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Job Title: Co-Executive Director

Reports to: LLC Board of Directors

FSLA Status: Exempt

To read more about why we are transforming our leadership development, read our LLC Executive Director's thoughts here. 

About the Leadership Learning Community (LLC):

LLC is a fiscally sponsored program of Community Initiatives, a 501c3 nonprofit organization. Leadership Learning Community is an 18-year- old national nonprofit organization transforming the way leadership development is understood, practiced and promoted, primarily within the nonprofit sector. We believe that the dominant leadership development model must be challenged in order to address the needs of all who lead and are invested in developing leadership!  By centering the experiences of folks most impacted by racism and inequity, we work towards transforming leadership development approaches and systems to reflect and create an equitable world by tapping into the potential of everyone seeking an opportunity to better society. We know that we need a meta-shift in how we understand and develop leadership if we are going to produces systems change. This means leading and learning together through equity-based, networked and collective leadership to innovate new interventions that challenge the dominant way of thinking about leadership development. We do this by making the case of more expansive understanding of leadership, by constantly exploring and working the edge of where practice can shift and by building the field. This in turn will create a just and equitable society.

Summary Job Description: The Leadership Learning Community board of directors seek a Co-Executive Director to join the current Executive Director. The current Executive Director and Board want to develop shared and distributed leadership because it is aligned with the organization’s commitment to promoting leadership that is equity based, networked and collective. The new Co-Executive Director will lead LLC’s vision to bring racial equity to the core of network leadership through original thought leadership (writing, public speaking and research), designing convenings (virtual and in-person), and strategically expanding LLC’s network of members and partners. They will share responsibilities with the current Executive Director across all of the key leadership functions, e.g. management and supervision, fund and business development, strategy and assessment, network engagement, research, communications, board development, and fiscal oversight. Responsibilities will be distributed between the co-directors based on each director’s strengths and passions, and with attention to how power is shared. The current Executive Director intends to transition over time to a senior affiliate role as an external consultant on client projects and the new Co-ED and the board will decide, based on lessons learned, on whether to continue with this model or transition back to a sole Executive Director model.


Apply here
 

Primary Responsibilities:

The areas listed below are the primary responsibilities we envisen the Co-ED to lead or contribute to. We recognize that a single candidate is unlikely to excel in all the areas listed and are looking for candidates with strong and developing leadership skills.  

Vision and Strategy

  • Collaborate on the development, implementation and assessment of strategies that will advance LLC vision and progress in achieving our mission.

Network Engagement and Management

Develop a network engagement strategy

  • Partner with key stakeholders to identify gaps and create new work in the field

  • Design new solutions to leverage the network for building the sector

  • Oversee the implementation of a new website and explore platforms that would enable members of the network to talk to each other and self-organize

  • Develop a strategy for a social media presence

Research and Field Building

  • Conceptualize research projects and opportunities aligned with LLC strategies, particularly racial equity

  • Engage in collaborative research projects with partners/stakeholders

  • Help to implement a strategy for disseminating learning within the field through publications, social media, LLC’s webinar series and presentations at conferences and LLC’s national meetings

Board Development and Relations

  • Support the recruitment and onboarding of new board members

  • Plan board meetings with board chair

  • Oversee and contribute to quarterly board reports

Management and Personnel:

  • Hiring new personnel and providing supervision

  • Hiring and managing consultants for internal operations support

  • Liaising with to LLC’s Fiscal Sponsor

Fund Development

  • Cultivate and manage funder relationships

  • Help to cultivate new funder relationships and research/respond to RFPs

  • Collaborate on concept and  proposal development

Fiscal Oversight

  • Collaborate on the development of the annual budget

  • Provide fiscal oversight to the operations manager

Qualifications:

  • Passion for leadership and knowledge of leadership development approaches and alignment with LLC’s values and point of view that leadership is a process

  • Racial Equity knowledge and experience (for example, lived experience, anti-racism training, solid knowledge of race theory and knowledge of key racial equity partners)

  • Strong writing and public speaking skills

  • At least 7 years of experience in a senior leadership role (ideally in non profit organizations) with experience in the areas list above

  • Familiarity with collaborative technology such as zoom or other video conferencing platforms, using google docs and folders for collaborative editing

Location: LLC is a virtual, national non-profit. Candidates for this position can reside anywhere in the United States.

Salary & Benefits:  $85,000-$95,000, commensurate with experience and a full benefits package.

People of color strongly encouraged to apply.


