Candidate bios

Meet your candidates for the Board of the Leading Change Network! See our election information page to learn more about the process and your upcoming opportunities to learn more about the candidates.

Candidates

 


althea middleton-detznerName: Althea Middleton-Detzner

Location: Washington, DC, USA

Organization: Freelance consultant and part-time Senior Adviser with International Center on Nonviolent Conflict

Role in the field: Educator, Researcher

Provide a brief description of your work:

I am a facilitator, trainer, educator, and researcher in the field of strategic nonviolent conflict or civil resistance. I have worked with the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict for the last 8 years and also work independently as a consultant. Over the years, my work with ICNC has involved directing programmatic initiatives, research and writing, event planning and logistics, media monitoring and social media, and more. Currently at ICNC I am involved in several educational initiatives including: developing an online civil resistance learning network that aims to build local capacity to carryout civil resistance workshops, content and blog development for a music of resistance project, researching the role of civil resistance in corporate governance, and developing an online community for ICNC program alumni.

In addition to my work with ICNC, in the last year I have worked as nonviolent civil resistance facilitator or trainer working with activists and organizers in West Virginia, West Papua, Cambodia, and Selma, Alabama, covering topics such as vision, power analysis, stakeholder analysis, strategy, tactics, coalition building, action planning, and consensus workshops. I have also served as a coordinating committee member and a participant of an Advanced Kingian Nonviolence community of practice.

I am currently working with two groups to create an intro to civil resistance and strategy workshops and am co-leading the (Re)Strategizing working group a part of the Leading Change Network’s Organizing 2.0 initiative. I hope to build on my work with LCN and the organizing community by training and coaching with the organizing (and organizing 2.0!) curriculum in the near future, and hopefully joining the LCN board this year!

Describe your leadership in the Network:

I am fairly new to the Leading Change Network. However, my involvement has grown rapidly over the past 6 months and I would look forward to bringing my experience and background in the strategic nonviolence to the field of organizing through the LCN Board. I am currently co-leading the (Re)Strategizing working group for the Organizing 2.0 initiative of the Leading Change Network and I have also participated in a Global Learning Circle (2013-2014).

Why do you want to serve and what would you contribute to the Board?

The short answer is that I am interested in: creating bridges between different orientations, theories, and frameworks for organizing and nonviolent action, continuing to think about and enact bridges between theory and practice in organizing and action. And I bring a wide array of skills, a tremendous amount of international experience, a deep knowledge of and background in strategic nonviolent conflict and civil resistance, a multitude of relationships with activists, organizers, educators, and “global thinkers” immersed in this work, and most importantly a passion and energy for people power and social change.

The long answer is that I have 8 years of skills of experience that I would bring to the board: managing programs, operations, and developing strategies and structure for a nonprofit organization in this field. I have teaching, training, facilitation, education, and research experience in this field. I have been a course instructor for online courses and have experience building online communities, developing online resources, and am in the midst of building a network of civil resistance learners who will carry out training programs on the ground in their communities. I have developed workshop curricula based on popular education methods and, on the other end of the spectrum can deliver a top-down power-point presentation. I also have 10+ years of administrative, logistical, and coordinating and communication skills and experience, all of which I do for myself as an independent consultant in this field.

I also have international experience that would contribute to my ability to succeed as an LCN board member: I lived in over 5 countries (Thailand, Ecuador, South Africa, Argentina, and Cambodia) and have traveled to another 20+ countries for work or for study. I speak Spanish at an advanced level. I know how to live and work in challenging environments. I have the creatively, patience, commitment, confidence, calmness, respect, and understanding needed to navigate the global dimensions of the LCN and work across cultures.

In addition to the skills and experiences I would bring the LCN Board of Directors, I believe aspects of my personality and very nature would be strong attributes for the board: I am a big picture person who get stimulated by juggling a multitude of ideas, making connections between them, and putting ideas into action. I am extroverted, outgoing, and intuitive thinker, and an open-minded debater. I can be flexible, patient and adaptable, but also often the one in a group who is interested in moving initiatives forward. I like to get things done, and thrive in spaces where strategic planning is purposeful.

