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leadership

Vision, Hope and Liberation: Some Thoughts and Exercises for Visioning

Oddly, I don’t think I have written much about my own leadership development experience, which was profound on many levels. As I sat down to write about vision I found myself remembering two experiences as a participant in the Kellogg National Leadership Program that shaped my thinking and beliefs. The first was a week long, small seminar for 12 lucky fellows, self included, with Paulo Freire. His book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed was sacred text to me. I could write dozens of blog posts about that experience, but for the sake of focus I will go straight to one of many punchlines. On about day three, he walked over to me and kindly put his hand on my shoulder as he said, “Your problem is that you don’t dream.” He went on to explain that while power might change hands in the fight for justice, we will recreate systems oppressions without imagining a society in which we are able to reach our full humanity by liberating ourselves from oppressive relationships (either as oppressor or oppressed). read more »

Action Learning Seed Fund's Community of Practice

By Susan Misra, CoDirector of Management of Assistance Group

Looking back over the last year of the Action Learning Seed Fund's community of practice, a major theme that surfaced was how to hold and wield the power of our full intersectional selves in racial healing and equity work. This is complex and exhausting work to name inequity and hold space for racial healing between different communities and within the same community.

Our group of eight people struggle with patriarchy, sexism and misogyny among leadership within our communities, for instance. We work with these leaders to confront Islamophobia or xenophobia, to have courageous conversations with other communities, and to salve historic and current racial wounds. At the same time, we need to call these (often male-identified) leaders into sharing power and leadership with women and gender non-conforming people. This can be particularly challenging when there are formal gendered roles (e.g., in a religious institution).

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LLC Webinar | Leadership and Large Scale Change: Are We Setting Our Sites High Enough?

 

July 12, 2018

11:00 am Pacific - 12PM | 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm Eastern

 

People who are putting their time, energy and resources into supporting and cultivating leadership are for the most part doing the work to advance meaningful change and social justice. Our learning about this work is struggling to keep up with our change aspirations. It's not enough to know that participants believe they are better leaders without answering questions about the ways in which leadership development work is creating equity and contributing to concrete changes in the health, education, and wealth of all. This webinar will share findings from a collaborative research efforts between leadership Funders and Evaluators to understand what we can achieve through leadership investments, how we can know, and what we are learning about the kind of leadership we need to contribute to greater equity.

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Self-Care: Actualizing Freedom, Asserting Presence, Cultivating Power

In the nonprofit sector, it’s common to hear about burnout and lack of self-care. Though highly important to our work, with demanding deadlines and lack of resources, including time, self-care can feel like an added chore that never gets done. However, not taking care of ourselves can lead the sector astray and lead to the same problems within the field we are trying to combat, including but not limited to systemic racism. When people do not feel cared for, they can lose their sense of empathy and connection to others. Therefore, self-care is a leadership competency.
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LLC Webinar Series | LeaderSpring in Reset: rethinking leadership and risk taking

May 16, 2018

11:00 am - 12:00 pm Pacific | 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm Eastern

 

Our thinking about leadership is evolving as is the world in which greater numbers of people are coming together to take actions that will create greater equity. To keep pace, those who are supporting leadership for racial equity and social justice must pause, reflect and reconsider our approaches to leadership development. Because most leadership programs receive positive feedback from those participating in them, it can be hard to try something different...who wants to mess with what works, even if the payoff could be more dramatic results. It takes courage to do this and we are excited to have our friends from LeaderSpring share their "reset" process and what they are learning. Please join our next webinar with Sonia Manjon, Ph.D and Safi Jiroh from LeaderSpring.

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Actualizing Freedom, Asserting Presence, Cultivating Power

This month has brought up a lot of emotions. Our country, still reeling from the losses in Florida, just witnessed the loss of  another person to police violence, Stephon Clark. With so much to carry, it can be difficult to create and be present in truly liberating spaces. Maybe because of these moments of deep sorrow, the the Empowering Womxn of Color Conference felt like sacred space.

 

I was immediately humbled by the offerings available for women to express and practice their leadership. Most of the sessions were facilitated and guided by young women of color to share tools and learning. I joined Af3irm SF’s session on Transnational Feminism that set the tone to learning more about the #MeToo movement.

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The Women’s March and #Metoo Reflections

I joined the Women’s March again this year in Oakland with 50,000 other women, children and men. I appreciated the call to action with a focus on midterm elections and... I think we need a much deeper conversation about leadership and democracy, who votes, who doesn’t and why (maybe next month). Being part of the march this year also caused me to reflect on an issue I have wanting to write about, #me too. It would probably be more accurate to say I have and haven’t wanted to write about it because it’s complex and emotionally triggering, as you can see from the machinations of my internal dialogue below.

 

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Reflections on Equitable Design

I felt honored to be part of the Creating Space Design Team with an amazing group of leadership development funders, delivery partners, network and movement builders and racial justice champions. I was eager to learn from the team about how to create an event that would deepen our learning about the ways in which our approaches to supporting leadership for racial justice need to shift.  I did not have to wait until me met in New Orleans to begin learning. I was struck by the fact that some of our conversations were filled with questions that people creating leadership development programs should also be asking, e.g. how would we honor the whole person and multiple ways of knowing; what does it mean to assume good intentions and look at impact; how do we hold space for courageous conversations; how are we thinking about power and whose knowledge is privileged; and how do we build authentic community?
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Three Experiments and Lessons on the Network Path

Several years ago friend, colleague and network mentor, June Holley, reminded me that LLC was a pretty traditional organization and not very network-like. Given the extent of our writing about the importance and power of network approaches, it seemed like a good time to experiment and venture away from our default organizational behaviors. Some of our lessons were the fruits of intentional experimentation and some are reflections about serendipitous change. We hope that some of them will be helpful to you.

Three lessons about tapping the talents of the network to do the work:

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LLC Webinar Series | Race To Lead

August 15, 2017

10am -11am Pacific | 1pm - 2pm Eastern

 

The nonprofit sector is experiencing a racial leadership gap. Studies show the percentage of people of color in the executive director/CEO role has remained under 20% for the last 15 years even as the country becomes more diverse. To find out more, the Building Movement Project conducted the Nonprofits, Leadership, and Race survey. Over 4,000 respondents answered questions about their current nonprofit job, interest in leading a nonprofit, training/supports, views of leadership, and personal background. They were also asked about their views on race and the nonprofit sector. This report, the first in a series to be released over the next two years, will compare people of color and white respondents’ background, aspirations to be leaders, training, and attitudes towards leadership.

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