Apply here

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

 
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I am excited to announce that we are beginning the search for a Co-Executive Director. It’s an idea that has been percolating in me for some time now, and for many reasons. As you may have noticed, the tagline for much of what we write is…”promoting equity-based, networked and collective leadership.” Obviously, if we want to debunk the heroic individualist model of leader in favor of more collectivist models of leadership as a process, it does not make sense to embody the ‘go it alone’ individual ED model, even though we are also trying to flatten out the hierarchy which also has to happen. We have been following the move by well respected colleagues in our field who have already made this move, MAG, Movement Building Project, Center for Movement Strategy, the Whitman Center and also coming on board CompassPoint. We have had a lot of conversations about this, and we are jumping into it with our eyes wide open about all that can be great, and all that could be challenging, so ... before going into the details, I want to spend more time on why this is so important.

Creating Opportunities for People of Color: In their report, “Race to Lead”, Building Movement Project has more than documented the lack of representation of people of color in leadership positions in the sector. As a sector, we will not be able to lead effectively to create racial equity without addressing this issue. We have to create opportunity for the many talented people of color who want to lead and have been shut out. This means both creating and vacating leadership positions. More practically, since our publication, “Leadership and Race”, we have taken up the work of bringing a stronger race consciousness to leadership development. Still, we are only scratching the surface of the radical change that has to occur in the ways we understand and support leadership. Without this change, much, if not most leadership development approaches are helping to reinforce structural inequity. I personally believe that this work will not be taken to the next level by a white, middle class ally, and that our imperative to decenter whiteness in leadership development will require the leadership of a person with deep lived experience of the issues we are trying to address.
 

Changing Leadership Systems: The discussion of ‘burnout’ (a term I am not crazy about, but I will save that for another time) is prevalent and yet we continue to try and fix people and not the system. The hierarchical ED model is burdensome without tapping the leadership of many talented people. I think LLC’s move to be more network centric (rather than organization centric) has helped by creating many leadership opportunities as we engage more and more people in our work and distribute leadership throughout our projects. So I want to acknowledge that maybe the Co-ED model is the transition to something else entirely - leadership councils, or better yet, leadership processes that engage everyone in important decisions while distributing authority and accountability more broadly. I am not sure what more radical innovations in collective leadership will look like as we dismantle oppressive systems, but I do believe right now the Co-Director model is a step in the right direction.

Is This a Succession Plan in Disguise? I will be transparent about the immediate reaction to this news. A lot of people are wondering if this is my transition plan, so I want to address this head on. I love LLC and I still have a lot of energy and good years left, (yes, I know I am in my sixties)...and, I do think about how to make room for what is new and next for our network. Frankly, I know about the literature on founders and understand the trepidation a potential candidate might have about Co-Leading with a founder. For these reasons, I think that over the next couple of years it’s important for me to move into a different role doing this work outside of the organizational structure, perhaps as affiliate consultant, so I can still do the work I love and help new leadership take flight. Our board has had thoughtful conversations about the potential power dynamics, how to create transparent interactions and provide coaching to the new ED stepping into power, and to me about letting go of power and checking my privilege. The entire board was involved in how to structure shared and distinct responsibilities in ways that distributed power and authority equitably across leadership functions. This is the work of promoting equity-based, networked and collective leadership.

The Conditions are Optimal: We have also tackled other concerns. Can we afford this? Wouldn’t most organizations want to go this way if they could afford it? We all know its too much work for one person. The good news is that we are in a better financial position now than in the first 15 years of our history, mostly because of our switch to a network approach. My benchmark was that we should not bring on a Co-ED until we had raised at least one year of budget in advance. If we are creating opportunity for a new generation of diverse leadership, we are responsible for setting people up for success. We are betting that as a team, we will be able to increase our fundraising capacity even more and be off to a great and prosperous start.
 

Next steps? We have developed a job description and are in the process of recruiting people from the network and board to help with recruitment and selection because it is your network. The Board Chair, Uma Viswanathan, and I will be hosting a webinar to share more information, so keep an eye out. We are now virtual, so we are recruiting nationally. You can help. If you have a burning desire to be part of the selection let us know. If you are interested or want to recommend someone for the Co-Directorship position and who we should reach out to, please email monica@leadershiplearning.org. We believe that you can help us find the right person and join in our learning about new leadership forms.

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By Ericka Stallings, ANHD's Director of Organizing and Advocacy

Non-profit organizing institutions have long struggled with the fact that their leadership is disproportionately white and middle class. We all know that our organizing will ultimately be more effective and more grounded in a true commitment to justice, if the primary actors are directly impacted people, those who come from the marginalized communities in which we work. Yet, for many reasons, groups in the Community Development movement too often fail to achieve this.

