Rockwood Leadership Blog | Leading from the Inside Out
The Rockwood Leadership Institute was founded in 2000 to provide individuals, organizations and networks in the social benefit sector with powerful and effective training in leadership and collaboration.
Rockwood Leadership Institute, in partnership with the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, announced today the launch of Resource Leaders, a new fellowship that will offer in-depth leadership development for senior fundraising professionals.
“Raising resources is central to an organization’s mission, whether it be strengthening communities or advancing social change. But few development directors have an opportunity to focus on their leadership development. Imagine the extraordinary impact that would be possible if development directors received the support they need to resource movements for equity and justice for our communities,” said Darlene Nipper, CEO of Rockwood Leadership Institute. “We are hopeful to see what these strong, focused leaders from powerful social change organizations will accomplish during their time as fellows in Resource Leaders and beyond.”
From a competitive pool of applicants, Rockwood selected 24 fellows who play core roles in raising resources for a range of social change organizations from across the country:
Raising resources for social change is essential to movement building, but because fundraising often is regarded as a support function, development staff rarely get the opportunity to focus on their leadership development. Development staff also often work in isolation, shouldering the responsibility for fundraising alone. Resource Leaders will provide participating development professionals with the space to think deeply about how their organizations can break out of chronic fundraising challenges, develop innovative ideas and fresh approaches to resourcing social change, and position themselves as strategic influencers and leaders within organizations and movements.
Participating fellows will get the tools and support they need to see themselves as changemakers in their own right, equipped to mobilize the people and resources that organizations need to transform communities for the better. Over the course of the year, including two, week-long residential retreats, the fellowship is designed to:
Position development directors as senior organizational leaders, change agents, and strategists;
Cultivate individual leadership skills, including articulating vision, authentic communication, influencing others, identifying personal leadership strengths and challenges, and building the capacity to thrive and sustain oneself in the work;
Provide new tools and approaches to embedding fundraising and resource generation into their organizations;
Create a trust-based learning community of leaders to strategize about effective revenue generation tactics in the context of movements and a sense of abundance.
“Raising funds for social change is an essential part of social change work itself, not a sidebar,” said Rachel Baker, Director of Field Building at the Haas Leadership Initiatives. “We are honored to join forces with Rockwood to lift up this extraordinary cohort of development leaders and to support them in leading change within their organizations and beyond to resource social change.”
This is the final President’s letter I will write to you. I’d like to begin with gratitude. In 2004, I came to Rockwood to be a trainer, and in the ensuing years, have worn a number of hats. Leadership can often appear as if there is only a single person charting the way, but that is never the case. I am deeply grateful for all who have made my journey at Rockwood possible: trainers, staff, board, funder partners, and you — Rockwood’s alums. I could not have done this work without any of you. My time here has been deeply satisfying, and I thank you.
We’ve come a long way since our founding in 2000 by Andre Carothers and Robert Gass. Rockwood started at a kitchen table, and now our alums have seats at tables all over the world. To date, 6,894 leaders have participated in our programs and span the myriad of sectors dedicated to creating safe, just, and welcoming organizations and communities. As I close my days at Rockwood, I leave with a full and tender heart; I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to lead this astonishing organization. I have changed and grown through hearing stories of the risks and leaps you’ve taken, the successes you’ve achieved, and the impacts you have had on the world.
My deepest wish is that Rockwood continues to thrive in its remarkable and transformative work supporting leaders committed to a sustained and equitable world. May the dreams of our ancestors continue to support our journeys, and may the hopes of our descendants continue to guide our collective steps.
For our final Couch Conversations, Darlene spoke with Commissioner on the United States Commission on Civil Rights and national authority on voting rights, Karen Narasaki. They touched on the topics of history, voter engagement, equity, showing up for others, and much more. Check out the video above, and stay tuned for Rockwood’s next big thing: a podcast!
A partnership between Rockwood and the Piper Fund, this fellowship focuses on supporting new voices in democracy in order to reduce the influence of special interests on America’s political and judicial systems.
The fellows are key influencers in organizations and networks that protect democratic systems from the influence of money, are positioned within their communities to help demonstrate new and better ways to lead and work together, and are working to engage the new American majority: women, people of color, LGBTQI communities, and young people. They will hone skills related to articulating vision, managing difficult conversations, and identifying personal leadership strengths and challenges while also connecting with each other to build a powerful network.
