WRPA 2018 Annual Conference and Tradeshow

"Organizing Cultural Conversations"



Return to Conference Schedule

Date/Time: Wednesday, May 2 | 1:15 - 2:30PM

Speaker: Carol Soones Ross, Bellevue Parks & Recreation

Category: Programming

Description: Are the communities you serve beginning to mirror rapidly changing U.S. demographics, reflecting diverse populations, including individuals who are foreign-born, or a variety of faith groups? Is there a community need to connect long-time residents with those who have newly arrived, and build welcoming bridges and understanding? How do you begin to plant the seed for open dialogue, engage residents to learn across culture and foster relationships that may help shape community? This session will explore hosting a cultural conversation and why these conversations matter.  A cultural conversation gathering provides a safe space for community connection that inspires change through storytelling, new friendships, awareness of diverse cultures and common bonds. Observe the power of sharing personal stories and engage in table conversation while learning how the City of Bellevue has shaped this program over the past 6 years.

Learning Objective:

  • Identify/Recognize the need within the community for dialogues about cultural differences; Start a beginning conversation and who to involve

  • Explore the concept of storytelling and how it creates connection – learn to tell your own stories.

  • Understand the benefits of creating a “3rd place” for gathering at parks facilities including community centers, where groups can organize or be hosted, and create a zone of safety and connection. Explore the toolkit which includes the components of choosing topics and storytellers, promoting the conversations, and setting the stage for engagement and learning at the tables.

Speaker: Carol Soones Ross has been employed by the City of Bellevue over the past 4 years, as a Neighborhood Outreach Community Relations Coordinator. In this role, Carol is responsible for a number of community building programs including Cultural Conversations, Neighbor Link and Day of Sharing and Caring, a neighborhood improvement partnership with Jubilee REACH.
Carol, originally from the Boston area, relocated to Seattle via Colorado with first-hand knowledge of the challenges and opportunities that exist in making new connections in a new home. Carol previously worked in the technology and financial service industries, and holds degrees in Economics and Urban Affairs from Boston College and an MBA from Boston University. Community relations work for the city, allows for the intersection of her many areas of interest; communities of inclusion, education and financial empowerment and preserving stories of our families and culture.

 Session Approved for .1 CEU Credits

Return to Conference Schedule