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leadership learning community

Organizing, Openness and Community-Oriented Solutions with Ericka Stallings

By:  Marrion Johnson, LLC Communications Consultant


We decided to launch a search for a co-executive director of Leadership Learning Community for a few reasons. For one, as an advocate of thinking beyond the narrow limitations of hierarchical leadership models, we wanted to practice what we were preaching and invest in the possibilities of shared leadership, which decreases burnout and brings more voices to decision-making tables. Secondly, and equally important, we really wanted to center equity in leadership work and make space for leadership of color to thrive in an atmosphere that, quite frankly, is overwhelmingly white. So, when we met Ericka Stallings, an engaging, curious and experienced organizer from Queens, New York, we instantly knew that she might be the perfect person to help propel LLC into the future.


Some of you may be familiar with Ericka who shared a blog post and led a workshop of ours last summer entitled “6 Lessons forCultivating Leadership of Color in the Community Organizing Movement,” which Ericka says was an accumulation of knowledge gained from years of doing social justice work as an “organizer of organizers.” As LLC’s communications consultant, I spoke with Ericka about her experiences, inspirations and perspectives on leadership. Dig into our conversation below and join us in welcoming Ericka to the team!

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Now Available: Basic and Intermediate Network Leadership Training Modules

For those who are leading complex issues, using network approaches can increase reach, and activate and mobilize more people and resources to advance work on critical social issues.


Leadership programs have an opportunity to build the network competency of the individuals and groups they support. In2018, in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Leadership Learning Community began to support an emerging meta network of people working across a range of social factors like housing, transportation, food systems, etc., that can enhance or limit health. The purpose of this network was to create the conditions for everyone to live the healthiest life possible, in addition to connecting work across multiple issues.


We’re excited to share a set of Network Leadership modules with our leadership development practitioner community.

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BIG NEWS….LLC has hired a Co-Director!

We are excited to share this big news with you, but before we get to the introduction of Ericka Stallings, we first want to take a minute to thank members of the LLC network, the board and many candidates who have been on this important journey with us, and shaped our learning and decision making. The entire process has been a win because all of the candidates we spoke with had many talents to bring to LLC’s work, and as a network we are confident that we will find other opportunities to tap their wisdom and expertise! Next month we will share an article of lessons learned about how we anchored this process in our values, kept equity front and center, engaged the network and, slowed down to benefit from collaborative learning and reflection.   


And without further delay, we are excited to introduce you to Ericka Stallings. Ericka comes to us from the Association for Neighborhood Housing and Development where she was the Deputy Director for Capacity Building and Strategic Initiatives. In her role, Ericka ran and helped to develop the innovative Center for Community Leadership. If you read her blog post or attended the LLC webinar on “Important Lessons for Cultivating Leadership of Color in Community Organizing“ you know that she brings deep wisdom about supporting the leadership of people of color, and about supporting the leadership of people closest to the problems we are trying to solve. (If you missed the blog and webinar, it's not too late to check them out.) Through her work at the intersection of leadership, equity and advocacy, Ericka brings an important perspective on power. This wisdom, experience, and skill is critical to taking LLC’s work centering equity in leadership to the next level, so look out!

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Creating Space for Transformational Board Leadership


If you’re reading this, you have likely worked with nonprofit board members in some capacity - perhaps as a coach, a nonprofit staff member or executive, a funder, or even as a board member yourself. Having the right board members engaged in useful ways can prove critical to the success of an organization, support its leadership to navigate challenges and transitions, to prioritize goals and to pivot when necessary.


Yet high levels of board engagement - where board members go above and beyond - can be difficult for many executive directors to foster. As members of Leadership Learning Community’s board, we saw our 2018 retreat as an opportunity to reshape our board culture. LLC grounds leadership for social change in shared responsibility that arises out of trusting relationships, authenticity, and generosity. With four new members and a new Board Chair transitioning in over the past 18 months, it was the perfect opportunity to intentionally build a board culture that leaned further into LLC’s values and approaches.

