with the value of emergent strategy, and getting into deeper relationship with the people that could become increasingly important to your best, most impactful work?

    Where do you want to grow the most over the next 6 weeks?
    Do these goals give you the space to do that? Where inside of working towards those goals do you want to take risks and push yourself? Or might you want to go easier on yourself and give yourself more grace?

    Thanks for being here.


  4. As I read your goals (which are amazing by the way), the one thing you might think about is the self interest of your potential tenants and your new assistant director? What is it they need? What will draw the kind of person you hope for? Is it salary or is it something else? Is it time off? Is it passion for the work you are doing? Is it you? For the it a garden or the way you welcome them?

    And when they come…ask them that question. What do you want?


  5. I am a perfectionist at heart. I have done some work to distill where this learned behavior came from. The closest that I have gotten to an answer is that for a very long time, I looked very young (and was). I finished high school at the age of 15 and graduated with my master’s degree at age 21. I never wanted anyone to doubt me or my ability to perform because of the way I looked. There was also a part of me that as a Latina at a university, I felt the need to represent my peoples, most of whom (based on statistics) would never step foot at such institution, with the highest level of work. Also, coming from a low-income background, I did not have the professional network or connections that most of my peers had. I only had the quality of my work to vouch for me and what I brought to the table. Now that I am older, I realize that my need for perfection is permanently ingrained. I have grown a lot, but I still have a long way to go.
    Working in collectives has taught me that perfect for the collective means something completely different than what it means to me- and that’s okay. My experience in the Peace Corps as an older adult taught me that if we want our efforts to be sustainable, we have to provide capacity and let go. It was one of the biggest lessons of my lifetime that I continue to remind myself every single day.

    In fact, my experience in the Peace Corps and living abroad gave me permission to not take myself so seriously. It was okay to take significant risks and fail. Serving in Nicaragua, where my intelligence was never questioned because of the color of my skin, provided me an opportunity and a platform to explore, grow, and find many ways that will not work.

    Being in the emerging field of community wealth building has given me an opportunity to stretch my limits. While I know that my comfort lies in planning and having control, I also know that our work is based on relationships and collaboration. In fact, everything revolves around relationships. I have been incredibly successful in my personal and professional life because I genuinely care about building relationships. For me, the process of building meaningful relationships is a big part of the work.

    I take the approach of planning, implementing, evaluating and adjusting as needed. Process is everything for me. Being flexible enough to adjust is particularly important in a space where I don’t know what I don’t know.

    In the next six weeks, I look forward to having more space for self-reflection. I want to get the most out of this opportunity, but I am now having to reflect and reconsider what “the most” means to me given the new context. I am intrigued by Felipe’s question of, “might you want to go easier on yourself and give yourself more grace?” I will definitely have to consider this option.


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