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LLC Board Feature: Grady McGonagill


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When invited as a new board member to contribute to the LLC newsletter, I decided to describe how I came to that role, because I think it reveals something important about the kind of organization LLC is and the contribution it is making. I am an independent consultant, specializing in leadership development. Toward the end of last year I was invited by Europe’s largest foundation (the Bertelsmann Foundation) to do a study of leadership development best practices in the U.S.  When gearing up to do the study, I asked colleagues for nominations about programs they thought might be candidates. One of my colleagues suggested Claire Reinelt (who, like me, lives in the Boston area) as someone to speak to on this topic because she was very knowledgeable.  When I spoke to Claire I realized that I already knew something about LLC through studies I had read published by Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, which cited some work by LLC that had impressed me. I was even more impressed when Claire generously shared with me a number of the “scans” of leadership and leadership development she and Deborah Meehan had conducted. 

As my study progressed, Claire generously provided feedback that both deepened and broadened my work. This feedback reinforced other learning from LLC’s work to drive home the importance of two emerging trends in leadership development. One is that it is increasingly important to think beyond the development of individual leaders and foster collective leadership development.  The other is that networks and networking are extremely powerful tools for leadership development.  I came to appreciate LLC as an organization that was conducting pioneering work in these and other areas.  So when my client, Tina Doerffer, said she had received an invitation from LLC to nominate Board members and wondered whether I would be interested, my only reservation was whether I could offer what the organization needed.  Happily, the attraction was mutual. I have since experienced my first board meeting, which increased my already strongly positive impression of LLC, what it has accomplished, and what it might still contribute. I feel truly privileged to be on the LLC team.