Tag Archive: fisheries

January 15, 2019

Evolution of a Network Leadership Institute: Third Time’s the Charm

“We are the living conduit to all life. When we contemplate the vastness of the interwoven network that we are tied to, our individual threads of life seem far less fragile.”

– Sherri Mitchell, from Sacred Instructions 

Photo by Marie Voegtli, “network” shared under provisions of Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0.


Last week, we wrapped up the third annual Food Solutions New England Network Leadership Institute. For three years, we have been partnering with FSNE to cultivate and connect people in this region where IISC is based, who are committed to supporting the emergence of just, sustainable, collaboratively stewarded and self-determined food futures for all who live here. This network and leadership development initiative grew out of system mapping that FSNE undertook to identify four main areas of leverage to shift extractive, oppressive, oligarchic and life-depleting patterns of the dominant food system.

From the start, we and our partners at FSNE (including the backbone team at the University of New Hampshire Sustainability Institute, the FSNE Ambassadors, and members of the FSNE Process Team) knew that the main value of any kind of leadership development program would be in the people that came together and the relationships they built with one another. From there, we were interested in creating opportunities for those involved in the program to cultivate connections with other values-aligned change agents in the region. In addition, we looked at giving people an experience of different and diverse places in our region (rural, urban, coastal) and to see their work in a regional context. Lastly, we wanted to offer an opportunity for participants to hone their skills as collaborative/network leaders and equity champions.

Here is our working and ever-evolving definition of network leadership:

Network leadership operates from the understanding that connection and flow is fundamental to life and liveliness and that the nature and pattern of connection in a system underlie its state of health (including justice, shared prosperity and resilience). Network leadership strives to understand, shift and strengthen connectivity; facilitate alignment and resource flows; and create conditions for coordinated and emergent action in the direction of greater health and belonging at different systemic levels.

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April 14, 2011

The Power of Words

Words and the way in which we order and convey them can have tremendous power.  This has been driven home by a variety of experiences and stories.  There was the environmental conservation effort that was having a hard time bringing certain stakeholders under its umbrella until it began offering others the opportunity to join a movement to “preserve quality of place.”  Then there was the effort to intervene on the behalf of some of our depleted fisheries that began with a slogan more or less about about “saving fish,” and that only ended up bringing key players into the fold when it shifted to being about “ensuring that we can fish forever.”  Engagement is a science and an art form and the importance of our word choices is not to be underestimated.

What experiences have you had with the power of words in the pursuit of social change?

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June 3, 2010

Whose Problem Is It?


|Photo by DonnaGrayson|http://www.flickr.com/photos/donnagrayson/195244498|

I have been struck by how much guidance an enlightened parenting concept I recently learned offers to the work of leadership and facilitation.  The concept comes from a book that a neighbor lent to my wife and me as we were beginning to think more about how best to address some our 4 year old daughter’s testing of limits.

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