Following a tumultuous 2020, in which Nashville and Davidson County, TN were impacted by a myriad of natural and man-made disasters, the City has redoubled efforts to build resilience in its operations. In planning the path forward, City officials have eschewed a standalone resilience plan in favor of integrating resilience planning across each department. The FUSE Executive Fellow will support the development and implementation of this innovative approach to municipal resilience.
Fellowship Dates: October 24, 2022 – October 23, 2023
ABOUT THE FUSE EXECUTIVE FELLOWSHIP
FUSE Corps is a national nonprofit working to expand social and economic opportunities, particularly for communities that have been limited by a history of systemic and institutionalized racism. FUSE partners with local governments and communities to more effectively address pressing challenges by placing experienced professionals within city and county agencies. These FUSE Executive Fellows lead strategic projects designed to advance racial equity and accelerate systems change. Since 2012, FUSE has led over 250 projects in 40 governments across 20 states, impacting the lives of 25 million people.
When designing each fellowship project, FUSE works closely with government partners and local stakeholders to define a scope of work that will achieve substantive progress toward regional priorities. FUSE then conducts an individualized search for each project to ensure that the selected candidate has at least 15 years of professional experience, the required competencies for the role, and deep connections to the communities being served. They are data-driven and results-oriented and able to effectively manage complex projects by developing actionable roadmaps and monitoring progress to completion.
Executive Fellows are hired as FUSE employees and embedded in government agencies for at least one year of full-time work. Throughout their fellowships, they receive training, coaching, and professional support from FUSE to help achieve their project goals. FUSE Executive Fellows bring diverse perspectives and new approaches to their projects. They build strong relationships with diverse arrays of stakeholders, foster alignment within and across various layers of government, and build partnerships between governments and communities.
As climate change unfolds, natural disasters will impact cities more frequently. In 2021, U.S. cities experienced twenty natural disasters that caused more than $1 billion in damage each. Man-made disasters (e.g., terrorism, power outages, cyber attacks) also inflict severe damage. In 2020, the City of Nashville and Davidson County (Metro) endured multiple disasters, including an EF3 tornado in early March, a derecho in May, and the Christmas Day bombing. All of this occurred during the Covid-19 pandemic, which had immediate negative effects on the Metro’s economy and public health. These co-occurring disasters disproportionately impacted the city’s BIPOC and New American communities due to historic exclusions such as redlining.
For the Metro, 2020 was a profound illustration of how municipal governments must be prepared for climate shocks (i.e., severe, short-term disasters such as tornados) and stresses (i.e., chronic, long-term disasters such as multi-year pandemics) and equip their communities to do the same. Having signed the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy in 2019, the Metro had already increased its climate change efforts before these disasters hit. In 2021, the City hired a Chief Sustainability and Resilience Officer, a resilience-focused FUSE Fellow, and signed on to the Race to Resilience. As a result, it is ready to elevate resilience across all departments, with extra thought towards BIPOC communities, New Americans, and other historically excluded groups who often bear the brunt of disasters and who have fewer resources available to cope in the aftermath.
While most cities develop stand-alone resilience plans, the Metro will embed resilience within each department’s existing strategic planning processes. Metro will partner with FUSE Corps to build the tools and processes necessary to help departments integrate resilience into their plans. The FUSE Executive Fellow will develop a plan to implement this vision and develop the resources that City officials need to develop resilient plans in a standardized way. As a result, Nashville’s policies and programs will be more resilient to man-made and natural shocks and stressors while also building equity in residents’ ability to do the same.
PROJECT SUMMARY & POTENTIAL DELIVERABLES
The following provides a general overview of the proposed fellowship project. This project summary and the potential deliverables will be collaboratively revisited by the host agency, the fellow, and FUSE staff during the first few months of the fellowship.
Starting in October 2022, the FUSE Executive Fellow will build deep relationships with a range of stakeholders. This will include representatives from across the Metro’s government to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and constraints that stakeholders face in building resilience to natural and man-made shocks and stresses into their short- and long-term plans. At the same time, the Executive Fellow will conduct extensive research to identify best practices and promising approaches to embedding resilience in department-level strategic plan and review progress to date on the build out and use of resiliency planning tools (such as the Metro Department Resilience Self-Assessment.)
Next, the Executive Fellow will develop an implementation plan to guide departments to integrating equitable resilience into their strategies as a standard operating procedure. This phase of work will include socializing the Mayor’s Resilience Vision (to be completed prior to October 2022), developing a minimum resilience planning criterion, identifying concrete actions necessary to build each department’s ability to embed resilience into their strategies, and determine a tiered approach for how to organize departments and facilitate the resilience planning process over time.
As the Executive Fellow develops the implementation plan, they will also create templates and supporting documents that departments will need. These resources may include: self-assessments; guidance on targets and metrics; tools and best practices to navigate the intersection of resilience and equity; financial planning resources; and sample scopes of work for resilience centered programming or services. The combination of the implementation plan, templates, and supporting documents should be sufficient for any Metro operating unit to successfully develop a strategic plan that embeds resilience and meets or exceeds the minimum resilience planning criteria.
Finally, the Executive Fellow will assist one or two ‘Tier One’ departments in completing initial resilience planning actions. In order to ensure timely yet manageable implementation, Tier One departments are the highest priority operating units based on the impact they have on the resilience or the city. By October 2023, the Executive Fellow will have overseen the following:
- Conduct a Stakeholder Listening Tour – Develop relationships with stakeholders in Metro government, conduct a thorough review of approaches that have been effective in regions similar to Nashville and of progress to date on resiliency planning per each department
- Develop an Implementation Plan – Map out how to make resilience planning a standard part of business at the department level in the Metro; set a minimum resilience planning criteria and equip operating units with the steps necessary to meet or exceed that criteria; determine a tiered approach
- Create Templates and Supporting Documents – Build a toolkit of resources that supports departments in their resilience planning work and ensures consistency across operating units. This should include tools to increase equity in resilience capabilities and programs.
- Complete Initial Resilience Planning Actions for 1-2 Departments – Identify Tier One departments and work with one or two of them to complete initial resilience planning tasks.
- Executive Sponsor – Kristin Wilson, Chief of Operations and Performance; Mayor’s Office
- Project Supervisor – Kendra Abkowitz, Chief Sustainability and Resilience Office; Mayor’s Office
In addition to the qualifications listed below, a background in strategic planning, stakeholder management, and resilience is strongly preferred for this project.
- Synthesizes complex information into clear and concise recommendations and action-oriented implementation plans.
- Develops and effectively implements both strategic and operational project management plans.
- Generates innovative, data-driven, and result-oriented solutions to difficult challenges.
- Responds quickly to changing ideas, responsibilities, expectations, trends, strategies and other processes.
- Communicates effectively both verbally and in writing, and excels in both active listening and conversing.
- Fosters collaboration across multiple constituencies in order to support more effective decision making.
- Establishes and maintains strong relationships with a diverse array of stakeholders, both inside and outside of government, and particularly including community-based relationships.
- Embraces differing viewpoints and implements strategies to find common ground.
- Demonstrates confidence and professional diplomacy, while effectively interacting with individuals at all levels of various organizations.
FUSE Corps is an equal opportunity employer with core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply for this position.