 

Cultivating movement leadership of color must include an effective approach for recognizing, attracting, and training new community organizers of color, then supporting them as they hone their skills to more advanced levels. But even here - or maybe, especially here - our movement falls short; we have seen that it is consistently difficult for people from marginalized communities to overcome the barriers to both entry and advancement in community organizing. Consequently, people of color and other marginalized people are grossly underrepresented in leadership positions . There are many reasons for this, including implicit bias and the glorification of mainstream career and educational backgrounds, both of which hinder the recognition of candidates from marginalized backgrounds. Consequently, our organizations often ignore or undervalue the critically important skills and experiences that directly-impacted leaders can bring to movement organizations.

One important step is to have community organizing training programs with rigorous approaches to skills-building and intentional strategies for training, supporting, and promoting leaders of color. ANHD's Center for Neighborhood Leadership (CNL) Apprenticeship Program helps make organizing a viable life and career option for directly impacted people by providing new organizers with ten months of intensive support, high quality training, on the ground experience, and access to critical resources. Since the program was founded ten years ago, 91 individuals have graduated from the Apprenticeship Program with 86% of those Apprentices finding full-time employment in the movement after graduation, and many later becoming lead organizers or directors of organizing departments.

 

Through the years, CNL has seen the transformative impact these ten apprentice-training months can have on new organizers, and we have paid close attention to what makes an effective support model for developing indigenous community leadership. CNL's experience directly challenges the notion that communities of color, poor, immigrant, and other marginalized communities need external actors to organize them.

 

Here Are Six Lessons We Have Learned:

  1. It Takes Time: Oppressive systems teach people to be small, attempting to strip us of our voice and power while simultaneously obscuring the contributions of marginalized people. As a result, people - and more specifically those in the community development movement - too rarely look at a directly impacted person from a marginalized community and think, "Now, there's a leader!" More importantly, despite having tremendous talent, people from marginalized communities may not look at themselvesand recognize a leader.The CNL program invests a considerable amount of time to help Apprentices explore, identify, reclaim, and cultivate their leadership while developing the skills to help others in their community do the same. Having a 10-month long program allows us to dig in deep, creating time for exploration and personal growth. Sometimes, people recognize and assert their leadership early in the program, and sometimes it takes the whole ten months for people to feel comfortable stepping forward. But for most people, the length of the program allows it to be intense, challenging, and ultimately, transformative.

  2. The Training Has to be Solid: Comprehensive and applicable course content is essential for a successful organizing training program. As experienced organizers, CNL staff know what it takes to win campaigns, build power, and strengthen institutions, as well as how to hire and supervise organizers. All of CNL's trainers have real on-the-ground organizing experience as well as deep knowledge of diverse approaches to community organizing within marginalized communities. CNL also recognizes that everyone learns differently, so trainers utilize a broad array of training modalities to accommodate different learning styles. And, we constantly review and refine the curriculum to meet evolving Apprentice needs.

  3. Practice in the Real World: Communities of color are under near constant attack, so we recognize that we don't all have the luxury of thinking exclusively about theory. However, we also know that a coherent organizing model is essential for effective organizing work. At CNL, we marry organizing theories with the messy work of real life organizing, rather than teaching one neat and static theory. The CNL Apprenticeship Program teaches organizing concepts in a way that is grounded in actual organizing work. For four days a week, Apprentices are out doing organizing work at a host organization alongside an experienced organizer. They spend one day per week in training so they can test the approaches they're learning in practice, and then have the space to step back and think through the day-to-day challenges of organizing work. CNL intentionally avoids having a dogmatic approach; instead we help participants learn to innovate and tailor their work to meet the needs of their communities. Because our participants live the struggle every day, they constantly push training staff to think more broadly and examine our own assumptions and orthodoxies.

  4. Adapt an Intentional Selection Process: Leadership is often thought of as a special trait possessed by a small and exclusive set of people. At CNL, we see leadership more broadly and take chances with non-traditional leaders who may not present as expected. We look at the whole person, not just their resume and what degrees they attained or didn't attain. We also don't just check demographic boxes or look for the loudest person in the room. The ideal CNL Apprentice is of course passionate and committed, but they are also interested in learning collective models of social change and have a concept of justice that extends beyond their own immediate self-interest.

  5. Find Role Models: When we look at New York City organizations, including social justice organizations, people of color and other marginalized groups are under-represented in senior positions. Consequently, new people of color, queer, immigrant, and women organizers are challenged


  1. by an inadequate supply of mentors and role models who share their experiences and identities. At CNL, the staff, training materials, and guest speakers all reflect diverse backgrounds, creating an environment where the program participants can see their identities reflected in positions of leadership and expertise.

