Generating ideas, connections, and action

Deborah Meehan's blog

Celebrating Black History Month: An Interview with Fania Davis

In honor of Black History Month, LLC staff took a field trip to the Oakland Museum to see the Black Panther Party exhibit and celebrate Oakland’s rich history.  There was a sign in the exhibit that caught my attention:

 

Toward the Future

 

Consider how current social issues relate to the conditions that demanded the creation of the Black Panther Party fifty years ago. The Party no longer exists as an organization. However, their ideas and spirit live on in former Panthers and generation of new artists, community organizers and citizens who will help to determine the future.

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The Year of Creating Space

This year, in response to the current environment and the need for a significant uptake in racial justice leadership, we are departing from the traditional format for Creating Space, LLC’s national meeting. Creating Space has been a space for people engaged in leadership development to meet over several days to harvest learning across their experiences, share resources and build meaningful connection.

 

Our purpose this year will be to build greater awareness, access to resources and capacity among leadership development organizations about the opportunity and need to help their participants strengthen their knowledge, skills, connections and tools for contributing to social and racial justice.

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MAR-L: An Innovative Approach to Recruiting Fellows

Several years ago LLC had the opportunity to evaluate the Mesoamerican Reef Leadership Program (MAR-L). It was an important evaluation that laid some groundwork for a research project we initiated the following year to explore the topic of ‘Leadership and Large Scale Change.’  We were inspired by MAR-L. MAR-L set itself apart from many other leadership programs because they were not content to simply focus on building the leadership capacity of young entrepreneurial conservation leaders, which itself would have been an important endeavor. They were also willing to ask tough questions about whether the investment in young people and their projects was making a difference in the health of the reef. Ultimately, most leadership programs are serving some larger purpose, and because of the challenges of understanding the contributions of their leadership development work to larger scale changes, most programs focus primarily on the ways in which participants of programs believe they have benefited. This is starting to change, and we are excited to be part of evaluating programs that tell a different story about the ways in which leadership development programs are supporting changes in the lives of people, and the planet.

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Mindfulness Matters | The Tree of Contemplative Practices

If you missed our interview with Patrick Brown from Greenlining last month please check it out. He described the way in which as the Director of the Leadership Academy, he brings a number of contempletive practices into all of their leadership work. He described the benefits of different practices to those engaged in leadership. We are including another resource as a complement to Patrick interview.  The link to the Tree of Contempletive Practices creates a scheme for understanding the different types of practices with more detailed descriptions.  We hope you find it helpful.

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Following Up On Transforming White Privilege: A 21st Century Leadership Capacity

We were heartened by the response to the “Transforming White Privilege: A 21st Century Leadership Capacity” webinar with over 540 registrants.  This is even more significant after a year of divisive elections in which fear or anger was expressed and generated towards whole groups of people based on religion, race, sexual orientation and gender. There can be little doubt that we are profoundly in need of leaders who can bridge these divides with an understanding of why and how opportunities have been historically distributed in this country in ways that have unfairly disadvantaged people of color and low income white people. Leadership programs have a historic opportunity to help leaders build their confidence and capacity to see, name and address the underlying white privilege and its consequences, opening up a different kind of society based on belonging, fairness, and equity.

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Five Suggestions About the Kind of Leadership That Will Move us Forward

I find myself looking for inspiration these days, and thankfully it’s not hard to find. I draw inspiration from the protectors at Standing Rock who are standing firm in the face of freezing temperatures and violent assaults. Serendipitously, as I was driving home I also found myself recently listening to Congressmen John Lewis in an interview recognizing his work in the civil rights movement. In response to comments about his sacrifices and courage, he humbly reminded listeners that there was only one choice if you wanted to be on the right side of history. His comments resonated because this does feel like a historic moment where we are in danger of losing ground in gains made over the past decades, or where we will stand against injustice and hatred and usher in a new era of increased equity and humanity. This is a big charge that calls for leadership, but what kind? Like many of you, we have been trying to figure out where we can make the most important contributions to thinking about leadership and the practice of leadership that will help to move us forward as a society. This will be a long process and for now I have five suggestions to share and would appreciate your feedback. read more »

Mindfulness Matters | An Interview with Patrick Brown

I was especially excited to interview Patrick Brown, Director of the Leadership Academy at Greenlining Institute, for our Mindfulness Matters column when I learned that he, as someone who directs a leadership academy with multiple programs, also has a strong personal meditation practice. I expected to gain important insights about the ways in which mindfulness practices support leadership development from Patrick. I did and I am sure you will as well.

 

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How to Scale Your Leadership Development Work: Three Lessons from Experiments with Delivery Strategies

When I reluctantly read the newspaper these days, I am sadly reminded of how desperately we need leadership (and lots of it) that can bring us together to heal the divides, close the wealth gap, and stop our destruction of the planet. Although there are thousands of social sector leadership programs in the country we reach and support only a small fraction of people who want to lead.

 

I like ‘what if’ statements, so here it goes. Most of us are working on problems of such magnitude, we have to operate from the frame that all we can do is ‘our part’ and we hope that if we are strategic about it that our piece of the work, along with the efforts of others, will get us where we are hoping to go. I get this. And, I also wonder how we are going to change the world, one leader at a time, reaching thousands when we need to mobilize millions. What if we were to individually and collectively challenge ourselves to figure out how we can support and unleash the energy of everyone who wants to take action with others to make the world a more equitable, sane and sustainable place where all can thrive? read more »

Another Take on Leadership Development Action Learning Projects: Could a Network Seed Fund Approach Work?

‘Hands on’ learning and application are important principles of how adults learn, so many leadership programs incorporate a learning action project. Maybe yours is one of them. There are different names for these projects that require the leadership participant (and sometimes teams of participants from the same program) to come up with a project through which they will apply what they are learning. These projects usually align with the leadership program’s larger purpose. For example, if the leadership program is focused on health equity, the learning action projects would be intended to contribute to improving health equity in addition to providing an opportunity for participants to hone their skills as they put them to use on the project. There are several inherent challenges often expressed by leadership program participants:
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