As an organization, we believe deeply in the power and importance of networks and shared leadership. LLC is made up not only of dynamic staff members, but also hundreds of folks collaborating across state lines and issues to share skills, co-create projects, and learn from one another. That’s why we’ve begun this new series of LLC Network Spotlights, where we interview active members of our network and make space for them to share their own experiences engaging in the practices of network leadership.
We’re excited to share our first interview with Kiara Nagel, a strategist and trainer, who is also a facilitator in the WEB Network. We hope that you learn something new from her story, and we encourage you to share it with your networks as well!
How did you become connected with LLC?
Kiara: I had been working with IISC, the Interaction Institute for Social Change, for many years. Through them, I met Deborah and the LLC team. Both organizations had been interested in exploring networks and working toward social change. Everytime I work with both I meet great people and get to do great work. So Deborah scooped me up!
What does network leadership mean to you?
Kiara: I’ve always been about this life, even before I knew it was a thing. I’ve always been attracted to the kind of leadership that creates conditions for others, that’s less visible in the front, but that others feel connected to. And leadership that supports people to shine and be their best selves. My organizational training shows it doesn’t matter what you say but how you make people feel. My mother and other women around me practiced that leadership. A lot of people didn’t know that that’s how things were happening. I felt inspired and educated by those women, but challenged by how they were unappreciated and not recognized. That has motivated a lot of my work.
What do you value about network leadership?
Kiara: I really feel like what we don’t need right now is one thing. There’s not one answer, one person, one tool. There’s not even one methodology that will meet the complexity of the world. That’s why I do different kinds of things and work with different kinds of people. Network leadership allows for people to connect and come in and out of relationships as needed. So I get excited about relationships at different sectors and different people coming and working together. I think the world needs new kinds of collaborations, new tools that influence us across disciplines.
How do you engage with/take advantage of your networks?
Kiara: I could always be doing more. When I was a young person I used to make lists of all my friends and their talents and gifts. I didn’t realize until later how weird that was and how that was network mapping. I’m constantly inventorying, mapping in my mind and literally what assets and talents and gifts are around. Sometimes if folks are telling a story I’m thinking of who else I can connect to this. Because I work as a consultant in many different settings, one of the responsibilities I have is to feedback what I’m hearing across laterally. I’m constantly taking stories from one place and sharing in a different place as a way of helping people see their own work in a new way. I’m not only thinking about who to connect, but also how ideas and capacity connect and can spread. I love to take something from one place and use it in a strange way in a new place. Making the familiar strange and the strange familiar.
What kinds of skills/resources do you offer to your networks?
Kiara: I do a lot of facilitation. Helping people have the same conversation at the same time. Helping people be in good relationship and collaborate, build agreements. I’m also doing a lot of training. I do trainings around racial equity issues, narrative strategy with the Center for Story Based Strategy. Sometimes I'm thinking about story and strategy. I also do general organizational development and capacity building.
If you’re interested in collaborating and sharing resources with Kiara, you can connect with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.