2021 Civic Leadership Conference
November 5th & 6th via Zoom!
The Civic Leadership Conference is focused on exploring different pathways of civic leadership and engagement to gain an understanding of varying effective approaches to community change.
This year, the theme is Enduring Change. How do people in our community create and sustain change over the long periods it can take to see change happen? Where does their commitment come from?
Registration will close November 2 at 11:59 p.m.
Please register individually for each of the sessions you're interested in!
Have questions? Email Megan Medina at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, November 5th - 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Join us to hear from three amazing panelists about their experience working to create change around the issue of incarceration and how the work they do relates to our conference theme of Enduring Change. The three panelists bring different perspectives and leverage different Pathways of Civic Engagement ranging from Community Engaged Learning to Policy and Advocacy, and finally Grassroots Organizing.
I am currently working with the Utah Prison Education Project as the Prison Education Project Justice Fellow. UPEP is bringing fully accredited college courses to Utah's incarcerated population with participation from universities across the whole of Utah. UPEP uses the power of education to empower students in prison and after release. I have been working with UPEP since January of 2020. I hold a Bachelors in Philosophy and another Bachelors in Art and Design both from Utah Valley University. With UPEP, I work directly with students in multiple facilities to ensure they have the resources they need and that the volunteer staff is well equipped and has the tools necessary to run the class. I also support the Volunteer TA’s and fill in wherever necessary. My goals are to return to academic studies and attain a law degree from the University of Utah to help further support the UPEP program and all participating students. Currently I work with WAVE, Wireless Advanced Vehicle Electrification, a company working with the department of energy in building the electrical infrastructure required for the future of electric vehicles in the combat against climate change as an Electromechanical Technician.
Jason Groth (pronounced ‘growth') (he/him/his) is the Deputy Legal Director at the ACLU of Utah and a member of the Utah Sentencing Commission. Prior to joining the ACLU, he attended the University of Iowa College of Law where he earned the Willard L. Boyd Public Service Distinction with highest honors, and, after graduation, he worked as a public defender in Colorado representing adult and juvenile clients in misdemeanor and felony cases in trial and on appeal.
Josh Kivlovitz, LCSW (he/him/his) is a social worker, therapist, and abolitionist organizer. Josh currently works at his therapy practice, Wise Mind Behavioral Therapy, specializing in care for individuals experiencing suicidal ideation, self-harm, and Borderline Personality Disorder, along with care for LGBTQIA2+ folks. Josh currently organizes with Decarcerate Utah and the Salt Lake Community Bail Fund, working to shift resources from police and carceral systems to systems of community care. Josh has worked in the social work and social services field for 8 years, with experience in community mental health with teens and adults, domestic violence & sexual assault, LGBTQIA2+ communities, HIV/AIDS, substance use and harm-reduction, criminal justice re-entry, and unsheltered & homeless services. Josh completed his Master's of Science in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin.
Saturday, November 6th - 10:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Frédérique is a Director for the Sorenson Impact Center’s Data, Policy, and Performance Innovation team where she leads project development and implementation, and manages high-level partnerships with leading organizations in the social impact sector. She brings over 20 years cumulative experience in strategic management consulting, business development, strategic advisory, and entrepreneurship. She has taught business management at the Kogod School of Business at American University. In 2020, she was accepted as a New Zealand Edmund Hillary Fellow, a global fellowship for impact entrepreneurs. She holds a Master of Business Administration from the Graduate School of Business Administration at The College of William and Mary and a Bachelor of Arts in Russian studies from Davidson College.
The state of our country during and post COVID-19 has brought social issues to the forefront of our minds, and yet these issues and solutions can take time, and are not always the most "sexy" when pitching to investors. Join Frederique Irwin, Director at Sorenson Impact Center, as she shares her story of perseverance, building a social impact company, and how you can make time in your life to become a social entrepreneur, even if you have never thought of yourself as an entrepreneur before!
