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The Collaboration Conference 2015

November 16–17, 2015

Houston, Texas

B1 Breakout Session: Nurturing Collaborative Leadership

Monday, November 16, 2015 at 10:45 AM–12:00 PM Central Time (US & Canada)
Magnolia (Third Level)

Participation in social movements and networks can create difficult demands for nonprofit leaders — and for the grantmakers who support them. Nonprofits acknowledge that failure to build power and lead within their organizations and across issue areas will undermine their ability to advance social change. At the same time, funders can do more to support their grantees by increasing their tolerance for the complexity and tensions that arise with shared movement and network leadership. For example, success in networks and movements cannot always be predicted or easily measured –– this tests the limits of traditional outcome-based funding and requires more flexibility, trust and risk-taking. Join this session with a foundation program director and a nonprofit executive director and network leader  about the inherent complications and rewards of collaborative leadership across roles in a movement. The speakers will lift up promising practices and guiding principles, based on their own successes and stumbles. You will have the opportunity to recognize and examine how you might engage different principles to better support your grantees and contribute to movements when no single person or group is calling the shots, and more effectively explain this complexity to your trustees.

Primary Points Of Contact

Elissa, Perry
Catalan , Conlon

Session Designers

Ms. Elissa Perry, Management Assistance Group


Gladys Washington, Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation

 Gladys Washington leads the Program Team and supervises the Network Officer, Program Associate and Grants Manager activities at the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation. Gladys also oversees grants and PRIs in Gulf Coast Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and the Delta. She leads the Program Team in planning and learning on public policy grantmaking. Before joining the Babcock Foundation, Gladys was a Program Officer for the Community Foundation serving Coastal South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina.  The Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation assists people in the Southeatern US to build just and caring communities that nurture people, spur enterprise, bridge differences and foster fairness.

Vincent Pan, Chinese for Affirmative Action

Vincent Pan is the Executive Director of Chinese for Affirmative
Action (CAA), a community-based social justice organization in San
Francisco. He was also a participant in Management Assistance Group’s
Network Leadership Innovation Lab and is an experienced network
leader. CAA is a progressive voice in and on behalf of the broader
Asian American community and advocates for systemic change that
protects immigrant rights, promotes language diversity, and remedies
racial injustice. Prior to joining CAA, Vincent was a consultant to
the Clinton Foundation and was the co-founder and executive director
of Heads Up, a youth development program in D.C. public schools. He
has been a fellow with the Center for Social Innovation at Stanford
University, the Echoing Green Foundation, and the Stride Rite

Elissa Perry (moderator), Management Assistance Group

Elissa Perry is a Co-Director at Management Assistance Group. In addition to her work with MAG, Elissa teaches in the MA in Leadership Program at Saint Mary’s College where she facilitates diverse, cross-sector and multi-issue learning communities in developing and implementing leadership plans and practices and recently helped establish a Social Justice concentration. She is co-author of “Doing More with More: Lessons from a Shared Leadership Initiative,” published in the Nonprofit Quarterly, “Toward 'Complex Adaptive Philanthropy': Preliminary Learnings from the Network Leadership Innovation Lab,” and “Leadership and Race: How to Develop Leadership that Contributes to Racial Justice.”  She is also the lead author on “The Network Leadership Innovation Lab: A Practice for Social Change,” in the forthcoming 2015 edition of the Handbook of Action Research. Prior to joining MAG, Elissa was an independent consultant and spent six years with the Leadership Learning Community.

Session Materials