Please join us in congratulating the 2019 fellows:
Jasmine is a queer Black feminist. She is a digital organizer and mother of 4. She is committed to deepening her understanding of oppression and engaging in personal growth in the service of collective transformation.
Nicole serves as the executive vice president and general counsel for the Alaska Federation of Natives, the oldest and largest Native organization in Alaska. Prior to joining AFN, she worked as an associate attorney at Sonosky, Chambers, Sasche, Miller & Monkman, LLP, a Staff Attorney at the Legal Aid Society of Hawai’i, and as a law clerk the Honorable Patricia Collins (Ret.). After earning her bachelor of arts degree from the University of Alaska-Anchorage, she obtained her juris doctorate degree from the University of Washington School of Law and is licensed to practice law in Washington, Hawai’i, and Alaska. She is an enrolled member of the McGrath Native Village Council (a federally recognized Indian tribe), a shareholder of Doyon, Ltd. (an Alaska Native regional corporation), and chairman of the board for her village corporation, MTNT, Ltd., in which she also holds shares. Nicole is active in Alaska Native legal and policy work at the state and national levels. She resides in Anchorage with her husband Emmanuel, and their three children Kellan, Kaia, and Kapono.
Marilyn Carpinteyro | Chief of Internal Operations and Strategy,Common Cause
Marilyn is the chief of internal operations and strategy at Common Cause, working to advance the organizations missions to uphold the core values of American democracy. Since joining Common Cause in 2010, she has served in a myriad of roles including national outreach director and director for state operations where she supported state affiliates in developing and advancing state and local democracy reforms including small donor systems, disclosure, and voter modernization. Prior to joining Common Cause, Marilyn was the legislative and political director at New Jersey Citizen Action (NJCA) where she worked advanced progressive policies, including paid family leave, clean elections pilot programs, and increased the state minimum wage. Marilyn is a graduate of Seton Hall University.
Amber’s ancestors are the Seneca of New York, Choctaws of Mississippi and Oklahoma, Laguna Pueblo, and Mescalero Apaches. This diverse heritage drives her passion for social justice. The experience of her people before and after contact is a significant context for the evolution of her values. Early Seneca nation building founded democracy, freedom, and equality in their lives and from that, Amber’s study on traditional indigenous democratic practices has enriched her work in social justice and academic pursuits on modern democratic theory. In 1996, she became a community organizer on a sacred site issue in New Mexico. Since then, she’s been a political organizer working numerous campaigns and served as the Native vote director in the 2008 Presidential campaign of then-Senator Obama. Amber learns and grows with her two daughters, a dog, and three cats, hoping that our work results in the greater good of all and that social justice prevails.
Joy is an interdisciplinary design strategist who has held support and leadership roles in various social justice organizations for over nine years. Joy is a Cincinnati native and graduate of Miami University with a bachelor of arts in political science and Parsons School for Design with a master of arts in theories of urban practice. Joy is the founder of the award-winning Design+Culture Lab, a research-driven, urban-social enterprise that works in the intersection between identity and place. She currently serves as the executive director of the Portland African American Leadership Forum (PAALF) where she works to helps Black community imagine the alternatives they deserve and build political participation and leadership to achieve those alternatives.
Alex trained alongside many others to organize the community in the aftermath of Arizona’s strict anti-immigration bill SB1070. That’s led her to incredible opportunities, where she worked for Organizing for America in Arizona, the Adios Arpaio campaign she directed with NOI, and as a deputy organizing director at United We Dream during the immigration reform push in 2013 and 2014. Since then, she’s become a co-executive director at Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA), where they organize and coordinate many different efforts across a range of issues locally, including immigration, worker’s rights, living wages, and voter registration. Alex brings a wide lens perspective given both the local and national roles she’s served, and has been one of the most influential people in Arizona, investing in new leadership that is changing the political landscape at home.