  2. Build Community: Organizers from marginalized communities are too often responsible for high levels of emotional labor and carry a double burden of living with oppression while simultaneously fighting it. Organizing work is usually under-appreciated and under-paid. Organizing work can also be surprisingly isolating; by utilizing a cohort model, the CNL Apprenticeship is able to build a tight-knit, supportive community that helps Apprentices navigate the common challenges for new organizers. During the ten months of the program, Apprentices build authentic relationships with each other and with CNL staff. Apprentices are cared for as individuals, in a community bound together by ties of affection, respect, and trust. In the CNL space, Apprentices always have people who will challenge, frustrate, and support them.

Each program year, we see that the CNL model works. In the last graduating class, 35% of graduates from CNL's Organizing Apprenticeship Program were hired by their host sites and 71% remain in the field of community organizing. CNL Apprentices have contributed to multiple important local and city-wide campaigns. Just last year, Apprentices helped over 2,600 community members form tenant associations, hosted neighborhood events, fought for fair immigration policies, and so much more.

 

The Apprentices are, individually and collectively, an inspiration to us; the intelligence, compassion, and drive they bring to the work has made the social justice world in New York City stronger, more vibrant, and more durable. Cultivating leaders of color in the community organizing movement matters, and it's worth getting it right.

 

In addition to the Apprenticeship, CNL also supports and trains currently employed community organizers at varied career stages through the CNL Organizing Academy and provides strategic technical assistance to organizations to help them build or reinforce their organizing through the Community Impact Project. To learn more about our programs and our impact, visit www.cnlnyc.org .

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July 12, 2018

11:00 am Pacific - 12PM | 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm Eastern

 

People who are putting their time, energy and resources into supporting and cultivating leadership are for the most part doing the work to advance meaningful change and social justice. Our learning about this work is struggling to keep up with our change aspirations. It's not enough to know that participants believe they are better leaders without answering questions about the ways in which leadership development work is creating equity and contributing to concrete changes in the health, education, and wealth of all. This webinar will share findings from a collaborative research efforts between leadership Funders and Evaluators to understand what we can achieve through leadership investments, how we can know, and what we are learning about the kind of leadership we need to contribute to greater equity.

Sally Leiderman
Sally Leiderman is CAPD’s President and one of its founders. CAPD is a 29-year- old non- profit with a mission to help foundations, communities, organizations and public systems craft and execute thoughtful responses to pressing social issues. CAPD’s work is characterized by a “theory of change” approach, focus on results and outcomes, and a racialized perspective.


Ms. Leiderman’s expertise spans traditional and non-traditional research and evaluation design and implementation, with a focus on helping to build capacities of those who commission and/or participate in that research. She is a long-term member of the Leadership Learning Community, and its Evaluation/Funders circle. She has evaluated many identity and value-based leadership efforts (Berries Fellows, Community Leadership Program, Healing the Heart of Diversity, Americans for Indian Opportunity Ambassadors Program, The Rural Fellows Program at the Duke Divinity School and the work of the Hispanic House of Studies at the Duke Divinity), as well as many other large-scale, cross-site, multi-year system and community change efforts of which leadership development was a central component. Those include, for example, evaluations of the Equity Learning Project, Project Change, Communities Creating Racial Equity, Communities for All Ages, Co-creating Effective and Inclusive Organizations and others.

Claire Reinelt
Claire Reinelt, PhD is a nationally recognized network and leadership consultant with over 20 years of experience evaluating leadership development, network formation, and collective impact on policy and systems change. She has served as Research and Evaluation Director for the Leadership Learning Community where she contributed to research and writing for several Leadership for a New Era Series publications on Leadership and Collective Impact, Leadership and Networks and Leadership and Large Scale Change. She has led numerous evaluation projects for clients such as the Kellogg Foundation, the Packard Foundation, the Schott Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation among others. Most recently, Claire co-designed and implemented an evaluation to assess the capacity of a network of think tanks, international development nonprofits, and funders to align their efforts to reform U.S. foreign aid policy. She also led a project to apply social network analysis tools to assess public health communications networks, and place-based action networks to identify influencers in network ecosystems in order to design network strategies to increase the reach of a public health communications and organizing campaign. Claire is an author of numerous publications including the Handbook of Leadership Development Evaluation, and most recently, Contribution Analysis in Policy Work:  Assessing Advocacy’s Influence. Claire has a PhD in Sociology from Brandeis University and an MA in Anthropology from the University of Texas, Austin.
 

