Generating ideas, connections, and action


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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March Newsbrief

This month, as you walk into Preservation Park, where the LLC offices are located in downtown Oakland, there are a few noticeable differences in the flora and fauna. We see the cherry blossom trees and roses blooming and the birds seem to be chirping louder. As we begin this Spring season, we deliver a few leadership resources to guide and rejuvenate you in your work. Happy Spring time!


On Leadership and Networks
Check out the Interaction Institute for Social Change’s Curtis Ogden’s book review of Mila Baker’s Peer-to-Peer Leadership: Why the Network is the Leader.  The book calls for a network mindset change in paradigm with regards to solving complex social problems. Looking to networks and their organization might be the key to unlocking greater adaptability, resilience, and collective potential. At LLC we are incorporating social network analysis to  our consulting work and mapping the networks of leadership programs.  If you want to learn more about network science check out the free PDF book published by the Network Science Project that goes into the beauty of network visualization.

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Reflections on Star Power: A Simulation

At the end of February, the Leadership Learning Community hosted the powerful learning simulation known as Star Power. In partnership with facilitators Dave Nakashima and Kathleen Rice, LLC was able to offer this tool used by some leadership programs for no cost to our community. Star Power is a powerful learning simulation that is meant to demonstrate how systems of oppression are experienced in our societies. Whether at the community, organizational or systems level, Star Power is a powerful demonstration of societal conditioning and its effect on individuals and how this gets carried out into policies, practices and belief systems.  As much as Star Power is meant to be a tool for self-learning, it is also meant to be an experiential learning opportunity to examine institutionalized segregation and difference that make up our daily lives.  With about 20 participants, we engaged in a half day event complete with community building and a debriefing session as bookends to the simulation. While certainly many of us that participated are continuing to debrief and reflect on what we learned, the LLC staff has aggregated our thoughts on our different experiences in the simulation in an effort to start a dialogue on disruption and how the role of leadership that is more inclusive networked and collective can play a role in this disruption.
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MAR Vignettes: Stories of Collaboration, Sustainability, and Community in Leadership Development

Collaborative, sustainable, and community engaged are some of the perpetual words that describe the fellows that have participated in the Mesoamerican Reef Leadership program and their projects.  Last year, LLC completed a six-month evaluation of the Mesoamerican Reef Leadership Program (MAR-L). And LLC is very excited to present stories from our travels meeting with fellows face-to-face on three weeks of site visit travels and working closely with MAR-L staff, funders, other supporters, and of course the unforgettable fellows and their families.


What is the MAR-L Program?

MAR-L is a leadership development program designed to support and build leadership capacities of young environmentalists from Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras working to conserve the world’s second largest coral reef system in the world; the Mesoamerican reef. The program has been in existence for three rounds of leadership cohorts, with a total of 35 participants, and is now interviewing candidates for the fouth cohort. The program operates in cohorts of 10-12 fellows each year that come from a variety of backgrounds and sectors; including local tourism entrepreneurs, media professionals, government agencies, community leaders, and others- as long as their professional endeavors bear a direct connection to the health and wellbeing of the coastal/marine environment.

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Design Meetings that Foster Innovation: Learn from a Hands on Peer Assist

Are you a little bit of a facilitation geek?  We are looking for you - anyone who loves the idea of bringing a fresh perspective to the questions of how to design a gathering that engages participants in creative work, e.g. ingenious problem solving or innovative development and prototyping.  

What we are asking:  We are looking for 8-12 people to participate in a peer assist to review and provide feedback to the Leadership Learning Community about the optimal design for this year’s Creating Space gathering, “Tools for Transformation: Supporting Leadership that is Inclusive, Networked and Collective.”   CSXI this year hopes to achieve two ambitious results:

  • A set of practical tools and resources that support breakthroughs in leadership development practice
  • An engaged network to continue innovating and learning around the breakthroughs and their application in creating transformative change

This is our design challenge.
We have been conducting interviews to identify fresh resources and interesting methodologies.  We will engage participants in the peer assist in learning from our own experiences about approaches that support application, working in teams on a mock up design, and offering recommendations about processes and an integrated design that unleashes creativity and makes risk taking fun, even normative.
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A Sneak Peek: What are Leadership Programs Saying about Network Leadership?

As you may know from following our blogs, we are part of a cool research project focused on learning about how to support effective network leadership.  We have great partners; the Interaction Institute for Social Change, June Holley from Network Weaver and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, who is funding our work.  Over the past few months, we have sent a survey to over 450 leadership development and network practitioners to help us learn about challenges, progress, and resources that are being used to build the capacity of:  1.) networks to be more conscious about how to develop leadership in the network; and 2.) leadership programs to better equip their participants to effectively utilize network strategies and tools.  Early findings are supporting the relevance of both of these objectives.

The leadership development practitioners felt strongly about the importance of helping their participants to develop network competency.

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Nonprofit Leadership Newsbrief: February 2014

This month has been a fascinating month; from news reports from the Sochi Olympics, the Revolution in Kiev, Ukraine to the Stand-Your-Ground Law in the Michael Dunn case.  What do these current events have to teach us about Leadership Development? What can the field learn from these events? This month, we dedicate the nonprofit news brief to lifting up important leadership lessons from current events and sharing inspirational quotes as we celebrate and learn from African American History.

On Leadership and History

February is African American History Month and to honor this important month we bring you a collection of quotes from social justice warrior and poet, Audre Lorde, to help guide your social justice work through leadership. To access an interactive timeline and other important facts about African American history in the United States, PBS has a collection of resources.It's important to remember and learn from our history as we move forward in our work.
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