The Athena Group’s team of experienced and expert consultants holds inclusive engagement at the core of our philosophy.
We see inclusive engagement practices as a critical aspect of designing effective and equitable public policies, programs, and strategic plans, and it provides the foundation for building more resilient communities. On that foundation, we integrate the following factors into our engagement practices whenever possible, helping communities work through the challenges they face more effectively now and well into the future.
- Community Connection Mapping
- Community Capacity Building
- Community Assessment and Participatory Research
- Community-Based Planning & Policy Development
- Translation, Interpretive, and Accessibility Services
- Design Lab Services
We engage diverse perspectives so that you can take wise action.
People have their own beliefs and perspectives based on their own life experiences, backgrounds and cultures. Often it is difficult for people to relate well to those who are different from themselves. Yet, these different perspectives and knowledge are tremendously valuable when combined and mutually explored honestly and openly between people. Communication and mutual learning lead to mutual respect and understanding.
We center the voices traditionally over-looked when gathering information, collaborating, creating policy and making decisions. Athena Group has decades of experience working with diverse groups of stakeholders that come together to navigate even the most complex problems. We take groups through processes to identify stakeholders and then involve, facilitate, build consensus, and strengthen relationships for an effective engagement process and outcome.
We Host Inclusive Engagement Across All Audiences
Our focus is on helping organizations and communities to discuss difficult issues, learn from each other, and move forward in productive ways. Conflict often goes unresolved and simmers beneath the surface of meetings or group interactions, because people are afraid to address it directly, or simply don’t know how to address it without making things worse. Athena Group has decades of experience working with diverse groups of stakeholders that come together to navigate even the most complex problems. We take groups through processes to identify stakeholders and then involve, facilitate, build consensus, and strengthen relationships for an effective engagement process and outcome.
We design and facilitate community engagement processes using a variety of different tools and methods including but not limited to:
Community Connection Mapping
At Athena, we know that a community is more than the sum of its parts. Our connection mapping work seeks to identify the community's key elements, as both individuals and small groups relate to them, and delineate these influences in a dynamic way. Thoroughly understanding local needs and strengths is key to designing successful strategies.
Community Capacity Building
Our community capacity-building efforts focus on fostering connections between organizations and groups in a designated area or population. This work aims to provide the skills that participants need to truly engage with others, such as understanding the importance of diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion, to practicing being in conflict in healthy ways, to learning how to listen as well as participate in community meetings.
Community Assessment & Participatory Research
To ensure broad participation, participants may need assistance with the costs of transportation, childcare, food, translation/interpretation, and stipends for community participants. Extending hospitality to community members in these ways shows a deep commitment to authentic partnership by making cultural accommodations while also sparking leadership. We will assess your community needs and will identify opportunities for you to fund greater participation.
Community-Based Planning & Policy Development
Our work creates access and space for members from widely disparate parts of a broader community to connect and build positive working relationships. Part of this process involves acknowledging and leveling power and access to resources that members bring to the table, and establishing structures for continuous engagement and feedback.
Translation, Interpretive, & Accessibility Services
A more diverse and inclusive process allows you to hear from people with disabilities, people with low incomes, seniors, youth, and with people that are not native English speakers. We have developed broad partnerships to form a more inclusive, engaging process.
Our Design Labs create safe spaces to deliberate, build civic leadership skills, and take action across existing divides. Labs takes place in four phases carried out only after a few months in workshops and community check-ins.
Community Engagement in Practice
Community-Based Planning & Policy, Strategic Plan on Homelessness
The city and county engaged The Athena Group to help them facilitate a community-driven strategic planning process on homelessness. To do this, The Athena Group’s project partners designed and facilitated a process that ultimately enabled a diverse group of community members and leaders—the Planning and Action Team on Homelessness (PATH)—to find the best way forward for themselves, in light of all interests and perspectives in the community.
Community Engagement Stewards
Many Athena Partners and Collaborators work within this Line of Business. Talk with our Community Engagement Stewards to find out which consultant might be a great match for your needs.