Tectonica is lucky to have one of the best teams on the planet! Meet Adrian White

Tectonica is lucky to have one of the best teams on the planet. To help you get to know the amazing folks that make up our team, we'll be sharing interviews with different team members. This time, meet Tectonica's Adrian White, who is sharing with us a bit about his role, how he found himself in this work and his view on digital organising.  

Tell us a little about your role at Tectonica.

My role is Organising Network and Partnerships Manager at Tectonica. I’m following in the footsteps of Weronika Paszewska, who is now moving into an exciting new direction at Tectonica that is more strategy focussed.  

There are many components to this role, all related to realizing our vision for the TON network through the spaces that we share and the collaborative potential we hold as a group. What I’m most excited about is developing and implementing a vision that will enable the network to be increasingly powerful, connected and useful to the members of our group and their organizations. These include things like making the Slack space more active, introducing the community to exciting original content in the pipeline, making our new physical office space in Barcelona available to TON members, and launching our own resource center which we think will be an incredible progressive resource for the TON community!

It’s my hope that in this role I will be able to bring our community together to share our experiences and lessons, and also invite collaboration and useful discussion! With that said, I’d love to hear from members of the TON community in order to share ideas (if you are not currently a member, you can sign up here on our homepage).  Feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] or you can reach me on Slack by typing @Adrian White and sending me a direct message. 

How did you end up working in this field?

I’ve always had a strong personal interest in progressive organizing but this has not been the primary focus of my professional career in the past. I began my career working for a private, non-profit agency in the US that supports people with developmental disabilities. I was a program director there for 11 years and really enjoyed the advocacy component to this work – particularly any time I could meet with legislators to discuss disability programs and funding initiatives that would benefit the individuals we served. Most recently I was a programme manager at Camden Council, one of London’s local authorities. In this role, among other projects, I coordinated the Covid19 vaccination programme for our health and social care workers.  

Following this, and after having moved to Barcelona, I began to look for work that excited me on a personal level and found Tectonica! I’m enjoying the challenge of working in the wider progressive organizing space and look forward to learning more about our TON community and all the insights we can share.

How do you understand digital organising in the current context, and how might it change in the coming years?

My understanding of digital organizing is that it is the way in which organizations and communities can leverage online engagement to connect and engage their members in support of a particular cause. Coming into this job I had assumed this was primarily achieved through sending out emails and utilizing social media platforms to reach a wide audience and prompt actions - both online and offline. What I’ve come to realize is that it's so much more than that. Spreading the right message and sending out calls to action are certainly part of it, but it's also about encouraging true collaboration and enabling the relationship building needed to sustain movements and create real change.

I think that the future of digital organizing will bring increasing focus on how to use digital organizing methods to empower more action offline so that communities that start in a digital space can be empowered to branch out to the real world, where more substantial collaboration and connection can be created. It is exciting to see that Tectonica is a vocal advocate for exploring how we can best translate digital connections to offline action! 

What do you think makes Tectonica stand out in this sector?

I think the answer to this question can be most clearly found in two of Tectonica’s core values- “Organising over messaging” and “Creating real change in the world takes hard work, not tricks”. As Ned has explained in our conversations, “organising over messaging” does not mean the message is not important (of course it is!) but more so that it's more essential that our digital efforts have the end result of enabling real life organizational action.  

In my short time at Tectonica (I started the 18th of October), I can see our biggest strengths lie in how our values are reflected in our work. Our thought leadership, combined with the technical expertise of our fantastic team (who are knowledgeable in a wide array of digital tools and strategies), really bring our digital organising efforts to life in a way that compliments and promotes our values.

What has been the most exciting project you’ve worked on?

You might want to ask me this again in a few months as I just took on the role three weeks ago! But so far I am most excited about playing a leading role in the development of our Tectonica Organizing Network discussion space on Slack, and the work I will do to coordinate the production of the TON newsletter going forward. It is very exciting to be in a role that helps bring our community together to share what we’ve learned and discuss key topics!