Continuing the discussion from Call for IAmA Interviews!:
How did you get interested in community leadership?
The short answer is that I’ve always had a strong interest in how people relate to one another on an individual level, and in how those individual relationships influence social and business leadership decisions that shape our world.
The long answer is that as long as I can remember, I’ve been hearing stories of individuals dissatisfied with rigid leadership in personal, professional and global contexts. And since moving to Silicon Valley about a decade ago, I’ve noticed that story taking on more twists and turns as many companies seem to pursue a temporary hiatus from the walled corporate model just to fall right back into it some time later. A tenacious problem solver by nature, I am thoughtfully passionate about the challenge of reversing the undercurrent of resistance to all the positive efforts of so many individuals toward meaningful social advancement.
What about community leadership inspires or excites you the most?
The opportunity to support community growth through individual empowerment is so motivating because it creates a win-win-win for the community, the individual, and every sphere of influence in between.
How did you learn what you know now about community leadership?
At age 51, I’ve had an unconventional life rife with opportunity for participating in and observing communities of all kinds. Since earning a graduate degree in counseling 12 years ago, I’ve continued to learn in the process of developing and testing a theoretical and practical framework for empathy building and conflict resolution.
What is your current community leadership role?
Presenter, facilitator and consultant.
What do you do in that role?
I educate groups, engage individuals and help resolve conflicts.
Which elements of community leadership are you most interested in?
Flipping conflict moments into empathy and connection building moments by recognizing and supporting individual strengths and interests.
What books, websites, and resources do you recommend for others to learn more about building communities?
-Although this book does not directly relate to community building, The Master and His Emissary by Ian McGilchrist is a psychology/sociology/philosophy book that offers some incredible insight on the workings of the human brain. One of the key concepts highlighted in this book is how the left brain hemisphere resists change, underpinning a dynamic of increasingly self-limiting thought process and behavior. This concept goes a long way towards informing the all-too-common community inertia cycle, prompting me to include this book in this list.
-Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore (first published in 1991) introduces a fresh perspective on the marketing of ‘disruptive innovations.’ The book defines the four different ‘communities’ that are likely to make up a ‘disruptive’ product’s customer base during different phases of the marketing/sales process. I’d recommend this book to anyone interested in building a community around a product or service that demands a fundamental change in user behavior.
-Uplifting Leadership by Hargreaves and Boyle is a real, practical resource for anyone involved in the complex web of a mission driven community.
-My own blog offers a multifaceted perspective on personality types and their relevance to relationship and community. https://nottheofficialenneagram.wordpress.com/
What recommendations would you give for new community leaders?
Assume you don’t know everything. Notice the positive. Honor the individual.
Which areas are you most interested in learning more about?
The overlap between business community leadership and social good community leadership, and how social entrepreneurship integrates the two.