Q&A with Ben Kershaw: more of us need to engage in advocacy
// By Jacqueline Brennan
Election results can have a huge impact on our work and our missions. But how do we get the 2020 candidates focused on our most critical concerns? Join Ben Kershaw, Independent Sector’s director of public policy and government relations, for the Upswell workshop, “What Do We Want from the 2020 Candidates?”, to learn how to break through the cacophonous 2020 election noise and get our policy agenda on the candidates’ radar. We caught up with Ben to learn more about him, including what he’d change about the sector right now. Hint? It’s got something to do with advocacy.
Q: What would you attempt to do if there were no risks attached?
BK: I would move my family to a foreign country for a few years. Different places, languages, sights, and rhythms of life can impact you so profoundly, and you never really know until you try it.
Q: What would you change if you could get a do-over in your life?
BK: I wish I had learned computer programming when I was younger. Maybe because I know so little about it, but I think it would be valuable and versatile.
Q: What is one thing you’re deeply proud of but would never put on your resumé?
BK: I try to make a point of treating people well, no matter the setting, no matter my feelings. I also believe that I am really good at peeling an orange.
Q: What one incident or occurrence in your life has had the most influence on the work you’re doing today?
BK: I would say the class I took in my senior year of high school about advocating for the less fortunate. Our final project was to design an actual program initiative. That level of putting a real plan together had a huge impact, just by forcing a young and naïve kid to consider how ideas like justice and equality intersect with real people’s lives.
Q: What would you change about the sector right now if you could?
BK: Far too few nonprofit organizations are engaged in advocating for public policy that advances their missions.
What Do We Want from the 2020 Candidates? is happening Thursday, November 14 from 4:15 – 5:30pm.