LLP Webinar Series 2021 | Session 3

Liberatory Leadership in Practice: Transformative Organizations


  • Nikki Uyen Dinh is the daughter of boat people refugees who instilled in her the importance of being in community. Though she grew up in an area that was founded by the KKK, her family’s home was in an immigrant enclave. Her neighborhood taught her about resistance, resilience, joy and love. Her lived experiences led her to a career in social justice and advocacy. She has served in various roles as a grassroots community attorney, funder and strategist. Mostly, she is a parent who strives to instill in her two children the importance of being in community.
  • Ananda Valenzuela is the interim executive director of RVC, co-founder of the BIPOC Executive Director Coalition of Washington, and co-chair of the board of Change Elemental. Their work centers on organizational development, with a particular focus on equitable self-management and liberatory practices. Ananda grew up in Puerto Rico and slowly made his way across the United States, holding a variety of consultant, governance, and activist roles along the way. Before RVC, Ananda worked at TSNE, a nonprofit capacity building firm, where she managed a consulting program and developed a fellowship program.

Session Recap

The third session with Ananda Valenzuela of RVC and Nikki Dinh of Common Counsel Foundation discussed our organizations and how they need to evolve to create the conditions for liberatory leadership and the tools and organizational change processes that support this transformation. The discussion touched on the inherent tension between taking a liberatory stance that holds both individual sovereignty and a commitment to community/collective care, The Speakers also discussed rooting this work in relationship building and trust. This rooting requires a lot of space, time, facilitation, outside support etc. for developing trust. This work entails both the building of something new and an undoing of previous habits, the development of a different set of norms, and new ways of dealing with the inevitable conflict so that it is generative. This work is not just about internal facing work, it is also about being effective, negotiating power and values alignment.