Lastly, I would say I am interested in joining the LCN Board of Directors because I believe the leadership opportunity is a good fit for where I am at in my personal and professional development. Over the last 10 years I have grown to understand the power of nonviolent action and community organizing through the strategic nonviolent conflict lens, learning from scholars such as Gene Sharp, Peter Ackerman, Erica Chenoweth, as well as from activists and organizers using nonviolent methods all over the world. In the last few years I have made a concerted effort to learn about and understand other organizing and movement traditions, lenses and frameworks.

In an effort to both broaden and deepen my understanding of this work, and share it with others, I have come to realize that there are unnecessary divisions and fragmentations between different perspectives and traditions.

Through my leadership in the Organizing 2.0 (Re)Strategizing working group, I have had an opportunity to bridge my background in strategic nonviolent action with the organizing community while steeping myself in that tradition as well.

It is my sincere hope that I can continue to be a life-long learner in this field, to continue to build bridges and connections between these traditions, while sharing knowledge and applying these ideas with activists, organizers, and change-makers all over the world. It would be an honor to do this work through leadership as a member of the Leading Change Network Board of Directors.

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ana babovicName: Ana Babovic

Location: Belgrade, Serbia

Organization: Serbia on the move

Role in the field: Organizer, Educator

Provide a brief description of your work:

As of August 2012 I am Executive Director of the CSO „Serbia on the move“ (SoM) which founding I initiated in 2009. Serbia on the move has a mission of creating a strong and responsible civil society by motivating individuals to actively participate in creating changes that will make their lives better. Serbia on the move bases its work on three basic principles: 1. Citizens’ support, 2. Community organizing and 3. Transparency. SoM uses community organizing methodology adapted from Professor Marshall Ganz from Harvard University. So far Serbia on the move implemented many projects, on many of them I was either a team leader of the Core Team or a member of the core team. Some of them are: In the field of fight against corruption in Health Care – “I am not on the take I work for salary”, “Whats the doctor like?”, “Zero Tolerance for corruption in Health Care Sector in Serbia”, “Young journalists in action “Voice for Health!” 2. Women rights (current campaign that I initiated) – “Law (Bravo) for moms”; 3. Environmental protection – „The Green April”; 4. removing architectural barriers for people with disabilities – “Raise the ramp”; 5. Core activity – Change factory. Gathering, training and coaching during the implementation of campaigns for people who want to bring change by solving one of the (mainly local) problems in Serbia.

Describe your leadership in the Network:

In previous two years I was engaged in the Leading Change network through: 1. participation, with delivering of one module, in the First Annual Conference of LCN held in Boston in July 2012 2. Participation in the team for Structure of the LCN 3. Member of the Learning Circle Leadership team and a facilitator of one Learning circle which had 4 meetigns of its members 4. Teaching fellow in the LOALC courses 2013 and 2014

Why do you want to serve and what would you contribute to the Board?

At the Annual conference of the LCN I brought decision to quit my job in the Government and commit to work full time in Serbia on the move. Learning about community organizing, and meeting people around the world was life changing experience for me. In addition to regulars skills that I have which relates to the knowledge about the model, experience on the ground, experience and knowledge about international relations etc. I think I can contribute to the network by energy and love for our work. I would love to serve as a board member to: 1. engage more people to become engaged in comunity organizing 2. widen the space for gathering and exchange of experience between community organizers all around the world 3. Promote work of the Seriba on the move and connect its people with other members

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anita tangName: Anita Tang

Location: Woolloomooloo, Australia

Organization: Cancer Council NSW

Role in the field: Organizer

Provide a brief description of your work:

As the Manager, Policy and Advocacy, I am responsible for our organising strategy, including our training and leadership development for community activists. My work brings together the evidence and the expectations of the community, to convince governments to make changes to legislation, policies and funding that will reduce cancer risk and improve care and treatment for patients. Over the past 11 years, I have worked with communities across NSW to secure legislation for smoke-free places; removing cigarettes from display in shops; and banning commercial solariums. Through community organising, we have also achieved increased funding for bowel cancer screening; and more generous provisions for financial assistance for country patients travelling for treatment. Our local groups have organised around free hospital car parking for patients, better palliative care services, and better transport to treatment. I am also an active leader in the progressive community in Australia. I am a Board member for the Centre for Australian Progress (an organisation dedicated to building the campaigning capacity of NGOs); and hold various leadership roles in Sydney Alliance (a citizens coalition creating a fair and just Sydney, inspired by the Industrial Areas Foundation and Citizens UK).

