Generating ideas, connections, and action

Blog

Learning Clusters and Self Organizing after Creating Space X

Self-organizing not only aids in the social change process but it encourages people to take initiative and try something new. At Creating Space X, LLC’s unconference hosted back in May 2013, the knowledge and wisdom was held by all present in the room. For example, our presenters were ‘conversation catalysts’, rather than presenters, helping to get a dialogue going. We also devoted time to the Open Space methodology where participants were able to create categories about what they wanted to learn most, with topics ranging from healing to sharing specific tools they could take back to their Leadership Development work.

LLC’s ED, Deborah Meehan, wrote about the leadership development opportunities that emerged from Creating Space in a blog article a few months ago that reflected on Asset and Deficit based leadership development.  As Deborah mentions, ‘too often in the field of leadership development, we focus on what one doesn’t know (Deficit Based), versus valuing the knowledge and expertise that is already present (Asset Focused).”  Asset based learning at Creating Space allowed for greater peer learning and self-organizing around what participants were eager to talk about. Following Creating Space, in an effort to keep the lessons learned and peer learning going, we provided support groups who wanted to continue meeting and learning together. This took the unique form of virtual self-organized groups that we are referring to as “Learning Clusters”. 

 read more »

2014 Webinar Series | Leadership & Equity

Tags:
Webinar postponed, further details to come. Check back soon. 
Increasingly, equity is an issue leaders of community-based organizations and institutions must consider as they deploy precious resources, advocate for their constituents, and provide social services. But what does it really mean to be an equitable leader? Is there a difference between equity and equality? And how do you know if your decisions, policies, and practices are truly equitable? As our population becomes more diverse and competition steepens, it is imperative for leaders to focus on closing opportunity gaps. 

This webinar will engage participants in exploration and thoughtful reflection about the role equity plays in the contemporary practice of leadership. After examining equity in a variety of real-world situations, participants will be invited to consider how equity factors into their everyday lives as leaders. Finally, the co-presenters will introduce some of the resources and strategies they've found useful for those seeking to enhance their abilities to plan and act more equitably in their roles as first-responders, advocates, thought-leaders, and/or pioneering social innovators.
 
Co-presenters:
Cheryl D. Fields, executive vice president, Langhum Mitchell Communications
Mary Stelletello, principal, Vista Global Coaching & Consulting 
 
 read more »

Collaborating from the Place of Common Ground

Written by Beth Tener

Case Study of the Energy Action Network of Vermont

While the news is full of partisan politics, an alternative model is emerging for how to make progress in addressing large scale challenges: collaborative networks. Through network initiatives, parts of a system can come together, find common ground, and pursue solutions and collective action from those points of agreement. The Energy Action Network (EAN) in Vermont is a compelling example of this approach. EAN not only created a way to find common ground among people/organizations with divergent views, but also created a structure for on-going collaboration toward a goal that is decades away. At the December 2013 Leadership Learning Community Boston Learning Circle, Jennifer Berman shared the story of EAN’s formation and Andi Colnes, the Executive Director of EAN, shared how collaborative work has continued in a networked way. Their story and the discussion offered many valuable insights about how networks can affect change in a large system and what collaborative leadership means.

Jennifer shared the impetus for EAN. As Executive Director of Maverick Lloyd Foundation, a family foundation in Vermont, she received many proposals for similar and overlapping work, by organizations that were not connected. As the Foundation explored how to fund work focused on environmental issues, “we talked to about 40 people across the state and no one had same interpretation of the problem and no one agreed on a solution.” The foundation took an innovative approach to EAN logoinvest in a process to bring together diverse people who had not worked together from across the energy system, build a common sense of the problem, set an audacious goal, and align the work of many players to move toward the goal. Today, EAN is a collaborative network of over 70 non-profit, business and government leaders working to ensure that 90% of Vermont’s 2050 energy needs come from renewable energy and energy efficiency. read more »

The Power of Networks - Donate to LLC!