Deborah Meehan

Deborah Meehan is the founder and Executive Director of the Leadership Learning Community (LLC). In 1991, Deborah received a Kellogg National Leadership fellowship. She was also a 1991 Salzburg Fellow and returned to Salzburg in 2007 as a member of the Global Youth Leadership faculty. Deborah also conducts an annual Women’s Leadership Seminar. She has served as a consultant for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to build an alumni association for the 700 leadership alumni of the Kellogg program. Deborah has created a consulting services arm of LLC and conducted evaluations for national and international leadership programs and produced leadership scans, literature reviews and made program recommendations on behalf of 30 foundations that include a broad range of small, large, regional, state and prominent national foundations.
 


 

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Oddly, I don’t think I have written much about my own leadership development experience, which was profound on many levels. As I sat down to write about vision I found myself remembering two experiences as a participant in the Kellogg National Leadership Program that shaped my thinking and beliefs. The first was a week long, small seminar for 12 lucky fellows, self included, with Paulo Freire. His book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed was sacred text to me. I could write dozens of blog posts about that experience, but for the sake of focus I will go straight to one of many punchlines. On about day three, he walked over to me and kindly put his hand on my shoulder as he said, “Your problem is that you don’t dream.” He went on to explain that while power might change hands in the fight for justice, we will recreate systems oppressions without imagining a society in which we are able to reach our full humanity by liberating ourselves from oppressive relationships (either as oppressor or oppressed).
 

This takes a lot of imagination! This was one of the things I loved about the film Black Panther. To be transported for a magnificent 2.5 hours to a society that had not been colonized and whose resources had not been exploited by others. There is something really powerful about seeing a visual representation of what you can only imagine. The Urban Impact Lab in Miami used this approach to inspire a community to organize for a transit line by actually holding an opening of an imaginary train station for the purple line that did not yet exist. The station had been created in sidewalk chalk under an overpass complete with pop up concession booths. The ‘opening’ attracted thousands of people.

 

As part of the process during a human centered design lab we did as part of work to understand what it would look like to create the conditions for health and well-being for all Californians, we we prompted to remove all obstacles to our dreams...imagine we had unlimited resources, decision making authority, and on and on. The group in the photo was producing and freely distributing resources (yes, while they chanted Wakanda). The joy level of the room began to rise. We used a modeling exercise that I highly recommend, borrowed from Theory U processes, to help our board imagine its way into a future in which everyone could lead and act together. The design process reminded me of how difficult it can be to untether ourselves from the “but this and but thats.” Donella Meadows designed a visioning exercise to help people expand their vision and capacity to imagine an ideal future, 10 years, 20 years out.

Another colleague I have great respect for, Eugene Eric Kim, kicked off the year with a great blog post about visioning called, “The Art of Thinking Really Big. I loved the post that talked about the evolution of this own thinking from an earlier focus on anchoring one’s vision to appreciating the importance of really stretching in our visions. (Please read his post because I am not doing it justice). He introduced the term ‘radical hope’ which I hope to hear more about, an intriguing idea for these times.
 

His post did get me thinking about the relationship between vision and hope, which leads me to the second story from my own leadership experience. I had the opportunity to travel to Nicaragua in 1989, not long before Daniel Ortega was defeated in the election by Violeta Barrios de Chamorro. During the visit, we met with a cultural worker who had been a teacher and shared stories about friends murdered by the Contras, and still he sang and spoke enthusiastically about what he wanted for his country. I wondered how he could remain so hopeful in the face of such economic hardship and political uncertainty for the country, so when I had the chance I asked him. He laughed and said, “Hopeful?”, “I am like a flea nibbling on the heel of an elephant.” Incredulously, I thought about the songs he wrote and asked him, “How do you do it?” He pointed to his children and asked, “What choice do I have?” At the time, I felt despair and something else I could not quite name.
 

My understanding of what it means to take the long view has grown, as I had children, and they had children. And in a way, the long term view is liberating. I am not derailed by the pain and horror of what seems like daily assaults on people I consider brothers and sisters. My vision is definitely big. It’s big enough that I know it can’t be achieved in a lifetime, or at least this one. And because it’s big, it inspires me, so I keep planting seeds that I hope will yield  a more just, equitable and humane world. Maybe this is radical hope. While I don’t ascribe to a specific religion, when I returned from Nicaragua a friend gave me a excerpt from Archbishop Romero’s sermon, that I carried in my wallet for a decade.
 

From the sermon, “We are Prophets of a Future that is Not Our Own

We plant the seeds that one day will grow.

We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.

We lay foundations that will need further development.

We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.

This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.

It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an

opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master

builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.

We are prophets of a future not our own.

 
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By Susan Misra, CoDirector of Management of Assistance Group

Looking back over the last year of the Action Learning Seed Fund’s community of practice, a major theme that surfaced was how to hold and wield the power of our full intersectional selves in racial healing and equity work. This is complex and exhausting work to name inequity and hold space for racial healing between different communities and within the same community.