Describe your leadership in the Network:

I completed the Leadership Organising and Action: Leading Change (distance education) program in 2013. As one of four Australian participants, we self-organised to support each other through the program (‘power with’), assisting with reflections and sharing of challenges (particularly relating to time zones and competing work demands). I was part of the Organiz(s)ers without Borders section team, and set up a facebook group for the LOA2013 cohort, working with others in my section and the section leaders across the entire cohort, to encourage other students to join the group. The closed group had 84 members by the end of the program – the vast majority of students and section leaders had joined the group.

Why do you want to serve and what would you contribute to the Board?

When I was new to organising and leading for social change, I was keen to find a network of peers and a body of evidence and practice wisdom – but it was not easily available. I know from my own experience that having access to a network of practitioners, teachers and researchers would have increased my confidence and skills in organising. As a result, I am passionate about creating and sustaining connections between people involved in organising, and in providing opportunities for shared learning, reflection and development. For example, in response to the lack of access to formal learning about campaigning and organising in Australia, I co-founded a Sydney Dining Organisers group (inspired by a New Organizing Institute model). This group provided a structure and space for organisers to read an article or chapter each month and meet to discuss and reflect on its implications for our own work. This group was established in early 2010 and still meets. It is also the reason I am committed to the Centre for Australian Progress and Sydney Alliance: both organisations help build the capacity of civil society to create social change, provide forums for learning and reflection, and build strong relationships between people engaged in organising and campaigning. As a Board member, I can contribute an understanding of the Australian context for organising and social change; a relational approach to my work; and a particular passion about the need to do more research about community organising, and for building connections between organisers.

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Art ReyesName: Art Reyes

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Role in the field: Organizer, Educator

Provide a brief description of your work:

Currently, I am a Teaching Fellow with Marshall’s Organizing: People, Power and Change course at the Harvard Kennedy School, while finishing a MPP program at HKS. Prior to HKS, I was an organizer in Michigan organizing voters in low-income community of color across the state and leading a coalition of community organizing and progressive advocacy organizations. I plan to return to Michigan after HKS.

Describe your leadership in the Network:

I first became involved in the LCN Network after participating in the distance learning course in 2011. Following the course, I organized a training in Flint, MI, where I worked Dan Grandone and other LCN trainers to lead a training for 80 community organizers across the state of Michigan, launching a new organizing collaborative in the state. I was a part of the LCN Launch, participating in the Learning Conference in 2012 in Cambridge, and have served twice as a Teaching Fellow with Marshall. Additionally, I helped organize the LCN online conference in the summer of 2013, and have been serving on the leadership team for Organizing 2.0 Work group. I’ve been working with Nisreen on the Coalitions Working Group. Additionally, I have served as a trainer and coach for both organizing and public narrative trainings.

Why do you want to serve and what would you contribute to the Board?

As an organizer working in Michigan, exposure to this organizing framework provoked a lot of reflection and make me a more effective organizer. As a Teaching Fellow for the past two years, I have gained incredible fulfillment from working with others to try on these tools and understand leadership in this context. I consider myself to be an effective, teacher, trainer and coach, and I would love to work with others to sharpen these skills, challenge others in adapting and improving the craft of organizing, and help LCN develop new leadership capacity among those seeking to build power for their communities. I bring coaching, training, and organizing skills and experience, as well as a commitment to advancing the draft of organizing.

