Generating ideas, connections, and action

Miriam Persley's blog

Questions From "Successfully Transitioning Your Organization to a Network Mindset" Webinar

Beth Tener and Carole Martin presented ways of transitioning our organizations into a network mindset. They presented applicable tools to transform any organization. They answered many questions live, however, here are a few more questions that they were able to dive deeper into. If you missed the webinar you can watch the recording and view the slides. Beth and Carole also share more resources in this blog.

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Listening for Change

For many of us, talking to others with opposing views requires skill. I was reminded of how important this is while listening to “39 Shots” a podcast episode from Criminal. It featured the story of Nelson Johnson, the founder of Beloved Community and who also happened to be a Creating Space V catalyst in 2004.


On the podcast, Nelson re-lives November 3, 1979 the day he and others from the Communist Workers Party were attacked by the KKK. Five people died because of the violence that happened that day. To the disappointment of some in the community, state courts acquitted the KKK members named in investigations. Twenty-five years later a Truth and Reconciliation Commission was organized.  The podcast also featured the restorative

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Is Finding A Home Debatable?

What could possibly go wrong in a space that seeks to develop young people into the leaders of tomorrow? Seemingly, nothing.  Similar to a  leadership development program, Debate teams throughout the country train young people in the art of communication and allow many of them to gain confidence while developing their analytical abilities and skills of persuasion. Radiolab’s podcast episode “Debatable”1 explores what lurks beneath the surface and dives deep into how even within these people-building spaces, not everyone is truly welcome.


As Ryan Wash explains, the experience of people of color, specifically Black bodies, varies greatly. When Ryan, a queer black student, and others begin to debate how the structure of Debate is not welcoming to them, tensions increase.  These tensions culminate at the National Debate Tournament, where Wash argues repeatedly that though others have found a home in Debate, he is not welcome. The way Debate judges, trainers, and students mostly value one model of debate

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The Next Frontier For The Leadership Learning Community By Deborah Meehan & Miriam Persley

As an organization, we have always prided ourselves on being experimental and pushing the edge and in 2016 we will be honoring that part of ourselves. LLC is making some big moves this month. After many years of partnership with Tides, LLC is changing fiscal sponsors. Beginning tomorrow, LLC will be fiscally sponsored by Community Initiatives. Ultimately this change will position us for more changes in the near future which are in-line with our results-based strategic planning and have been approved by our board after much deliberation and planning.


What does it mean?

For LLC, it means a change in our legal identity. Our new identity will be held by Community Initiatives. Community Initiatives is a fiscal sponsorship organization that was established 20 years ago by The San Francisco Foundation, but became it’s own organization outside of the Foundation 8 years ago. It may take us  some time to transfer everything over, so bear with us, but in the next few weeks you’ll notice our identity changing subtly. For instance, our website and donation page will be updated and our main phone number is now a mobile number so you can now text us too.

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Urgent Call From Michigan: Non-Traditional Leadership In Action

This month, I’d like to highlight some of the urgent work happening right now in Michigan where our social justice colleagues and friends are dealing with an environmental crisis and add my voice to their call for collective action. For a few weeks so much attention has been given to a  little town in Michigan. All major news channels are talking about Flint and the ongoing water crisis; finally. Though this has been a reality for many residents in Michigan. My first thought was for our Michigan friendships forged at Creating Space last year, where we heard directly from We The People of Detroit who are a part of The People’s Water Board Coalition.
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You CAN Eradicate Racism Within Our Lifetime (Yes You!)

I am writing from the field from the Within Our Lifetime (WOL) Leadership Gathering.  LLC was invited to join this network whose goal is to eradicate the systems of oppression and racism that continue to thrive in our world; however they emphasize the urgency needed to do this Within Our Lifetime. The work which came out of an affinity group at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Healing America Conference has grown to encompass leaders working on tackling aspects of this throughout the US.  We invite all of you to join the WOL movement to strive to eradicate racism wherever you are and in all the ways you can within your organizations, networks, movements, families, communities, and your personal interactions. The lives of people of color are still being affected by today and every day by implicit biases and structural and organizational racism. It will take all of us to be able to heal and finish the work that was begun by the civil rights movement. You can make a commitment to educate yourself on your role in this problem as well as contribute solutions. We will be keeping you posted on the news and ways to get even more involved as the work of this network continues to grow.

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Leveraging Network Leadership within Organizations

The past two days with Within Our Lifetime have been incredible. I cannot describe how inspiring it is to be sitting in a room with over 50 people and organizations committed to living, breathing, creating social justice. The goal of the convening was to “elect” the next phase of leadership. Thus far, the network grew from the volunteered energy of an interim core leadership team. The amount of work and impact they’ve made to the field has been to bring implicit bias to the fore-front of the work and all in a short amount of time (4 years).
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10 Steps To Celebrate Failure Through Design Thinking

As the year comes to a close, I’ve been reflecting on my growth in the last year and what increases my own development. I believe that the way we as individuals and organizations do or don’t accept, appreciate, and even celebrate failures is highly linked to our growth. Errors, mistakes, and failures are all a part of life. However the way that we respond to these moments is what defines our development.

Some places believe that mistakes are a demarcation of irreparable failure. However, this is a misguided sense of what leadership is. Leadership is not perfection, but rather a process towards improving individuals, organizations, and communities. This process includes mistakes because these can be opportunities to learn, innovate, and grow.


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Reflections From The Field: On Detroit

Creating Space XII took place not so long ago and it was an opportunity to learn about what it means to develop non-traditional leadership. CSXII brought together a diverse group of leaders. Interestingly enough, so many present did not consider themselves leaders, they simply saw themselves doing the work.

One of the most impactful parts of Creating Space XII for me was going to the field to understand how art and culture was transforming communities. Right away from the moment we landed, Detroit did not feel like other locations. We were not close to downtown, and the large structures close to our hotel felt 

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Non-Traditional Approaches to Developing Non-Traditional Leadership | The Complete Series

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If you haven't already, we encourage you to read the "Non-Traditional Approaches to Developing Non-Traditional Leadership | The Complete Series." This series details modules that support non-traditional leaders.
Each article is linked below:
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