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Meet LLC's New Operations and Project Manager


LLC hit the jackpot with our latest hire, Kyle Shimamoto who is joining our small but mighty team as the new Operations and Project Manager. Like many of us in the non-profit sector,  Kyle has had a multifaceted and fascinating career.  He spent more than 10 years as a Montessori educator and co-director  before transitioning to project management work in a variety of industries.  He also enjoys nonprofit governance and has served on the boards of a number of organizations.  We will be tapping all of these experiences.

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Welcoming LLC's Newest Board Members



LLC is thrilled to be introducing our newest board members.  We would like extend a big welcome and thank you to Duchesne Drew and

Lisa Leverette. They will both contribute greatly to furthering the mission and work of LLC. read more »

Ensley Alive: A Network Leadership Model

Guest Blog by Bettina Byrd-Giles


During a recent Network Co-Creation Community of Practice that LLC is facilitating for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, one of the

participants talked about how the language and concepts were giving her a new lens for understanding the work she was already doing. She blogged about their work and talked about what network leadership looks like in practice and what they are accomplishing. I enjoyed reading about the work and learning from Bettina. I think you will too.








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Update on the Co-Directorship

We have received applications from a number of exciting candidates. We have interviewed people who are still of interest to us, and are keeping the position open a bit longer to meet additional candidates.  We are learning as we go, and have a great team of folks from the LLC board and network who are actively engaging alongside us in this learning. Here are some of our early lessons:


We are a relationale network and that goes for recruitment too:  I was in a hurry to recruit a co-director because we were holding off on hiring a FT Operations and Program Manager after Miriam left so that the new person could be involved. We also were holding off on board recruitment for the same reason. This was creating a sense of urgency about an important decision for LLC.  We need to create time to get to know potential candidates, and for them to get to know us. This will require more than two interviews. Getting to know more candidates is an important process for understanding what will contribute most to the future we hope to see. So, we are slowing it down so that we can engage with more people, and talk more with interested candidates.

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Join The Team: Become LLC's Co-Executive Director

Job Title: Co-Executive Director

Reports to: LLC Board of Directors

FSLA Status: Exempt

To read more about why we are transforming our leadership development, read our LLC Executive Director's thoughts here. 
Apply here
People of color strongly encouraged to apply.

About the Leadership Learning Community (LLC):

LLC is a fiscally sponsored program of Community Initiatives, a 501c3 nonprofit organization. Leadership Learning Community is an 18-year- old national nonprofit organization transforming the way leadership development is understood, practiced and promoted, primarily within the nonprofit sector. We believe that the dominant leadership development model must be challenged in order to address the needs of all who lead and are invested in developing leadership!  By centering the experiences of folks most impacted by racism and inequity, we work towards transforming leadership development approaches and systems to reflect and create an equitable world by tapping into the potential of everyone seeking an opportunity to better society. We know that we need a meta-shift in how we understand and develop leadership if we are going to produces systems change. This means leading and learning together through equity-based, networked and collective leadership to innovate new interventions that challenge the dominant way of thinking about leadership development. We do this by making the case of more expansive understanding of leadership, by constantly exploring and working the edge of where practice can shift and by building the field. This in turn will create a just and equitable society.

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Join The Team: Become LLC's New Operations & Project Manager

Job Title:    

Operations & Project Manager


Leadership Learning Community

Reports To:

Executive Director

FLSA Status:

Full-Time Exempt


85% Virtual, 15% Oakland, California


Since 2000, The Leadership Learning Community has been a national nonprofit organization transforming the way leadership development work is conceived, conducted, and evaluated, primarily within the nonprofit sector. We believe that the dominant leadership development model must to be challenged in order to unleash and support the leadership of all people working toward social justice. We care about lifting up, learning from and promoting leadership that is equity based, collective in nature and networked. We currently have an exciting opportunity to join LLC’s staff.

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