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christina sanchezName: Christina Sánchez

Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

Provide a brief description of your work:

I support individuals and organizations who are interested in launching campaigns utilizing the leadership and organizing framework as a trainer and coach. Prior to that I served as Organizing Director for a parent organizing non-profit based in Los Angeles, California. That role allowed me to manage a team of Organizers who launched and ultimately won campaigns for improved public schools in California.

Describe your leadership in the Network:

I have served as a Teaching Fellow for the organizing course at Harvard and for the online distance learning course. I have also served as a facilitator or coach for 10 Leading Change-sponsored workshops. When I was at Parent Revolution (my previous job) I pushed for our new organizers to attend the Learning Conference held at Harvard in 2012 and supported them when they enrolled in the distance learning course as well.

Why do you want to serve and what would you contribute to the Board?

The reason I want to serve is because you (the Leading Change Network) are my people! You also devote yourself to improving your craft and value the power of this leadership and organizing framework. I would love to offer my skills and energy to the Network’s growth especially since I have gained so much from being a member of this community.

I would offer several skills and perspectives to my work as a board member: a background in popular education, experience scaling a start-up organization, and a commitment to diversity. The parent organizing work that I supported allowed me to develop a deep familiarity with how to adapt the framework for low-income constituencies. I learned from our organizers how to introduce several popular education methods to reach parents with limited English proficiency. Having worked at a start-up non-profit during its early stages of development, has also made me adept at the visioning, goal setting, and strategic planning process. In addition to responding to the needs of the Network’s membership, I’d focus on increasing our diversity – and not just in the traditional categories of race and gender (although I’d focus on those as well), but also on geographic diversity, languages, campaign issues, and teaching methods and pedagogical approaches represented.

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hope woodName: Hope Wood

Location: Oakland, California, USA

Organization: New Organizing Institute Education Fund – NOI

Role in the field: Organizer, Educator

Provide a brief description of your work:

I am currently working for New Organizing Institute as the Interim Training Director, and for the past 4 years there as a Project Director and Organizing Trainings Manager.

Describe your leadership in the Network:

I am on the leadership team for the LCN Teaching Initiative and have been working all year with our team to create a shared strategy towards our goal of increasing the number of academic institutions offering community organizing courses and experiences. In addition, I volunteered as the Tech Team Coordinator on the leadership team of our LCN 2013 Global Gathering, an online conference in which we sparked the interest and hope of using online platforms as learning spaces for our expanding global organizing community. The year before, I also volunteered on a leadership team that helped to organize the 2012 LCN Conference, taking leadership on the Global Learning Panel as well as the Leadership Development curriculum team who presented an argument and case studies to support the further research on how we incorporate leadership development more centrally to the teaching and use of our organizing framework.

Why do you want to serve and what would you contribute to the Board?

One of my strengths is bringing diverse groups of people together and facilitating spaces online where we can build community, relationships, structures, strategy, and motivational action from which the work of the Network can be expanded. I have a vision of the network being grounded in the practices that we teach in the organizing framework, and I am eager to dig in with others who are passionate about “practicing what we preach.” I have the experience of doing this with the organizational and campaign teams I have launched and worked with over the past 5 years through through my roles with New Organizing Institute (NOI), Courage Campaign, Obama for America, and teaching with Marshall Ganz in his Leadership, Organizing, Action: Leading Change global learning course offered through Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education. With over a dozen years of teaching experience and education, I am confident that I have the skills and relationships that will be helpful in leading on the LCN Board.

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Jake WaxmanName: Jacob Waxman

Location: Oakland, California, USA

Role in the field: Organizer, Educator

Provide a brief description of your work:

I’m grateful to have spent the last 5 years working with a variety of organizations, from immigrant rights movement to labor unions to environmental activists and health care providers, to support their efforts to develop and enhance their capacity to use organizing as an approach to change. I work primarily as a campaign coach and trainer.

Describe your leadership in the Network:

I’ve been a part of two leadership teams (Leadership Development and Coaching) for the 2012 learning conference as well as on the leadership team for the Global Learning Circles of 2013/2014. I’ve also participated in the selection committees for the online organizer and network coordinator roles.