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Devon Cantwell (she/her/hers) is a co-founder of the activist group, UnsafeU, which has been working to raise awareness of campus safety issues at the University of Utah. She completed her BGS in Political Science (with minors in WGSS and International Studies) at the University of Kansas in 2012, her MSc in Political Science at the U in 2021, and is currently a PhD student at the University of Ottawa in Political Studies. Prior to graduate school, Devon worked as a K-12 mathematics and computer science instructor for schools in Alabama and Mississippi. She has also worked as an instructional coach and content designer for Teach for America. Additionally, she has practical experience in working for public agencies as a researcher and data analyst. She is a 2021-2022 Fulbright Research Fellow to Vietnam and will be based in Saigon with the Southern Institute for Social Sciences (SISS), studying city climate change mitigation and adaptation in Vietnam.
UnsafeU was founded in 2019 in response to student concerns about the University of Utah response to Lauren McCluskey's murder and the general institutional handling of campus safety issues. Over the course of the past two years, UnsafeU has engaged in Instagram informational campaigns, lobbying for policy and practice changes at the University of Utah, as well as assisting in the drafting and passage of SB 163, which reformed campus reporting metrics for safety data and launched the USHE Safety and Equity Commission. In this session, Devon will use these organizing successes to share practical advice about engaging in activism in policy-heavy spaces as well as how to authentically build coalitions with local, national, and international activists. Session participants will walk away with concrete resources and strategies for enhancing policy campaigns and expanding the reach of their organizing efforts.
Luis is a local community organizer invested in supporting a healthy and regenerative social and climate justice movement ecosystem here in Utah. His academic and professional training is in conflict transformation, trauma-informed approaches, restorative justice, ethnographic and participatory action research, and process design and facilitation. In the past, Luis has been organized with the #JusticiaYa movement in Guatemala, with coalitions of youth peace movements in Colombia, and with sanctuary and immigrant justice efforts here in Utah. Today, Luis works for the Sierra Club as an organizer for the Beyond Coal Campaign here in Utah and he is a core team member and trainer nationally for the East Point Peace Academy. Luis is a graduate from the London School of Economics, University of Notre Dame, and Utah Valley University. Outside of organizing, he enjoys mindfulness, playing guitar, and exploring the Utah wilderness.
Do you dream of dedicating your career to work in social and climate justice? The non-profit industry is an avenue that offers the opportunity to engage in important, necessary, and rewarding work for justice; while also being able to make your personal ends meet at the end of the month. However, good intentions coupled with agnosticism of the embedded power dynamics of the nonprofit industry can lead towards empty numbers, unintentional harm to the community, feelings of complicity, and personal burnout. During this session, we will work together to elicit our professional identities, to connect with our intentions, to nurture practices allow us to reflect on our experiences, and to challenge our assumptions and expectations of what it looks like to organize for justice in the non-profit industrial complex.
Ted is a Sr. Corporate Relations and Philanthropy Manager with the American Cancer Society, where he cultivates relationships with local businesses, foundations, and individual donors. Prior to joining the ACS team in June, Ted worked as a Sr. Corporate Engagement Advisor with United Way of Salt Lake. Ted is a 2017 graduate of the BYU MPA program and received his Bachelor's in Economics from BYU in 2015. Ted is a transplant from northern Virginia and enjoys exploring the nature of Utah, baking, and traveling.
Navigating the implications of accepting well-intentioned gifts is of greater importance than ever. Fundraisers are crucial to maintaining the ethical brand of the organization, and that starts with stewarding relationships that don't undercut your greater mission. Let's discuss how to apply a continuous improvement mindset to practicing values-based philanthropy.
Dr. Ana Carolina Antunes is originally from Rio de Janeiro Brazil, but she has lived in Salt Lake City, UT since 2006. She holds a PhD in Education from the Education, Culture & Society Department at the University of Utah and is an Assistant Professor (Lecturer) in the Division of Gender Studies in the same institution. Dr. Antunes develops participatory projects with young people of refugee and immigrant backgrounds in afterschool settings and it is interested in how racialized and gendered readings of bodies mediate relationships in the educational system.
