LLC's Co-ED Search: Centering Joyful Relationships

LLCs search for a Co-Executive Director continues. As we began to receive applications and other expressions of interest, I realized that the process didn’t fully account for the intimacy of the Co-ED relationship. As I revisited the mechanics of the recruitment process- ultimately the process felt, well, mechanical. I realized that I’d assumed, but not named, a core component of the search process, personal connection.

An important part of my Co-ED relationship with Deborah was the fact that I like her and enjoy spending time with her. So as I think about how this search process can be more liberatory, I’ve focused my attention on centering relationships. On July 8, 2021, LLC held an Informational Webinar to give potential candidates a better understanding about the search and selection processes. We saw the webinar as a way to demystify the process and make it more equitable. An additional side benefit of the webinar was that it offered us the ability to see people face to face, to observe and share bits of personality that aren’t communicated in writing, to catch a vibe. Consequently, I am revisiting the search process to see where we can more intentionally facilitate human connection.

The informational webinar was also fun, the experience reminded me of the importance of centering joy. LLC’s work is often intense, but it’s also enjoyable. Our organizational culture invites levity, as we are a cohort of happily imperfect people who welcome messy experimentation.

As I prepared for the webinar I assumed that people would be primarily interested in the application process. But there was actually far more interest in the Co-Directorship relationship, given that this isn’t the norm for most people.

LLC experimented with, and modified, the Co-ED model over time – it’s never been static. When I imagine our CO-ED distribution of work, I usually think of a venn diagram; there were areas of work each Co-ED individually carried, and others that were shared. These areas reflected our skills, interests, and personal development stretch goals. We were emergent and allowed these things to change as we changed, and as conditions changed.

LLC adopted the Co-ED model because we believe that distributing leadership more broadly has value and that this model allows us to more equitably invite people into leadership. LLC also knows that no one can do everything perfectly and that collective leadership enables us to engage the talents and interests of more people. Lastly, the ED role can be “sucky” and often feels impossible, therefore, sharing the load helps to make it more possible for EDs to be happier and healthier people.

The conversations on the webinar underscored the need to be in constant conversation about our leadership approach. Based on our ongoing learnings we intend to continually refine the Co-ED search process to better reflect equity-centered, collaborative, networked, and liberatory values. Some initial refinements include:

1.  Reiterating that there is no “perfect” candidate: We know that people with marginalized or underrepresented identities are less likely to apply unless they have nearly all of the skills and experience listed in a job description. That’s not what we expect at LLC. I’m not equally competent at each component of the Co-Ed job, and I don’t expect a Co-ED colleague to be so either

So who are we looking for?

  • A person who cares about leadership as a tool for transformation and liberation
  • A person who cares about social & racial justice and has a vision for change
  • A person who wants to work collaboratively
  • A person who is willing to constructively challenge LLC to learn and grow
  • A person who is willing to be in a rigorously loving relationship with the LLC Network
  • A person who is eager to center joy
  • BIPOC candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.

2.  Importance of Salary transparency: In our rush to start getting the word out, the initial job posting didn’t include the salary range. The updated posting includes this information.

3.  Intentional relationship building: The recruitment process will create more space for potential candidates to get to know me and LLC in both individual and group settings.

We want to explicitly encourage BIPOC candidates to apply. Often potential BIPOC candidates and other people with marginalized identities don’t apply to positions because they incorrectly think of themselves as unqualified. Diversity, passion, vision, and lived experience matters to us, so if you care about leadership development as a tool for real change and think you can truly advance LLC’s work, please connect with us. (see job description & application)