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Member Spotlight on June Holley

As LLC began to explore the intersection of networks and leadership we found a perfect partner in June Holley.  June is the guru of network weaving so we jumped on the chance to participate in a 9 month virtual Network Weaving Community of Practice that June helped to organize and facilitate for the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.  Deborah and June knew they were kindred spirits and sought each other out at a meeting of the Network Funders Network.  They were not sure what they would do together, but knew if they spent a little time getting to know each other that it would become clear, and it did. 

This past year, the Leadership Learning Community (LLC) launched a consulting project with June and Valdis Krebs doing a Social Network Analysis of the Kellogg Fellows Leadership Alliance.  We conducted a survey that enabled us to map the different types of relationships among the participants in KFLA that helped us to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the networks.  As part of this project we have recruited a team of network weavers from KFLA and are coaching them in how to weave the network to catalyze action.

 

June has been exploring the practice of network leadership since 1981, when she first started researching networks and complex systems. What she loved about the concept of networks is that people in networks are peers -- and, at the same time, for networks to be most effective everyone in them needs to play a leadership role!  She began using the term Network Weaver to describe network leadership.

 

At ACEnet, the regional non-profit in Appalachian Ohio she founded, she worked hard to develop this broad network leadership in the region.  Hundreds of individuals from all walks of life took up the challenge and initiated hundreds of collaborative projects that resulted in a vibrant regional economy with many local entrepreneurs. A small village puts on a pawpaw (small wild fruit) festival each year. A tourism bureau collaborated with farmers for an annual celebration called “30 Mile Meal.”  Dozens of local residents provided unsecured loans to local businesses. Food pantries provided seed potatoes to low-resource families so they could grow potatoes for their families and for income. A dozen people created a Food Policy Council that suggests innovative policies to government and schools.

 

This kind of self-organizing process is June’s current interest: What kind of network leadership is needed to initiate and coordinate such efforts? What kinds of support do people need? How does money need to be re-packaged to support self-organizing?

 

Just recently, June has completed the 400-page Network Weaver Handbook, which offers short concept pieces along with many activities and worksheets that people can use to start network weaving today!  This is available at www.networkweaver.com.  During the coming year, June plans to work with LLC to help leadership organizations and consultants add training and coaching in network weaving to their repertoires.