What We Are Learning about Liberatory Staff Recruitment Part 3:  Staff Reflections and Liberatory Hiring Checklist

Help us welcome Alexandra & Sadia to the LLC Community!

You may have already had the opportunity to interact with LLC’s two new teammates, Alexandra and Sadia. If that’s the case, you already know why we are so happy to have them onboard. They offer gifts and skills that expand our capacity, enliven our work, and build our community. Alexandra and Sadia are still very new, but have already made significant contributions to LLC. Sadia and Alexandra joined LLC at a time when we have been exploring how to operationalize liberatory values, in this case, in the staff recruitment and onboarding process. We thank them for participating in this learning journey with us. 

Alexandra is LLC’s new Communications/Admin coordinator. She brings a varied skill set developed through an academic focus on social transformation and a diverse career path, including intergenerational work with youth and seniors and operating an eco-friendly small business, among other endeavors.

Sadia joins LLC as our new Liberatory Leadership Program Manager. We are excited to have her as a partner because, as an accomplished poet, teacher, and change agent, we believe she will breathe new life into our Liberatory Leadership work.

In addition to advancing LLC’s work, Sadia and Alexandra have added to the fun of working at LLC. They are embracing LLC’s belief that transformative work can be joyful. LLC is so fortunate to be joined by such gifted and values-aligned teammates. 

Check out our blog series to hear about our learnings from the hiring and onboarding process. In this month’s newsletter, you’ll hear directly from Alexandra and Sadia about their experiences joining LLC. 


Alex and I are almost at the end of our 90-day new hire journey, and we got to sit down with the two co-eds, Ericka and Nikki, to talk more deeply about what a liberatory hiring process entails. Anything Liberatory is a means of getting free. What was LLC trying to free itself from? What new capacities and energy did this Liberatory process free up? From our conversation, we learned that while breathing into liberatory processes does not always feel good, it does ultimately transform us and our organizations in ways that bring more alignment. “Every time we tried to practice love, joy, it was experimental and rubbed up against systems and structures that were not in place” – Ericka Stallings. This truth continues to bear itself out in our work. 

On Values

Before LLC, we hadn’t experienced a work environment where exploration and learning were deeply rooted values within the organization and where we weren’t pressured to complete the orientation period to a level of “mastery.” Instead, LLC has encouraged us to learn at our own pace, ask questions and provide feedback. Confusion has not only been welcomed but honored as part of the natural learning process. The team has shown patience and understanding with our needs, nerves, shyness, and confusion, which has felt liberatory – an invitation to be ourselves at work and reimagine what we thought of as professionalism. Our colleagues were welcoming from the start and scheduled check-ins to learn about us. These check-ins, where we didn’t have to talk about work, helped us build a relationship where we felt comfortable sharing about our lives and being curious about the lives of our colleagues. We continue to learn daily and practice liberatory leadership by collaborating, embracing joy and love, and building connections. 

Other values that guided the interview process were generosity, experimentation, and collaboration. Not only were we shown grace, kindness, and care, but because there were no expectations except to be our most authentic selves, by the end of the interview process, we felt we were given ample opportunity to demonstrate skill, articulate expectations, share concerns, and to get a vibe for the team in such a way that we were happy to accept the outcome either way. We wanted for LLC what they wanted for us, a values-aligned, liberation-minded, creative, and flexible colleague, and if we weren’t it, we trusted the process would bring us closer to something or someone more aligned. We feel joy to be part of LLC. We are having fun learning about different ways to create better communities for all. We find our minds and hearts stretching. We are pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones. We are finding our voices and learning about our identities, and this feels liberating. We find comfort in being on the right side of history. 

On Onboarding

Onboarding at our own pace was a different practice. The onboarding process provided structure, reflection time, and time to explore and learn things we were interested in or had questions about. It mixed webinars, readings, presentations, and time for reflection. The regular check-ins with our supervisors allowed us to ask questions, understand priorities, and get to know each other. We (Sadia and Alexandra) started simultaneously, although we didn’t know each other. We felt comfort in knowing the organization and staff were value-aligned. We supported each other and bonded over being travel lovers, learning about liberation, and being excited and nervous about starting a new job. Even when we were unclear on responsibilities or expectations, the team understood and created a safe space for questions and learning opportunities. We were encouraged to bring our whole selves, likes, dislikes, and hopes to work. We are about three months in, and being part of a team that genuinely cares about us and the work we are doing has been nourishing. It has made our remote work feel rewarding, joyful, and collaborative. 

When Ericka and Nikki shared the importance of organizational readiness to onboard new members, it resonated with us as young professionals who prioritized intentionality in the application process. Being ready to honor the labor and talent of applicants from marginalized communities is vital to creating a welcoming and safe environment for everyone on the team. The organization needs to be prepared to create space, explain the vision and work, build connections, and understand/make room for the needs of new teammates. It is also important to be patient and wait for the right time and people to join. Although this may be difficult, the organization needs policies and resources to be able to wait, such as compensating staff for additional tasks. Creating a team is difficult, but LLC searched for people who shared the same values and wanted to build a better community. We all come to this work with different experiences, which are essential for growth and pushing each other out of our comfort zones. 

On the future of liberatory hiring 

As we eased into our role, we learned more and more how valuable transparency within the organization has been for our exploration process. Throughout our onboarding, we were given space to explore at our own pace and within (and sometimes outside of) our own interests. Teammates have prioritized using 1-1 time to skillshare and build relationships. The Co-EDs were strategic about leveraging organizational resources and learning tools in service of the areas of growth we’ve identified for ourselves. All of this has left us thinking about how when organizations (even seemingly progressive institutions with good intent) invite people from marginalized identities to apply and interview for roles, their support ecosystem is not always equipped to ensure their long-term success. Beyond onboarding, how can organizations model failing and failing often? How can they address power dynamics? How can they institutionalize skills sharing, offering the same resources to executives, associates, managers, and coordinators, dismantling barriers of entry and access to skill growth? This process has taught us that preparing your ecosystem is a key part of developing a liberatory framework so that when you hire in a liberatory manner, you also reimagine the tools and resources your team needs to flourish.