Generating ideas, connections, and action

Deborah Meehan's blog

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.


 read more »

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.

 read more »

Publication Recommendation | “A Call for Action: Strengthening the Human Services Sector”

The Kresge Foundation recently convened a symposium to explore challenges in the social services sector, identify opportunities for human service leaders to partner and connect their learning and to provide recommendations to support transformation in the sector.  Their findings are relevant to those of us who are committed to the value of leadership development and are summarized in a report, “A Call for Action: Strengthening the Human Services Sector.

The report reminded me that the challenges can also be a source of positive disruption, driving greater (and needed) innovation and provided a couple of examples: read more »

  • the need to rethink traditional non-profit models and approaches to funding and create new models of partnership
  • the need to maximize our value proposition by becoming better and monitoring our impact and adapting our approaches

Is It Time for Xtreme Collaboration 3.0?

Picture1.preview.jpgRecently I was describing “Xtreme Collaboration,” a project that grew out of an Open Space session at one of our national meetings many years ago. The enthusiastic buzz it created left me wondering if it might just be time for the sequel, Xtreme Collaboration Returns or 3.0 depending on your favorite frame.  


So first, what was the project?

I pitched the idea during Creating Space (our national meeting) with the prompt: “the Xtreme collaboration session is for people who are willing to explore the possibility that we just may be going about this all wrong.” I had been mulling over the paradox in the non-profit sector, from a niche marketing perspective, that the organizations with whom you have the greatest mission alignment are your competitors.  You have probably heard the widely used metaphor, ‘we are competing for slices of the same pie.’ Given the prevalence of this assumption (and its impact on our behaviors) I became curious about whether anyone had ever tested this assumption and began to consider the possibility that it might not be true.

 read more »

Could a Win for the Warriors Be a Small Win for Collectivism?


I have not been a basketball fan since the LA Lakers heyday in the 70’s.  
I was disillusioned when they started to sell off different members of the team, seemingly driven by profit more than the team’s cohesion or even performance.  I don’t believe that the bottom line of sports has changed but still, I was captivated by the Warrior’s “Strength in Numbers” slogan and teamwork when I went to a Warrior’s game with “Hella Heart Oakland” for Asian Heritage Night.  A big shout out again for an amazing event to Christi Tran and thanks for getting me back into the game…what a great year for it!

 read more »

Leadership and Large-Scale Change: What’s Working and How Do We Know By Claire Reinelt

LLC’s Newest Publication: Leadership and Large Scale Change, Available Now! (Foreword By Deborah Meehan)

We are pleased to share LLC’s latest publication which is a product that included an analysis of current research, more than forty interviews and the findings of a meeting that brought together fifty leadership development funders and evaluators.  This work was supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, American Express, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to learn about evaluation methodologies that are being used to understand the contributions of leadership development to large scale change, share early lessons from research and current leadership work about the kind of leadership needed and how to develop it. We believe the recommendations in this report can help to increase the impact of our individual and combined efforts and encourage you to download this report and share it widely with others who fund, run, and study leadership development.  Over the next several months, we will be featuring the work of contributors to this research.  Our first contribution is from Claire Reinelt, a seasoned and well respected leadership evaluator.


 read more »

America Healing Resource List

 read more »

Resources and thoughts on the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s America Healing Conference. Included is a list of resources shared by the Foundation and from fellow participants.

Resources for Talking about Race: An Imperative for Leadership Development Programs

This past month I had the opportunity to attend the American Healing Conference in Ashville North Carolina sponsored by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.  There was a pretty amazing line up of folks doing incredible work in Baltimore, Isabel Wilkerson author of the “Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration” talked about the importance of knowing the history of the great migration and deeper story of resilience, folks from the Color of Change, BMe, United We Dream, and the Perception Institute shared stories about their work trying to change narratives and the our current reality.  Of course this is just a very modest sample of a rich three days that left me thinking about lots of things; including the role of leadership development in healing and equity. 
 read more »

Appreciating Eugene After 8 Years of Service

There are no words to express our gratitude to Eugene Kim but we are going to try…..

 read more »

A Fond Farewell To Natalia

It’s not easy to say goodbye to Natalia and those of you who know her understand why.  For months, Natalia has tried to prepare us for this day. Her family is in Orange County and she moved to Los Angeles to be close. Still, we miss her. 

Aside from being very funny and making us laugh, a lot, Natalia is leaving LLC with some impossibly large shoes to fill.  Natalia started with LLC in 2009 as our Marketing and Communications Director.  If since then you have been appreciating our monthly newsletter or webinar series you can thank Natalia.  You may have noticed our new look, the glossy publications and consulting materials…yes, thanks to Natalia.  Our learning community grew from 600 leadership funders, program staff and researchers to a network of over 4,000 people.  Natalia was so successful in helping people understand our consulting services that our business has flourished and then we had a new need, managing complex projects. 

 read more »

Syndicate content