In one sentence, my practice is about loving our people,

in all of our brilliance and darkness,

and dedicating our energies to a collective destiny.

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In the past 20 years (gulp…), my practice has been molded around supporting organizations to reach their full potential by being clearer on vision, mission, strategy and articulating results. In the past eight years, my practice has evolved to focus on strategy and learning and evaluation. It’s always about supporting leaders (that’s everyone) working in stronger alignment with purpose and each other.

Strategy and direction-setting

Reflections, learning and evaluation

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In practical terms, we need to be able to tell our own stories, from our own perspectives, with our own words, in our own context and not having someone from the ivory tower “studying”us,  making meaning for us, and/or extracting it from us. We are completely capable of defining success and creating meaningful indicators that tell us we are moving in the right direction. We owe that to ourselves, our communities and the greater work of justice.

The ways in which we add value to all of our projects are:
 
1. The combination of our competencies, values, and practices to support social and racial justice organizations and leaders to engage, reflect, be courageous to learn and grow;                                                                
2. Our social, political, spiritual networks with leaders, capacity builders and funders;
4. Our track record, skills and co-ownership approach; and
5. Our movement credentials and personal backgrounds.

 

We use many visuals in our work as a way to engage beyond talking. Above is a visual map from A Long Walk Home's Theory of Change retreat, and below is a vision board from Youth Uprising’s strategy session 2/2019.

We use many visuals in our work as a way to engage beyond talking. Above is a visual map from A Long Walk Home's Theory of Change retreat, and below is a vision board from Youth Uprising’s strategy session 2/2019.

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Shiree Teng has worked in the social sector for 40+ years as a social and racial justice champion – as a front line organizer, network facilitator, capacity builder, grantmaker, and evaluator and learning partner. Shiree brings to her work a lifelong commitment to social change and a belief in the potential of groups of people coming together to create powerful solutions to entrenched social issues.

Shiree has an intimate understanding of the issues and challenges related to working in communities of color and dynamics of race, class, gender, culture and power. Having spent her life in the social sector, Shiree comes to the work from the perspective of building capacity and lasting relationships.

 Starting out as a young community organizer at age 17, Shiree learned much of what she knows today from having organized in the trenches in Los Angeles, New York City, Watsonville/Salinas, and San Francisco/Oakland. From those 15+ years of working alongside and learning from immigrant child care, restaurant, garment, cannery and farm workers, Shiree brought the lessons into running nonprofit organizations, and then to being a program officer at the Packard Foundation’s Organizational Effectiveness program. In 2000, Shiree began her independent consulting practice. Standing on the shoulders of many who supported and guided her through the years, Shiree has established a rich strategy and evaluation practice, working with social and racial justice groups and their funders.

Today (March of 2019), Shiree leads a number of local and national developmental evaluation teams:

  • The California Endowment: East Oakland Building Healthy Communities; statewide BHC evaluation team with CSSP; strategy formation and learning with Sons and Brothers, Youth Leadership and Spread and Scale efforts.

  • East Bay Community Foundation: learning and evaluation of its capacity building efforts for Black-Led Organizations, ASCEND:BLO;

  • Haas Jr. Fund Flexible Leadership Award: reflecting on the lessons learned with FLA grantee partners around the country;

  • LGBTQ Racial Justice Fund: gathering stories through case studies and lessons learned from this work in Georgia and Louisiana;

  • Freedom Center for Social Justice: supporting the staff to articulate its theory of change and developing metrics to track its progress in the liberation of LGBTQ+ POC and low-wealth communities in No. Carolina and another 5 states in the south;

  • Latino Community Foundation: evaluating the progress of its innovative Latino Giving Circle Network in California in partnership with Robert Woods Johnson Foundation;

  • Movement Strategy Center: supporting MSC’s external evaluation of its movement building efforts;

  • Oakland Rising: serving as a learning partner for its ground-breaking Movement Technology Infrastructure; and

  • Praxis Project: facilitating and guiding a reflections and strategy formation effort 

Shiree leads by serving, using a culturally-rooted approach and relying on core competencies of strategic thinking, listening and synthesizing, connecting, truth-telling and defining and measuring success.

In Service of Our Beloved Community

For eight years, Shiree chaired the board of Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. Shiree has served on the boards of National Equity Project, Rockwood Leadership Institute, APEN and currently the Treasurer on the Board of Forward Together. 

 From 2015 to 2018, Shiree was a member of and then Chair of the Oakland Unified School District's Measures A, B and J Facilities Bond Oversight Committee, responsible for providing citizenship oversight of $437M bond funds to upgrade school facilities. Many lessons learned there!

Shiree with her parents, circa 1961 in Hong Kong.

Shiree with her parents, circa 1961 in Hong Kong.

Dennis and Shiree with sons Rumi and Maceo.

Beloved pets Rosie and Peanut at Point Isabel, Richmond, CA.

Beloved pets Rosie and Peanut at Point Isabel, Richmond, CA.

Born and raised in Hong Kong, Shiree is fluent in three Chinese dialects. Having lived and worked in Watsonville and Salinas with cannery and farmworkers, Shiree has a functional understanding of Spanish. She holds degrees in Social Welfare and Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. She lives in the Fruitvale District in Oakland with her partner, Dennis, and sons Rumi and Maceo and dogs, Rosie and Peanut. 

 

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO WORK WITH SHIREE

Here are a few things Shiree's been told by her coach of 15 years, Eileen Blumenthal, that working with her has these elements…

Not Business as Usual

The California Endowment / Spread and Scale partners gathering: Salinas, Kern, San Diego and Sacramento, April 2018

The California Endowment / Spread and Scale partners gathering: Salinas, Kern, San Diego and Sacramento, April 2018

  • Working with Shiree is not business as usual–only thing predictable is impact and results.

