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March Newsbrief

This month, as you walk into Preservation Park, where the LLC offices are located in downtown Oakland, there are a few noticeable differences in the flora and fauna. We see the cherry blossom trees and roses blooming and the birds seem to be chirping louder. As we begin this Spring season, we deliver a few leadership resources to guide and rejuvenate you in your work. Happy Spring time!


On Leadership and Networks
Check out the Interaction Institute for Social Change’s Curtis Ogden’s book review of Mila Baker’s Peer-to-Peer Leadership: Why the Network is the Leader.  The book calls for a network mindset change in paradigm with regards to solving complex social problems. Looking to networks and their organization might be the key to unlocking greater adaptability, resilience, and collective potential. At LLC we are incorporating social network analysis to  our consulting work and mapping the networks of leadership programs.  If you want to learn more about network science check out the free PDF book published by the Network Science Project that goes into the beauty of network visualization.

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Reflections on Star Power: A Simulation

At the end of February, the Leadership Learning Community hosted the powerful learning simulation known as Star Power. In partnership with facilitators Dave Nakashima and Kathleen Rice, LLC was able to offer this tool used by some leadership programs for no cost to our community. Star Power is a powerful learning simulation that is meant to demonstrate how systems of oppression are experienced in our societies. Whether at the community, organizational or systems level, Star Power is a powerful demonstration of societal conditioning and its effect on individuals and how this gets carried out into policies, practices and belief systems.  As much as Star Power is meant to be a tool for self-learning, it is also meant to be an experiential learning opportunity to examine institutionalized segregation and difference that make up our daily lives.  With about 20 participants, we engaged in a half day event complete with community building and a debriefing session as bookends to the simulation. While certainly many of us that participated are continuing to debrief and reflect on what we learned, the LLC staff has aggregated our thoughts on our different experiences in the simulation in an effort to start a dialogue on disruption and how the role of leadership that is more inclusive networked and collective can play a role in this disruption.
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MAR Vignettes: Stories of Collaboration, Sustainability, and Community in Leadership Development

Collaborative, sustainable, and community engaged are some of the perpetual words that describe the fellows that have participated in the Mesoamerican Reef Leadership program and their projects.  Last year, LLC completed a six-month evaluation of the Mesoamerican Reef Leadership Program (MAR-L). And LLC is very excited to present stories from our travels meeting with fellows face-to-face on three weeks of site visit travels and working closely with MAR-L staff, funders, other supporters, and of course the unforgettable fellows and their families.


What is the MAR-L Program?

MAR-L is a leadership development program designed to support and build leadership capacities of young environmentalists from Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras working to conserve the world’s second largest coral reef system in the world; the Mesoamerican reef. The program has been in existence for three rounds of leadership cohorts, with a total of 35 participants, and is now interviewing candidates for the fouth cohort. The program operates in cohorts of 10-12 fellows each year that come from a variety of backgrounds and sectors; including local tourism entrepreneurs, media professionals, government agencies, community leaders, and others- as long as their professional endeavors bear a direct connection to the health and wellbeing of the coastal/marine environment.

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Nonprofit Leadership Newsbrief: February 2014

This month has been a fascinating month; from news reports from the Sochi Olympics, the Revolution in Kiev, Ukraine to the Stand-Your-Ground Law in the Michael Dunn case.  What do these current events have to teach us about Leadership Development? What can the field learn from these events? This month, we dedicate the nonprofit news brief to lifting up important leadership lessons from current events and sharing inspirational quotes as we celebrate and learn from African American History.

On Leadership and History

February is African American History Month and to honor this important month we bring you a collection of quotes from social justice warrior and poet, Audre Lorde, to help guide your social justice work through leadership. To access an interactive timeline and other important facts about African American history in the United States, PBS has a collection of resources.It's important to remember and learn from our history as we move forward in our work.
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Nonprofit Leadership Newsbrief: January 2014

“Life’s most urgent and persistent question is what are you doing for others”- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Happy New Year to our Newsbrief readers! May 2014 bring you renewal, connections, joy and peace to you!

As we begin 2014 we are very busy at LLC. But we pause to reflect the honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy this month and those who fought for civil rights and justice in the 1960s. Miriam’s interesting article a few months back shared her reflections leadership after watching the fictional play “Mountaintop” based on the last moments of Dr. Kings life. But we remember that change takes many minds working in concert. We remember those working for civil and racial justice today on the ongoing struggles that we currently face. This month also marks the 5 year anniversary of the tragic shooting of Oscar Grant at Oakland’s fruitvale Bart station. Although we are still working towards social and racial justice, it’s important to lift up the stories of change.  We dedicate this newsletter to the memory of racial and civil rights activists and hope that 2014 will continue to mark another historical year for social change and leadership.  

