Generating ideas, connections, and action


How a Social Network Analysis (SNA) can help leadership development programs

Over the past several months the Leadership Learning Community has had the opportunity to partner with the Health Foundation for Western and Central New York to conduct a Social Network Analysis of their Health Leadership Fellows Program graduate network.   Since many leadership programs could benefit from an SNA, we wanted to share examples about how the HLFP will be able to use social network maps:

  1. The SNA will compliment an evaluation by providing a visual representation of the ways in which relationships cultivated through the program are continuing as a source of peer learning, mutual support and collaborations that are seeking to produce better health outcomes.
  2. The SNA will provide the network with a better understanding of its strengths and opportunities for activating learning and action.

About the program: The goal of the Health Leadership Fellows (HLF) program is to expand a network of skilled leaders that will learn to lead collaboratively from both within and outside of their organizations and become advocates for improved health care delivery, particularly for the elderly and children from communities of poverty.   The program graduated 99 Health Leadership Fellows in its first 3 cohorts, is currently operating its fourth cohort of 40 fellows and will soon launch a fifth cohort.  Collaboration is a hallmark of the program and an SNA can be particularly effective at creating a picture of the extent of collaboration in a network.

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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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My Brother’s Keeper through the Lens of Leadership & Race

Oakland is a hot bed for innovation and collaboration. While recognizing the diverse cultures that make this city vibrant, it is also a community that has been plagued by violence, economic disparities, racial tensions, and questionable public services.  One thing Oakland does not lack is a commitment to improvement; a determination to better our schools, neighborhoods, and infrastructure in the hope that these will support our community to thrive.  Oakland has been the center of controversy, such as the Oscar Grant shooting, the Occupy Movement, and the constant barrage of violence combatted by and at times even committed by the police department.  This upheaval has also inspired people to work together more intentionally; to reframe the dialogue so that Oakland can transform from a city of violence and poverty, into a community where social justice is alive and well, and where change is on the horizon.


Despite these challenges, Oakland is home to many nonprofits and organizations that are working for change.  In addition, Oakland is on the top of the list for My Brother’s Keeper, an initiative recently launched by President Obama focused on building ladders of opportunity for boys and young men of color. The program aims to support them to stay on track to reach their full potential.  The President called on foundations, governments, the private sector, and local businesses to pool resources and expertise to get the initiative off the ground immediately.  With a keen eye on Oakland, the initiative not only looks at critical points of intervention for young men and boys of color but also is committed to changing the narrative about these often stereotyped members of our communities.

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Oakland Culture Guru: Tips for Visiting the Sunny Side of the Bay

If you are visiting Oakland for our upcoming Creating Space event on May 5th – 7th, here are some helpful tips for getting to know our wonderful city. 


The Bart is just one of our fabulous public transit systems; it will get you to and from San Francisco in no time and if you are a baseball fan, Bart will get you right to A’s Stadium in Oakland or the Giant’s Stadium in San Francisco.  You can also use AC Transit for all your in-town getting around.  In Downtown Oakland there is a free shuttle that runs on Broadway Street all the way to Jack London Square, where you will find hot restaurants, a water front view, actual history from the gruff Jack London himself and a farmers’ market every Sunday!  While you are down in Jack London Square, be sure to stop by Souley Vegan to grab a tofu burger and vegan desserts like you’ve never had before.


On your way back, if you are walking up Broadway, take a stroll through Old Oakland for a glimpse into the entrepreneurial nature of our city.  A group of local business owners and organizations came together to form Pop Up Hood to incubate small businesses and help them move into the marketplace surrounded by other likeminded business owners.  There is also a farmers’ market on Fridays in Old Oakland.

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Announcing the Catalysts

Creating Space XI 2014 | Design Challenge Catalysts

Heather McLeod Grant
Creating Space XI Contribution
The Design Challenge Session:  Heather will share a design opportunity presented to her when she was invited to help create the New Leadership Network for the James Irvine Foundation.  After participants have their hand at designing with the same parameters and expectations Heather will reveal the program design she and her colleagues created. From McLeod-Grant Advisors, Heather is a well-known author, speaker, and was most recently a Global Account Manager at Monitor Institute, where her work focused on scaling impact, leveraging networks for social change, and transforming large-scale nonprofits. 

Michael Mcafee 
Creating Space XI Contribution
Program Design Challenge: Michael will share a design opportunity he had to develop a leadership program for the Promise Neighborhoods Institute at PolicyLink.  After participants work in teams to make design recommendations in line with the desired results for the Promise Neighborhoods leadership program, Michael will share the elements of the program that he helped to design. As Senior Director at PolicyLink and Director of the Promise Neighborhoods Institute also at PolicyLink, Michael oversees the Institute’s strategic direction and implementation of strategies that mobilize neighborhood leaders to build communities of opportunity.



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Creating Space At Our Table: Presenting A Sliding Scale Registration Fee for CSXI

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Leadership Learning Community is excited to be hosting Creating Space XI: Tools for Transformation -
Supporting Inclusive, Networked and Collective Leadership.

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Where Leadership meets Intersectionality: The Gender Gap, Sexuality, Race, and Equality

 “In our work and in our living, we must recognize that difference is a reason for celebration and growth, rather than a reason for destruction.” – Audre Lorde


Audre Lorde self-identified as “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet.”  If I use five words to self-identify it would be feminist, lesbian, sister, daughter, and writer. Let me clarify by saying that I am writing this as a white, middle-class lesbian having the privilege to work in the social sector.   I am a product of intersectionality and bring these lenses to the work I do within my communities.   As a woman, I am part of the 47% percent of the labor force that is female as cited in the recently released Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink.  Although I am not part of the 62% of minimum wage jobs held by women, I continue to be paid 77 cents for every dollar the average man earns.  This is even worse for African American women who are paid only 70 cents to the dollar and 26% of whom are living in poverty.  Sexism, combined with anti-gay bias and compounded by systemic racism, can result in severe economic disparities for lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women of color.   

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Can leadership strategies catalyze innovation, networks, and radical change and if so, how are they doing it?

In 2013 LLC published “Leadership and Collective Impact”, a guide for strengthening the impact of leadership development work.  The publication highlights leadership strategies that contribute to more tangible progress on tough issues like health access or school readiness or neighborhood safety. Recommending that programs consider introducing a systems thinking module or that they help participants become more comfortable with social media will require new tools, models and resources.  This year, LLC’s national meeting, Creating Space XI, (CSXI) will focus on introducing and developing resources that can help leadership programs retool and experiment with new strategies.  In preparation for CS XI we will be highlighting the exciting and innovative work of this year’s participants.  This is just a teaser of more to come at CSXI so don’t forget to register.

As we scouted the field we found one program that is implementing many of the ideas that LLC has been recommending to promote leadership that is more inclusive, networked and collective.  And, the program is getting impressive results, even as a new program.  We are enthusiastic about sharing some highlights from this program now and we are especially excited about what they will bring to Creating Space.  In 2011 the James Irvine Foundation invested in a regionally based leadership network in the San Joaquin Valley based on feedback solicited from focus groups with young leaders.  I had a brief chance to speak with Heather McLeod-Grant, of McLeod-Grant Advisors who is the Managing Director for the James Irvine Foundation New Leadership Network in San Joaquin Valley.
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