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November 10, 2011

Id B. Wells

Ida B. Wells was an African American journalist, newspaper editor and, with her husband, newspaper owner Ferdinand L. Barnett, an early leader in the civil rights movement. She documented lynching in the United States, showing how it was often a way to control or punish blacks who competed with whites. She was active in the women’s rights and the women’s suffrage movement, establishing several notable women’s organizations. Wells was a skilled and persuasive rhetorician, and traveled internationally on lecture tours.

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November 9, 2011

Shaping the New Alternatives

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|Photo by AnneMarie Laureys|http://www.flickr.com/photos/45358908@N06/4168069265/in/photostream|

A few months ago I posted a piece entitled “Negativity and Self-Limiting Advocacy,” which seemed to get a lot of play in the 2.0 sphere.  The gist of the entry was that negative mindsets limit our view of possibilities and can wall us off into tried and not so trustworthy ways of being and doing on the social change front.  John Hagel, author of The Power of Pull, posted the entry below on his Edge Perspective site this week, which extends this conversation to thinking about how our responses to the prevalent uncertainty surrounding us have a lot to say about our future economic and ecological well-being. I really appreciate his focus on narrative, especially on the heels of attending New Ventures West’s introductory course on integral coaching, and I am excited to think more about how we can co-create new and liberating narratives and “platforms” that bring into being the regenerative future that is waiting to emerge more fully.  I would also add to Hagel’s assessment at the end by suggesting that beyond young people, there is much hope and wisdom to be found in those who have been most marginalized by the dominant culture and yet have found ways to walk in and hold onto two worlds, to survive and to thrive.  And to take note of and learn from the wisdom of life.

Cognitive Biases in Times of Uncertainty

We live in a world of increasing pressure and uncertainty, driven in large part by digital technology infrastructures. These marvelous infrastructures bring us unprecedented connectivity and opportunities to better ourselves. Read More

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November 8, 2011

The Story of Us

Last Friday, I had the privilege of facilitating Alta Starr’s Funder Briefing on New Paradigms in Organizing for Social Transformation.  It was a rich event.  Organizers, funders and capacity builders from across the nation came together to explore their work at the intersection of personal transformation and systemic change.  The field is definitely shifting!  We are seeing progress and experimentation towards a more holistic approach to the quest for social justice.

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November 4, 2011

Marisa Rivera-Albert

Marisa Rivera-Albert is the former President of the National Hispana Leadership Institute (NHLI), a non-profit organization dedicated to the education and leadership development of Hispanic Women. Before coming to NHLI, she Rivera-Albert worked in higher education as Special Assistant to the President for Diversity and Community Relations at Black Hawk College in Illinois, she managed the Hispanic Program for Educational Management and the Learning To Lead Program for Hispanic students at Western Illinois University, and she served for the U.S. Information Agency and the U.S. Embassy in Panama. Marisa Rivera-Albert is originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, has a B.A. in Communications from American University and a Master’s degree in Education Administration from Western Illinois University. She is also a graduate of the Harvard University JFK Executive Programs, the Center for Creative Leadership Institute, the Texaco Management Institute, the Gallup Leadership Institute and the Mexican American Solidarity Foundation. She is a Board member for Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia and for the U.S. Committee for UNIFEM- United Nations Development Fund for Women. She is a frequent keynote speaker on women’s issues, Hispanic Affairs, multicultural and leadership topics.

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November 2, 2011

The Special Sauce

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|Photo by jennikokodesu|http://www.flickr.com/photos/jennikokodesu/4459697786|

“I just wanted to tell all of you that I feel truly honored to have played even a small part in what transpired today. In fact, I would go so far as to say you are the best, most fun, most highly evolved group of humans I have ever worked with.”