Isela is the research and policy director at Democracy North Carolina, a state-based organization that works for free, fair, and, accessible elections, where she has worked in various roles since 2013. Prior to moving to North Carolina, Isela worked on statewide juvenile justice reform in Texas and drug policy reform in Seattle. She has a BA in history from Scripps College, an MSW from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and over a decade of experience in social justice advocacy. When she isn’t working, she enjoys time with her three daughters, husband, and pets at their home in Durham.
Atteeyah currently serves as a senior staff attorney in the Southern Center for Human Right’s (SCHR) Impact Litigation Unit (ILU). She previously served as an investigator in the ILU for four years before returning in 2010. Atteeyah has litigated cases challenging the denial of the right to counsel for poor Georgians, illegally closed courtrooms, wealth-based detention, inhumane prison conditions, and the denial of utility services because of court debt. In addition, Atteeyah, along with Managing Attorney Patrick Mulvaney, has spearheaded SCHR’s efforts to end extreme sentences for nonviolent drug offenses in Georgia. Atteeyah is a 2010 graduate of Gideon’s Promise and currently assists the organization with training public defenders. She was named a 2017 “On the Rise” Georgia lawyer by the Fulton County Daily Report. She received her BA in history from Dartmouth College in 2002 and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law in 2010.
Kayse, executive director of Unite Oregon, was born into a nomad family in Somalia. He left when the civil war erupted, and finally found sanctuary in Portland. From 2005 to 2007, he trained immigrant and refugee community leaders in five Western states—Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Utah, and Idaho—under a prestigious New Voices Fellowship at Western States Center. He has been awarded the 2007 Skidmore Prize for Outstanding Young Nonprofit Professionals, the 2008 Oregon Immigrant Achievement Award from Oregon chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the 2009 Lowenstein Trust Award (presented yearly to “that person who demonstrated the greatest contribution to assisting the poor and underprivileged in Portland), and the 2012 Portland Peace Prize. In 2018, Kayse ran for Oregon Senate and refused to take any corporate PAC money, instead building a grassroots fundraising infrastructure.
Getachew is the senior campaigner at the Democracy Initiative, where he works with the 69 partner organizations to coordinate efforts on democracy reforms. Previously, he was the manager of the Voting Rights Department at the NAACP. Within that capacity, he directed partnerships between the NAACP and national and state partners to increase democracy by protecting and enhancing voting rights. He is a dedicated and passionate public advocate who has worked to support the needs of young people, people of color and underserved communities. Previous to his work at the NAACP, Getachew worked at Generational Alliance, a coalition of 22 national youth organizations, where he worked on electoral organizing and training. Prior to that, he worked at the United States Student Association as legislative director, representing the interest of millions of college students to Congress, the Obama Administration, and Department of Education. Getachew is also a graduate of the University of Oregon, where he studied political science.
Liz is a senior fellow and was founding senior director of the Democracy and Government Reform team at the Center for American Progress, where she works to restructure the rules of democracy in order to rebalance power in government for people. She has served as counsel and campaign strategist at Demos, as an attorney at the Brennan Center, as deputy director of voter protection for President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign in Ohio, and as a student organizer and canvass director with the Public Interest Research Groups. Liz works to expand political participation by eliminating barriers and empowering voters; to fight corruption of democratic government through effective rules and incentives for money in politics; and to fulfill America’s promise of equality and self-government for all.
Melody is director of the New York Civic Engagement Table (NYCET). NYCET supports a diverse group of 60 organizations committed to creating a better, more just, and democratic world through year-round civic engagement. At the NYCET, she oversees collaboration with partners, development of a coordinated program, engages new partners, and manages the provision of resources and technical assistance to partner organizations. Melody has over a decade of experience in community organizing, electoral campaigns, issue campaigns, and coalition building. Melody began organizing at the Working Families Party where she worked on numerous issue campaigns and managed electoral campaigns in NY. She was also fortunate to work in the California Bay Area where she organized communities and coordinated coalitions to build support for affordable housing while at the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California. She happy to be home in New York with her family.
Nick is a communications professional in the movement for an inclusive democracy, focusing on rebalancing our democracy away from big money, ensuring fair and impartial courts, and protecting and expanding the right to vote. He’s also a multimedia artist and filmmaker based in Washington, DC. Nick often investigates themes around power relationships and moral inclusion and likes to experiment with new mediums and technologies in his storytelling.
