2012 Conference Leveraging Our Strengths - Sponosred by Alerna Savings and Trinity.

The Leveraging our Strengths Conference brought together over 190 participants from a cross-section of senior-level practitioners from various sectors, front-line staff and community members to explore the challenges and opportunities to multi-sector collaboration.

The Conference was held on June 13 and 14. Paul Born from Tamarack and Tim Brodhead from Social Innovation Genera were engaged for an introduction to the Collective Impact framework.

The opening plenary was held at Bronson Centre, followed by community conversations on June 14.
Michael Allen, the President and CEO of United Way Ottawa, welcomed the participants, organizers and sponsors of the conference.

City of Ottawa police Chief, Charles Bordeleau opened the conference.

Tim Brodhead provided a global view of the economic uncertainties and shifting political grounds that have created many challenges for the community service agencies.

Tim’s keynote address highlighted the challenges and how the community sector could respond by moving beyond traditional, short-term coping strategies to making themselves and the communities they serve more resilient, adaptable, and creative.

Paul Born discussed John Kania's groundbreaking work on multi-sector collaboration - a fabulously fresh paper from The Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Paul engaged the participants in:

  • Developing  an understanding of Collective Impact;
  • Exploring the five pre-requisites for Collective Impact, and
  • Understanding the role of catalytic donors in facilitating systemic change.

The Conference was the result of The City of Ottawa, United Way and Ontario Trillium Foundations convening a group of partner agencies to organize a conference for promoting understanding of Collective Impact and showcasing local initiatives.
Day 2 of the Conference provided the participants an opportunity to:

  • Explore the challenges and opportunities to working together for Collective Impact;
  • Discuss adoption of Collective Impact efforts in Ottawa; and
  • Acquire new knowledge about sustaining collective Impact Initiatives.

The conference provided an opportunity to not-for-profits, funders, community associations and organizations as well as various levels of government to develop a common understanding of the key conditions for successful collective impact initiatives.

In the run-up to 2013 Leveraging our Strengths Conference, the planning committee plans to remain engaged with conference participants for:  

  • Sharing reports and other products from the conference;
  • Gathering feedback for improving quality and relevance of the 2013 conference;
  • Identifying follow-up activities;
  • Sharing information and show casing local best practices, successful partnership initiatives and lessons learned; and
  • Identifying challenges and capacity building needs for achieving Collective Impact.
The most critical factor by far is an influential champion (or small group of champions) who commands the respect necessary to bring CEO-level cross-sector leaders together and keep their active engagement over time. We have consistently seen the importance of dynamic leadership in catalyzing and sustaining collective impact efforts. It requires a very special type of leader, however, one who is passionately focused on solving a problem but willing to let the participants figure out the answers for themselves, rather than promoting his or her particular point of view.

~ Channeling Change: Making Collective Impact Work, By Fay Hanleybrown, John Kania, & Mark Kramer |SSIR, Jan. 26, 2012 .