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What it takes to shift Power

Perhaps because my background is in organizing and advocacy, for me the purpose of my work supporting leadership is to shift power. Looking at who has power and who doesn’t and then shifting that balance. 

 

I think we accomplish shifting power by actually creating opportunities for people with less power, marginalized and directly impacted people, to have real power over the conditions which impact their lives, not just “a voice” which power-holders can choose to hear or not. If we are to build leadership support structures that value equity we must intentionally assess and question how power and authority are distributed, in our society and in our institutions. 

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LLC Webinar Seriesl A Conversation with Mujeres Unidas y Activas: Shifting Power from the Inside Out

 

A Conversation with Mujeres Unidas y Activas Shifting Power from the Inside Out: Lessons on Centering the Leadership of Impacted Communities

 

June 20, 2019

10 - 11:30 PST | 1 - 2:30 EST

Join us for a Bilingual (English/Spanish) Webinar featuring Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA).  MUA is an intergenerational grassroots organization led by, and for, Latina immigrant women with a double mission of promoting personal transformation and building community power for social and economic justice. MUA is an intergenerational grassroots organization led by, and for, Latina immigrant women. MUA’s innovative leadership development model trains members to plan and implement their programs and campaigns at all levels. MUA is proud to be a national model for Latina immigrant empowerment and organizing, and to have created a healthy, sustainable, grassroots-membership led organization.

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Creating Space 2019 - Tell us what you think!

The LLC team is excited to be working on the next Creating Space event, tentatively planned for Fall 2019 in Detroit, MI. Creating Space was

first held in 1998 to test the idea that people doing leadership development would benefit from connecting our learning and that first Creating Space became the mandate for LLC's formation two years later. Creating Space is a truly innovative event which brings together practitioners, funders, evaluators, students, and others passionate about leadership. This event is unlike other conferences, and is more akin to an “unconference.” Creating Space is a gathering that allows folks to build authentic relationships and think differently while learning and sharing new tools, practices, and ways of being. Since LLC strives to walk it as we talk it, Creating Space intentionally embodies LLC’s core values. Because equity is an essential value for LLC, we intend for Creating Space to be a convening which pushes the edges of centering equity, particularly centering directly impacted people.

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Leadership and Governance

Leadership is at the very heart of the ways in which we work, the processes through which we act and learn. We talk

about what it means to center equity in leadership and this week I had the opportunity to delve more deeply into

what this actually looks like with a wise group of people tackling questions of governance, for us the context was networks, and yet the questions are real for all justice loving people.

 

 

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How do we practice collective leadership when some parts of the leadership development practice feel individual?

 

LLC has spent a great deal of time and energy encouraging leadership funders and practitioners to expand and evolve their thinking on the very concept of leadership. To think about leadership not simply using what is called the “lone hero” model or lens. When the story of social change is told, it usually involves a few brave men, and occasionally women, who through grit, determination, and perhaps a superpower or two, save the day by individually ushering in change. This approach often excludes many from participating, upholds hierarchical, and often oppressive systems, and is frequently ahistoric, invisiblizing all of the non-household names, often less-privileged folks, who labored to make change possible.

 

Instead, LLC has supported efforts to think about leadership in more expansive, accessible, equitable, inclusive and democratic ways. Networked leadership is one example, creating a broad base of leadership rather than one leader to lead them all.

 

But the actual practice of inclusive and networked leadership is challenging. Often, supports are provided to or experienced by individual people, not whole communities, networks or demographic groups simultaneously. Smart and effective leadership processes encourage participants to engage in personal internal reflection, to build authentic relationships with other individuals, attend skills-building training sessions where a person individually chooses to show-up, etc;  So how do we practice collective leadership when some parts of the leadership development practice feel individual?

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Three lessons on Leadership Development From Reverend William Barber and the Poor People’s Campaign

 

As three full days were coming to close at the Othering and Belonging Conference, I could not imagine that there was any space left in my overflowing brain or heart, that was, until Reverend William Barber of the Poor People’s Campaign took the stage. I was riveted for the next hour, and my thoughts have returned repeatedly to several lessons about leadership. I encourage you to listen to the video of his speech yourself.

 

First, as context, the leadership that Reverend Barber inspires is squarely anchored in the pursuit of our full humanity, without pulling any punches. He resurrected what he describes as the often forgotten tenets of Martin Luther King Jr.’s struggle for wholeness, the fight against systemic racism, poverty and militarization. As someone with a passion for social justice leadership, I found myself listening for ideas about leadership, who leads, and how.

 read more »

Three lessons on Leadership Development From Reverend William Barber and the Poor People’s Campaign

As three full days were coming to close at the Othering and Belonging Conference, I could not imagine that there was any space left in my overflowing brain or heart, that was, until Reverend William Barber of the Poor People’s Campaign took the stage. I was riveted for the next hour, and my thoughts have returned repeatedly to several lessons about leadership. I encourage you to listen to the video of his speech yourself.

 

First, as context, the leadership that Reverend Barber inspires is squarely anchored in the pursuit of our full humanity, without pulling any punches. He resurrected what he describes as the often forgotten tenets of Martin Luther King Jr.’s struggle for wholeness, the fight against systemic racism, poverty and militarization. As someone with a passion for social justice leadership, I found myself listening for ideas about leadership, who leads, and how.

 read more »

Collective Leadership in Action

 

 

 

Thanks to those of you who joined our happy hour in Oakland to meet our new Co-Director, Ericka Stallings.  I have to say onboarding Ericka made it a ‘happy week, and our process was well worth the time we took. Along the way there have been many lessons for the LLC board and staff, and of course me.  We wanted to pause and share some of our reflections, and maybe encourage you to consider this model.

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Who is LLC? A Different Approach to Capacity

We have written a number of times about why we are adopting a more network centric approach and what that looks like. This month we want to talk more about the expansive LLC team (a team that includes our staff and many of you, members of the network.) Over this past year we have contracted with a dozen folks from the network who are engaged with us on consulting projects. We consider our consulting work, the applied research arm of the organization because it is where we get closest to the ground and apply our ideas. For this work we source the network. There are many reasons for doing this and many advantages we want to highlight.

 

  • Expanding Capacity: There are well over a hundred consultants in LLC’s network who bring a broad range of skills and expertise that enables us to create the best possible match with the distinct needs of consulting projects. If we were to limit applied research opportunities to the skills of the staff we would not have the same agility in competing for super interesting projects that we feel can accelerate learning for the field.

 

  • Capacity Building: Early on we were inspired to create consulting teams to provide opportunities for consultants who are often competitors with proprietary tools to be on teams together that promote collaborative learning and resource generation.

 

  • Creating Opportunity: We also see our consulting services as opportunity for people in the network to access meaningful projects and gain visibility. We have committed to making sure that 50% of consulting opportunities go to people of color, and we are doing much better than that. We raise this because consulting can open doors for people of color or obscure discriminatory practices.

 

In short we like to say that instead of staffing an organization we staff the work. Now we would like to introduce you to the folks that have been helping us to do the work over the past year!

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