The ProInspire Summit Proposed Unconference Topics

We asked participants to share topics that were on their minds at registration – below is what we’ve heard so far!

The Unconference Approach

At gatherings like this Summit, we often see programmed sessions with great content, but then the “real” conversations happen in the hallways: topics that are on your mind but don’t have sessions and subjects that spill over and need more time. An unconference is based on Open Space Technology, a methodology that has proven successful in conferences worldwide to provide enough structure for participants to self-organize and lead the conversations. This day-long convening will create dynamic space for participants to learn from each other about advancing leadership and equity now and to envision the future of social impact work together. This approach allows us to honor and lift up the wisdom in the room without hierarchy or traditional expertise – and this is one way we can live out our value of equity and hope for the future of work.

We asked participants to share topics that were on their minds at registration – below is what we’ve heard so far! We encourage participants to propose these ideas – and others on your hearts and minds – as we co-create our agenda during the Summit day.

Individual Growth and Support

  • Increasing capacity for difficult conversations, especially about race
  • Strategies for women of color in the nonprofit workplace as equity leaders
  • Building leadership development opportunities for women, particularly women of color
  • How to move past white fragility and guilt
  • Maintaining equity and inclusion as a core priority as a leader
  • How to build capacity to prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Overall best practices and resources for nonprofit leaders
  • Discussion of approaches to change deeply embedded behaviors and attitudes
  • Tips and specific techniques on how individuals can engage in difficult/courageous conversations.
  • The emotional/physical/psychological toll (and often, re-earthed trauma) associated with this work and the critical restorative self-care needed
  • Intersection between organizing, work, faith, and the mind

Organizational Culture and Structures

  • Building trust on work teams and building relationships across lines of difference
  • How to create an organization that celebrates diversity and successfully retains a diverse staff
  • How to ensure historically white organizations are truly valuing and supporting POC staffers and coalition partners
  • Advancing organizational equity as a person of color (i.e. the “inside/outside game”.)
  • Managing organizational change from the middle
  • Accountability around racial equity in organizations
  • Operationalizing equity into an organization’s culture
  • How to build a resilient and inclusive workplace for lasting impact
  • Achieving true inclusion at organizations, best practices in DEI
  • The critical importance of adding Equity into D&I for organizations working in disinvested communities
  • Evolving culture – based on equity and values and building leadership to support that
  • Deeper dive into Race Equity Culture (what it means? what it looks like?)
  • Practical tips for infusing and introducing equity into entrenched environments (how are seeds being planted/cultivated?)
  • Implementing Data-Informed Processes to Enhance Nonprofit Programming (with mathematic-adverse staff)
  • Alternative and equitable ideas on leadership or power structures
  • Incorporating DEI principles into firm policies and norms, as well as processes including recruitment, performance management, and career development
  • Creating Equity in Performance Evaluation and Career Advancement
  • Equitable practices in recruitment and hiring
  • Succession Planning for Diversity in Nonprofit Senior Leadership Teams
  • Authentic community engagement & internal culture change (what does it take?)
  • HR and issues of differences: how to navigate complex people issues with fairness and integrity (for example, what to do when you supervise people who do/say things that are offensive/insensitive?)
  • Practical tips for how organizations can create a space for difficult/courageous conversations

Cross-Sector and Collaborative Initiatives

  • Collective self-care and wellbeing for social change
  • What it looks like to ensure development of policy solutions includes equity analysis
  • Building social and racial equity for young emerging queer and trans leaders of color in the social justice ecosystems.
  • Ways to improve and measure success in social impact work
  • Cleaner definitions around social impact and accountability tied to outcomes
  • Reducing Redundancy in Our Work (collaborating and/or leveraging services/resources across organizations for greater impact)
  • How to select partners who prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Building Effective Coalitions for Greater Impact
  • Impact of unionization of social sector
  • Anchor Collaboratives and Small Business Development
  • Power Games with Cyndi Suarez


  • How is philanthropy leading race equity work?
  • How funders can do better
  • How philanthropic institutions can support racial equity in leadership and staff within nonprofit organizations
  • How philanthropic institutions can look inward to address inequitable grant processes
  • Empowering mainstream philanthropy to model participatory grantmaking models and exploring nontraditional funding opportunities.
  • Participatory philanthropy and investing in middle America
  • Supporting community-based founders in states with low levels of philanthropic investment, particularly in the south

Equity and Leadership Deep Dives

  • Using human-centered design to advance equity
  • The issue of unconscious bias and how it relates to our DEI efforts
  • Racial equity in tax justice
  • Generational influence in DEI
  • How to speak truth to power
  • Intersectional equity
  • Colorism and its place in the function of white supremacy
  • Future trends in DEI
  • What is holding inequities in place and our role in the system?
  • Radically redefining leadership by centering working poor LGBTQ+ communities of color in social change
  • How do we organize to deconstruct a white supremacy model that scaffolds the social sector, politically and organizationally?
  • The importance of culture shifts in the ways we think about each other (from Competition to Community, from hierarchical to symbiotic, from commodifying to inherent worth)
  • The power of community in building trust to changing the world

Have more questions about The ProInspire Summit or 10 Year Anniversary? Contact [email protected] for more information.

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