This January, we welcomed Dr. Paige Backlund Jarquín to our team here at Visible Network Labs! As our Chief Operating Officer, Paige supports company operations and provides leadership to our programs.
She joins us with many years of experience in the public health realm; she most recently led evaluation activities associated with the Regional Health Connector program at the Colorado Health Institute. During this time, Paige became well acquainted with the PARTNER Tool, and also joined VNL as a guest presenter for the Network Leadership Training Academy, our monthly webinar series, and the Network Leadership Workshop.
AD: To start off Paige, I’m curious about what brought you into the realm of networks! What’s your network story?
PBJ: What’s that bumper sticker? “I wasn’t born a Coloradoan, but I got here as fast as I could?” Here’s mine: I wasn’t born a Network Scientist, but I got here as fast as I could!
From being chosen for a national Girl Scouts leadership program based on my “ability to bring different people together” as a young girl, to my recent work using social network analysis to evaluate the Colorado Regional Health Connector Program, my desire to make and understand connections has been a thread throughout my career – whether it was connecting rural subsistence farmers to resources as a Peace Corps volunteer in northern Nicaragua, connecting gang-involved youth and recent immigrants to supportive people and services in Washington DC, or helping create connections between community-academic partnerships with the Community Engagement core at the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute at the University of Colorado – almost every role I have had includes practicing the art of network leadership.
AD: When you approach network evaluation work, what are some beliefs, experiences or values that shape your approach to practice?
PBJ: Having worked with community-based initiatives and in community-institution partnerships, I have come to believe that we will find the answers to today’s wicked questions in the ideas that are marginalized, ignored, or unseen in the evidence-based practice pipeline. I also do not believe in checklist-style approaches to address community needs, believing more in community-led solutions and innovation.
AD: What do you enjoy most about working in the field of network leadership, evaluation and science?
PBJ: For someone like me- someone with an innate desire to make connections – network science and network leadership are a welcome home. I have come to see the practice of network science and network leadership as a combination of an innate desire to see and make connections, and the ability to demonstrate why those connections matter.
Interestingly, it was Visible Network Labs that provided me with the support I needed to give a name to and embody the kind of leadership I enjoy. VNL’s training programs and technical assistance made my journey to become a network scientist possible!
AD: What do you hope to accomplish in this new role with us at VNL?
PBJ: I hope to be an active participant in the social connectedness movement and to further VNL’s vision of a supportive network of people, organizations and communities who believe in the value of working together.
About the author:
Alex Derr is Visible Network Lab’s Communications Coordinator. He manages the day-to-day affairs of our communication and marketing efforts, including our website, email engagement, social media and content. He enjoys sharing helpful resources and content with our community and users to do more with less and improve their work! Alex graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.A. in Political Studies & Environmental Studies, and is finishing his M.P.A at UC-Denver. When not working, Alex enjoys gardening, exploring Denver’s breweries, and climbing 14ers in the Front Range! Learn more about Alex and all our team members here.