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Seattle Learning Circle: A Conversation About Leadership and RaceThis is a featured page

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Date: March 16 from 11:30 – 2:00 - Brown Bag Lunch
Location: Casey Family Program Field Office
1123 23rd Avenue, Seattle
Hosted by:
Leadership Learning Community
Casey Family Programs
Minority Executive Directors Coalition
Non-Profit Anti-Racism Coalition
Center for Ethical Leadership


The Leadership Learning Community, a national organization located in Oakland California, launched a collaborative learning initiative called Leadership for a New Era (LNE). This initiative includes a diverse group of partners who believe that we need to radically expand the ways in which we think about and develop leadership to become more inclusive, networked and collective. This change will be critical to breakthroughs needed to realize social and racial equity.
The first draft on Leadership and Race was posted to LNE’s collaborative workspace and is being edited by partners who have contributed their work to the summary. Over 45 people gathered in the Bay Area for an LLC Circle meeting to discuss this work and decided to continue meeting. We are inviting you to join us in bringing this conversation to the Puget Sound to see how we can bring a racial lens tot our work. The summary addresses the following questions:
  • Does current leadership thinking and practice contribute to structural racism?
  • Why are leadership strategies vital to achieving racial justice?
  • What leadership development approaches support racial equity?
  • What changes in our evaluation work will support racial equity?

Meeting Notes:

Open Space Notes:

Undoing White Dominant Professional Culture at the Leadership Level

Participants: Shaerelle Owens, Tara Conner, Julie Nelson, Tim Oglesby, Mardo
Adeir, Lonnie Glenn Puckett, Lillian, Karma, Sandy

There is a lack of awareness, mostly among white people, and the baggage that they (we) bring to conversation around ending institutional racism. How do we bring this awareness when we are who we are? We are trying to overcome group think and the outliers are not treated as credible. How can we address organizational structure which is the way it is because of financial purposes and facing a powerful status quo, i.e. that's the way its always been.

We need to develop leaders of color, but what about the need for leaders of color to succeed within white culture? A significant portion of professional culture is racist. There is a large reaction to fear and economics. Whites never had to live in any other culture the way people of color have had to live in white culture. Its difficult to have honest conversations about power.

What we can do:
  • Find out and be open about what your values are
  • Use story
  • Become more aware of our assumptions and what we assume to be true. Name our assumptions
  • Its important to start by acknowledging that we are not where we want to be, instead of focusing on everything that is wrong, start with where we want to be.
  • When we need to realize that we bring in people of color or clients to a different way of doing things, we often fail them and then blame the "the other" and not ourselves.
  • Working in isolation at leadership levels insulates leaders from positively influenced or inspired to do "the work" be peers in community.

Collective Leadership

Participants: Greg, Donita, Ellia

Systemic Structures:
Collective leadership is not just about leaders, but also people impacted by the system. Collective Leadership brings different people to the table.
Its important to analyze the system before a crisis occurs, (e.g. subprime). Its easy to come up with a solution, but what will the impact be? It should be possible to come up witt a formula common to all policy situations that collective leadership can use. e.g.

Collective leadership - - - - - - - - - ( Decision) - - - - - - - - - - - Single leadership

(Analysis with full Community Overlay)

(Stakeholder groups)

Suggestions to move forward: a formula/conceptual framework for doing analysis with a full community overlay to standardize the methodology.

Energize Board and Allocation of Resources in undoing Institutional and Structural Racism

: Cheryl, Dan, Joe, Cedric, Ruthann

Key points and Insights:
  • Just make a commitment to do it
  • Get a couple of champions
  • Make the ??? directly to ??? and how it affects our ability
  • Use consultant who work to help the board work together and bring the community to the table. Let your champion do this.
  • You will not build a diverse board or keep people of color unless you do the above work.
  • Recognizing this is integral to the board's work and it is an ongoing journey
  • Incorporate into board meetings/activities.
  • Board members may not have much experience in diverse communities

Recommendations: Focused mostly on the board during the session.

(sorry, couldn't read handwriting)

Suggestion...just do it!

At the "table" on the topic of Racism and Leadership: Who is Missing?

Participants: Shomari, Joines, irenee, Oriana, Amy Fitzgerald, Carie

Key Points:
Talk and Strategies: Passing on to new leaders.
People of color vs white allies
Why don't we get people of color on the leaders team
Many are missing from the table

SRs (wealth of knowledge)
Immigrants and refugees

Those who have been muted
people who have been waiting
inviting people
those with 'fixed schedules (high ups usually have more flexibility)
people with disabilities
non formally educated

The concept of table is intimidating and we need to find a different way to present this.

