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Building Networks and Movements for Social Justice

Building Networks and Movements for Social Justice

Lessons from the Pioneers in Justice Leadership Program

By Heather McLeod Grant and Daniel Lee

As leaders of nonprofits know, the social sector is at a critical inflection point, with external forces challenging many of our old ways of working. As the Leadership Learning Community (LLC) and others have written, new technologies are disrupting traditional approaches and breaking down silos within and between organizations. Simultaneously, collaboration and "networking" is becoming the new norm, rather than the exception.

In response to these trends, in 2010 the Levi Strauss Foundation (LSF) launched a program called Pioneers in Justice, offering intense support to a cohort of Bay Area Gen X leaders who had recently become executive directors of legacy social justice organizations. Over the past few years, with more than $3M invested in capacity-building, collaboration grants, and convening for peer learning, the program has helped these nonprofits leaders build their social media skills, transform their organizations, and mobilize larger networks and movements to drive greater social impact.

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LLC Webinar Series | Leading for Results: From Collective Impact to Large-Scale Social Change

 

Presenters: 

  • Ashley B. Stewart, Senior Associate, Talent and Leadership Development, Annie E. Casey Foundation
  • Michelle Martin, Chief Operating Officer, Northside Achievement Zone

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Webinar Recap: Building a National Network of Leaders: Replicating the BCLI (March 2015)

Building a National Network of Leadership: Replicating the BCLI
Presenters:  Uma Viswanathan and Terri Thao | March 2015


The Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute (BCLI) is a six-month fellowship that trains and places advocates from low-income communities of color onto local and regional boards and commissions through the Bay Area. Preparing mid-career leaders to leverage and enhance their knowledge, skills, and networks to enter political life, the BCLI is not just an individual leadership development program. It is a strategy to change the face of politics, creating a network of diverse and representative leaders who move racially and economically just policies at all levels of government. 
 
During this webinar, BCLI directors Uma Viswanathan (Urban Habitat) and Terri Thao (Nexus Community Partners) provided an overview of this innovative program and shared their discoveries about the replication process as partners from different regions and organizations. Participants engaged in dialogue about potential future replications, including individual leader, organizational, and regional readiness for this type of program.

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2014 Webinar: Cultivating Results-Driven Leadership for Meaningful Change | Dr. Michael McAfee

On Thursday, September 11, 2014, Dr. Michael McAfee led the group in a discussion around the challenges of leading collective impact initiatives that aim to challenge and dismantle our nation's inequities. 
 
During the discussion, he engaged the group to consider the ways in which results-driven systems can be used by leaders to focus and accelerate sustainable change. He also described the system of technical assistance that he and his team employ in their work, and its impact within the Promise Neighborhoods movement.
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2014 Webinar | 10 Lessons about Virtual Network Leadership Development | Panelist: June Holley

In August 2014, June Holley presented 10 Lessons about virtual network leadership development based on principles of learning and behavior change. This webinar was relevant to leadership programs and networks that want to augment face to face time with virtual learning opportunities that can address the geographic, time, and cost challenges of working only through face to face connections. One of the lessons learned was the importance of "having the capacity to have breakout group capacity to increase engagement around content."

 

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Guest Blog Post: Reflections On Creating Space | Odin Zackman

By Odin Zackman

 

When you change the way you look at things,

the things you look at change.

Max Planck

 

If we are to create the kind of leadership we need to affect transformative change in ourselves, our workplaces, and our communities, we need to create space—regularly—in our lives. We need to claim a time in our day and in our week to do what I call “big thinking” or just to be silent. We need to weave this space into our meetings with colleagues, so that we are not only focused on “getting things done” but in understanding why and how we are achieving our goals. And we need places annually or semi-annually that can serve as a pilgrimage of sorts—a place to return to that helps reconfirm our purpose in the world, reconnects us with colleagues aligned with our efforts, and renews us along the challenging path of seeking greater health, sustainability and justice.

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Guest Blog Post: Playing Cards for Culture Change | Eugene Eric Kim

Eugene helps groups learn how to come alive and collaborate more skillfully together. He spent ten years consulting with companies across different sectors, from Fortune 500 companies to grassroots movements. He’s now focusing his efforts on helping others develop the same skills that he uses to help groups. You can read more about him at his website, Faster Than 20.


The defining characteristic of Creating Space for me — and the reason I keep coming back — is the quality and diversity of the participants. Everybody is dedicated to learning about leadership development, and the design of the gathering supports us in truly learning from each other at a deep level.

Our most recent gathering offered the perfect opportunity for me to test a very early version of an idea I’ve had for several years now — mindset cards.

When I was a consultant, a lot of my work was about helping groups shift into more of a learning, collaborative culture. Peter Drucker has famously said that culture eats strategy for breakfast, and yet, the reality is that most groups do not pursue culture work intentionally. It seems hard and hand-wavy, and it’s safer to ignore it and hope it works itself out.

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2014 Webinar Series | Leadership & Equity

Tags:
Webinar postponed, further details to come. Check back soon. 
Increasingly, equity is an issue leaders of community-based organizations and institutions must consider as they deploy precious resources, advocate for their constituents, and provide social services. But what does it really mean to be an equitable leader? Is there a difference between equity and equality? And how do you know if your decisions, policies, and practices are truly equitable? As our population becomes more diverse and competition steepens, it is imperative for leaders to focus on closing opportunity gaps. 

This webinar will engage participants in exploration and thoughtful reflection about the role equity plays in the contemporary practice of leadership. After examining equity in a variety of real-world situations, participants will be invited to consider how equity factors into their everyday lives as leaders. Finally, the co-presenters will introduce some of the resources and strategies they've found useful for those seeking to enhance their abilities to plan and act more equitably in their roles as first-responders, advocates, thought-leaders, and/or pioneering social innovators.
 
Co-presenters:
Cheryl D. Fields, executive vice president, Langhum Mitchell Communications
Mary Stelletello, principal, Vista Global Coaching & Consulting 
 
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Collaborating from the Place of Common Ground

Written by Beth Tener

Case Study of the Energy Action Network of Vermont

While the news is full of partisan politics, an alternative model is emerging for how to make progress in addressing large scale challenges: collaborative networks. Through network initiatives, parts of a system can come together, find common ground, and pursue solutions and collective action from those points of agreement. The Energy Action Network (EAN) in Vermont is a compelling example of this approach. EAN not only created a way to find common ground among people/organizations with divergent views, but also created a structure for on-going collaboration toward a goal that is decades away. At the December 2013 Leadership Learning Community Boston Learning Circle, Jennifer Berman shared the story of EAN’s formation and Andi Colnes, the Executive Director of EAN, shared how collaborative work has continued in a networked way. Their story and the discussion offered many valuable insights about how networks can affect change in a large system and what collaborative leadership means.

Jennifer shared the impetus for EAN. As Executive Director of Maverick Lloyd Foundation, a family foundation in Vermont, she received many proposals for similar and overlapping work, by organizations that were not connected. As the Foundation explored how to fund work focused on environmental issues, “we talked to about 40 people across the state and no one had same interpretation of