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Miriam Persley's blog

Personal Ecology: A Reflection on Community

Here at LLC, we have had a very active last few months; all of our work culminating in our national meeting, Creating Space XI. Since our last Creating Space in Baltimore, I participated in one of Rockwood Leadership Institute’s programs. We spent a generous amount of time learning Personal Ecology, which is the art of maintaining balance, pacing, and efficiency to sustain our energy over a lifetime of activism. Personal ecology is crucial to leadership development because without people doing the work on the ground, the field cannot sustain this work over time and we will not be able to see the results we want. We cannot have programs that are more inclusive, networked, or collective if we cannot sustain ourselves and our partners in this work.
 

Last year, for Creating Space X, we traveled to Baltimore. Although the meeting was a success and I had a lot of  fun interacting with our community, I must admit that I completely failed at maintaining balance.  The meeting momentum, the change in time zone, the 12-hour flight, plus all the unpacking and repacking, the three-days of waking up at 3am Pacific and going to bed late into the night, compiled by the running around, and a red-eye flight back home; all of that caught up to me the second I arrived home and my body finally gave into the exhaustion in the form of shingles. Yes, I came down with a case of shingles! Even the doctors were surprised that at my age I could get this, but it was a reminder, once again, that I do have physical limits. We all do, and when we are in complete imbalance we all have ways of knowing it; for some our bodies may give out,  for others they may lose the joy they find in their work, or some sacrifice everything outside of their work and lose the space and people that rejuvenate them.

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Creating Space XI | An Update and Quick Guide

Last month, I wrote about “Creating Space: The Experimentation of Design” with some insights on this year’s design process. Now, days away from our convening, we are witnessing all the pieces come together. Last week, the agenda was shared with all of you, and the names of participants that have volunteered as catalyst with offerings for this hands-on workshop were also released and have been updated.
 

This year, in the spirit of innovation, LLC is experimenting with our tried and true format; moving from our traditional meeting format to a learning lab format.  To create a roll up your sleeves tinkering and prototyping environment focused on practical implementation we decided to limit participation this year to no more than 60 innovative practitioners who are willing to take a deep dive into the "how to" nuts and bolts of designing and delivering leadership development that promotes inclusive, networked, and collective leadership. Not only will participants be able to have space for meaningful conversations; the ability to participate in an experience unlike any other in the leadership development field; but also many opportunities to share their own experiences, tools, and find applicable solutions to their program’s challenges. Whether you’re new to the field, one of the core fixtures to leadership development, or somewhere in between, the group creates space for all these voices to come and learn from one another. In keeping with the tradition of a non-conference, there will be plenty of space and time to integrate anything you may wish to learn from our peers.
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The Community Connections-Marygrove College Partnership: A Powerful Collaboration

Last May, after Day Two of Creating Space X, I had the honor of joining a self-organized dinner.  Among the group were Brenda Price, the director of Marygrove College’s Office of Urban Leadership Initiatives and who also oversees the Building Our Leadership in Detroit (BOLD) and Lisa Leverette, the Program Manager at the Detroit Community Connections Grant Program. That night, it became clear that Lisa and Brenda had amazing insights into many of the systemic social problems of their city. Also present were Dawn Wilson and Darnell Adams, who are both on the grant review panel for the Community Connections Small Grants Program.  Over dinner folks helped to paint a holistic picture that transcended the typical media characterizations  of Detroit with an unparalleled richness. So deep was their collective knowledge, so compelling, that all the non-Michiganians at the table (which included Tides Client Specialist Bella Celnik, LLC Chief Board Member and Independent Consultant Eugene Kim, and I) left committed to visit Detroit. As the night ended, Brenda and Lisa made a commitment to work together when they returned to Michigan. Now, seven months later, I reconnected with Brenda and Lisa to hear more about their collaboration.
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The Power of Networks - Donate to LLC!

Support leadership that inspires change!

