Out With Solving for X, In With Combining Forces(x)

Dec 14, 2022

Solving For X is never out, of course, but we have introduced a new annual theme for 2023: Combining Forces(x):  Fueling Our Capacity For Change. By combining forces, we can multiply our efforts and the probability of positive change. 

For perspective, we checked in with 4 of our Day 2 General Session panelists from the 2022 Annual Conference and asked them to reflect on last year’s theme and to riff on our 2023 theme.

Rachel Korberg, Executive Director of Families and Workers Fund

  • Solving for X: Earlier this year, The Families and Workers Fund convened the Good Jobs Champions Group with the Aspen Institute’s Economic Opportunities Program. We were thrilled that more than 200 diverse leaders in business, labor, policy, and workforce development and frontline workers themselves co-created and signed on to a shared, north star definition of what makes a job good. It has three main elements: a good job provides a chance to get by and get ahead and also offers respect and dignity in the workplace. Learn more here and consider applying it in your company or organization:
  • Combining Forces(x): The Families and Workers Fund is a coalition of twenty philanthropies working together to help build an economy that uplifts all and where no talent is left on the sidelines. We look forward to continuing to work together to invest in employer innovation, worker-centered solutions, and public-private partnerships to help deliver one million good jobs by 2026.


Donte Curtis, Dynamic Keynote Speaker, Facilitator, Trainer

  • Solving for X: I have seen and asked organizations to jump into DEIA work with me even if we don’t know the full picture yet. I am seeing organizations focus on possibilities and not problems. A few organizations I had the opportunity to partner with said hey we don’t need to know all the details beforehand,  let’s just start doing the work and see what emerges from it. It has been a gift to be a part of it and witness it.
  • Combining Forces(x):  I’m looking forward to this conference because partnering is going to be important. We can do more when we partner and combine our wisdom and resources and having it back in person is going to be amazing.


Tami Jackson, Instructional Designer, The Winters Group, Inc.

  • Solving for X: (This) meant being my most authentic self and decentering the white gaze not just in my work but also in my self-expression and interpersonal interactions. If you attended the panel that I participated in at The Forum 2022, then you saw some of this intentional decentering in living color.  I continue to keep that promise to myself in all of my relationships both professionally and interpersonally and it’s a game changer and real-life possibility model for not only me but also for many I am fortunate enough to meet and interact with through this work.
  • Combining Forces(x):  I believe that we must get curious and serious on how we can be culpable in the same systems we seek to dismantle – are we aware of our intersectional privileges as much as we are aware of our intersectional oppressions and traumas? Before we fuel our collective capacity, I would ask, how are we conducting our internal systems inspection on a semi-regular basis and refueling ourselves so we can show up with our tanks full.


Mark Ritchie, National Advisory Board Secretary, U.S. Election Assistance Commission

  • Solving for X: The big “x” for me has been the transition to a new role in my organization, from President to an active member who is now fully retired. Planning that included everyone with a direct stake in this process was crucial, but it also was an opportunity to reach out to the broader community to gather ideas and input on how and when was the right time for this transition. 
  • Combining Forces(x):  This exciting theme for 2023 is the key message that emerged from this transition process. Giving ourselves permission to combine forces with both likely and unlikely partners resonated with me as I cranked out a long list of phone and zoom calls to colleagues – both here at home and around the planet. I can’t wait to see how this plays out this year.

Your turn! Please tell us how you’re Solved for X in 2022 and/or how you’re Combining Forces(x) for 2023. Chime in on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. 

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