Since 2003, this executive leadership program has emerged as one of the nation’s leading learning laboratories for experienced social change leaders. Each year, Rockwood selects a cohort of nationally-recognized leaders to participate in this transformative yearlong fellowship.
National Leading From The Inside Out Yearlong fellows must be nominated in order to apply for the fellowship, and the extensive selection process takes into account a great number of factors, including Rockwood’s commitment to build connections between leaders who are diverse in methodology, issue focus, geography, and personal experience and identity.
Please join us in celebrating the 2018-2019 fellows:
Craig Aaron has led Free Press and Free Press Action Fund since 2011. For more than a decade, he has been a leader in major campaigns to safeguard Net Neutrality, stop media consolidation, oppose unchecked surveillance, defend public media, and sustain quality journalism. He works in Washington and speaks often to the press and the public on media and technology issues. He has written for The Daily Beast, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, MSNBC, Politico, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Seattle Times, Slate and many other outlets. Before joining Free Press, he was an investigative reporter for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch and the managing editor of In These Times magazine. He is the editor of two books, Appeal to Reason: 25 Years of In These Times and Changing Media: Public Interest Policies for the Digital Age. He is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Follow him on Twitter @notaaroncraig.
Levi comes from a long tradition of UMWA coal miners. Born in Franklin County, PA in1981, Levi and his brother Aaron were raised in Moundsville, West Virginia, and began his coal mining career in 2007. Hired into the McElroy Mine (now the Marshall County Mine) as a general inside laborer, he worked primarily at the coal face. After working as a beltman, he earned his electrician’s card and began working as a mechanic/electrician throughout the mine. Levi was recognized as a rising talent in the UMWA and was hired by President Roberts onto the International staff in 2015. He became the executive assistant to the international Secretary-Treasurer in January 2017 and assumed the duties of international secretary-treasurer on July 1, 2017. Levi graduated from John Marshall High School in Moundsville and attended West Liberty University. He is married to the former Shannon Sechrest. He and Shannon are blessed with five children; Owen, Chloe, Lucy, Finnegan, and Auggie.
Ashley brings over a decade of outreach, organizing, and campaign experience, along with an expertise in crisis management and coalition building. She served as the deputy director and senior policy adviser under Valerie Jarrett in the White House Office of Public Engagement. Her portfolio included managing a team that worked with the LGBTQ, Muslim, faith, African-American, disability, and entertainment communities. Allison’s primary policy focus at the White House was criminal justice and policing reform. Prior to joining government, she worked on healthcare enrollment and partner engagement at the nonprofit Enroll America and on President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign doing statewide African-American voter outreach in Ohio. Allison is a graduate of Ohio State University. She also spent seven years in New York earning her Juris Doctorate and Masters in Education while working as a high school special education teacher.
Sarah is the executive director of the Alliance for Youth Action, the nation’s largest youth grassroots organizing network. An organization that is “of young people, by young people, for all people,” the Alliance works to build political power with young people across the United States. Sarah’s passion is centering and uplifting young folks, and particularly young folks of color, in progressive movements and institutions. Before joining the Alliance, Sarah served as Hillary Clinton’s Millennial Vote Director in the 2016 election. She has experience as an organizer and advocate for the Millennial generation, working on economic justice, reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, civic engagement, and more at organizations including Advocates for Youth and Generation Progress. After graduating from Georgetown University, Sarah was a special education teacher with Teach for America in the Rio Grande Valley. She is originally from Bakersfield, CA and lives in Northeast Washington, DC.
Before joining the national staff of Jobs With Justice in January 2012, Mackenzie served as the director of DC Jobs with Justice from 2002 to 2011. During her nine years in leadership, DC JWJ helped win union recognition and good contracts for thousands of DC-area workers and led campaigns to pass Living Wage and Paid Sick Days laws in the District, to keep ICE out of DC jails, and to organize day laborers to combat wage theft. During her time on national staff, Mackenzie has served in a number of roles including field organizer, deputy field director, senior organizer for network capacity, and was recently named deputy director. Mackenzie studied history at Yale University and has been involved in both student and faith-based movements, and as a rank-and-file union activist and elected officer.