Our group of eight people struggle with patriarchy, sexism, and misogyny among leadership within our communities, for instance.  We work with these leaders to confront Islamophobia or xenophobia, to have courageous conversations with other communities, and to salve historic and current racial wounds.  At the same time, we need to call these (often male-identified) leaders into sharing power and leadership with women and gender non-conforming people. This can be particularly challenging when there are formal gendered roles (e.g., in a religious institution).

We also reflected on anti-black racism that emerges among our Asian, South Asian, Arab, and Latino/a/x families, friends, and colleagues even within the same religious or geographic community.  Those of us who are allies and accomplices spoke about having the power to name and call attention to differences within racial/ethnic communities. For instance, if we are Latinx/a/o talking with other Latinx/os/as, we play an ally role when we raise the legacy of indigenous genocide. Or, if we are South Asian talking with other South Asians, we play an ally role when we address anti-black racism and colorism.

Finally, we talked about how we heal, recharge, and sustain each other in this work.  Racial healing that brings together communities across divides is draining.  Calling in our community based on one of our identities to recognize and address oppression based on our other identities is also exhausting.  On top of this, personal life issues related to health, family, finances, etc. are challenging. We support each other in slowing down and taking care of ourselves so that we don’t burn out in the face of unending demand.

As a virtual community of practice, for me, our conversations were a gift towards this sustainability – a place to reveal our true selves, to be accepted and validated for tackling challenges, and to be celebrated for our achievements. These achievements include building a larger community – of black women (WISE Network), black Muslim youth (Black Muslim Youth Rising), and LA-based organizations (Vigilante Love) – to deepen and expand racial healing and equity and to support each other for the long haul.

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May 23, 2018

10:00 am - 11:00 am Pacific | 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm Eastern

People who are putting their time, energy and resources into supporting and cultivating leadership are for the most part doing the work to advance meaningful change and social justice. Our learning about this work is struggling to keep up with our change aspirations. It's not enough to know that participants believe they are better leaders without answering questions about the ways in which leadership development work is creating equity and contributing to concrete changes in the health, education, and wealth of all. This webinar will share findings from a collaborative research efforts between leadership Funders and Evaluators to understand what we can achieve through leadership investments, how we can know, and what we are learning about the kind of leadership we need to contribute to greater equity.

Sally Leiderman
Sally Leiderman is CAPD’s President and one of its founders. CAPD is a 29-year- old non- profit with a mission to help foundations, communities, organizations and public systems craft and execute thoughtful responses to pressing social issues. CAPD’s work is
characterized by a “theory of change” approach, focus on results and outcomes, and a racialized perspective.


Ms. Leiderman’s expertise spans traditional and non-traditional research and evaluation design and implementation, with a focus on helping to build capacities of those who commission and/or participate in that research. She is a long-term member of the Leadership Learning Community, and its Evaluation/Funders circle. She has evaluated many identity and value-based leadership efforts (Berries Fellows, Community Leadership Program, Healing the Heart of Diversity, Americans for Indian Opportunity Ambassadors Program, The Rural Fellows Program at the Duke Divinity School and the work of the Hispanic House of Studies at the Duke Divinity), as well as many other large-scale, cross-site, multi-year system and community change efforts of which leadership development was a central component. Those include, for example, evaluations of the Equity Learning Project, Project Change, Communities Creating Racial Equity, Communities for All Ages, Co-creating Effective and Inclusive Organizations and others.

Claire Reinelt
Claire Reinelt, PhD is a nationally recognized network and leadership consultant with over 20 years of experience evaluating leadership development, network formation, and collective impact on policy and systems change. She has served as Research and Evaluation Director for the Leadership Learning Community where she contributed to research and writing for several Leadership for a New Era Series publications on Leadership and Collective Impact, Leadership and Networks and Leadership and Large Scale Change. She has led numerous evaluation projects for clients such as the Kellogg Foundation, the Packard Foundation, the Schott Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation among others. Most recently, Claire co-designed and implemented an evaluation to assess the capacity of a network of think tanks, international development nonprofits, and funders to align their efforts to reform U.S. foreign aid policy. She also led a project to apply social network analysis tools to assess public health communications networks, and place-based action networks to identify influencers in network ecosystems in order to design network strategies to increase the reach of a public health communications and organizing campaign. Claire is an author of numerous publications including the Handbook of Leadership Development Evaluation, and most recently, Contribution Analysis in Policy Work:  Assessing Advocacy’s Influence. Claire has a PhD in Sociology from Brandeis University and an MA in Anthropology from the University of Texas, Austin.
 

