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Follow up on Making Social Identity Part of Community Leadership Development Webinar: Guest Blog Post by Kelly Hannum

Note: This is a follow up article for the recent webinar on Making Social Identity Part of Community Leadership Development, featuring Kelly HannumTim Leisman, and Stephanie Walker of Center for Creative Leadership®

Learning Leadership Together


I’ve called the Leadership Learning Community (LLC) one of my “homes” for over a decade.  LLC has allowed me to participate in a learning environment that unleashes innovative thinking by tapping into broad perspectives and creating a welcoming place for people to share lessons, tackle tough problems, and think together about new frontiers. It’s a community open to new ideas and where I have gotten or refined ideas. I have the privilege to work for an organization, the Center for Creative Leadership, focused on leadership development. I am surrounded by people who know a lot about, and have a lot of experience, in leadership development across sectors, across countries, across ages, across about anything you can think of, but there’s nothing like LLC to round out my thinking. I recently co-hosted a webinar for the Leadership Learning Community monthly webinar series about a project I am working on that is developing a curriculum that applies social identity concepts within a community leadership development program. More specifically, we aim to build awareness about social identity dynamics in people and communities to help enable individuals and groups to work together more effectively in order to achieve “common good” community outcomes. It is not easy stuff. Open networks where we can come together to share information, provide support for each other, and challenge ourselves to think in new ways (or at least become aware of new perspectives) are one of the best ways I know of to tackle some of the complex issues we face in a transparent and more inclusive way.

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Leadership Development Hiding in Plain Sight: LINC Community Revitalization, A model

Last week I was able to speak with Darel Ross and Jorge Gonzalez from LINC Community Revitalization in Grand Rapids. I am inspired to share the story of our conversation with our community since we are passionate about the LINC model of community change focused on promoting collective impact, racial justice and civic engagement.


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 affordable housing, community engagement, economic development, and education as well as provides personal coaching through place making activities and community activism. Central to LINC’s mission is the belief that everyone is a leader and that creating spaces for community residents to have authentic conversations about community issues, builds indigenous capacities to create change. 

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Leadership Development Hiding in Plain Sight: Greater Grand Rapids Racial Equity Network (GGRREN)

This year LLC will be keeping an eye out for Leadership Development Programs Hiding in Plain Sight. This “New Leadership Development Mindset” acknowledges that Leadership Development also happens outside of what most of us expect Leadership Development to look like. The differences may seem banal, but when asked by our community what these programs actually looked like, we realized that there are many exciting examples of how leadership is being developed in the context of work, like the RE-AMP case study. Examples like the RE-AMP are hard to spot because they do not call themselves leadership development and do not fit the mold. (If you aren’t familiar with RE-AMP, no worries check out this LLC webinar on RE-AMP). Although this model is a great example, some of us learn through multiple examples, so we at LLC have been scouting to provide more concrete examples.  Here is another.

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Leadership Development Hiding in Plain Sight: The Energy Action Network (EAN)

As part of our Leadership Hiding in Plain Sight theme, we will be featuring innovative leadership approaches in the upcoming LLC monthly newsletter issues.  As we discussed in our New Leadership Development Mindset article, we are interested in identifying, analyzing, and promoting leadership as a process that includes approaches that fall outside of the traditional definition of leadership development that supports individuals (i.e. formal leadership programs with cohorts, etc.)  While we think those traditional programs are important, they don’t tell the entire leadership story.  What is missing are approaches that don’t necessarily operate in a traditional leadership development space, but are certainly supporting individuals and organizations who engage in joint work in the network.  We are also looking at processes that build the capacity of individuals and groups in identifying common purpose and aligning their efforts to achieve greater impact.  Beth Tener, who has been part of the LLC community for years and organizes Learning Circles in Boston, recommended that we reach out to Jennifer Berman, former Executive Director of the Maverick Lloyd Foundation and from 2009 to 2012 the coordinator of the Energy Action Network (EAN) in Vermont.  We talked to Jennifer earlier this week to get the scoop on the EAN network strategy and the leadership dynamics of the network – here is what we found out.