  • Shiree leads with passion and professionalism. Clients have to be up for going deep and being real.

  • She’s motivated by a profound longing for a more just world – this is not just an intellectual or academic process – it’s about systemic change and transformation.

  • She engenders hope and possibility.

  • Shiree’s energy is contagious. It’s clear she loves what she does and subsequently, she engenders trust and positivity.

 

Truth-Telling

National Indian Health Board retreat, Fall 2014

National Indian Health Board retreat, Fall 2014

  • Shiree’s a truth teller – she cuts through whatever is there and get to the heart of the matter; don’t indulge counter-productive or small minded stuff.

  • Great at finding commonality – common interests and common ground.

  • She sees the big picture and can operate at multiple altitudes at once.

  • She creates deep insight, solves problems and – most importantly – builds individual and organizational capacity.

  • She’s a force to be reckoned with. Ups the *game* for everyone and builds strength and clarity regardless of the process.

 

Not Afraid of the Muck

  • Her style is very intuitive – picks up, and addresses sub-text – unspoken dynamics; reveals what’s really going on by being authentic and inspiring authenticity.

  • She’s an inspired facilitator – builds trust, confidence and engagement at the outset and throughout. She makes it easy and fun for people to participate.

  • Shiree has deep skills and insights as an evaluator.

  • She’s skilled at synthesis – weaving together ideas and interests with a great blend of boldness and tact.

  • She’s not afraid of the muck – no glossing over or covering up.

  • She is effective in addressing complex dynamics – issues of power, privilege, differences.

  • Really seasoned and experienced and skillful, but not jaded or cynical.

 

Extraordinary Reputation

Rockwood Year-long Alumni retreat, Summer 2014

Rockwood Year-long Alumni retreat, Summer 2014

  • She enjoys an extraordinary reputation among clients – the most senior decision-makers and line staff folks on the ground.

  • She’s an influencer with astute judgment –judicious about offering an opinion; when she does, people listen and take note.

  • Shiree has great agility and fluidity -- equally comfortable gathering information, creating/managing processes, strategizing, building consensus; can dance or flex with whatever comes up.

  • She cares deeply and engages all out.

  • She’s naturally strategic but with a great deal of heart; smart and compassionate; unusual blend of hard and soft skills – organized, disciplined, AND compassionate.

  • Her rich life experiences inform her work.

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Dennis Smith, Esq.

Dennis' practice complements Shiree's by providing a data-driven, site-specific set of supports to social benefit organizations. 

Dennis is Destiny Arts Center's former Board Chair and is currently chair of its Finance Committee. 

LEGAL

Dennis received a Juris Doctorate from University of San Francisco after graduating from UC Berkeley with a BA in Legal Studies. Dennis brings over 20 years of legal expertise to help visionary leaders form legal entities and 501(c)(3) organizations, help draft and negotiate contracts, and advise on legal risk management issues.   

FINANCE

"You can tell a lot about an organization by looking at its financial reports."

Dennis has experience managing federal, state and local public and private contracts and grants, from $50,000 to $10M. He's able to give an unbiased assessment of organizational strengths and developmental areas through careful analysis of its financial reports. Dennis advises on financial regulatory compliance and financial systems.

FACILITIES

Increasingly, social-benefit / non-profit organizations own or consider buying our own buildings as assets. Dennis has successfully helped three Oakland-based social sector organizations buy and renovate their buildings.  Dennis has also advised, planned and overseen the development of single family, low income housing throughout Oakland. It's not easy, but an important endeavor to own our futures. And, it can be done!

Contact Dennis if you have facilities dreams and needs. 

Mabel Teng is a lifelong advocate, learner and game changer. She brings to her work a wealth of community organizing experience, policy-making expertise and social sector advocacy and leadership experience spanning from Boston to San Francisco.

Advocate and Policy Maker

In over three decades of public service, Mabel has been a frontline advocate for the equality of women, workers, LGBTQ and a wide array of social and economic justice issues. Mabel’s public service career spanned from 1990 to 2005 as she won four competitive citywide races, unseating well-funded incumbents with teams of dedicated volunteers and an inspiring message for change. She served on the San Francisco City College Board of Trustees, SF Board of Supervisors and as County Assessor-Recorder.

Trail Blazer

In 1984, Mabel introduced Jesse Jackson at the Democratic National Convention held in San Francisco as the first API woman ever to do so on a national platform and subsequently co-chaired the 1988 Jackson for President Campaign in California. She was deeply involved in and organized the Justice for Vincent Chin committee.

In 1994, Mabel became the first Asian woman elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, opening the door to a new generation of API’s aspiring to political office and progressive politics for social change. Mabel’s tenure as a lawmaker was marked by her innovative effort to connect communities of color to advocacy and public policy. Her advocacy legacy includes the creation of the nation's first Immigrant Rights Commission and the author of the Equal Access to Services Act, mandating language access to city departments. She co-authored and passed legislation to create the Cultural Equity Grants program of the San Francisco Arts Commission, and pioneered the use of surplus city funds to save arts and music programs in public schools.

As San Francisco’s Assessor-Recorder, Mabel’s proudest moment was officiating the marriage of Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon on Feb 12, 2005. Her team worked closely with then Mayor Newsom to facilitate the City’s same-sex marriage program, marrying 3,998 couples.

Today, Mabel serves as the Executive Director of the Chinese Culture Center, a leader in shifting the dominant narrative of Asian Americans through art interventions.

Mabel’s consulting areas are in effective advocacy, policy-making and legislative change, voter education and engagement, and making community voices heard in the legislative process.

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