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Community Matters: Growing Our Authentic Community Influence

Community Matters is a biweekly opinion column. The views expressed are solely the author’s.

I was recently asked for my thoughts on influence. I have always been intrigued by influence – how it works, what makes some more influential than others and exactly how one can consistently influence others for greater impact.

When I think about the people and institutions in Arlington who have the potential for the most impact, in addition to elected officials, business leaders, etc., our organizational and civic leaders at all levels top the list. As we push for Arlington to evolve, I think it is critical that each of us truly understand influence.

It seems easy enough, we all influence our children, our partners and our colleagues in different ways. Sometimes it’s through commands, other times it’s through flattery, but most of us have been able to influence others in our lives.

I am often asked for recommendations on recruiting more minorities to organizations or initiatives, in particular. I have written about other advice and thoughts about authenticity, expanding your network, and simply asking – which are all essential.

When I am considering a new endeavor, something has to stand out about the ask and the work that I am being asked to do. As you consider recruiting people who are different from the majority of your current membership, consider using authentic influence. While there are a lot of people who likely fit your criteria, there are a limited number you have access to (until you ramp up your outreach). In my conversations I have noticed that many of the people who fit the commonly sought after criteria, are in high demand and recruited by several organizations at once.

Yet, there are differentiators for the people and organizations who are able to attract this talent, and I believe some of that lies in their ability to influence. We must remember that there are often concerns about trust, and leeriness that the person will be used as a token. Additionally, as with most of us, there are concerns about a limited ability to commit the time needed.

Empowerment. I have written before about providing training and preparation for those who you might want to recruit, but may not possess everything you need for the role. Whether you offer community training with the goal of recruiting, additional leadership/members, or specifically target the people you want to recruit, generally empowering them (without pandering) may be beneficial. Make a connection between the role you would like them to serve in and the work they do now. Have conversations with them and encourage them to see where they are now and where they could be by serving in that role.

Individualization. This may seem like it goes without saying, but be clear about why you want this person to serve in a role, and not just “any woman” or any “Asian American,” etc. Those of us who have been on the other end of recruiting efforts can generally tell when the person or organization knows little about what we can bring to the table.

Connect with their emotions. Within reason, I would consider really connecting with people. With so much going on in everyone’s lives, someone who takes the time to find out what is happening in my life and how I am feeling, would probably resonate more with me. I believe that those personal connections are what keep us coming back to the roles we currently have.

It can be easy to think about the new policies we are implementing in Arlington on a systemic level, but we can’t forget each other’s humanity. As we move forward with true community change, we should remember the power of authentic personal influence.

Krysta Jones has lived in Arlington since 2004 and is active in local politics and civic life. This column is in no way associated with or represents any person, government, organization or body — except Krysta herself.

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It is the decision of the United States Department of Defense (DoD) Washington Headquarters Services (WHS) to implement the Proposed Action: the 2024 Pentagon Reservation Master Plan Update (Pentagon Master Plan) as the framework to guide future decisions regarding land use and infrastructure at the Pentagon site and Mark Center. The Pentagon Master Plan aims to provide an update to the existing conditions at the Pentagon and Mark Center and presents projects and revisions to land use categorizations that will address the specific needs to reduce the Pentagon’s environmental impacts and advance sustainability, security, and resilience. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review has been completed through preparation of a Final Environmental Assessment (EA) to evaluate environmental impacts arising from implementation of the projects. WHS has concluded that no significant impacts to the human or natural environment will result from implementation of any projects, and recognized negative effects will be reduced by adherence to standard best management practices, applicable permit and consultation conditions, and standard operating procedures. This decision is further documented in the Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) signed on March 20, 2024.

This notice announces the availability of the FONSI to implement the 2024 Pentagon Reservation Master Plan Update.

For further information and to request a copy of the Final EA or FONSI, please contact Brian King, Environmental and Sustainability Program Manager, WHS/Facilities Services Directorate/Standards and Compliance Division/Environmental and Sustainability Branch; (703-614-3658 or [email protected]). Please include “Pentagon Master Plan Final EA and FONSI” in the subject line.

Submit your own Announcement here.

The 3rd Annual Arlington Fair Housing Conference will feature Thomas Silverstein, renowned Fair Housing expert and Associate Director of the Fair Housing & Community Development Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

Come hear the latest news about fair housing enforcement, policy, and programs within Arlington County, Virginia, and across the country! Our expert panelists and guest speakers include fair housing advocates, elected officials, and government officials tasked with advancing housing equity at the local, state, and federal level.

Arlington has made substantial strides in advancing housing equity and improving fair housing policy with the adoption of the Regional Fair Housing Plan in 2023. Come learn what’s next to fight housing discrimination, incorporate equity for marginalized populations in our housing policies and programs, and increase awareness of fair housing rights under state and federal law.

We’ll have updates from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing federal rule, a panel discussion of fair housing progress at the General Assembly and across Virginia, and a panel of local experts discussing the progress Arlington has made and what remains to be done.
Please RSVP in advance to ensure you receive your free lunch at the conference. Free and open to the public.

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Submit your own Announcement here.

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