How can we get to the people who are missing?
  • ask them what is most conducive environment for engagement
  • enthusiastic topic
  • basic training on issues
  • plan events with what makes you feel welcome
  • expanding invitations
  • reducing literature
  • diminish theoretical and make it practical
  • practical case study just with this group
  • who did not get an invite
  • don't duplicate work
How to increase Board Diversity without Tokenism

Participants: Jane, Lauren, Rick, Jake, Kisha,

Key Points:

  • Developing a community takes longer than just 1 board member
  • Board anit-racism training would make environment more hospitable for a person of color
  • Passion first, then what individual board members represent
  • Seems to e systematic avoidance of VIR trainings
  • Self-examination and acceptance of "whiteness" and talk about that, e.e. next 3 board meetings are about exploring "whiteness". Horno who we are.
  • process of engagement is at times gradual better if its fum and accepting. "I'm not interested in undoing"
  • How do you want to engage in the is work of inclusion and community.


First Name Last Name Organization Name
Bill Aal Tools for Change
Margo Adair Tools for Change
Evelyn Allen Catholic Community Services of Western WA
Karen Aoyama Camp Fire USA
Elaine Bacon Camp Fire USA
Jake Beattie Bike Works
Vicki Burr-Chellin Wellspring Family Services
Cynthia Cantrill Wellspring Family Services
Judy Chen Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Cheryl Cobbs Solid Ground
Tara Connor Plymouth Housing Group
Cedric Davis Casey Family Programs
Sungea Dawson Solid Ground
Ngoc Do Camp Fire USA
Greg Eckerman Plymouth Housing Group
Dorry Elias-Garcia Minority Executive Directors Coalition
Roger Erskine
Oriana Estrada Child Care Resources
Amy FitzGerald Plymouth Housing Group
Kathryn Flores Child Care Resources
Janet Frieling School's Out Washington
Megan Gibbard University Street Ministry
Michelle Gislason CompassPoint Nonprofit Services
Tracey Groscost
Donta Harper Washington State Department of Corrections
Lee Harper Phinney Neighborhood Center
Glenn Harris SOCR
Shawli Hathaway YMCA Young Adult Services
Dee Hillis Solid Ground
Lillian Hochstein Wellspring Family Services
Fred Holt University of Washington
Benita Horn
Paula L Houston YMCA of Greater Seattle
Ruthann Howell Wellspring Family Services
Jackie Jainga Hyllseth School's Out Washington
Henry Jenkins YMCA of Greater Seattle
Shamari Jones YMCA of Greater Seattle
Sandra Kellar University of Washington (PCAP)
Dan Leahy
Theressa Lenear Child Care Resources
Sandy Lowe Wellspring Family Services
Noha Mahgoub YMCA Young Adult Services
Deb Meehan Leadership Learning
Karleasa Mitchell
Julie Nelson Seattle Office for Civil Rights
Dale Nienow Center for Ethical Leadership
Yuh-line Niou Statewide Poverty Action Network
Tera Oglesby Solid Ground
Mary Olsen Camp Fire USA
Sherelle Owens United Way of King County
Kisha Palmer Forest Ridge School
Fredricka Pie
Laura Pierce
Glenn Puckett Solid Ground
Yvonne Redding-White United Way of King County
Karma Ruder Center for Ethical Leadership
Ellia Ryan The Potential Center
Lourdes Portillo Salazar City of Bellevue
Tandra Schwamberg City of Bellevue
Joanne Scott City of Seattle
Brigitte Smith YMCA Young Adult Services
Bev Spears Statewide Poverty Action Network
Julia Sterkovsky Seattle Human Services Coalition
Anna Strahan Solid Ground
Lonnie Taylor DOC
Rick Taylor Camp Fire USA
Lauren Thomas Wellspring Family Services
Carmita Velasquez
Virginia Weihs Seattle/King County Coalition for the Homeless
Allison Wherry YMCA Young Adult Services
Jane White-Vulliet Camp Fire USA
Irene Woo Solid Ground
Terrie Yaffe Child Care Resources
Jim Yearby United Way of King County
Anh Vo
Indiigo Klyne Solid Ground
Jennifer Berry D O R S E Y & W H I T N E Y LLP
Jennifer Bowman NELA Center for Student Success
Louis Mendoza United Way
Jessica Jones City Club
Laurie Bohm Community Schools Collaboration
Harry Hoffman Housing Development Consortium Seattle - King County
Susan Bean Camp Fire USA

Latest page update: made by nataliallc , Oct 12 2010, 2:49 PM EDT (about this update About This Update Moved from: Leadership and Race Report - nataliallc

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Keyword tags: leadership race
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nataliallc What are some of the issues/topics you would like to discuss? 1 Mar 12 2010, 12:29 PM EST by hwgrange
Thread started: Mar 8 2010, 6:35 PM EST  Watch
To get the conversation started, please share with other participants what topics you are interested in and what you hope to get out of the meeting!
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