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Thoughts on Transparency

 Guest Post: Chris Palmedo

In anticipation of our gathering at the Gates Foundation, I can’t help but ponder the notion of transparency. It seems to be a clear theme of the building’s architecture, with windows inviting a view from the street into the hallways, offices, and conference rooms of what is, technically, “the largest ‘transparent’ foundation in the world.”

As we begin to file into the Gates Foundation, I wonder what we would look like to someone standing outside the building. What kind of people do we look like – both as individuals and as an assembly? Do we look like an interesting bunch? Do we look compassionate? Engaged? Do we take our work seriously? Are we having fun?

I also wonder what we sound like. What if a passerby from outside the building could hear our conversations? Are we talking about issues an anonymous observer would expect us to talk about? Would want us to talk about? Are we using insider jargon or language they would understand?

I hope we’ll be having honest and open conversations throughout the conference, and that we feel this is a safe environment to say things we might not say when we’re back at the office. This kind of sharing is important, and not antithetical to my idea of transparency.  In fact, it’s ironically this kind of candid, safe, conversation, that is ultimately one of the many useful purposes of the conference.

With that, I look forward to having some good, honest, and yes “transparent,” conversations with many of you at ComNetwork12!

Chris Palmedo is the director of public affairs at Northwest Health Foundation



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