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2013 Webinar: Developing Social Change Leaders | Tues. Aug. 6, 2013

Presenters: Carmen Morgan and Povi-Tamu Bryant of Leadership Development in Interethnic Relations (LDIR)
Topic: Developing Social Change Leaders: 
Practices and Perspectives on Fostering an Intersectional Approach to Identity and Social Justice 
Date: Tuesday, August 6, 2013 | 11:00am – 12:00pm PDT

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The Leadership Development in Interethnic Relations (LDIR) program has been training leaders for social change since the early 1990s, when it was founded by a multiracial coalition of organizations led by the Asian Pacific American Legal Center. The program's curriculum prioritizes the growth of participants' analyses around race, gender, class, ability, and more, alongside the development of effective facilitation and communication skills. This presentation will provide insight into the rationale and values behind LDIR's pedagogy, challenges seen and lessons learned over time, and brief examples of how we currently get participants thinking and acting on race, gender, class, privilege, and other facets of identity in an intersectional, allied way. 

LLC MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: Community Vitality Advisor, Jane Leonard

Understanding, Measuring, and Leading Complex Community Change Work


Jane Leonard is a community vitality advisor currently in private practice based in St. Paul, Minnesota. We met Jane in 2011 when Jane contracted with LLC to conduct a scan of leadership development work in MN, SD, and ND.  We were excited about this work because we shared a passion about community leadership or how to build the leadership capacity of a community to tackle it issues and thrive.  Jane was able to be a great bridge between the leadership development and community development fields.  In fact, she’s the recent (this month) recipient of the Community Development Society’s Duane L. Gibson Distinguished Service Award for her long-standing and superior contributions to the field of community development and to CDS.


She’s quick to point out that CDS, an organization that believes in and promotes inter- and multi-disciplinary approaches to community development, has helped her as much as she has helped it.  “I’m someone who sees and acts on connections everywhere – connections that are necessary and helpful for people, communities, and organizations to be resilient and vital in an era of great complexity and constant change.”

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Consultative Sessions/Peer Assists: An Exercise in Collective Leadership

Over the years, as part of LLC’s consulting services we have from time to time conducted what we call consultative sessions. Other people call them peer assists. June Holley describes the process she uses in the Network Weavers Handbook. Regardless of the language I am sure we all share some similar premises: read more »

  • There is great learning value in digging into concrete examples to apply our best thinking on a question, problem or issue.
  • Our applied thinking is enriched by a diversity of perspectives, and not just the usual suspects. 
  • All participants benefit from the learning produced by an exchange among diverse peers, not just the subject of the consultative session. 
  • The group can generate thinking that goes beyond the ideas of any one participant in the process.
  • Despite the assumptions we make about busyness, people are very generous with their time when it comes to helping a project/program doing good work and the chance to hang out with cool people.

Register for the Boston Learning Circle: An Art of Hosting Taster



Boston Learning Circle: An Art of Hosting Taster read more »

Date:Thursday, September 19, 2013 | 9:00am - 12:00pm EST 
Location:The Nonprofit Center
89 South Street Boston, MA 02111
*Light breakfast and coffee will be provided.  

Transition Process: Practicing Collective Leadership Skills

By Natalia Castañeda and Deborah Meehan

As part of the transition process, Deborah and I decided to participate in Eugene Eric Kim’s Changemaker Bootcamp.  According to Eugene, the bootcamp is a space for people trying to make positive change in their companies, communities and the world to practice the skills they need to work effectively in groups. The participants practice skills for collective leadership, including asking generative questions, strategic doing, listening and synthesizing actively and in real-time, navigating group dynamics and difficult conversations, designing and facilitating group engagements, and working transparently. Eugene provides all the templates and exercises on the Changemaker Bootcamp’s site, so Deborah and I decided to start tackling the exercises during our monthly strategy/transition check-in meeting a few weeks ago.  As part of the program, we had to select a project that we wanted to focus on, and after exploring different ideas we landed on the following: the goal of our project is to implement the team structure that will allow LLC to increase its capacity to meet needs and opportunities.  We wanted to leverage the bootcamp as a time to reflect and practice collective leadership.  The next task was to generate questions related to the goal of the project:

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How Can Leadership Development Programs Make a Difference in the Challenges of Tackling Racism?

There was no business as usual at our first staff meeting since the Trayvon Martin verdict.  We all needed to talk about the issue that had weighed heavily on us through the week and process our sense of grief and outrage. We asked ourselves the question, “How can the work we do (leadership development) make a difference in something as persistent and ugly as racism? The staff had lots of thoughts about what we could do as individuals or even within LLC as a team and we decided to channel our despair into a call to action, a call to ourselves and our community. We will be reaching out to folks who do leadership development in the Bay Area to help us host a conversation about our roles as leadership development practitioners and funders in undoing racism. Please stay tuned for details of the meeting and additional blog posts from LLC team members who will be sharing perspectives on this important topic.

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