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Learning Clusters and Self Organizing after Creating Space X

Self-organizing not only aids in the social change process but it encourages people to take initiative and try something new. At Creating Space X, LLC’s unconference hosted back in May 2013, the knowledge and wisdom was held by all present in the room. For example, our presenters were ‘conversation catalysts’, rather than presenters, helping to get a dialogue going. We also devoted time to the Open Space methodology where participants were able to create categories about what they wanted to learn most, with topics ranging from healing to sharing specific tools they could take back to their Leadership Development work.

LLC’s ED, Deborah Meehan, wrote about the leadership development opportunities that emerged from Creating Space in a blog article a few months ago that reflected on Asset and Deficit based leadership development.  As Deborah mentions, ‘too often in the field of leadership development, we focus on what one doesn’t know (Deficit Based), versus valuing the knowledge and expertise that is already present (Asset Focused).”  Asset based learning at Creating Space allowed for greater peer learning and self-organizing around what participants were eager to talk about. Following Creating Space, in an effort to keep the lessons learned and peer learning going, we provided support groups who wanted to continue meeting and learning together. This took the unique form of virtual self-organized groups that we are referring to as “Learning Clusters”. 

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Nonprofit Leadership Newsbrief: Gratitude, Volunteering, and Advancing Racial Justice, November 2013

with GratitudeThis November, we honor the practice of giving thanks. We are especially grateful to our readers and to our learning community that is committed to transforming the way leadership is conceived and conducted for social change. We are very grateful to you all and we wish you and your loved ones warm wishes this holiday season. We have many reasons to count our blessings today; however, there is still a lot of work to be done. The links below reflect a commitment to cultivating gratitude and to collaborating with others to create greater change. The nonprofit leadership newsbrief will be taking a holiday break next month as we gear up for our community and foundation partnership donation campaign. With that said, we look forward to seeing you in the new year as we to continue to bring interesting leadership resources and events to you all!

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Nonprofit Leadership Newsbrief: Power and Mindfulness in Leadership, October 2013

This month’s newsletter will take power and mindfulness, as it relates to leadership development, under its microscope. At Creating Space X 2013, we discussed how leadership is in a state of transition; that “wicked problems” or complicated problems of our age, such as climate change, income inequality, racial bias etc., will require a different kind of leadership to solve. This is a topic that most recently, UK actor and now guest Editor of the progressive New Statesmen magazine, Russell Brand, has recently taken to discussing. In this short soundbite from an Interview, he very passionately calls for a change in leadership and strategies to combat these wicked problems. We think it’s worth sharing!


This newsletter will examine the issues of power as it relates to leadership to combat these wicked problems. As we prepare to face the transition how can we re-orient our understanding and relation to power; how might we re-imagine power? read more »

Actualizing Evolutionary Co-Leadership: Bay Area Learning Circle Reflections

Why are new forms of leadership urgently needed?

This month our Bay Area participants brought necessary questions about Collective Leadership to a Learning Circle on October 1st.

A bright sunny room filled with 19 participants from all over the Bay Area at the California Endowment set the stage to learn about Evolutionary Co-Leadership with Alain Gauthier of Core Leadership Development. To begin,  Alain first engaged participants by asking them to share in small groups  what “evolutionary” means for each person. In small table groups participants shared definitions that included viewing evolution as a biological and anthropological process, a process of growth and learning, and of adaptation and innovation for survival. Many of us at the circle also likened evolution to progress, continuation and improvement. We were asked to share our experiences of collective leadership and the questions we bring. Questions surfaced around the role of an individual’s identity in the collective process, how accountability is achieved, what degree of openness is required, and ways to equitably bring together stakeholders regardless of positional leadership status.

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Nonprofit Leadership Newsbrief: September 2013

This month’s newsletter will focus in an issue very important to LLC as a learning community committed to equity.  Immigration reform is crucial for creating a more equitable future for our country founded on immigrant histories, labor and culture. 11 million undocumented immigrants are left without a path to citizenship or basic rights and cannot fully participate in our society. The 1.8 million DREAMers (undocumented youth brought to the US as children) have shed light on our broken immigration system by exposing their struggle to gain citizenship by means of legal process. This month we honor the immigrant paths that have shaped your family and urge all to understand the urgency for taking action on immigration reform. 

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