Deborah Meehan

 

Deborah Meehan is the founder and Executive Director of the Leadership Learning Community (LLC). In 1991, Deborah received a Kellogg National Leadership fellowship. She was also a 1991 Salzburg Fellow and returned to Salzburg in 2007 as a member of the Global Youth Leadership faculty. Deborah also conducts an annual Women’s Leadership Seminar. She has served as a consultant for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to build an alumni association for the 700 leadership alumni of the Kellogg program. Deborah has created a consulting services arm of LLC and conducted evaluations for national and international leadership programs and produced leadership scans, literature reviews and made program recommendations on behalf of 30 foundations that include a broad range of small, large, regional, state and prominent national foundations.
 


 

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At Creating Space, Elissa Perry shared a framework on White Supremacy Culture from Tema Okun and Kenneth Jones as she invited us to reflect on the ways in which this culture shows up in our organizations. Since then, I have been thinking about how these characteristics are often the default in our leadership development practice as well. Today, I wanted to discuss the remaining characteristics which fall into two areas: how we value what we do, and how we address power and conflict.

I  think about the question of what we value when involved in evaluating leadership development programs.  Okun and Jones describe two related characteristics of the values of White Supremacy, “Progress is More, Bigger” and “Quantity over Quality.”  Many people currently served by formal leadership programs are situated within non-profit organizations where more and bigger too often define success. A bigger organization, serving more people may be a poor proxy for contributing to social justice or equity.  Gold standard organizations may suffer from many of the characteristics of white supremacy described in earlier posts, like paternalism or individualism. By incorporating a frame of systemic racism and equity into leadership curriculum, programs can help participants to bring a different evaluative lens, one that focuses more on whether people closest to the problems being addressed are well represented in the leadership of the organization or how power is shared within the organization as more central questions than how much money an organization has raised or how many people served.  The site Racial Equity Tools is a great resource for bringing a race conscious lens to leadership work.

As we challenge the individual bias in mainstream ideas about leadership, and look more at how people lead and learn together, we understand that the quality of relationships is the secret sauce of how people work together to achieve common goals. In evaluating leadership programs a focus on quantity (the number of individuals served who believe they are better leaders) can miss the real story about the quality of trust relationships that have formed among participants, and a valuing of relationships that translates into the kinds of things people are accomplishing by working more successfully with others. The good news is that leadership evaluators are now asking new questions like, “How can we evaluate trust?”

The last characteristic I wanted to raise is “power hoarding’ and how it is reinforced by, ‘defensiveness’, ‘right to comfort’ and ‘fear of open conflict’.  As mentioned, individualism has permeated our thinking about leadership, causing us to focus a hierarchical model of a ‘leader’ who exercises leadership over, often believing that they, as leader, know best. This model implies power over others rather than leading with others. Leadership programs may promote a more relational and collectivist model of leadership as part of their program, and yet assume they know what is best, based on best practices, research or their own experiences. While an analysis of broader experience has value, there are also opportunities to co-create the programs with input from participants, source the experience of participants as contributors to peer learning and draw participants into experimenting alongside staff to learn together about the supports that are most useful.  

The power dynamic between program staff and participants may be most noticeable when participants raise criticisms about the program and propose changes. Anyone who has facilitated meetings or programs knows the tension between trying to keep things on track and the need to pay attention to what is emerging. How leadership program staff respond to new ideas or concerns will set a tone in the program for how power operates, and how conflict is used as an opportunity for learning, or not. I don’t mean to make this sound easy because it can be complicated, e.g. programs may have been put in place with staff or consulting contractual commitments, a solid case may have been made for the program that has already been funded with a commitment to the fidelity of that approach. The key to managing these conflicts is transparency about challenges to incorporating feedback so that staff and participants can work in partnership to ensure the most relevant and effective supports possible. Although LLC does evaluations, and I am not trying to put us or other evaluators  out of work, we would love to become more obsolete as leadership programs develop a more evaluative culture that activates continuous learning and openness between staff and participants.

Leadership programs, especially those that are doing a good job of diverse recruitment can be microcosms of the environments in which many people lead and provide opportunities to learn how to deal openly with conflict, especially conflict around race. Leadership program staff are not necessarily equipped to facilitate constructive conversations about race but the good news is that that there are plenty of people who are and leadership programs can help to finance this important work by funding experts in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to support their programming. We have heard stories about fractures within leadership cohorts when conflicts are not handled well and some leadership programs who feel ill equipped may avoid these conversations in attempt to maintain comfort and cohesion within the group.  

