Boards & Commissions: January in Review

Untitled design (1)

Welcome to the January Boards and Commissions newsletter, the first for the 2023 Fellowship Program! Here’s what is happening:

Quote of the month

“If we take the risk to reach out and get to know another person, we can change the landscape of the political environment.” Gary Sandusky, January Speaker on the Art of Building Relationships.

On the Docket: January Trainings

The 2023 Fellowship kicked off with the cohort learning about building relationships as the basic need in becoming an effective leader. Expert Gary Sandusky shared insight on the different kinds of relationships and the ways in which relationships can be built for specific purposes. As their homework, the fellows were asked to depict their lives in an artful way – as a river.

Here’s an example of what our fellows created:

While in different formats, these personal stories can be highly effective ways to change hearts and minds in decision making settings. The fellows will return to this exercise throughout the fellowship to hone their skills in telling their story to build relationships and to offer personal experiences when they are at the table. The fellows took a lot of risk by sharing their story with one other person and we praise them for their courage!!

Let’s Talk Shop: January Guest Presenters

CVI’s Program Manager Ryan McGoldrick spoke about clean energy and highlighted CVI’s work in helping cities and communities in Idaho establish commitments to clean energy and transportation, including the initiative to replace diesel school buses with electric alternatives.

Adan De La Paz is back this year teaching the fellows about diversity, equity and inclusion. This time, the fellows were invited to think about socioeconomic status as a legitimate form of difference. Learn along with this class by watching this video by Anthony Jack “Access Ain’t Inclusion” and then think about what Mr. Jack shares about his (and others) experience with higher education.

Gary Sandusky returned as a presenter once again with discussion on the importance of relationships and belonging in decision making spaces. He is a seasoned, nonprofit professional with 40 years of experience in community based organizing, human services and community development.

Old Business: Weekly Fellow and Mentor Features

As a way for you all to get to know the folks who are giving their time to participate in the program, we feature a fellow on Fridays and a mentor on Mondays on our social media. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram so you can get to know the future leaders in your area. Recently we featured:

Fellow Cieara Davis hails from Shoshone, Idaho where she is dedicated to elevating rural voices within the Idaho Democratic Party by serving as the Vice Chair of the Rural Caucus and Chair of the Lincoln County Democratic Central Committee.

“I’m looking forward to working with like-minded individuals, developing relationships with mentors, strengthening my confidence in leading as a queer woman, and learning how to best welcome others to take their seat at the table.”

Mentor Tamara Harmon is a previous graduate of our Fellowship Program who is helping us grow the program into Southern Idaho. Based in Twin Falls, Tamara spent 9 years working for the College of Southern Idaho before her current role as Executive Director of the Wellness Tree Community Clinic.

“I applied for the fellowship program in 2022 to learn how to balance living authentically with connecting in a conservative, traditional community.”

New Business: Upcoming Training Topics and Opportunities For You to Participate

Communication & Social Media: In February, the fellows will learn about effective ways to communicate, as well as how they should interact with social media when they become appointed officials. A new addition to this fellowship’s curriculum is learning about city government from retired Caldwell City employee Jerome Mapp. We are looking forward to the wisdom Mr. Mapp will share with us in February.

Public Lands 101: Additionally, we are adding a federal public lands presentation from 2022 Boards and Commissions graduate Linda Mazzu. Mrs. Mazzu’s career path as a federal employee has always focused on protecting natural and cultural lands and the ecosystems that support them. We appreciate the continued support we receive from previous Boards and Commissions graduates such as Linda!

Volunteer Opportunity

As part of the fellowship, we will be going to public spaces to host mock hearings in three areas of the state. We will need people to provide mock testimony during these hearings. If you would like to meet the fellows in your area and also help them learn by participating as an audience member and mock testifier, please reach out! It takes all of us to help these leaders grow! You can contact me at or by phone at 208-703-3063.

Thank each of you for reading and I’ll leave you with a gem from a 2021 fellow:

“If you want to fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.” – African Proverb told by Salome Mwangi, 2021 CVI Boards and Commissions Graduate