Saqib is the co-executive director of the Action Center on Race and the Economy (ACRE). He works on campaigns to win racial and economic justice by taking on the financial institutions that are responsible for extracting wealth and resources from communities of color and poor people in order to further enrich themselves. Coming from an immigrant Muslim family from Pakistan, Saqib’s first foray into organizing was as part of the anti-war movement at Yale University following 9/11. After college, he spent 10 years working on corporate social responsibility campaigns with the Culinary Workers Union in Las Vegas and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). He was awarded a Nathan Cummings Foundation Fellowship in 2013, which he used to launch the ReFund America Project, a predecessor organization to ACRE. Saqib serves on the boards of the Midwest Academy and Political Research Associates and is a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute.
Charlene has spent over a decade developing leaders as an effective strategist, community organizer, and educator. She is a Black lesbian feminist and founding national director of the BYP100 (Black Youth Project 100), a leading organization of young activists in the movement for Black liberation. Her work has been featured in outlets including The Nation, NBC News, BBC News, Huffington Post, The New Yorker, Al Jazeera, Ebony, USA Today, and the Washington Post. Charlene was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago where she currently resides. Her inspirations include a range of Black women, including her mother, Ella Baker, Cathy Cohen, Marsha P. Johnson, and Barbara Ransby. In her free time, Charlene loves to cook and believes the best way to learn about people is through their food. Charlene is the author of the bestselling debut book, Unapologetic: A Black, Queer and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements.
Christine was APIAVote’s founding executive director from 2006-2008 and returned in January 2011 to serve as its current executive director. During her tenure, she strengthened and expanded APIAVote’s partners into 26 states. APIAVote’s research and polling of Asian American voters and their regional trainings and field programs have strengthened the local grassroots programs in reaching and mobilizing Asian American and Pacific Islander voters. Profiled by Newsweek in 2001 as one of 15 women who will shape America’s new century, Christine served from 2001 to 2005 as national executive director of the Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA), one of the leading APIA civil rights organizations in the country. Leading an organization with more than 80 chapters and affiliates across the nation, she worked with OCA’s national board, executive council, chapter representatives, members, and funders while managing a staff of 13. Christine currently serves on the Kennedy Center Community Advisory Board, Center for Asian American Media, OCA Northern Virginia Chapter, and the advisory boards for the Asian Pacific American Medical Students Association (APAMSA), and CAPAL.
Kathay leads California Common Cause in championing election and redistricting reforms, government sunshine and accountability laws, campaign finance reforms, media access, and the voting rights of traditionally disenfranchised communities. Kathay helped spearhead California Common Cause’s successful effort to create an independent citizens redistricting commission; the state’s program has become a national model. She also led efforts that secured passage of California laws bringing online voter registration and same-day registration to the state. Before joining Common Cause in 2005, she headed the Voting Rights and Anti-Discrimination Unit at the Asian Pacific American Legal Center. Her advocacy led to the creation of the Los Angeles County Office of Independent Review, which provides citizen oversight over the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department on issues ranging from discrimination to use of force. She serves or has served on numerous boards including the California Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on Voter Participation and Outreach, the LA County Human Relations Commission, and the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council. She is a graduate of Cornell University and holds a law degree from UCLA School of Law.
Chris became the executive director of the BISC in June 2018, bringing over 15 years of experience in advocacy, movement building, and leading large-scale programs. Her career is devoted to social justice and racial equity. She believes in “We the People” and building an inclusive and participatory democracy. She demonstrated that through her work at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and Common Cause where led fights for voting rights and getting big money out of politics. Prior to joining BISC, she served as the Associate Director for Voting Rights at ReThink Media where she deployed effective communications and capacity-building strategies. A seasoned strategist, she began her career working on several progressive political campaigns across the country. Her first job in DC was organizing for access to quality education for DC’s children and families. Chris is Venezuelan-American, raised in Texas. She lives in Washington, DC with her amazing daughter.
This month’s Couch Conversations with Transgender Law Center’s Kris Hayashi and Darlene Nipper was all about partnership, purpose, and protest. Watch the video above for the full conversation, and mark your calendar for October 25 at 1 PM PT / 4 PM ET when Akaya will be joined by Kierra Johnson of The National LGBTQ Task Force.