Conversations That Matter

Join a Safe Zone Conversation
Dates / Times

Session A:
Friday, April 1        
7 a.m. – 10 a.m. PT/8 a.m. – 11 a.m. MT/9 a.m. – 12 p.m. CT/10 a.m. – 1 p.m. ET

(Limited to 30 attendees)
Wednesday, April 27    
11 a.m. – 2 p.m. PT/12 p.m.– 3 p.m. MT/1 – 4 p.m. CT/2 – 5 p.m. ET


AAPRA Announces
2022 Conversations that Matter – A Safe Zone Conversation

In 2021 the Academy introduced “Conversations that Matter,” a series of Zoom sessions that focused on a white paper written by Academy member Jamie Sabbach. Attendees rated those conversations as one of the most impactful events the Academy could offer its members. Our goal is to offer opportunities for members to gather to discuss critical topics of the day. Conversations that Matter are not instructional other than sharing one’s ideas and thoughts; there is no “teacher.”

In its Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion policy, the Academy states it will reveal awareness of the types of diversity within and across groups and the context in which diversity, equity, and inclusion play out across organizations; elevate equity and work towards its improvements; activate diversity by exploring the impact of diversity on perspectives, assumptions, and approaches; and lead inclusively by engaging in active, intentional and ongoing efforts to promote full participation and a sense of belonging for everyone, including envisioning and enacting inclusive ways of leading.   

What is a Safe Zone Conversation?
A Safe Zone Conversation (SZC) is defined as dialogue amongst a group of people purposely engineered to discuss human topics that can be deemed sensitive, uncomfortable, or complex in nature. It is an environment of mutual respect and inclusivity, a safe place for people to speak their minds. All comments and questions are welcomed. No judgements. No recordings. 

What Will We Talk About?
Currently, Safe Zone Conversations are designed to discuss racism, LGBTQ+, and Latinx matters. 

Who Will Lead the Conversation? 
Safe Zone Conversations are generously facilitated by members of Illinois Park & Recreation Association's Diversity Leadership Task Force, or individuals specifically trained and approved by the task force. 

How Does It Work?
Each SZC has a lead facilitator that coordinates introductions and presents a grounding question. Each participant shares their response to the question with the group, which allows time to get more acclimated with the topic. From there, participants are broken down into smaller groups where supporting facilitators lead more specific discussions about the same topic. Each event concludes with a debriefing with the entire group. The Safe Zone Conversation platform promotes safe and purposeful conversation that might otherwise not take place in the workplace because people are uncertain of how to start the conversation, fearful of offending others or how they might respond, uncomfortable talking about the topic, or simply don't understand what needs to be discussed.
How Many People Participate and How Long is It?
A minimum of 15 and maximum of 30 participants will be part of each conversation. Depending on the size of the group and level of engagement, the conversation can last 90-180 minutes.

This event is open only to Academy members and there is no registration fee.