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Creating Sustainable Social Change: Step 1

Courtesy of Maria Ramos-Chertok
Mayacamas Ranch, Calistoga, CA October 2013
Rockwood Art of Leadership: Women in Racial Justice

A subgroup of these women worked on the Charter for Humanizing the Social Sector

At the end of October, I participated in the Rockwood Leadership Institute’s Art of Leadership for Women Leaders in Racial Justice and Human Rights, in Calistoga, CA. Twenty-seven women (including myself) and two facilitators learned, laughed, and connected deeply during a weeklong training. I participated to learn more about leadership development in practice, as well as to take a moment for self-reflection and evaluation. I can feel the change in myself and have been able to see others through a very different lens; having a deeper understanding of what impact leadership development can have on people and their organizations. There are countless moments of learning, but one particular conversation struck me very deeply. It was a collective conversation in a small group looking for long-term Personal Ecology strategies to maintain a lifetime of commitment to the social sector.

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The Bare Basics of Budgeting

At the end of September, I attended CompassPoint’s Budgeting for Programs, Grants, and the Organization Training with Sarah Gort. Although I have been monitoring and creating financial reports for LLC for over a year, this session gave me concrete tools and challenged me to continue to improve LLC’s financial monitoring to ensure sound management of our finances and promoting sustainability.

 

Most people get overwhelmed by numbers and want to run away from the process. Yet, money is what allows our organizations to keep the doors open, foster staff talent, and produce the important work that leads to social change. It does take effort, but these simple approaches can take the financial headaches out of our organizations and ensure sustainability.

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Management ≠ Leadership

Eleanor, Marla, and Miriam at CompassPoint’s “Take Control of Your Leadership Development: Frameworks for Emerging and New Leaders” Workshop

As part of our own leadership growth, Eleanor and I from the LLC team, were able to participate in CompassPoint’s workshop “Take Control of Your Leadership Development: Frameworks for Emerging and New Leaders.” Our facilitator, Marla Cornelius, shared many resources with us to help frame the conversation for the leadership workshop. With Marla’s permission, we are sharing some of these resources with you in this blog post.

 

At the workshop, Marla shared a timeline demonstrating some common Leadership Theories and dates of when they were prominent. Since leadership is a social construct, it is difficult to define leadership when there are many interpretations of what leadership is and how it shows up. You will note that many of the assumptions that show up on the timeline are still prominent today.

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Leadership and Race: Bay Area Learning Circle Reflections

A couple days ago on August 15th, we co-hosted a two hour Learning Circle with the Rockwood Leadership Institute to address within our own community recent events as they relate to race and leadership. Some of you came to learn more about this subject, make connections among local organizations, and/or to find healing within each other.  We divided ourselves into smaller groups and dipped into our emotions, stories, and collected resources that had been on our mind.

 

Leadership and Race: Bay Area Learning Circle Reflections from Leadership Learning Community on Vimeo.

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Open Minds, Open Hearts: Developing People

Miriam Persley responds to: How Can Leadership Development Programs Make a Difference in the Challenges of Tackling Racism?

 

Trayvon Martin’s death was a symptom of a larger problem. Our society is littered with inequities. With time, legalized racism has evolved from physical segregation into something that is “happening at nanoseconds at subliminal levels, not conscious levels,” as Maya Wiley[1] argues. It is this subconscious racism which is embedded in our social system, and therefore into other systems as well. The symptoms are all there to corroborate this. We see the symptoms of racism in the criminal justice system,[2]  further corroborated by the discrepancy of “underrepresented minorities’” admissions into colleges,[3] as well as by the data on income distribution[4] or the percentages of children below poverty,[5] none of which reflect racial equity. All these symptoms come back to racism; its roots in American history of colonialism, slavery, and imperialism. The problem is not one of Black vs White, this in itself ignores the American reality of others that are outside of the White or Black communities[6] and those that are of mixed descent. Rather this is a social problem which affects everyone.

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