What’s in a Name? Why Meaningful Change Centers on Impact
By Lisa Diaz, Lumen Impact Group, Founder
It was 2009, and I had been on the board of a school in the community where I live for a number of years. My boys attended the school, and things were going well. The school was, for the most part, achieving good results, but there was something missing. Our school was not much different than the other local public schools. We were a sit-and-get, worksheet-driven, traditional education model. Though this approach yielded good results, did it really have a lasting impact on students? After much exploration and discussion, the board, in partnership with school staff, decided to change course.
Today, this school is a vibrant project-based academy that centers around four defining practices:
- We value connection with students to inform our personalized practices at varying levels of complexity depending on the individual.
- We honor student voice and encourage student choice through self-
- We use inquiry-based approaches to guide students through Project-Based Learning experiences as well as content deep dives.
- We believe in the power of ongoing, innovative, rigorous, professional growth.
I will not lie to you: this change process took time, and in fact, we are still learning and evolving to make our educational model the most impactful for all types of learners. But, through the hard work of looking in the mirror and seeking a better way forward, we were able to redirect our course and begin working towards change that has already greatly enhanced our impact as an organization.
This experience along with other client experiences helped solidify for me the name and, more importantly, the purpose of Lumen Impact Group. This school transformation would not have been possible if we, as a board, were not willing to turn the mirror around to examine ourselves and luminate (Lumen) our image.
At Lumen, we believe that this practice of allowing organizations to examine where they are in their current state—their strengths, pain points, beliefs, and goals—can subsequently lead to a deeper understanding of their own practices and outcomes, and as a result, can generate meaningful growth, continuous improvement, and lasting impact. And this growth—the result of discussions, looking at data, and identifying a plan to meet goals, is where the IMPACT comes—the result of carefully and honestly thinking about where we are, where we want to be, and charting a course forward.
So why does any of this matter? Just like at our community school, most organizations aren’t drowning. Our school wasn’t drowning. We were good, but we were not great. There was an opportunity for us to have a greater impact, but we only knew that because we did the hard work of looking at ourselves and seeing a better path forward. In breaking down walls and being honest about the foundations and outcomes of where schools, districts, or nonprofits are TODAY, they are able to envision and enact a far brighter and stronger future—one that makes powerful and lasting change on their students or clients.
At Lumen Impact Group, we work with organizations that are doing good work—organizations that are already affecting change in communities, serving students, and or creating meaningful policy for cities or even states. But by looking in the mirror, we help our clients plot a course of action to greatness, a path that creates the greatest impact for constituents, partners, or their own clients. By no means is this work easy. Sometimes when we look in the mirror, we see things that are convenient to ignore. At Lumen, we can help you, as partners in this work, to see these things without judgement, but with a critical lens that helps to focus on improvement and the ultimate impact you want your employees, your organization, and ultimately, the people you serve, to be able to imprint on the world.