Iris Podschun » Our Staff
Director of Community Engagement & Collaboration
Work Email: jPodschun@richmondcf.orgINTERNET
Iris Podschun dedicated their career to supporting social change work through collective impact and community-led projects. Iris grew up in Kansas and worked primarily in Washington, DC and Colorado before moving to California.
Among other things, they served as the Executive Director for Growing Partners of Southwest Colorado, where they created the organization’s first-ever Community Organizing Fellowship. While in DC, they co-authored “Voices for Change: Perspectives on Strengthening Welfare-to-Work from DC TANF Recipients.” They served on Mayor Adrian Fenty’s Commission on Food and Nutrition and led Healthy Affordable Food for All, precursor to DC’s Food Policy Council.
They graduated Cum Laude with a double major in International Relations and Religion from Hendrix College. Their ethnographic research with Muslim women earned invitations to present at national and international research conferences.
Iris has been part of the RCF staff since August 2017, when they were hired as Literacy Coalition Manager for the West Contra Costa Literacy Coalition. In this role, they strengthened the Coalition’s understanding of collective impact, built stronger collaboration among the Coalition members, and led a successful Turn the Curve exercise around Out of School Time programs, resulting in some tangible strategies the Coalition partners are currently implementing. Throughout their career, Iris has worked at the level of policy and systems change and has expertise in facilitation, event planning, and skill development. They are also practiced at listening to and building group energy, connection, and accountability. In addition, in May 2018 Joni started the Somatic Coaching Certification program through the Strozzi Institute, to support collective healing and transformation that is essential to long-term social change, and they are eager to share their learning with the RCF team and our community partners.