Community work is often at odds with the fast-paced timeline of academia. In this section, students will engage in a discussion on how to mediate the needs of their academic work with building relationships with community partners that go beyond that.
Meligha Garfield (he/him) is the inaugural director for the Black Cultural Center (BCC) at the University of Utah—a center that works to holistically enrich, educate, and advocate for students, faculty, staff and the broader Salt Lake community through Black centered programming, culturally affirming educational initiatives, and retention strategies. Hailing from Rochester, New York, Garfield holds a B.A. in Government, with a minor in colonial Latin American history and Africana studies and a Master of Public Administration from New Mexico State University (NMSU) in which his concentration was public policy and race & politics. Previously he was a community engagement coordinator/intern for the city of Las cruces, New Mexico. In that position he was tasked with communicating materials reporting program trends, new developments, escalated issues, and key measurement data in regards to community and diverse community engagement. He was also previously the programs coordinator for the Black Programs Department at (NMSU) . He has implemented outreach and retention services, served as coordinator and advisor in Black programs, and managed numerous departmental programming and events while at NMSU – many of which he hopes to start at the University of Utah and is currently implementing as he has been in the position for almost three years in Utah. He is a part of serval organizations such as: Curly Me!, Utah Black Chamber of commerce, and the Utah Black Roundtable. In under three years he has made impactful partnerships with Utah division of Multicultural affairs, Utah business Mag, Lucid, Domo, Utah museum of fine arts, Neighborhood works, UVU, Weber State, Utah System of Higher Education. He is also a proud member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated, an historically Black fraternity.
As a young leader have you ever thought about what does it take to be a leader today? Is it to be like Mark Zuckerberg or Iron Man or more like MLK and Stacey Abrams. In this session Meligha Garfield will take you through 10 crucial steps for for how leadership should be handled today and how you will grow as a civic leader.
Franque Bains (she/they) & Colin Green (he/him/his)
Colin Green is an environmental activist from Salt Lake City. He hopes to inspire folks to ask hard questions and come together to find solutions. His background is in peacebuilding, environmental sustainability, and exploring the West's wild spaces.
Franque Bains is a storyteller, a passionate organizer, a google doc slayer, and a grain-free aficionado. She is convinced that the key to happiness is bringing your ideas to life and helping others do the same. She currently works to build community through storytelling in Salt Lake City.
Whether through film, literature, poetry, or music, creative storytelling has fueled our movements by speaking directly to heart and spirit. During this hour, we’ll take a look at the power of creative storytelling in community organizing and civic engagement. We’ll address how the arts can build resilience and sustainability in movement building and how the arts can slow the dominant narrative and create space for the new. We’ll invite you to ask yourself, how can you utilize the power of story and creative expression to create the change you want to see?
“This is not our apocalypse, we have come to lay white supremacy to rest. This is
not our apocalypse, my people are free. This is not our apocalypse, we have come to
lay patriarchy and greed to the ground. This is not our apocalypse, we are giving
it back over to the soil to do their work. This is not our apocalypse, we are just
offering the eulogy. This is not our apocalypse, we are the doulas.”
— BRONTË VELEZ
We, at the Bennion Center, acknowledge that the land on which we operate, and which is named for the Ute Tribe, is the traditional and ancestral homeland of the Shoshone, Paiute, Goshute, and Ute Tribes. We recognize and respect the enduring relationship that exists between many Indigenous peoples and their traditional homelands. We respect the sovereign relationship between tribes, states, and the federal government, and we affirm the University of Utah’s commitment to a partnership with Native Nations and Urban Indian communities through research, education, and community outreach activities.
Thank you to our Civic Leadership Conference Planning Committee! Thank you to our student leaders Xitlally Barajas, Josh Buss, Lauren Harvey, Jin Heo and our staff partners Megan Medina and Courtney Dean.