Our Story, October 2014
The Leading Change Network (LCN) grew out of the work of organizers, educators, and researchers who were adapting, developing, and extending the work of Marshall Ganz, rooted in 28 years of organizing experience, informed by insights of social science and teaching at Harvard Kennedy School. This approach was adapted in work with the Sierra Club, the 2007-8 Obama campaign; New Organizing Institute; campaigns in climate change, immigration reform, and health care practice; undergraduate education in colleges and universities including University of Massachusetts, Providence College, and Wellesley College; and with practitioners in Serbia, Kenya, the UK, Japan, and elsewhere via distance learning courses.
LCN was initiated in 2009 by a committed group of organizers who found Ganz’ approach to be profoundly transformational for their lives and work, and who wanted to create more opportunities for people trained in this organizing framework to connect, share, collaborate, and ultimately grow the work. A Board of Directors was created in 2011 and the network was formally launched at a 2012 Learning Gathering in Boston. The 80 participants intended for LCN to support collaboration among these organizers, educators, and researchers with the shared purpose of strengthening the effectiveness of civic association, community organizing, and social movement responses to the critical challenges of our time through continual learning, capacity building, and leadership development. By this time, LCN was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) with a founding 7-person board, 12-person leadership team drawn from network participants, and its first (part-time) staff member. In 2014, LCN held its first board elections and employed two full-time staff, Network Organizer and Network Coordinator.
Since its launch, LCN has grown from the 80 participants in 8 countries who attended the first (in-person) conference in 2011, to 140 from 29 countries who took part in an online Global Gathering in 2013, to many thousands from 60 countries who wish to connect to LCN’s work.