Generating ideas, connections, and action


Early Insights from the Nonprofit Management Institute

Last week, I participated in the Nonprofit Management Institute hosted by CompassPoint.  It was a great opportunity to get an overview of some key areas related to my new role as Managing Director and get the chance to learn from other peers working in the sector.  I am still processing all the information but wanted to share a few insights with the community:

Difference Between Leadership and Management

The entire workshop began with an overview of what leadership is and how it helps to frame our role in the organization. We started by reviewing how CompassPoint defines leadership – “a process of engaging others to move forward an organizational or community agenda, rather than a position of authority.”  That definition is really aligned with how we at LLC define leadership, with an emphasis on the group process rather than the individual.  

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Guest Blog Post: Developing Evolutionary Co-Leadership to Embody a Radically New Development Paradigm

Alain Gauthier, Author of Actualizing Evolutionary Co-leadership
To evolve a Creative and Responsible Society

(Adapted from an article published in World Futures, The Journal of Global Education – Dec. 2012)


The purpose here is to explore why and how to develop an emerging form of integral leadership – called evolutionary co-leadership – that is responsibly dedicated to the co-evolution of life and humanity in the communities of Planet Earth. After offering some fresh distinctions about leadership, this article calls for a shift to a radically new development paradigm, and identifies key qualities and practices of evolutionary co-leadership. It then shares some views on the multiplying effects of an integral approach to co-leadership development and concludes with some avenues to disseminate this emerging leadership form, mainly to deal constructively with what Barbara Marx Hubbard1 calls the current “birthing pains” of a new civilization. read more »

LLC Problem Solver Miriam Promoted to Operations Manager

Miriam joined LLC a year ago, in the midst of a challenging time for the organization.  During her time with us, she has demonstrated a strong commitment to LLC’s mission and work, as well as leadership around financial management. Earlier this year, Miriam took on additional tasks around project coordination to help manage multiple consulting and grant projects.  Miriam was able to learn the new tasks and incorporate them into her role, always keeping in mind the organizational priorities. Throughout her work, Miriam shows great entrepreneurial skills in terms of adapting to priorities, encouraging innovation, and taking a proactive approach to developing and implementing projects.  We recently promoted Miriam to our Operations Manager and wanted to celebrate her promotion with the community and acknowledge her contributions to the LLC team! 

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Three Promising Lessons from the National Leadership Academy for the Public’s Health

LLC is always on the lookout for leadership programs that are testing new approaches, especially innovations that are going after big results.  We were excited when we were approached by the Center for Health Leadership and Practice, Public Health Institute to be part of a curriculum team that was helping to develop a new Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funded leadership program.  What was most intriguing to us about the program was it's commitment to recruiting multi-sector teams who would receive leadership support as they worked together across their organizations on a community health improvement project.  We also appreciated the programs willingness to experiment with virtual learning platforms, combined with a face to face retreat, and personalized coaching to the teams.  This unique combination supports applied action learning through leadership project coaching, relationship/network building through the retreats and delivery of leadership content and skills development through online modules that help to mitigate the travel costs associated with many leadership delivery strategies.  

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Guest Blog Post: Enough Boring Meetings – A “Taster” to Explore the Art of Hosting Conversations that Matter

By Beth Tener, New Directions Collaborative
Originally Posted on the New Directions Collaborative Blog

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“I hate boring meetings!” was the way Madeline Snow from UMass Lowell explained her passion for the Art of Hosting and its techniques for convening conversations that matter. She facilitated the September meeting of the Leadership Learning Community’s Boston Learning Circle where participants had the opportunity to experience a “taster” trying out several techniques including Revealed Presence cards, World Café process, Open Space technology, and the Proaction Café. The Art of Hosting is a worldwide community of people who develop, practice and share techniques for hosting group conversations in more powerful ways. The work is based on some underlying principles:
  • The wisdom is in the room – There is a power and potential that can emerge from a group that creates something better than we could create on our own, for example, sitting at our desk trying to write up a strategic plan. The art is in how to access that.
  • With the right convening methods, groups can self-organize to create valuable conversations and new insights about the things that matter to them at that time.
  • Presence – The key is to have participants present and participating with their full attention (not bored, distracted on smart phones, or sitting quietly while a few voices dominate.)
  • It’s ok to “not know” the answers or how everything is going to work out in a meeting. Feeling comfortable with not knowing while trusting the group opens up conversation and the exploration of ideas and possibilities.

