Transforming institutions

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Facilitator explained their background -- working in the media justice field, and then working with color of change. She left there because she became disillusioned and she found it not sustainable because it moved at the speed of a newsroom. She is now at university and wrote a book and feels like the justice movement is in a crisis. She is struggling to make being a boards transformative and what it means to be a transformative leaders. She has seen recently that many institutions and boards for example are pushing back on support for Palestine.

We did a go around to get some background from the participants and what they want to get out of the session.

  • Lots of folks talked about the DEI issues facing their organizations.
  • Some folks are international
  • some are questioning if unionization is valuable or not, some question about when and how values really drive and motivate leadership.
  • Folks talked about the conflict of being a fiscally responsible and sustainable, and still pushing transformative change.
  • Lots of focus was on the role of boards as not always able to support transformative ideas.
  • Transformation is a both and, you are both transform and be transformed. Leaders are rarely allowed to be transformed, transformational leadership might be better described as stewards.

Some people who have been in an institution 10 or 20 years while other folks cycle out after one or two years, what does that say about transformational change. Certain institutions are justifying their silence around the "this is not our place" -- how do we break out and access new resource streams so we aren't tied to those institutions?

Folks focus more on the way that funding drives larger institutions. There was mention of the way that HR is not actually there for staff. The facilitator clarified that actually if we are building a movement, they are saying that by leadership they mean the role that we can all play in building and transforming movements.

Folks talked about how that is what it means-- we might change the traditional leaders of organization thought our own leadership.

What about the difference between unionizing in a response to a conflict vs because it's seen as a necessary part of the transformation of the organization.

Are there different practices that folks in authority can use to be more opening to transformation and feedback. What do transformational leaders do that makes them different/more approachable?

How do we address power dynamic? -- like unions create power. Sometimes i wonder if folks in leadership roles often want to have power, or authority and how do we address that? Have people ever seen this power changed?

  • Creating space for collective visioning.
  • Shared leadership models.
  • Building organization from the beginning that reject hierarchy.
  • Cultural agreements and values definitions.
  • Any model that builds in resources for folks who don't really have traditional access to funding. There's something about the accountability of a community that is funding you directly as individuals.

Are the situations where the board is elected? or chosen by members.

  • Their composition can be influenced but bylaws etc but really no, Membership 501c4/6 could have more control over them.

Organizations have stages and tendency to become more static over time.

One possible way of shifting or breaking power dynamics -- a book the circle way, that provides a model for people to support disrupting power structures. That creating more balanced moments where hierarchy is broken down.

Folks advocate for sharing resources at the end of the session.

Could we have a working run non-profit the way we have a working run corporations?

  • Those are really membership non-profits.
  • Being libel for the decisions of the non-profit that is held in the board, that's not something we want to give up.

Resource list --

  • center for excellence in non-profits
  • tech workers coaltion
  • Nonlo
  • lisa