Generating ideas, connections, and action

LLC Member Spotlight: Deborah Frieze


June’s LLC Member Spotlight celebrates the work of Deborah Frieze at The Berkana Institute. Deborah has contributed to many rich LLC supported discussions about strengthening leadership, networks and communities of practice. Since 2007 (and even before, when in 2003, at Creating Space IV Meg Wheatley was the Keynote Learning Catalyst), we have had an on-going learning relationship with Berkana.  In 2007, Deborah shared Berkana’s theory of change at a Boston Learning Circle meeting exploring the role of evaluation in the process of leadership innovation. Berkana’s theory of change starts with a premise that local leadership is a powerful force for innovation and change. In 2008, LLC provided the Berkana Exchange and Connective Associates with a Community Seed Grant to test the value of using social network analysis to illuminate and build capacity of the learning centers that the Berkana Exchange convenes through the Art of Learning Centering. Deborah is a leading voice on the value and practice of trans-local learning communities.


This past April, Deborah Frieze and Meg Wheatley published Walk Out Walk On: A Learning Journey into Communities Daring to Live the Future Now. The book shares the stories of leaders and communities around the world who are self-organizing to create healthy and resilient communities. Since writing the book, they have been hosting conversations throughout North America with people who are asking questions about how to solve intractable problems—such as failing public schools, inequitable access to capital, disaffected youth, flailing healthcare and more. “Everywhere we go, we’re discovering that someone is inventing a creative response to these chronic system failures, and that there are hundreds of small local experiments happening in every community. What’s needed now is for each of us to share what we’re learning from place to place.” Deborah is also collaborating with Tim Merry and Tuesday Ryan-Hart to offer two day Walk Out Walk On “Deep Dives” that will give participants a chance to explore the dominant belief systems that limit our ingenuity and inhibit our capacity to work together to solve problems.




We appreciate and honor Deborah’s work and its alignment with the values and vision we hold at the Leadership Learning Community. As Deborah says:


“Together, we can learn how to walk on to the ideas, beliefs and practices that will support us in creating healthy and resilient communities. This is the power of leadership learning communities, where practitioners offer their knowledge and questions to one another to accelerate our collective learning. What has been so valuable for me about LLC is how deeply this community understands this learning dynamic. Every time I gather with other LLC members, I find myself in stimulating conversations that challenge my beliefs and assumptions and stretch my sense of what's possible."