The new Practice Leaders at TSNE are creating a vision for the future of our programs. Over the past several years, TSNE has continued to grow and expand our consulting, training, fiscal sponsorship and grant making programs to offer more capacity building services, engage new constituencies, and create more opportunities to use our experience to help build the knowledge and effectiveness of the people and organizations we serve.
Sylvia Saavedra-Keber has recently joined TSNE as the new Practice Leader for the Consulting and Executive Transitions program. Formerly a Senior Associate for Community Capacity Building with Community Training and Assistance Center, Sylvia brings decades of experience in community capacity building to TSNE. She served for over thirteen years as the executive director of a Latino organization in the Greater Boston area which focuses on the cultural, social, economic and educational development of Latinos affected by poverty. Her areas of expertise include community building, community organizing, and educating and mobilizing communities of color.
“As a consultant and a trainer for many years, I view my role as helping groups see their challenges and opportunities through different lenses. Exposing people to new experiences, new ways of thinking and building better relationships with one another that gives them a broad, holistic view of the systems, policies and structures affecting them, their organizations and their communities,” says Sylvia. “We learn together. I’m not an expert, I am always learning. In my experiences, though, I know that the more inclusive you can make the learning, the more people involved in the decision-making and the more views you can expose them to while learning how to solve problems together, the better the outcomes will be.”
Sylvia has had leadership roles in many community efforts over the year that have been successful in the areas of immigrant voting rights, housing, accessibility to education, equal employment opportunity, and quality health care, including accessibility to interpretation and translation services. A community trainer and mediator, Sylvia is a member of the Community Dispute Settlement Center of Cambridge and is a member of the Atrius Health advisory board. Sylvia was the Assistant Director of the Immigrant Unit at the Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants, and also served for many years as the Equal Employment Opportunity Director for the Massachusetts Department of Employment and Training.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with TSNE,” says Sylvia. “In my new role as Practice Leader here, I can close the loop and draw on all my past experiences in state and federal government, in direct service organizations, consulting and community building to lead TSNE’s consulting practice in new directions and add to the network of clients, constituents, community groups, nonprofits, foundations and others we work with.”
Sylvia hopes to expand TSNE’s consulting practice by engaging with different types of community-based groups and working with to them to create more inclusive and impactful organizations that directly involve the community members they serve in the organizations’ strategy, planning and decision making.
“We need to prepare the nonprofit sector and our communities for the future, especially with a new generation of leaders who are emerging and who are eager to work for more social justice in our society,” says Sylvia. “We need to equip everyone with the necessary skills, tools, education, frameworks and principles to allow us to partner with one another toward real social progress. It is not just about making better organizations or better leaders or better community members – it is about making all of us better human beings.”