Generating ideas, connections, and action

Appreciating Eugene After 8 Years of Service

There are no words to express our gratitude to Eugene Kim but we are going to try…..

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A Fond Farewell To Natalia

It’s not easy to say goodbye to Natalia and those of you who know her understand why.  For months, Natalia has tried to prepare us for this day. Her family is in Orange County and she moved to Los Angeles to be close. Still, we miss her. 

Aside from being very funny and making us laugh, a lot, Natalia is leaving LLC with some impossibly large shoes to fill.  Natalia started with LLC in 2009 as our Marketing and Communications Director.  If since then you have been appreciating our monthly newsletter or webinar series you can thank Natalia.  You may have noticed our new look, the glossy publications and consulting materials…yes, thanks to Natalia.  Our learning community grew from 600 leadership funders, program staff and researchers to a network of over 4,000 people.  Natalia was so successful in helping people understand our consulting services that our business has flourished and then we had a new need, managing complex projects. 

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Early Insights About Leadership Development From the Amazing “Othering and Belonging Conference”

I am a huge fan of john powell and could not resist a conference that brought him together with other legends in social and racial justice like belle hooks, Naomi Klein, Manuel Pastor, Angela Blackwell and Joanna Macy.  I will be digesting the leadership implications of the frameworks, ideas, and statistics that were offered for many months and wanted to take a moment to share some of my early insights.

john powell opened by sharing a framework for understanding the process of ‘othering’ and described three basic separations: the separation from ourselves, from others, and from the earth; all of which deny our basic humanity.   Leadership programs have historically integrated some elements of personal mastery that focus on the realm of ‘self’.  In some programs, the work of ‘self’ may be focused on confidence, discovering one’s personal passions, or the power to influence others.    An increasing number of programs that seek to help individuals build relationships and connection with others, are bringing a different lens to the work someone has to do on their self and in relationship to others.

 

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LLC's Theory of Change and the Network Challenge

Over the past several months, we have been revisiting our Theory of Change as we plan on how to be most strategic in making progress as a small but mighty organization with a pretty lofty goal; changing how people understand what leadership is and how to develop it.  If you follow us, you know we have a point of view about needing to develop more inclusive, networked, and collective leadership.  As you will see in the image below we believe that in order to make progress on entangled complex problems, often referred to as “wicked problems,” we need to get much better at leading and learning together across complex systems.   We also believe that we have been too narrow in looking at leadership as the behavior of an individual without understanding leadership as a process by which many people take action in solving society’s issues.  In fact, we are up against some entrenched ideals about individuals that are deeply embedded in the dominant culture of the US and the ways that we think about leadership.   Clearly, it will take many of us working together to shift our current leadership consciousness, a shift referred to in the diagram below as a meta shift.

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Demystifying LLC’s Webinar Series

 

The last two months have been a great time for LLC’s Webinar Series all due to having wonderful volunteers from our community who have stepped up and shared their knowledge with all of us. To keep this momentum going, we have been lining up more webinars in the coming weeks, more info on these soon. We have been reflecting on how we can demystify and decentralize the process so more webinars can continue to happen.


Ideally, we like to partner with individuals, organizations, movements, networks, partnerships, etc. that conceive, conduct, and evaluate leadership. To us, leadership is a process of collaboration and we uphold models that create social change through their work. Many programs do not realize that they have much to contribute to the field.

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Guest Blog by Cynthia Chavez: The Promise and Potential of Place-Based Leadership Programs

LS Participants Team-BuildingIn the early 1990s, I had an inspiring mentor, Dr. Norm Brown, then-President of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Dr. Brown was a great believer in the value of nonprofit leadership development. He encouraged me to participate in a variety of such national programs. Dr. Brown also enthusiastically introduced me to the concept of place-based leadership development. His excitement was contagious: for 15 years now, I have been at the helm of LeaderSpring, an Oakland, California-based organization that explores the power and promise of leadership development within a place-based strategy.

Cultivating Nonprofit Leadership: A (Missed?) Philanthropic Opportunity, the new report from the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP), invites further exploration into the impacts of place-based leadership development strategies. The growing interest in place-based initiatives complements what we’ve realized for some time – that place-based approaches offer effective strategies to boost impact, especially in addressing issues like poverty. The field also has accumulated a critical mass of experience and informed insight on such initiatives. LeaderSpring’s 18 years of combining a place-based strategy with a peer-based cohort leadership development model yields some core reflections:
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Building Networks and Movements for Social Justice

Building Networks and Movements for Social Justice

Lessons from the Pioneers in Justice Leadership Program

By Heather McLeod Grant and Daniel Lee

As leaders of nonprofits know, the social sector is at a critical inflection point, with external forces challenging many of our old ways of working. As the Leadership Learning Community (LLC) and others have written, new technologies are disrupting traditional approaches and breaking down silos within and between organizations. Simultaneously, collaboration and "networking" is becoming the new norm, rather than the exception.

In response to these trends, in 2010 the Levi Strauss Foundation (LSF) launched a program called Pioneers in Justice, offering intense support to a cohort of Bay Area Gen X leaders who had recently become executive directors of legacy social justice organizations. Over the past few years, with more than $3M invested in capacity-building, collaboration grants, and convening for peer learning, the program has helped these nonprofits leaders build their social media skills, transform their organizations, and mobilize larger networks and movements to drive greater social impact.

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Walking The Talk

As Americans continue to explore racial disparities, we are seeing an increase of conversations. This month alone, coffee-giant Starbucks wanted to jump into the conversation. Although the execution failed for many reasons (haphazard decision without enough preparation, failure to fund a strong execution, did not plan for their customers’ time constraints, and more[1])  the conversations continue every day.

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