Why do you want to serve and what would you contribute to the Board?

I hope to contribute my experience both as an organizer and as a trainer/coach. I’ve helped to lead over 50 trainings in the last 5 years, working with well over 2,500 participants and hope to bring some of that experience to the board. I hope that the thousands of hours of training time I’ve put in and the ways I’ve helped to coach other trainers can contribute to the framing of questions and suggestions as LCN takes critical steps towards manifesting more of its purpose in the world.

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jesse wildermanName: Jesse Wilderman

Location: Johannesburg, South Africa

Role in the field: Organizer

Provide a brief description of your work:

I am currently living in South Africa, where I am researching organizing among farm workers (particularly in the context of a recent worker uprising) as well as emerging forms of organizing such as worker centres. At the same time, I am providing organizing training and campaign support to trade unions and other civil society movements in South Africa and around the continent, including, for example, a cross-country climate justice campaign in southern Africa and union organizing campaigns for telecommunications sector workers in eight west and central African countries. Prior to moving to South Africa, I was an organizer and then Organizing Director for a health care workers union in the US for about a dozen years. My work focused on empowering workers, often in the face of severe employer opposition, to come together and build power at their workplaces, in politics, and in their communities. In this context, I designed and led successful campaigns in workplaces like nursing homes and hospitals as well as leading broader initiatives, for example building a state-wide home care workers movement that required strong alliances with the disability rights movement as well as building political power.

Describe your leadership in the Network:

I have been involved in the network since its inception, including helping to organize and attending the Learning Conference in 2012. I have been involved in network working groups focused on structuring to scale, leadership development and developing strategies for the role and constituency of the network. I participated in the Global Gathering in 2013, and subsequently was on the leadership team that developed the Global Learning Circles (GLC) project; I then led my own GLC with eight network participants. I have also helped to lead organizing trainings associated with the network—most recently in South Africa with Oxfam International staff from 25 countries.

Why do you want to serve and what would you contribute to the Board?

I would like to serve on the board because I believe deeply in the goal of expanding organizing capacity for social justice organizations and movements around the globe. The network is unique in that it brings together researchers, trainers and practioners to both learn from each other and also strategize on how to expand the capacity of progressive organizations to have an effective organizing approach to change—and miraculously most of the work and coordination is done with very little resources, drawing instead on the deep commitment of so many network participants around the world. In this way, I am drawn to the network as it models, in many ways, the organizing approaches we are promoting. I think that my experience as an organizer (and director of organizing teams) for over 15 years, particularly in the economic and worker justice arena, would add a set of skills and a perspective that would be beneficial to the board and network. I also believe that having learned and participated in campaigns ranging from the small-scale and local to the large-scale and national or international gives me experience that would be useful for such a diverse network. I have experience teaching organizing in many different contexts as well as relationships with the trade union movement and broader social justice movements, including networks in the US, as well as growing relationships in southern Africa and with some global union federations and organizations. My hands-on organizing experience coupled with both my teaching and research in the field have allowed me to build relationships across the progressive movement, deeply understand core skills and needs around expanding organizing capacity, and given me an appreciation of the important synergy of engaging teachers, researchers, and practioners in the struggle. I am very excited about the actual and potential impact of the Leading Change Network and am committed to supporting its development.

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kanokoName: Kanoko Kamata

Location: Yokohama, Japan

Organization: Community Organizing Japan

Role in the field: Organizer

Provide a brief description of your work:

I am Executive Director of Community Organizing Japan which train nonprofit organizations, youth and corporate citizens in the community organizing framework, adapt organizing to the Japanese culture and context and apply community organizing to solve social issues. Our main activities is to provide community organizing workshop, public narrative workshop, research on the organizing cases, publish books on organizing and working with partners to solve social issues.

Describe your leadership in the Network:

I organized a first community organizing workshop in Tokyo, Japan in December 2013 with support from the Network. I coordinated with the Network to train table facilitators over the webex in October and November 2013. Marshall came over to Japan to teach in December. We translated the participant guide and pre-readings for the workshop into Japanese and made available to the public. 45 nonprofit leaders, government officials and corporate people joined the workshop. The workshop was broad casted by a national TV program and enhanced public interest in community organizing and public narrative.

