Direction, Alignment – Leading to Commitment in Elizabeth, NJ

NJHI 2015: Building a Culture of Health in New Jersey – Communities Moving to Action Shaping Elizabeth Community Health Initiative

Wednesday, November 16, 2016 from 9:30-12:00 pm, 24 engaged community leaders from 13 agencies came together to focus on the year one priorities for Shaping Elizabeth’s “Road Map.” As the Project Manager, these meetings are always stressful, never sure who will come, and wondering if the agenda will engage people. So today started with trepidation, and ended feeling exhilarated.

In an effort to ensure we are all moving in one direction and aligned to the priorities and committed to work towards our successful implementation, the team shared organizational information through a modified “Boundary Spanning” Conversation.

Important to all organizations:

  • Building Relationships
  • Open/ Honest/Committed Communication
  • Branding a Single Message
  • Sharing of Resources
  • Unified Approach
  • Doing what’s in best interest of the community


  • Protect Clients’ Privacy
  • Lack of Engagement

Executive Committee Members then outlined each priority area:

  • Overarching Strategy
  • Access to Care/Quality of Care
  • Physical Activity
  • Reduce Diabetes
  • Lower BMI
  • AIDS Education

Team Members were asked to share (the blue post-its) on a scale of 1-5 (1-low / 5-high) how the strategy would align with their organizational mission/vision. Then, on yellow post-its, suggest any strategy that may have been missed.  There was great mingling and conversation throughout the process. Several people suggested this was a great way to get to know one another and we came up with “Speed Networking” for our next meeting as well as a possible social situation since this was so valuable. Many people stated that they were energized and invigorated by this format and felt like their input was heard.


The final step asked individuals to commit to the area or areas (no more then 2) that they would work on together.  The Executive Committee will review all information and develop the structure for the new Work Group Teams based on our “Road Map” and at the January meeting, a plan will be outlined for their feedback. We voted using “Fist to Five” and all agreed to next steps and the 2017 meeting calendar.



Alane McCahey
The Gateway Family YMCA