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Deborah Meehan's blog

Lessons From Creating Space XII

Creating Space 2015 has the potential to change the conversation about leadership development if we listen deeply to the voices and experiences of people on the ground doing heavy lifting change work in their schools, neighborhoods, and communities. There were several important questions that surfaced during Creating Space 2015:

  • What is leadership (or who is a leader)?

  • What is leadership development?

  • What are the problems with these concepts and language?

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Why We Are Talking About Non-Traditional Leadership? A Conversation With Sheena Solomon

For this article we interviewed Creating Space design team member, Sheena Solomon from the Gifford Foundation.  After all, who better to ask about why non-traditional leadership than a member of the design team?

 

Sheena was inspired to ask the question about non-traditional leadership and who is a leader because as she explained, “When I have conversations with everyday people doing extraordinary things they don’t see themselves as leaders although they are all about the community and they have followers and credibility.  The community sees them as honest and they are trusted to speak for community.”

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Non-Traditional Approaches to Developing Non-Traditional Leadership: Learning from Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative

As the countdown continues to Creating Space 2015 we are shining a light on Grand Rapids, MI as we lift up the work of the Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative, yet another innovative non-traditional leadership development approach to developing non-traditional leadership.  We like to express our appreciation and send a big shout out to Nkechy Ezeh who took time to share their story.  The short posts explains why the program was developed, who is being supported to lead, how they are supported and what we can learn from this model about leadership development.

 

The ELNC grew out of a need for increased access to Early Care and Education Programs.  The years from birth to three are so critical that children from low-income homes may be at such a disadvantage that even if they are able to attend a quality preschool, they may remain behind more economically advantaged peers.  To change this, the Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative provides technical, developmental, and educational support to neighborhood partners in order to increase the accessibility of early educational resources for children in Grand Rapids.

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Non-Traditional Approaches to Developing Non-Traditional Leadership: Learning from Detroit Parent Network

As we prepare to head to Detroit (and we hope you will be as well) we are really enjoying learning about interesting approaches to developing non-traditional leadership in the city we will be visiting.  We are definitely going to the right place to learn about innovative approaches to leadership development.  This week we are shining a light on the work of the Detroit Parent Network, a nonprofit organization that supports parents to make the Detroit area a better place to raise and educate children.  Detroit Parent Network’s mission is to develop powerful parents (and primary caregivers) who are equipped to get the best education possible for their children.

Detroit Parent Network was founded in 2002 by a small group of parents and community leaders seeking to protect area children from instability in the economic and political climate by increasing and strengthening parent involvement in their homes, schools and communities.  They established the organization to empower parents by: continuously strengthening leadership and parenting skills; building a better understanding of educational issues, laws, and policies; supporting parents in their efforts to identify high-performing schools, services, and programs for their children; and connecting parents to each other in a learning and support network.

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Non-Traditional Approaches to Developing Non-Traditional Leadership: Learning From the Burma Center

In 2013, we spoke with Martha  Thwanghmung from the Burma Center- Battle Creek. In this month’s newsletter, we are sharing the conversation with our community. The Burma Center meets the need for  leadership development for Burmese immigrants/refugees. BCBC supports the building of  lasting and thriving relationships within the Burmese community as well as other Battle Creek residents. They continue their work today, here are some highlights of their work.

 

Non-Traditional Approaches to Developing Non-Traditional Leadership: Learning From the Burma Center

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Non-Traditional Approaches to Developing Non-Traditional Leadership: Learning from Detroit Community Connections Grant Program

As part of our weekly blog post leading up to Creating Space XII, taking place in Detroit, MI on September 29th-October 1st, we are reposting below a blog from 2013 which continues to be relevant and is especially pertinent to the theme of this year’s Creating Space, “Challenging Leadership Assumptions: Learning from Non-Traditional Leadership about Community and Systems Change.”

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Supporting Community Entrepreneurship: What’s Money Got to do With It? (originally posted 11/27/2013)

This past week I had the opportunity to attend a meeting in Detroit sponsored by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation called “Building Networks for Change”, #BNFC13. The meeting explored a 

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Non-Traditional Approaches to Developing Non-Traditional Leadership: Learning from Detroit Commonwealth

As part of our weekly blog post leading up to Creating Space XII, taking place in Detroit, MI on September 29th-October 1st, we are reposting below a blog from 2013 which continues to be relevant and is especially pertinent to the theme of this year’s Creating Space, “Challenging Leadership Assumptions: Learning from Non-Traditional Leadership about Community and Systems Change.”

A New Leadership Development Mindset: Leadership Development Hiding in Plain Sight (originally posted 6/28/2013)

Over three years ago, LLC published an important thought piece, “A New Leadership Mindset.”  In the publication, we point out that most of our thinking about leadership has focused almost exclusively on leadership as the behavior on an individual influencing others.  We believe that our culture of individualism has permeated our leadership thinking causing us to look for and elevate the role of individuals in the change process missing another important dimension of leadership, i.e. leadership as the process by which many people align their efforts to take collective action on behalf of a common purpose. 

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Non-Traditional Approaches to Developing Non-Traditional Leadership: Learning from Leadership That Works (LTW)

This week, as part of our weekly blog series leading up to Creating Space XII in Detroit, MI, I wanted to focus on coaching as a strategy for supporting non-traditional leadership. This creative approach and program, Civic and Community Leadership Coaching, comes to us from Battle Creek, MI where it was designed and implemented by Leadership That Works (LTW).  Many thanks to Virginia Kellogg from Leadership That Works (LTW) for taking the time to share her experiences with this approach.

LTW provided some context for their work.  Battle Creek is a unique city with very committed citizens and a history of a wide variety of leadership development opportunities. It is sometimes difficult for people to know what is available for their development and what to say yes to. Tradition, along with structural racism, serves to keep leadership opportunities concentrated in the hands of a few. Consequently, there has been a need for more coordinated efforts to get leadership development into the hands of the many.

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Five Lessons from the Blandin Foundation’s 30 Years of Leadership Programming

Last month the Leadership Learning Community launched our latest publication, “Leadership and Large Scale Change: How to Accelerate Learning and Deepen Impact.”  The publication provides an overview of changes in the practice and evaluation of leadership development, addresses challenges related to both leadership evaluation and delivery and offers recommendations that are grounded in examples of great work illustrated in a series of Mini Cases.  Of course in the interest of space we had to select a few programs to profile among many interesting models.  We will be running a Leadership and Large Scale Change Series for the next several months to lift up additional examples of leadership work that has much to teach us.  This month we are starting with the Blandin Foundation’s leadership programming.  We also believe that this work is especially relevant Creating Space, LLC’s national meeting.  This year’s Creating Space theme is “Challenging Leadership Assumptions: Learning from Non-traditional Leadership About Community and Systems Change.”  The five lessons below emerged during an interview with Valerie Shangreaux, Director of Leadership Programs at the Blandin Foundation.  Thank you Valerie for your wisdom and candor.

 

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Non-Traditional Approaches to Developing Non-Traditional Leadership: Learning from the Women's Co-op in Battle Creek, Michigan

As we prepare to head to Detroit, Michigan for this year’s national meeting, Creating Space XII, we thought we would bring you a weekly blog series of stories from Michigan about developing non-traditional leadership in keeping with the theme of CS XII, “Challenging Assumptions: Learning from Non-Traditional Leadership About Community and Systems Change.”   This first blog post in our series is about the Women’s Co-Op in Battle Creek and is based on an interview conducted several years ago with the Executive Director, Teresa Phillips.

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