Support leadership that inspires change!

 read more »

Supporting Community Entrepreneurship: What’s Money Got to do With It?

This past week I had the opportunity to attend a meeting in Detroit sponsored by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation called “Building Networks for Change”, #BNFC13. The meeting explored a number of important themes that included community organizing, advocacy and racial justice. I was excited that one of the site visit was to the Detroit Community Connections Grant Program, a program we have written about in earlier blogs as an innovative approach to leadership development…one worthy of our attention. The Detroit Community Connections Grant Program is administered by Prevention Network and funded by an innovative funding arrangement between The Skillman Foundation and W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The opportunity to see this program up close only strengthened my conviction and understanding of the unique value of their approach. Social entrepreneurship as a concept has been popularized in the past couple of decades by programs like Ashoka and Echoing Green that focus on young people with new ideas for producing social innovation that are supported to launch programs or projects that often become non-profit organizations. As I visited the Detroit Community Connections Grant Program, I found myself thinking about the idea of community entrepreneurs, people deeply rooted in their communities with neighbors, networks and constituents who are ready to be part of change. 

 read more »

Guest Blog Post: “Leadership Development Unleashed – The Power of Local Programs” ...and, BECAUSE SOMEONE ASKED!

By Mary Ann Hennen, Program Leader for the Leadership and Civic Engagement programs at the Center for Community Vitality University of Minnesota Extension

 

Leadership learning opportunities take on all shapes and sizes across our country, some more powerful than others, yet all delivered with good intention to build the capacity of others and help learners’ make the difference’ they seek in the world. This mission has driven me since I was one of those earnest undergraduate and graduate student leaders. In 1980, one of my undergraduate advisors, Dr. Kathy Allen, encouraged me to attend a summer leadership retreat at University of Nebraska – Lincoln, and I was hooked. The retreat was marvelous, and by its end, I was encouraged by another eventual mentor, Dr. Sara Boatman, to apply to their graduate program. Today, I work as Program Leader for Leadership and Civic Engagement (LCE) programs at the Center for Community Vitality (CV) at University of Minnesota Extension. In this role I have the opportunity to realize my lifelong interest in making leadership opportunities accessible to those of all backgrounds, stages and sectors. With the complexity of our society today, we know that mindful and skilled leadership is critically necessary to help us all move forward with success, and nowhere can this need reveal itself than in our local communities.

 read more »

Nonprofit Leadership Newsbrief: Gratitude, Volunteering, and Advancing Racial Justice, November 2013

with GratitudeThis November, we honor the practice of giving thanks. We are especially grateful to our readers and to our learning community that is committed to transforming the way leadership is conceived and conducted for social change. We are very grateful to you all and we wish you and your loved ones warm wishes this holiday season. We have many reasons to count our blessings today; however, there is still a lot of work to be done. The links below reflect a commitment to cultivating gratitude and to collaborating with others to create greater change. The nonprofit leadership newsbrief will be taking a holiday break next month as we gear up for our community and foundation partnership donation campaign. With that said, we look forward to seeing you in the new year as we to continue to bring interesting leadership resources and events to you all!

 read more »

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.

 read more »

Emerging Leaders and Social Impact

Leadership as a Process

We recently had the opportunity to present at the Funders Network on Population Reproductive Health & Rights meeting in San Diego, CA as part of the Global Youth Leadership and Engagement Work group session. We really valued the opportunity to present to that group because we recognized that there was a strong alignment between our work. At LLC, we are working to promote a metashift in the way that we think about leadership (more inclusive, networked, and collective) to make greater impact on complex challenges. We believe that this change will help support how emerging leaders and innovators are realizing their potential, and creating openness for their work and contributions. During the presentation, we talked about what leadership as a process looks like, and how emerging leaders are working to advance social impact: focusing on collaboration, establishing partnerships, taking risks, and challenging traditional hierarchical structures. We also discussed how leadership development can support emerging leaders in the work, by providing skills, connections and visibility. 

In the next couple of months, we will continue to explore this topic and host a webinar to share these ideas with our community. read more »