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Blind Spots: The Role of Leadership Development Programs in Inhibiting or Contributing to our Progress Towards Racial Equity

Since Creating Space, I have been doing a lot thinking about the ways in which leadership programs often promote leadership models that reinforce the dominant culture. At Creating Space, Design Team Member, Elissa Sloan Perry, Co-Director of Management Assistance Group, shared a presentation on how white supremacist culture shows up in our organizations based on an article by Tema Okun and Kenneth Jones. We focused most of the discussion at Creating Space on organizational culture, which I later realized cannot be separated from leadership culture because after all, most leadership programs are preparing participants to lead in an organizational context.

 

I strongly recommend their article. They share thirteen characteristics of white supremacist culture, all of which resonated, and for the sake of this article and beginning this discussion, I chose three to share that I think are provocative and reveal leadership characteristics being cultivated in leadership programs that help to reinforce white supremacists culture. (In future articles I will share additional characteristics.)

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Reflections on Equitable Design

I felt honored to be part of the Creating Space Design Team with an amazing group of leadership development funders, delivery partners, network and movement builders and racial justice champions. I was eager to learn from the team about how to create an event that would deepen our learning about the ways in which our approaches to supporting leadership for racial justice need to shift.  I did not have to wait until me met in New Orleans to begin learning. I was struck by the fact that some of our conversations were filled with questions that people creating leadership development programs should also be asking, e.g. how would we honor the whole person and multiple ways of knowing; what does it mean to assume good intentions and look at impact; how do we hold space for courageous conversations; how are we thinking about power and whose knowledge is privileged; and how do we build authentic community?
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The Action Learning Seed Fund’s Final Reports Next Month (November 2017)

2017 is quickly coming to a close. In mid January, we first announced our network’s Action Learning Seed Fund to support the leadership of people of color. At the time, LLC hoped that eight of you would be able to join our selection committee to create eligibility criteria. To our humble surprise, 20 of you volunteered your time and went above and beyond, and in a matter of days we had a finalized application process, eligibility criteria, and even a selection and review process.

 

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Support the development and inclusion of voices of color today!

This Giving Tuesday, join us in supporting the advancement of social and racial equity in nonprofit leadership development.

 

This year, we committed ourselves to building a conversation around the importance of including diverse voices in nonprofit leadership. This looks like making space for leaders of color to thrive both in and outside of work.

We know that voices of color are often sidelined in discussions about leadership that privileges the mainstream dominant culture models. We also know that everyone should be able to join our work, independent of organizational budgets.

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LLC Webinar | Practice: Innovative Network Governance and Structures

December 6, 2017

10:00am Pacific | 1:00pm Eastern

 

Last month June Holley presented on the importance of Network Governance and Structures. We were introduced to a plethora of examples, but did not have much time to dig into some of the models. Join us on December 6th for 90 minutes of hands-on virtual practice where you will be able to talk and get ideas from other networks. June with be accompanied by Tracy Kunkler of Circle Forward Partners and Steve Waddell, who will share some resources about governance models and processes for networks.

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LLC WEBINAR SERIES | Liberating Structures: How Leadership Development Can Create Racial Equity & Social Justice

LLC Webinar Series

November 14, 2017

10am Pacific/ 1pm Eastern (60 Minutes)

 

Studies consistently show that less than 20% of nonprofit executive directors/CEO’s are people of color. The recent Race to Lead report offers a new story for how we think about and address this leadership gap: to increase the number of people of color leaders, the nonprofit sector needs to address the practices and biases of those governing nonprofit organizations.

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Early Reflection on Creating Space

Last week, we were honored  to spend three days convening with 85 members of the LLC community in New Orleans. We discussed, analyzed, and practiced Freedom to Lead and Leading for Freedom. To hold the container for these conversations, we trusted that the design team and everyone present were all catalysts with stories, strategies, and the capacity to create solutions to dismantle systemic problems. Our time together was focused on sharing and listening to our experiences and holding a container for healing, and strategizing solutions.

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Connecting with People, Connected for Impact By Clare Nolan

By Clare Nolan, Engage R+D

My name is Matt Bond and I am Director of Network Strategy for the DentaQuest Foundation. About five years ago, in a crowded room at the National Oral Health Conference, I met a guy named Gary Harbison. As a foundation employee, I’m accustomed to having lots of funding conversations. As a network strategist, I’m interested in connecting with and bringing in like-minded people to the network. Back then, we were in the early stages of network development, so my work had a  heavy focus on a small core group of members. Gary was not among them. Nevertheless, we got to talking. I learned that Gary is a photographer(although his wife is the real artist behind the shots), he loves Glen Miller (who I now have on my iPod and am listening to as I type),
and he still has one of those wooden record player sets that is more of a piece of furniture than a sound system. We exchanged contact information, and I promised to stay in touch.

Three years later, the oral health network was burgeoning and it was time to expand. We designed a series of meetings to bring together people from across the country to develop a set of  comprehensive, national goals to improve oral health. Gary represented his state of Missouri at the first Midwest regional meeting. A year later, he began partnering with other network members to tackle major state and national policy issues. In 2016, he participated in a national  convening on Medicaid where he gained knowledge and skills pertinent to advancing this goal in his home state. This year, Missouri included extensive dental coverage as a standing part of its Medicaid benefit, ensuring that thousands of citizens have access to oral health services.
A big part of the credit for this success went to the Missouri Coalition for Oral Health for its advocacy efforts and influence. And the Executive Director of the coalition is none other than Gary.

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LLC Webinar | Network Structures: Innovative Governance and Decision-Making with June Holley

 

Many networks organize governance and operations with structures that mirror those of organizations:  governing boards, committees, and operations staff. Unfortunately, these structures have often been a bad fit with networks, leading to decreased involvement and engagement by network  participants who aren't on the governing board and shrinking network size and impact.

 

More and more networks are experimenting with and co-creating innovative network governance and structures that are self-organizing, encouraging and supporting the formation of collaborative circles for many or all of the operations and coordination functions of the network.

 

June Holley will share examples and offer several checklists and strategy worksheets to help your network determine if these new structures might be appropriate for them.

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Shared Leadership: the Co-Directorship Model

Oct 3, 2017 11:00 AM Pacific Standard Time (US and Canada)

As the need to recognize leadership as process and collective endeavor expands, we need to question as well how the current, dominant cultural paradigm of heroic leadership has permeated organizational life and leadership. We can learn from communities where leadership is often shared and from organizations that have been experimenting with distributed leadership and flattening hierarchies.  Some organizations have been experimenting with a co-directorship model. The Whitman Institute who implemented this model 3 years ago and we are fortunate that Co-Directors, John Esterle and Pia Infante have offered to share their experience in a conversation about why they chose this model, the benefits of being co-directors, the structure, challenges and how they have dealt with them, and lessons along the way. This will be a video conversation opened up to participants for your questions.

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