Generating ideas, connections, and action


Guest Blog: Undoing Patterns of Privilege as We Learn by Laurin Mayeno


Undoing Patterns of Privilege as We Learn

In my work with organizations around race, power and privilege, I’ve noticed a pattern. Sometimes we anticipate defensiveness on the part of white people in the group and plan our sessions to accommodate this defensiveness. I’ve begun correcting this pattern and setting goals more proactively. At the same time, I have become hyper aware that a primary reasons we’re doing this work is that people of color may feel unsafe, unsupported, and even silenced. I’ve been wondering how to make their needs a higher priority in the work. read more »

“My weariness is rooted in realizing how often starting the race conversation with white privilege automatically centers the experience of white folks.” Austin Channing Brown

Non-Traditional Approaches to Developing Non-Traditional Leadership: Learning from Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative

As the countdown continues to Creating Space 2015 we are shining a light on Grand Rapids, MI as we lift up the work of the Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative, yet another innovative non-traditional leadership development approach to developing non-traditional leadership.  We like to express our appreciation and send a big shout out to Nkechy Ezeh who took time to share their story.  The short posts explains why the program was developed, who is being supported to lead, how they are supported and what we can learn from this model about leadership development.


The ELNC grew out of a need for increased access to Early Care and Education Programs.  The years from birth to three are so critical that children from low-income homes may be at such a disadvantage that even if they are able to attend a quality preschool, they may remain behind more economically advantaged peers.  To change this, the Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative provides technical, developmental, and educational support to neighborhood partners in order to increase the accessibility of early educational resources for children in Grand Rapids.

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Non-Traditional Approaches to Developing Non-Traditional Leadership: Learning from Detroit Parent Network

As we prepare to head to Detroit (and we hope you will be as well) we are really enjoying learning about interesting approaches to developing non-traditional leadership in the city we will be visiting.  We are definitely going to the right place to learn about innovative approaches to leadership development.  This week we are shining a light on the work of the Detroit Parent Network, a nonprofit organization that supports parents to make the Detroit area a better place to raise and educate children.  Detroit Parent Network’s mission is to develop powerful parents (and primary caregivers) who are equipped to get the best education possible for their children.

Detroit Parent Network was founded in 2002 by a small group of parents and community leaders seeking to protect area children from instability in the economic and political climate by increasing and strengthening parent involvement in their homes, schools and communities.  They established the organization to empower parents by: continuously strengthening leadership and parenting skills; building a better understanding of educational issues, laws, and policies; supporting parents in their efforts to identify high-performing schools, services, and programs for their children; and connecting parents to each other in a learning and support network.

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Webinar: Self Organized Leadership in Networks: Lessons from Occupy Sandy and the People’s Climate March | October 21, 2015

Join Us for Our Upcoming Webinar: Self Organized Leadership in Networks: Lessons from Occupy Sandy and the People’s Climate March
Wednesday, October 21, 2015 | 11am PT
When Hurricane Sandy hit, a self organized network quickly emerged from pre-existing networks and new volunteers that resoundingly out performed traditional relief agencies.  Why and how was this network able to do this?  What does leadership look like in situations such as this that are complex and ever shifting? We will explore the nuts and bolts of self organizing, strategies for supporting such networks and how self organized strategies and leadership can be applied to your work on complex problems.
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Webinar Recap: Boundary Spanning Leadership Integrated with Network Development | September 21, 2015

Welcome back to our networks and leadership webinar series! We host this space for practitioners and researchers in both the leadership and network development areas to connect and learn from each other. Our introductory webinar is archived here (slides & video).




Our presenter Chris Ernst is a four-way player: He is active in both research and practice of both leadership development and organizational network analysis. Chris is VP of Leadership and OE at Juniper Networks and a former senior faculty member of the Center for Creative Leadership.

We invite you to review an optional pre-read for this webinar, Bright, Shiny Objects and the Future of HR, (Harvard Business Review, July 2015), which puts this work at Juniper into a business HR context.

In this interactive workshop, Chris will shared how Juniper Networks is reimagining the way work gets done in networked organizations. Drawing upon the best-selling book Boundary Spanning Leadership, participants were able to:

  1. Identify five type of boundaries that limit innovation and the organizational practices to overcome them
  2. Experience a case study at Juniper, including what’s working and traps encountered
  3. Harvest ideas about how to put boundary spanning leadership and organizational networks into practice

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Guest Blog By Anne Whatley: Follow Up on “Strengthening Network Practice Through Evaluation Webinar”

Network Impact presented the webinarStrengthening Network Practice Through Evaluationon July 15th, 2015.  There was great interest in the topic and more questions than there was time to respond to each. Therefore, we have selected questions that were representative and are providing links to additional resources that address key topics in network building and assessment.

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Guest Blog By Adriano Pianesi: No Touchy Feely Stuff! The Myth Of Rationality and My Leadership Lab

This blog was originally posted on August 19th, 2015 through Adriano's Blog and has been re-posted with his permision.

descartesDualism, the idea that thinking and feeling are separated, can be traced from Plato to Descartes, and from Kant to the Logical Positivists. For Plato, emotions were defects, irrational urges that needed controlling, and for Kant, emotions were regarded as an illness. Day-to-day life is permeated with expressions like, “Don’t be so emotional!” and “Let’s leave emotions out of this discussion.” In Anglo-Saxon cultures the word “passionate” is often used to mean erratic and unpredictable, even.


Guess what? Dualism has been proven false; cognition and emotions appear to be dynamic, interactive, and interdependent. Research shows that emotion and cognition jointly contribute to our mental activity and behavior. Emotions are a potential moderator of all kinds of thinking processes, from perception and attention to learning. Even if we think we 

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Non-Traditional Approaches to Developing Non-Traditional Leadership: Learning From the Burma Center

In 2013, we spoke with Martha  Thwanghmung from the Burma Center- Battle Creek. In this month’s newsletter, we are sharing the conversation with our community. The Burma Center meets the need for  leadership development for Burmese immigrants/refugees. BCBC supports the building of  lasting and thriving relationships within the Burmese community as well as other Battle Creek residents. They continue their work today, here are some highlights of their work.


Non-Traditional Approaches to Developing Non-Traditional Leadership: Learning From the Burma Center

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Non-Traditional Approaches to Developing Non-Traditional Leadership: Learning from LINC Community Revitalization

In 2013, we spoke with Darel Ross (who is one of the Catalysts this year at Creating Space XII) and Jorge Gonzalez from LINC Community Revitalization in Grand Rapids. In this month’s newsletter, we are once again sharing the conversation with our community since we are passionate about the LINC model of community change that is focused on promoting collective impact, racial justice and civic engagement.

LINC Community Revitalization, A Model 
(originally posted 7/31/2013)

Why is LINC demonstrating important models of Leadership development?

LINC is an example of leadership hiding in plain sight, because of its holistic approach to revitalizing communities and neighborhoods in Kent County, Michigan. Holistic means that to establish healthy communities, LINC tackles issues such as 

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Non-Traditional Approaches to Developing Non-Traditional Leadership: Learning from Detroit Community Connections Grant Program

As part of our weekly blog post leading up to Creating Space XII, taking place in Detroit, MI on September 29th-October 1st, we are reposting below a blog from 2013 which continues to be relevant and is especially pertinent to the theme of this year’s Creating Space, “Challenging Leadership Assumptions: Learning from Non-Traditional Leadership about Community and Systems Change.”


Supporting Community Entrepreneurship: What’s Money Got to do With It? (originally posted 11/27/2013)

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 

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