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A Shout Out to the WISE Women’s Network

It seemed appropriate during Women’s History Month to lift up the work of a very innovative leadership development strategy. They are new so the ‘history’ is a stretch but I do think they will make history. WISE Network is part of the Black Women’s Wealth Alliance (BWWA), an organization focused on helping Black women generate wealth.

 

BWWA’s work is rooted in Black culture as a core resource and educational tool that facilitates cooperative economics through wealth literacy, homeownership, and cooperative business education. They believe that increasing Black women’s engagement with wealth may result in a shift outside of poverty since in many Black households, Black women are primary financial decision makers. That’s why BWWA equips women with the leadership skills and tools necessary to create generational prosperity.

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Response to "Blind Spots (Part 2)" by Lisa Miller Mattsson

Dear Deborah,

 

Thanks so much for the powerful theme and the questions being raised by “Blind Spots: Are Leadership Development Programs Contributing to Greater Racial Equality or Inhibiting our Progress?”  Lots to think about!

 

I just wanted to share a thought regarding “worship of the written word” as a means of support for white supremacist culture.  It is definitely true that there are many valuable and powerful ways to communicate other than in writing. Personally, I believe effective oration to be more a powerful form of leadership communication than writing, as a general rule.  Even negative leaders know this, and use the spoken word to move people.  Hitler, the iconic example of white supremacist leadership, comes to mind.  He utilized the power of the spoken word as a means by which to stir and mobilize people.

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Blind Spots (Part 2): Are Leadership Development Programs Contributing to Greater Racial Equity or Inhibiting Our Progress?

Last November on the heels of our annual national convening, Creating Space, I felt compelled to sharpen the discussion about the ways in which leadership culture can work hand in hand with white supremacy to reinforce the status quo unless we are vigilant in our collective efforts of uncovering the blind spots in our thinking and behavior.

 

I was inspired by Elissa Perry and Susan Misra, from Management Assistance Group, who described this process (referenced in part 1 of the Blindspot Series, “White Supremacy Culture” by Tema Okun and Kenneth Jones) of understanding how the 13 characteristics of white supremacist culture show up in their work. This is the rigor we need to upend white supremacy and enact equity across communities. In my last blog post, I took on Individualism, Paternalism and Urgency. This month I address perfectionism, objectivity and the worship of the written word.

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The Women’s March and #Metoo Reflections

I joined the Women’s March again this year in Oakland with 50,000 other women, children and men. I appreciated the call to action with a focus on midterm elections and... I think we need a much deeper conversation about leadership and democracy, who votes, who doesn’t and why (maybe next month). Being part of the march this year also caused me to reflect on an issue I have wanting to write about, #me too. It would probably be more accurate to say I have and haven’t wanted to write about it because it’s complex and emotionally triggering, as you can see from the machinations of my internal dialogue below.

 

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When Leadership Program Graduates Can’t Lead

More than once I have heard the complaint that leadership program graduates, excited to apply what they are learning, often find themselves thwarted by others back at work.  There are lots of reasons offered, bureaucracy, unsupportive supervisors, or lack of authority. There are also a number of remedies being tried...coaching, sessions on leading from the middle, and the recruitment of teams. These things may help, and yet until we address the most fundamental problem we are setting leadership graduates to fail, especially those from large institutions.

 

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LLC Webinar Series | Practicing Network Governance and Structures

Wednesday, December 6, 2017 
10am Pacific |1pm Eastern

Join us as June Holley, Tracey Kunkler and Steve Waddell dive back into sharing the importance of Network Governance and Structures. We'll be learning how networks are experimenting with and co-creating innovative network governanceand structures that are self-organizing, encouraging and supporting the formation of collaborative circles.
 
Join us for 90 minutes of hands-on virtual practice! June will bring questions and you will be in practice breakout groups. Please plug in your webcams and have earphones ready to roll up your sleeves and practice with us!
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Blind Spots: The Role of Leadership Development Programs in Inhibiting or Contributing to our Progress Towards Racial Equity

Since Creating Space, I have been doing a lot thinking about the ways in which leadership programs often promote leadership models that reinforce the dominant culture. At Creating Space, Design Team Member, Elissa Sloan Perry, Co-Director of Management Assistance Group, shared a presentation on how white supremacist culture shows up in our organizations based on an article by Tema Okun and Kenneth Jones. We focused most of the discussion at Creating Space on organizational culture, which I later realized cannot be separated from leadership culture because after all, most leadership programs are preparing participants to lead in an organizational context.

 

I strongly recommend their article. They share thirteen characteristics of white supremacist culture, all of which resonated, and for the sake of this article and beginning this discussion, I chose three to share that I think are provocative and reveal leadership characteristics being cultivated in leadership programs that help to reinforce white supremacists culture. (In future articles I will share additional characteristics.)

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Reflections on Equitable Design

I felt honored to be part of the Creating Space Design Team with an amazing group of leadership development funders, delivery partners, network and movement builders and racial justice champions. I was eager to learn from the team about how to create an event that would deepen our learning about the ways in which our approaches to supporting leadership for racial justice need to shift.  I did not have to wait until me met in New Orleans to begin learning. I was struck by the fact that some of our conversations were filled with questions that people creating leadership development programs should also be asking, e.g. how would we honor the whole person and multiple ways of knowing; what does it mean to assume good intentions and look at impact; how do we hold space for courageous conversations; how are we thinking about power and whose knowledge is privileged; and how do we build authentic community?
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Support the development and inclusion of voices of color today!

This Giving Tuesday, join us in supporting the advancement of social and racial equity in nonprofit leadership development.

 

This year, we committed ourselves to building a conversation around the importance of including diverse voices in nonprofit leadership. This looks like making space for leaders of color to thrive both in and outside of work.

We know that voices of color are often sidelined in discussions about leadership that privileges the mainstream dominant culture models. We also know that everyone should be able to join our work, independent of organizational budgets.

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LLC Webinar | Practice: Innovative Network Governance and Structures

December 6, 2017

10:00am Pacific | 1:00pm Eastern

 

Last month June Holley presented on the importance of Network Governance and Structures. We were introduced to a plethora of examples, but did not have much time to dig into some of the models. Join us on December 6th for 90 minutes of hands-on virtual practice where you will be able to talk and get ideas from other networks. June with be accompanied by Tracy Kunkler of Circle Forward Partners and Steve Waddell, who will share some resources about governance models and processes for networks.

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