Update: If you are looking for a remote option for your event, learn more about my virtual engagements by clicking here.

Intersectionality Across Careers in the Work We Do

I hope your September and October have been going well. Last time I reached out, I shared a bit about the project I’m working on related to the IRC and the employment transition for the Afghan refugees. More to come on the project and what I’m learning about trans-org collaboration in the next update.

For now, I want to share some thoughts about intersectionality, how we engage in the work we choose to do, and an invitation to engage if your intersections and my intersections may line up!
Career paths — even unusual ones with lots of pivots, jumps and transitions – are often visualized as linear, discrete steps (upward or horizontal) across a timeline. It’s deep in our language. We often talk about our life in chapters or stages or phases, as though we opened a section and then closed it completely before beginning the next one.

For my career so far, it would look like this:

However, personally, in practice, I’ve found this linearity wholly inaccurate. What I’ve experienced is an incredible amount of intersectionality – in the form unintended connections and reapplication opportunities, transferability of skills, unforeseen doors, and more than anything else, bringing integration of all the roles to bear on a current project. Maybe it’s because of my connect-the-dots-no-matter-what mentality or because I want to make use of all the diverse experiences I’ve had, I don’t know! I doubt there is just one “why”. 

Here’s what my career so far feels like in practice:

As an outcome of this constant intersectionality, I take on a wide diversity of projects, with consistency coming from the integral of my skillset. (Now that takes me back to my engineering days, integrating the area under the curve in this case is a perfect analogy for representing my core competencies today!). From the outsider’s lens, it’s a big question: What is Crystal working on now? What space is she engaging in? What’s the common thread?
From the inside me point of view, it all somehow makes sense.

To bridge that gap, here’s the current map of my intersectional capabilities and the initiatives I’m involved in. 

I now invite you to consider if your work intersects with two other spaces for me (see below) and if you’d like to start connecting and immersing there.

Do you work with Engineers or are you an Engineer?

The Handbook for Engineers Leading Change is a new book I’ve been working on for the past year with University of California at San Diego professor, Janette Williams. 

We saw a crucial gap for engineers – both in college and in the workforce – of knowledge, capability, and perspective around social and leadership skills. Though engineers are quite literally designing the future of society, many have been given no grounding to navigate the human side of the work they do.

Janette and I met via LinkedIn and have forged this collaboration virtually.
Now, we’ve got the manuscript complete and are getting closer to publishing!

We would love to connect with you if you are interested benefiting from this work.

Here’s an executive summary of the work.

Click the button to send me an email sharing your interest in the work

Do you help others learn and grow capability in any part of your role?

The Learning Cluster Design model, co-created by myself and my close colleague Lisa MD Owens, is a way of designing learning and education that goes beyond one-and-done, one-size-fits-all.

The gap we saw is that learning in a digital age happens through many ways, times, and places — but learning is typically delivered in the form of training or events.

Instead of designing courses and sequential programs as the only way to learn, we build learning clusters – a set of learning assets across times, ways, places – which is how people learn today.

*Example Learning Cluster below from Jen Collins, L&D Leader at Advantage Solutions

We’ve seen so many people benefit from learning the model – from traditional Learning and Dev to Customer Education to executives to change leaders to organizational developers.