LLC MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: The Leadership Webinar Series Presenters

This month we recognize the many amazing thought leaders in the leadership field who have partnered with us to produce a wide range of high-quality webinars, including sessions on collective leadership, systems thinking, and leadership networks. The series, launched in 2011, has engaged over 2,000 participants across the nation, and thousands of video and slideshow viewers. Because of the support from our webinar presenters, we have received overwhelmingly positive reviews from our community, and through their generous donations, we are able continue to offer these free resources.


We highlight a few of our past webinars here, and encourage you to visit our entire catalogue of previous webinars!

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Leadership and Race: Bay Area Learning Circle Reflections

A couple days ago on August 15th, we co-hosted a two hour Learning Circle with the Rockwood Leadership Institute to address within our own community recent events as they relate to race and leadership. Some of you came to learn more about this subject, make connections among local organizations, and/or to find healing within each other.  We divided ourselves into smaller groups and dipped into our emotions, stories, and collected resources that had been on our mind.


Leadership and Race: Bay Area Learning Circle Reflections from Leadership Learning Community on Vimeo.

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Nonprofit Leadership Newsbrief: August 2013

In this month’s newsbrief we honor the 50th Anniversary of the 1963 Historic March on Washington.  At LLC, we continue to bring together resources to address how leadership development can play a role in advancing a society where leadership is more equitable, collective and networked. 

On Racial Justice and Leadership


To celebrate the historic 50th Anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington we feature several racial justice articles meant to inspire and motivate the Leadership Development field to work for racial equity so that we might have a country with leadership that is more inclusive and committed to eliminating structural racism and oppression. This month we feature Rinku Sen, from the Applied Research Center who calls for “Building A New Racial Justice Movement”.  Rinku calls us to apply central principles to a new racial justice movement 1. to push past the goals of simply multiculturism and diversity and aim for racial justice understand the difference between justice and civil rights because they are not the same and 3. lastly, she calls for a multiracial and multiethnic paradigm of collaboration.   A book by PolicyLink and The Center for American Progress titled, The All in Nation: An America that Works for All,  describes how building strong and thriving communities of color are critical to America’s economic future. The book offers a policy agenda for building an equitable economy where fast-growing communities of color, can participate and thrive.  The All- In Nation Project will be hosting a “Primer” webinar in preparation for their webinar Series on 8/ 27/13.  Here in Oakland, the Untraining, organizes folks to end racism and social injustices  to all levels of experience and activism for white people and people of color. The Untraining will be hosting an Introductory Public Workshop on healing personal and social oppressions this September 28, 2013.

Image Source: Ann Harkness/Wikimedia Commons, ColorLines Archives

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Leadership Development Hiding in Plain Sight: Reflections on Creating Space X


In reading the survey responses from our national meeting, Creating Space X in Baltimore this past May, a funny thought crossed my mind.  Aren’t many of the things that people benefited from at CS elements of good leadership development?  A number of participants even talked about replicating some of these methodologies like open space, self-organizing, and the design challenge into their leadership programs.   Here are some examples of some of the major themes and what people said: read more »

  • Diversity: A lot of people talked about the value of connecting with others who share a passion for being change makers and meeting people who are different, “the wonderfully diverse mixture of researchers, consultants, program staff, funders and community organizers.”
  • Relationship Building and Peer Learning:  Small group interactions facilitated relationship building and peer exchange, “talking one on one with people about their program models and what they’re working on to exchange ideas and learn from each other.”
  • Deep Conversation: A number of people mentioned the importance of time and space for deep conversations, “Inviting people to come into the conversation with openness, without judgment and not forcing an outcome, especially on topics like race.”
  • Application to Real Problems/Issues: The design challenge harnessed the group’s creative energy around real time issues and problems and was very popular with survey respondents.  “The Design Challenge is something I have used several times with a lot of success.”