This is not the kind of email you get everyday.  It comes from one of the participants in the process design group of a state-wide food system building effort with which I have been involved for the past year and for which I am the lead designer and facilitator.  To be clear, the purpose of this post is not to blow my own horn.  It would be outrageous for me to take credit for something the size and complexity of which goes well beyond my individual talents and contributions.  Rather, I am very eager to explore what stands behind this comment, as it reflects a commonly held feeling that something special has been going on with this initiative and group since it was initiated and led up to the launch of a Food Policy Council last week. Read More

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November 1, 2011

Entering the Field of the Future

Last week, Melinda Weekes and I participated in the Presencing Institute’s Global Presencing Forum.  It was an excellent experience at the edge of social innovation.  It was great to be in the presence of Otto Scharmer and Peter Senge (see Scharmer’s reflections here).  And even better to in the company of a global community of people seeking to advance social technologies that can actually address the challenges we face.

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October 31, 2011

The Art of Listening

Last week, colleagues Andrea Nagel, Jen Willsea and I facilitated the workshop, Fundamentals of Facilitation for Racial Justice Work for staff at the Boston Public Health Commission. One of the most powerful parts of the workshop was an exercise where participants had to listen to a view with which they disagreed without opposing, fixing or leading the speaker to another viewpoint. Challenging, to say the least! It raised a great question about not just how, but when to listen without attempting to shift anything. Like many of the workshop participants, I struggle with this practice, particularly when the speaker’s views fly in the face of realities I see and history I know, or when the very act of listening seems to give comfort to views that diminish my humanity. The struggle brought me back to a classic essay, “The Art of Listening,” by  feminist author Brenda Ueland.

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October 28, 2011

Wheels

The following is a letter by Akaya Windwood, President of the Rockwood Leadership Institute and member of the IISC Board of Directors.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend and I (two gray-haired women) went downtown to support the youngsters Occupying Wall Street here in Oakland. The night was wet, but there were plenty of folks out with signs, songs, speeches and goodwill.

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October 27, 2011

Going WITH Life

“We can only have honest, effective hope if the frame through which we see is an accurate representation of how the world works.”

– Frances Moore Lappe

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|Photo by Jim Bahn|http://www.flickr.com/photos/gcwest/6142854588|

With a warm welcome and opening offering of D.H. Lawrence’s poem “Escape,” Danny Martin and I launched into our session last week at the Bioneers by the Bay Conference entitled, “Belonging and Becoming: Practices for Regenerative Leadership.”  The framing of our 90 minutes was the call to connect more deeply with the ways of complex living systems, to align ourselves more fully with life so that we might thrive as a human community.

During the first half of our session we took the poet’s suggestion to escape the “glass bottles of our egos” and access “unlying life” by engaging in some paired storytelling focused on the values that have guided us in our lives.  This was our effort to cultivate a deeper sense of belonging in the room, and we were amazed to hear how much people took from listening to one another for even 10 minutes.  Read More

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October 26, 2011

Deep Listening

The following is a post from my friend and colleague Danny Martin, that appeared on his web page on Monday, following our joint workshop at Connecting for Change, a Bioneers Conference.  Tomorrow I will extend this reflection with more details about our session and regenerative leadership practice.

So much to say this week but it all turns on the same theme of how to access the wisdom we need to move forward together into a more sustainable and just society. In a recent article about what he calls The New Economy Movement, Gar Alperovitz, a Professor of Political Economy in the University of Maryland, says that, instead of feeling confined to the binary paths of reforming the broken economic system or revolting to overthrow it, citizens are opting to create something new that will replace the current economic regime, making the old system obsolete in the process. He calls this third way ‘evolutionary reconstruction.’ Read More

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October 25, 2011

The LIONetwork and #Occupy

I have the privilege of being part of the team that support the Rockwood’s Leading from the Inside Out Leadership Network (LIONetwork).  I share our latest communication for two reasons:  first, it serves as a brief survey of how the professionalized social sector is responding to #occupywallstreet.  Second, it serves as an example of our team’s effort to increase the network’s self-awareness by reflecting it back to itself while also offering an opportunity for deeper connection and discussion.  The e-mail follows:

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