Pomegranate Center

Alas, Pomegranate Center, the nonprofit, has moved to the great beyond. Pomegranate Associates, LLC will carry on the work. Read more

A Note from Katya

by Katya Matanovič

December 11, 2019

I know everyone says this but, I truly can’t believe we’re approaching the end of 2019! This time of year calls for a reflective pause, and at the end of my first year as CEO, that feels particularly useful. And that reflection has me thinking about a few themes, particularly a growing sense of urgency mixed with a healthy dose of gratitude.

Right now around the world, the idea of community engagement is experiencing a real boom. Never have I seen the conversation and demand for community engagement be this high. And not just the “check the box” kind of engagement – but authentic, equitable, meaningful engagement. Advocacy groups, foundations, citizens, corporations, government agencies are all having good and tough conversations about how to reach out, collaborate, co-create with their community. Hallelujah, I say.

However, what we see at Pomegranate Center is that the capacity to do this kind of community engagement has not yet caught up to the desire. So I have this real mix of emotions – excitement that people are finally emphasizing the importance of, you know, asking the community what should happen in their community, and real worry that if we don’t fill this capacity gap, we might soon start to see the desire for community engagement start to reverse direction. So I’m paying close attention to that gap. And I spend a lot of time thinking about how we can start narrowing that gap.

I don’t think the current appetite for community engagement will remain high if the outcomes are not awesome and the work feels complicated and like drudgery and like an extra thing. So, when I look to the future of Pomegranate Center and this field of collaborative leadership, I think about how we can make it easier for people to be successful, how we make collaborative leadership more attainable, and how we make fierce facilitation more accessible.

We’ve got some exciting (even audacious) ideas for how to do this, Starting with our Collaboration Office Hours launching in January. This program brings monthly custom coaching to any of our training graduates, anywhere in the world, for any collaborative community engagement projects or questions they have.  Not a graduate? You can become one by taking one of our intro workshops!) I’m so excited to get the chance to connect with people on-the-ground grappling with all the delicious and bitter bits of collaborative community engagement. I learn so much from these conversations about what is pressing, what is exciting, how the world is calling for this work and where it feels hard. And I learn how Pomegranate Center can grow in our capacity to make that even more wonderful and easy.

And that’s where I feel the gratitude. Every conversation, every meeting, every training, every donation reminds me of our common goals, our collective spirit, our pull to build communities that are filled with care and support and beauty. That, my friends, keeps me going every day. So – thank you.


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Katya Matanovic