Asian & Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence
Strong Field Project: Expanding Opportunities to Contribute to the Movement to End Domestic Violence
Beckie Masaki brings over 25 years of leadership, connections, and insights in the domestic violence field to her partnership with CompassPoint on the Blue Shield of California Strong Field Project. Beckie has joined Senior Project Directors Marissa Tirona and Michelle Gislason to design and deliver leadership development programming for this groundbreaking initiative to cultivate a stronger, more connected network of domestic violence service providers throughout the state. In this interview, Beckie talks about what drives her work in the sector and how partnership with CompassPoint on the Strong Field Project is helping her to expand the ways in which she is participating in, supporting, and leading in the movement to end domestic violence.
Beckie was founding Executive Director of Asian Women’s Shelter, where she worked for 21 years. Two years ago she joined the Asian & Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence which partners with grassroots organizations working to end domestic violence, particularly those working in API communities. She says: “What drives my continued engagement is to be able to do important movement building and direct community work to end violence against women and girls. The nonprofit sector has allowed me to do creative and direct work, from direct services to policy to systems change to movement building.”
When CompassPoint contacted Beckie to partner on the leadership development component of the program, she says she jumped at the chance. “As somebody who is in the field of domestic violence in California, I knew about the Strong Field Project. As it was emerging I participated on the advisory committee for the initiative for the Blue Shield of California Foundation. And I had been a participant of many CompassPoint trainings over the years.“
In particular, Beckie values the opportunity the Strong Field Project provides her to contribute to the field in new ways. She says, “It has been so powerful to team up with CompassPoint staff, who are experts at organizational and leadership development on the leading edge of both those areas of expertise, and to be able to combine it with my on-the-ground experience running a domestic violence organization for 20 years. Just having the chance to address these areas for leaders in my field – being able to address this for my peers – has been so rich. The people I’ve worked with at CompassPoint – Marissa Tirona and Michelle Gislason – I have come to respect so much and value the partnership and team we’ve come together to create.
The program has also proved to be a learning space for Beckie as well. She says, “My experience on the Strong Field Project has really contributed to my ongoing work and it’s really aligned. I started as part of the CompassPoint Strong Field Project team at the same time I made my transition as ED of Asian Women’s Shelter to a new position of technical assistance and training in domestic violence on a national level. It honed my skills and peer coaching abilities. I’ve been able to do a lot of cross-fertilization. I’m now on teams on other DV initiatives like the Novo Foundation’s Move to End Violence Initiative –my CompassPoint experience on the Strong Field Project has helped me so much.
“I think a big value of CompassPoint is always being in learning mode. It certainly has been the same for me since I joined the team. With every opportunity with the team – whether planning curriculum or implementing trainings, I feel like I’m always learning and taking away more than I’ve been contributing.”
When asked to describe what difference the leadership program has had on Strong Field Project cohort participants, Beckie immediately cites the multiple connections it has helped to cultivate. She says, “I’ve been in this movement for 25+ years, and I saw and heard firsthand the impact of what we created. Regarding the CompassPoint team and the leadership program, many participants said this was their first experience where they felt part of a bigger movement. This means our team was able to build a cohort that broke through the isolation long felt by domestic violence leaders to create a trusted, valuable learning community that brought people together in way that was life changing for the cohort members.”
She adds, “Domestic violence leaders deal with crisis every day; they deal with life or death matters constantly, so leaders in the field are really overwhelmed and isolated from each other on a multitude of levels. I feel what CompassPoint was able to do was give this amazing gift to the leadership program participants, of spaciousness, beloved community, to take a breath, and learn new skills and be able to support one another. It contributed to change on the participating leaders and their organizations and on the field overall.”