Introducing Nikki Dinh - LLC's New Co-Executive Director!

January 21, 2022In Co-LeadershipBy

I am very happy to announce that Nikki Dinh has joined the Leadership Learning Community as our new Co-Executive Director. An accomplished lawyer, advocate, and mother of two,  Nikki is a welcomed addition to the LLC team. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience related to diverse change models, networks, and leadership development to LLC. Nikki frequently and proudly references her immigrant and refugee community when describing her commitment to the collective pursuit of social justice, racial equity, and liberation. The LLC team is excited about the expansive perspective she brings to LLC’s work and consider ourselves lucky to have Nikki onboard.

Personally, I’m so excited to be in a Co-ED relationship again. I can’t overemphasize how much pleasure I got from changing the title from Executive Director to Co-Executive Director in my email signature. As I write this blog entry, I’m reflecting on some of the simple joys of having a Co-ED, such as brainstorming with Nikki different ways to support our team burdened with work, life, and what feels like the millionth wave of COVID. With Nikki, I am joined by a true partner who is smart, principled, fun, and bold.

The recruitment and hiring process that brought Nikki to the LLC team gave  LLC many valuable learning opportunities. Some things we learned along the way include the importance of:

  1. Patience: A friend complimented me for holding out for the right person, as LLC’s Co-ED hiring process took about a year. Given that we’d reshaped LLC’s leadership structure to be held by two people rather than one, the team and I felt the pressure of having a missing team member for that period of time. Still, we have no regrets. The extended selection period gave us the opportunity to meet several really amazing people. People, I feel eager to continue to engage in our work. Although we moved more slowly than we wanted to, I appreciate the time we took to get to know so many candidates, reflect on the process, and ultimately find the right person.
  2. Authentic Process: Nikki has been an active LLC consulting network member for several years. Given my confidence in her skills, it would have been easy to recommend amending the hiring process. However, we never considered doing that, and, in fact, Nikki explicitly asked to go through the normal process. While I knew Nikki was great, we needed to have an authentic process so everyone on our staff and Advisory Board could connect with Nikki and be confident that she was the right person for LLC and for Nikki to know that LLC was right for her. Sometimes, this commitment to fairness made it hard for me to share my own wisdom because I worried I’d be tainting the process in some way. The only way for me to find some balance was to be transparent and name my different commitments.
  3. Checking Assumptions & Embracing Curiosity: It was always important to the LLC team that our values, such as equity, transparency, and relationality, were present in the hiring process. We also knew we couldn’t assume that a well-crafted process would automatically prevent inadvertent lapses in those values. To that end, we incorporated checks into the process. An example of a check was periodically asking ourselves how white supremacy and dominant cultural norms might be informing our process and decision-making.
  4. Revision: We pushed ourselves to be willing to learn and to be open to change. The periodic checks we conducted revealed that some parts of the hiring process were inconsistent with our goals and values. For example, we realized that our scoring rubric asked if candidates had seven or more years of experience. This expectation was in direct conflict with our intention to engage people who might otherwise have been excluded from leadership and to invite candidates with diverse backgrounds. Once we saw that issue, we revised the scoring process.
  5. Grace: LLC’s hiring process wasn’t perfect; It took longer than expected, some pieces of the process didn’t work as desired, balls were dropped, and human imperfections made themselves known. In the same way that we dispensed with perfectionism when it came to reviewing candidates, we similarly had to let go of this goal when assessing our own performance. At the end of the day, I know our values guided the process and that we did our best to honor the people who were part of that process.

We’re excited to see the stamp Nikki wants to put on her Co-ED role at LLC. I’m looking forward to you all connecting with her soon. We will share the next Chapter in LLC’s story in our coming blog entries.