Systems Change Facilitator
Project Title: Systems Change Capacity-Building for Queer St. Louis Community Leaders & Organizers
Amidst a rapidly changing landscape for LGBTQIA+ systems of care, gender- and sexuality-based oppression remain entrenched due to interlocking systemic factors.
St. Louis has 10-20+ queer/LGBTQIA+ community groups working towards health equity, but few collaborate meaningfully on a shared strategy, share data on long-term outcomes, or have a systemic analysis of the root causes of health inequities. 98.4% of SQSH’s Community Needs Survey respondents agreed that our local queer community would benefit from building skills/capacity to think about and tackle challenges more systemically.
In order to shift the conditions that perpetuate oppression/marginalization of queer St. Louisans, we need to first explore what the conditions are and how they might be shifted. In the current polarized climate, we want to take a step back from individual programs, and focus on understanding what is holding queer community fragmentation and health disparities in place. We want to learn tools that look beyond any single organization to understand the system.
With 3-year funding from MFH (Missouri Foundation for Health), we will form a cross-sector Cohort of queer St. Louis community leaders/organizers to build skills, relationships, and buy-in for systems-change and coalition work. Through a 2-year Fellowship, we will develop shared systems-change frameworks. Since 95% of systems-change is about understanding the problem, we’ll focus on laying the foundation for systems work, not rushing to implement solutions. Through workshops, mentorship, and peer-learning led by experienced systems-change practitioners, we will learn how to build a unified agenda and systems-change strategy to align our efforts. We’ll directly address conflicts so that early systems work can unfold. Potential project outputs include a systems map, a systems-change project, a shared strategy/vision statement, a strategic plan, and/or a narrative report on what we learned. Our long-term goal is for queer community leaders to align/coordinate our efforts towards systemic impact.
SQSH’s Systems Change Facilitator works to actualize SQSH’s mission of building our community’s capacity for systems change. They will build trust, relationships, and a shared political analysis among movement actors, while supporting collective learning about systems change tools. This partner-facing position is responsible for managing various programming and skill-building components of SQSH’s Systems Change Fellowship and remaining responsive to Fellows’ experiences and input. This role is crucial for keeping Fellows engaged over a long period of time and building trust throughout our ecosystem.
This is a highly partner-facing role that requires a passion for building relationships, ability to cultivate trust and mediate conflict across movement actors, willingness to be vulnerable and share openly about their lived experiences and political values in front of various partners, and a knack for creating safe spaces where others feel comfortable opening up. A successful candidate understands how to facilitate difficult conversations, manage varied relationships, lead collaboration efforts while sharing power, and identify connections between different parts of the queer liberation movement. By transparently discussing harm within our community, they aim to facilitate transformative justice approaches to intra-movement conflict.
An ideal candidate is well-equipped to convene diverse community leaders, with experience building trusting relationships among queer St. Louisans and taking a queer-focused approach to systems work. They are able to build meaningful coalitions by facilitating roundtable-style meetings, aligning diverse stakeholders on common goals and community norms, and facilitating collective agreement on action steps. They are good at deep listening and appreciative inquiry, including curiosity to ask questions, build understanding, and show appreciation for what is shared. They can serve as a peer to senior-level decision-makers in terms of both expertise and lived experience, offering thought partnership in strategic conversations.
To live into their potential, coalitions require leadership focused on weaving connections and coordinating learning and action. SQSH’s Systems Change Facilitator will work behind the scenes to create the conditions for queer St. Louis leaders and organizations to flourish. They will create safe containers for generative dialogue among diverse queer St. Louis leaders with divergent perspectives. They will cultivate and maintain channels of communication that encourage understanding and information flow amongst stakeholders within the queer St. Louisan ecosystem.
Systems change is an approach that addresses the root causes instead of symptoms of social issues through collaboration, shared leadership, and scaling indirect impact. Learn more about Systems Change and the role of a Network Coordinator. Applicants are not expected to understand all the jargon used in the systems change field; we recognize that community organizers and activists have long been using strategies for systems change without using the same professionalized language.