Roddenberry Fellowship 2020
The Fellowship Experience: first phone call to final cohort meet up
Meg Busse | May 5, 2019
I’m not going to lie — the best day of work here at the Foundation is the day we get to call fellows to let them know they’re invited to join the cohort. But while it’s become the Best Day Ever — it started out as an intentional choice to begin our relationships with fellows in a way that felt aligned with the ethos of the Fellowship and the Foundation.
From day one, we want fellows to feel a sense of community and connection — that they’re more than just their projects or impact. This starts with the first phone call to let them know we’d love to have them join the cohort, and where we get to hear cheers, crying, total silence, shouting, and even questions about whether this is a prank.
In the first month leading up to the retreat in LA, there’s a lot of back and forth about best ways to get grant funds to folks, convos about priorities for the year so we can tailor content, checking in on dietary restrictions and physical needs so everyone can comfortably spend a week together, and a video orientation call so we can connect visually before we all meet in person.
The First Retreat
The first retreat focuses on connecting the fellows: everyone answers the question, “Why do you do the work that you do?” with the emphasis on them as individuals, not just their work work. This storytelling and story-listening is intense, and it can be hard. And what we’ve heard is that it has helped fellows reconnect to their work more deeply, understand and articulate their passion to others, and find common threads with each other that might not have been visible from just a resume, bio, or pitch.
During The Fellowship
After the retreat, fellows continue the conversation via an online community of fellows and alums. We see posts ranging from hiring questions, requests for advice, interesting articles, conference collaborations, and even new kicks.
The fellows also connect monthly between retreats — sometimes for cohort check-ins; sometimes for trainings; sometimes to hear amazing folks in the space talk about topics ranging from the history of the Rainbow Coalition in the ‘70s, to the state of international activism, to the community as a form of self-care. Topics and speakers are driven by the fellows — this program is about them.
The Second Retreat
The second retreat is in NYC in October. And for the first time, alums will join the current cohort in an un-conference style gathering. We’ll also have an evening with community members — thought-leaders, funders, media, influencers, practitioners, leaders and all-around amazing folks who get to meet and connect with fellows and alums.
From the first phone call to this final retreat, our goal is to cultivate a cross-sector network of folks who are committed to cultivating a more inclusive, diverse, optimistic country. Why don’t you join us?