Why do you want to serve and what would you contribute to the Board?

I truly value the work of the Network, and which is very crucial for grass-root activities and empowerment of people. It should be enhanced to outside US as much as possible. As I am located in Japan, Asia region, I would like to serve to enhance work of the Network in Asia region. I and COJ team has network in Asia region and can utilize our network and our experience to teach organizing in different languages

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karen olsonName: Karen Olson

Location: Moscow, Russia

Organization: Perspektiva

Role in the field: Organizer

Provide a brief description of your work:

Since 2012, I have been coordinating a team of three young adults with disability working to instill leadership skills in dozens of disabled children and youth at the Russian NGO Perspektiva, which helps people with disabilities advocate for their rights to education, employment and accessibility. Our Theatrical Perspectives program is entering its third year of bringing plays written by children and youth with disabilities to Moscow theaters, and we recently began a mentorship program for new participants. I am passionate about fostering leadership in young people with disabilities in Russia, where there are so many challenges that they are now engaged in leading their generation to understand and overcome.

Describe your leadership in the Network:

I was an active and enthusiastic participant in a Global Learning Circle in 2013. I am currently collaborating with with another LCN member to design a GLC to examine issues faced by organizers working abroad, and specifically in countries where the authorities are hostile to organizers and to the international NGO community.

Why do you want to serve and what would you contribute to the Board?

I want to serve because I believe that forwarding the practice, teaching and study of organizing is one of the best ways for me to contribute to achieving greater social justice in my lifetime. The LCN has grown exponentially in just two years time, and its broad reach brings new challenges. My vision is one in which LCN members from around the world can learn from and be enriched by each other’s experience. If you elect me to be a Board member, my focus will be on facilitating the international dimension of the core mission of the LCN – supporting learning of organizers, teachers of organizers and researchers in organizing. I have lived in 4 countries over the past 25 years and have traveled to more than 70 countries, so I am especially attuned to the nuances of life and work outside of the US. As a co-founder of the Women’s Bridge citizen initiative in Moscow, which brings together more than 300 Russian and expatriate women to exchange expertise and experience in the building of civil society, as a board member I would also bring my community-building skills to the LCN.

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lucia moritzName: Lucia Moritz

Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

Organization: Los Angeles Unified School District/Harvard Graduate School of Education

Role in the field: Educator, Researcher

Provide a brief description of your work:

I am currently a doctoral student working with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) on redesigning the traditional high school model to create real-world learning experiences for students. I am in my final year of the Doctorate in Educational Leadership Program (Ed.LD.) at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. As part of my doctoral work in LAUSD, training principals and teachers in the organizing leadership framework and coaching them to lead campaigns within their high schools as a way to approach transforming high schools.

Describe your leadership in the Network:

I worked with Marshall Ganz as a Teaching Fellow for both Public Narrative courses, “Self, Us, Now” and “Conflict, Continuity, Change”, along with the “Organizing: People, Power, Change” course at the Harvard Kennedy School. I also served as a coach and coordinator for several Public Narrative and Organizing workshops for various non-profit organizations, community-based organizations, and Harvard University leadership programs. Also, as a former teacher, I’ve used my knowledge of best pedagogical practices to help design and create training materials for both the public narrative and organizing courses/workshops.

Why do you want to serve and what would you contribute to the Board?

I am convinced that a community-based approach is the only way we can transform our inequitable education system in the United States and am committed to doing this work as a practitioner within a public school system. With that being said, I want to serve on the board to stay connected with a network of organizers in various fields as a way to share best practices and strategically work together to achieve large-scale change. As an educator, former community organizer, researcher, and practitioner, I believe I have a unique set of skills and experience to contribute to the Board as well.

