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ADVOCACY:. A Process for your Passion A Personal Vision by Richard Krzyzanowski Consumer-Employee Advocate Center of Excellence / Orange County Health Care Agency. Who am I to Talk? (Some of My Background & Experience). Five years as a Patients’ Rights Advocate for Los Angeles County

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A Process for your Passion

A Personal Vision


Richard Krzyzanowski

Consumer-Employee Advocate

Center of Excellence / Orange County Health Care Agency

who am i to talk some of my background experience
Who am I to Talk?(Some of My Background & Experience)
  • Five years as a Patients’ Rights Advocate for Los Angeles County
  • Two years on California Association of Mental Health Patients’ Rights Advocates board of directors, including as vice president
  • Four years on the LA County Commission on Disabilities, including as vice president and treasurer
  • One year on board of directors of California Network of Mental Health Clients
  • Two years on Client & Family Leadership Committee of the California Mental Health Services Oversight & Accountability Commission
  • Shop Steward for Orange County Employees Association
  • Two years At-Large Neighborhood Representative, 8th Los Angeles City Council District Empowerment Congress
the value of experience
The Value of Experience
  • Over the years, I had my victories and defeats
  • I made mistakes. In some cases, I didn’t realize they were mistakes until later (sometimes much later). Live and learn!
  • On occasion, I made enemies. Sometimes, that was unavoidable but, at other times, it was. Learning from these experiences has (hopefully) made me a better advocate.
a definition with assistance from mr webster
A Definition(with assistance from Mr. Webster)
  • ADVOCACY: The ART of speaking or writing in support of something or some person
  • Like all art, many skills go into making it happen successfully
some types of advocacy
Some Types of Advocacy
  • Individual advocacy
  • Self-advocacy
  • Collective advocacy
  • Systems advocacy
  • Adversarial
  • Collaborative
  • Process or Structural advocacy
  • Informational or Educational
some workplace examples
Some Workplace Examples
  • Self-advocacy: Seeking a “reasonable accommodation” based on disability or personal situation
  • Other, more collective advocacy: Seeking to improve workplace conditions for a group, for example, speaking out for the interests or rights of “peer professionals”
  • Systems advocacy: Seeking to make or change policies to improve conditions or clarify procedures
one effective combination
One Effective Combination

Real systems change is often accomplished with a combination of individual or self-advocacy with systems advocacy. Even big changes can have a “human face!”

a good advocate is
A Good Advocate is …

… a good strategist:

  • What do you want to accomplish?

(Don’t just point out problems: Have a solution to suggest )

  • How can we get it done?
  • Where do we start?

(It’s usually best to start at the lowest levels, and work your way up)

on strategy
On Strategy
  • What is the next step?
  • Know where to go to accomplish your goals; and
  • Who has the power to make things happen?
a good advocate is1
A Good Advocate is …

… a good communicator:

  • Know your audience
  • Speak their “language”
  • Know their needs and values
  • Know their culture or environment
  • Honor their time frame
  • And remember: The most important communication skill is the ability to LISTEN!
a good advocate is2
A Good Advocate is …

… a good collaborator:

  • Advocates “with,” not “for” others

(Take care not to disempower)

  • Who can help? Who do I need ‘on my side” to achieve this?

(Make friends/allies, find common ground)

  • Be a “bridge builder!”

(Create problem-solving relationships, even with those that seem like they are on “the other side”)

a good advocate is3
A Good Advocate is …

… a good diplomat:

  • Put “principles over personalities”

(Remember, in the workplace, for example, that you will have a continuing relationship with your bosses and colleagues, and you want that to remain collaborative and civil, if not friendly)

  • Keep your perspective; focus on your goals

(Don’t destroy the village in order to

“save” it)

on diplomacy
On Diplomacy

Your ability to occasionally “agree to disagree” and to intelligently compromise can mean the difference between success and failure.

Be patient & think long-term: A partial success today gives you a foundation for future advocacy that may achieve you full goals. Some things take time and can only be accomplished step-by-step.

another effective combination
Another Effective Combination

“Insider” vs. “Outsider;” A “one-two punch!

  • Advocacy on the outside of systems of power and bureaucracy has a freedom of movement and speech, and can focus its message on what seems right
  • Advocacy from within systems requires more diplomacy, because advocates have to exist within a delicate web of power relationships. On the other hand, they may have more direct access to those with decision-making power. Such advocacy often focuses on what seems practical
workplace culture
Workplace culture

Is typically:

  • Hierarchical
  • Undemocratic
  • Task-oriented

Advocacy in such an environment requires striking a “delicate balance” between the culture and needs of the workplace and your needs and interests as a worker.

do your homework
Do your “Homework”

Know the Rules: In the workplace, this can be your company or agency’s:

  • Code of Conduct
  • Union Contract or MOU
  • Human Resources policies
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Fair Employment & Housing Laws, and other federal and state Labor Laws
the most essential tool ethics
The Most Essential Tool: Ethics
  • This is your Code of Honor, your values, the “big picture” principles that guide your life
  • It could be Recovery values or spiritual values; They could be drawn from your life experience or family, ethnic or professional traditions
you are seldom alone
You are Seldom Alone
  • As this call aptly illustrates, we are part of a “Community of Advocacy”
  • Whether you advocate as an individual or as part of a group; for yourself or for another; as a professional advocate, as a worker, or as a citizen: What you do and how you do it can reflect on us all
  • Therefore, be considerate of your partners, seen and unseen, in the quest for justice and the common good
something to remember
Something to remember
  • There is power in advocacy, and we have a responsibility to use that power to serve others and the common good
  • Use you power to build, avoid destruction for its own sake; help others grow and succeed as individuals and collaborate as coworkers
  • Find the common ground, and plant your seeds!