Generating ideas, connections, and action

You CAN Eradicate Racism Within Our Lifetime (Yes You!)

I am writing from the field from the Within Our Lifetime (WOL) Leadership Gathering.  LLC was invited to join this network whose goal is to eradicate the systems of oppression and racism that continue to thrive in our world; however they emphasize the urgency needed to do this Within Our Lifetime. The work which came out of an affinity group at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Healing America Conference has grown to encompass leaders working on tackling aspects of this throughout the US.  We invite all of you to join the WOL movement to strive to eradicate racism wherever you are and in all the ways you can within your organizations, networks, movements, families, communities, and your personal interactions. The lives of people of color are still being affected by today and every day by implicit biases and structural and organizational racism. It will take all of us to be able to heal and finish the work that was begun by the civil rights movement. You can make a commitment to educate yourself on your role in this problem as well as contribute solutions. We will be keeping you posted on the news and ways to get even more involved as the work of this network continues to grow.

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Leveraging Network Leadership within Organizations

The past two days with Within Our Lifetime have been incredible. I cannot describe how inspiring it is to be sitting in a room with over 50 people and organizations committed to living, breathing, creating social justice. The goal of the convening was to “elect” the next phase of leadership. Thus far, the network grew from the volunteered energy of an interim core leadership team. The amount of work and impact they’ve made to the field has been to bring implicit bias to the fore-front of the work and all in a short amount of time (4 years).
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How To Take Down A Government Through Facebook

Sometimes leadership shows up in the most unexpected ways. For instance, we post an invite on Facebook, meant only for our small group of friends, to show up and demonstrate for the Vice President to step down. Suddenly, that post goes viral and one person's frustration with government corruption echoes that of the of their fellow citizens and thousands show up. That is exactly what happened to Lucia of Guatemala. We invite you to turn up your speakers and listen to this podcast on Reply All where Lucia posted "Quit Already" and helped take down a government.

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GUEST BLOG: 7 Creative Tips for Managing Email and Email-Induced Anxiety by Vu Le


This was originally posted on Nonprofit With Balls Blog and republished with Vu Le's permision. We share it for it's fun nature and because the tips are very useful with the holidays around the corner. - LLC


Hi everyone. Happy Thanksgiving this week! You are a sexy and awesome unicorn. I’m thankful for you and all you do to make our community better. I hope that you take a well-deserved break. One that is unencumbered with the thought that while you’re spending time with your family, there are hundreds or thousands of emails in your inbox, and they multiply by the minute, each one important, and yet you continue to neglect them because you are a terrible human being and your colleagues are probably spitting in your direction when you pass them.

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Leadership & Mindfulness

In August I attended the Academy for Contemplative and Ethical Leadership in Stowe, Vermont.  I was invited (and strongly encouraged to attend) by one of several important mentors in my life, Sharon Daloz Parks, so I made the stretch to attend even though it was a significant commitment of time and resources.  The event, inspired by the Dalai Lama and hosted by the Mind and Life Institute, was described as an inquiry around three questions:

In this time of disruption--

  • Can we conceive of a (normative) understanding and practice of leadership that takes into account those who suffer most?  (The Dalai Lama's question)
  • Can we move the dial on shifting the leadership spotlight from a primary focus on individual leadership formation to moving the social field?
  • What is the (necessary?) role of contemplation in relationship to such leadership?

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10 Steps To Celebrate Failure Through Design Thinking

As the year comes to a close, I’ve been reflecting on my growth in the last year and what increases my own development. I believe that the way we as individuals and organizations do or don’t accept, appreciate, and even celebrate failures is highly linked to our growth. Errors, mistakes, and failures are all a part of life. However the way that we respond to these moments is what defines our development.

Some places believe that mistakes are a demarcation of irreparable failure. However, this is a misguided sense of what leadership is. Leadership is not perfection, but rather a process towards improving individuals, organizations, and communities. This process includes mistakes because these can be opportunities to learn, innovate, and grow.


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Talking about Networks and Power

Last month LLC held a Funders Learning Lab: Investing in Networks and Network Leadership. It was great to have people investing in networks, working with networks and leading in networks all in the same conversation about what we are learning.  We covered a lot of ground, much of which I am still mulling over.  Fortunately, we have very skillful partners and network sages, June Holley and Allen Frimpong, helping us to synthesize lessons from the meeting which we will be publishing soon.  In the meantime, I wanted to share just one of many provocative propositions that emerged from a fishbowl conversation.  Beth Kantor, LLC board member and well know blogger describes fishbowls in this article. The kick off question for the fishbowl that began with Curtis Ogden, Elissa Perry and Allen Frimpong as our first fish was, “How can network structures and ways of thinking and doing create social equity?”

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GUEST BLOG: Trainer’s Notebook: Fishbowl Facilitation Technique By Beth Kanter

Last week, I participated in the “Funders Learning Lab: Investing in Networks and Network Leadership.”  The participants included both funders and practitioners with expertise in networks, leadership development, philanthropy and social justice. The goal was to add to our collective understanding about investing in network leadership and networks. The lab was convened by Leadership Learning Community and Center for Social Sector Leadership. It was expertly facilitated by Alison Lin and Odin Zackman.

When I get to participate in sessions that are focused on content that I’m intensely interested in AND are well designed and facilitated, it creates the perfect storm for learning in my field and the trade craft of facilitation.

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GUEST BLOG: Moving From Inclusion to Collaborative Solidarity by Curtis Ogden

“If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”

Lilla Watson


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Reflections From The Field: On Detroit

Creating Space XII took place not so long ago and it was an opportunity to learn about what it means to develop non-traditional leadership. CSXII brought together a diverse group of leaders. Interestingly enough, so many present did not consider themselves leaders, they simply saw themselves doing the work.

One of the most impactful parts of Creating Space XII for me was going to the field to understand how art and culture was transforming communities. Right away from the moment we landed, Detroit did not feel like other locations. We were not close to downtown, and the