In this case, “comfort’ is really only maintained for those in the cohort who are part of the dominant culture, and at the expense of people of color. I have been thinking a lot about how we can become more sophisticated in the ground rules we create, and our expectations for learning. I have found myself thinking about  our facilitation of spaces and about how we have to do a little more unpacking of some of the language we use in approaching our work, e.g. creating a safe space, or assuming good intent. I think it goes for leadership programs as well. Safe space does not mean a ‘comfortable space’ and ‘good intent’ does not absolve people from the impact of their behaviors, but sets a stage for important learning moments. Without acknowledging our defensiveness and opening ourselves to hard conversations about race and power, we will miss the opportunity to develop leadership programming that models a different relationship to power, and equips participants of leadership programs to shift power and create greater equity.

_______

This is part 3 of 3:

 
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Job Title:    

Operations & Project Manager

Department:

Leadership Learning Community

Reports To:

Executive Director

FLSA Status:

Full-Time Exempt

Location

85% Virtual, 15% Oakland, California

Salary Range

$ 50,000-60,000

Since 2000, The Leadership Learning Community has been a national nonprofit organization transforming the way leadership development work is conceived, conducted, and evaluated, primarily within the nonprofit sector. We believe that the dominant leadership development model must to be challenged in order to unleash and support the leadership of all people working toward social justice. We care about lifting up, learning from and promoting leadership that is equity based, collective in nature and networked. We currently have an exciting opportunity to join LLC’s staff.

About This Position

Reporting to the Executive Director, the Operations & Project Manager’s primary responsibility is ensuring organizational effectiveness by providing leadership for the organization's financial and project functions. The Operations & Project Manager monitors and maintains the day to day financials of the organization, spearheads aspects of project coordination, serves as the main fiscal sponsor liaison, works closely with the communications staff around events and promotion, and assist LLC staff with the management of the office. The main goal of the Operations & Project Manager is to provide the management team with real-time updates on the organization's activities and financials at different levels of operation and to coordinate logistics with the staff to ensure the accomplishment of LLC’s mission and long-term goals.

 

Primary Responsibilities:  

  • Financial Monitoring and Management (20%)
    You know how to develop and maintain accurate financial reports.
     

  • Project Management (20%)
    You can create project budgets, timelines, and final reports and can coordinate teams of consultants.
     

  • Programmatic (20%)
    You are a virtual meeting expert and can easily help others set up their technology. You can work on research by reviewing applications, facilitating focus groups, conduct interviews, set up and administer surveys and evaluations.

  • Administrative/Other (20%)
    You can maintain organizational files and records. Coordinate events, schedules, travel, materials and help registrants. You are able to communicate the fiscal status of the organization clearly with the Executive Director and Advisory Board.

  • Communications (20%)
    Organize monthly webinars, have a basic understanding of how to update a website (no coding required) and can create Constant Contact templates. You will work with a website developer and team to launch the next website. You are able to write a monthly blog article on leadership. You also know how to make documents pretty and easily readable.

Qualifications:

  • 3-6 years of experience in a similar role

  • Previous nonprofit work preferred

  • Exceptional organizational skills

  • Exceptional skills in PowerPoint, Excel, Word, and GoogleDocs.

  • Experience in Zoom, GoToWebinar, or other virtual meeting platforms

  • Ability to write professional correspondence.  Excellent writing and communications skills.

 

Physical Demands

  • While performing the duties of this Job, the employee is regularly required to use work at a computer, use a phone and handle supplies.

  • The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 30 pounds.


If this seems like a job for you, please submit your application here.

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It is with a deep appreciation that I announce that I will be leaving LLC mid-May. I have an exciting new position at a local health startup that is offering me the opportunity to take my skills to the next level. The Leadership Learning Community has been my home for over five and a half years. I’ve been in the trenches through Creating Spaces, Learning Circles, webinars, publications, and consulting projects. I’ve been honored that you’ve come along as I’ve reflected on the world and this work each month in this newsletter. As I leave, though I will miss Deborah, Bella, our amazing consultants, and all of you, my heart remains full knowing that our time together knows no bounds and I hope that our interactions though big or small may ripple through time as our journeys continue.

I look forward to continuing to stay connected to LLC’s work as the work continues to transform how people see, fund, run, and evaluate leadership and leadership development. In my time, LLC taught me that:

  • Leadership is a process

  • The work without people in its center, is meaningless

  • We are all worthy and valuable in this work and have a role to play; find your role

  • True experimentation equals risks and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t; but you always learn

  • Nothing can stop a group of people determined to work together

  • And though humans are flawed, love is not

I have no doubt that LLC will continue to produce excellent work with integrity, transparency, and heart; as it has for over 18 years. I wish you all the best and may our paths cross again.

Rooted in this community,

Miriam Persley


Saudade: Definition: nostalgia, an ailment you enjoy

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