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meredith miraName: Meredith Mira

Location: New Haven, Connecticut, USA

Organization: Yale University, Center for International and Professional Experience

Role in the field: Educator

Provide a brief description of your work:

After completing my doctoral degree in May 2013 from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, I began my current position as the Senior Associate Director of Global Health at Yale University’s Center for International and Professional Experience. In this newly created role, I work with undergraduate students who are interested in addressing public health issues that transcend national borders in addition to doing general academic and career advising. My primary aims are to help students identify their goals and personal motivations and engage with academic material that piques their interest in order to help them make more strategic life choices. In my position, I interface with Yale faculty members at both the undergraduate and graduate levels who engage questions of global health. I am also part of a growing intercollegiate network of global health and international service-learning educators across the United States.

Describe your leadership in the Network:

My engagement with the Network began seven years ago when I took Marshall’s Public Narrative course at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. As a researcher focused on community organizing for education reform, I was primarily interested in studying how narrative and organizing worked; I left the class with a better understanding of my own narrative, my approach to leadership, and a newfound sense that to study organizing required that I learn how to actually do – and teach – organizing. In that vein, I served as a teaching fellow for the Public Narrative course for two years and then began acting as a coach and then a coach-coordinator for public narrative and organizing workshops outside of the Kennedy School. In 2011, I joined the Organizing for Health Team, where I conducted research and served as a teaching fellow for an online organizing course with healthcare professionals. Most recently, I became a member of the Leading Change Teaching Initiative and played an active role in the online Global Gathering.

Why do you want to serve and what would you contribute to the Board?

The summer after my first year of graduate school, I became part of an internship program focused on school reform. Despite the fact that I liked all of the people there, I always felt like an outsider. They were trying to solve education problems using old policy levers that didn’t work. When they asked me what I thought the solution was, I said, “We need to engage the community,” and time and again, they would respond by saying, “That’s nice, but we still don’t understand what you’re going to do!” And then it became clear – to them, engaging the community was not a lever for change. Taking Marshall’s Public Narrative class was such a relief. It was the first time in my academic career that I felt validated and surrounded by people who believed that community engagement was necessary for large-scale social change. I want to serve on the LCN Board in order to help expand our reach and enable others to feel this same sense of excitement and “us-ness.” The Leading Change community has helped shaped who I am and how I want to approach social change work. I, in turn, have been able to do this for others. In every one-on-one meeting I have with Yale students, I start by eliciting their story regarding who they are and why they are motivated towards a particular career path. Students have left my office saying things like, “Wow, that was a great conversation – nobody has asked me about these topics for years.” The work of narrative and organizing is inspiring to students. It helps them move past the idea of “marketing” themselves for a particular job and into the concept of “bringing out their glow from within” in order to find a career path that aligns with their values. In addition, students are hungry to merge their academic work with something more purposeful; many feel limited by the four walls of the classroom and want to become agents of change – something that organizing can provide. My vision is to expand the LCN curriculum to as many communities as possible, particularly universities and community colleges, by creating a modular approach to our pedagogy that is portable to different settings, organizations, and audiences based on their needs and time available. We have already begun this process – for example by finding ways to teach the public narrative workshop in two hours. By doing this for the other organizing practices, we would increase the reach of our work. I would contribute several things to the Board. First is pedagogic vision. As a teaching fellow for the Public Narrative class, my primary focus was documenting and assessing our pedagogy – keeping track of what worked, what didn’t, and why. In addition, my research background has given me an eye for nuance, which would be helpful as we continue to modify our curriculum for different audiences. Finally, my growing network of connections across Yale and other similar universities in global health and international service learning could provide the Network with invaluable opportunities to expand our range of impact.

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natalie finstadName: Natalie Finstad

Location: Narobi, Kenya

Role in the field: Organizer, Educator

Provide a brief description of your work:

I am an organizer. I believe real change begins when individuals have a deep understanding of their dignity. I understand “my work” as an organizer to be creating opportunities for individuals to experience their agency and to channel that agency into efforts that promote justice for all. The first campaign I ran organized faith-based communities to support transgender rights. For the past three years I have been organizing in Kenya, with an organization I co-founded, Tatua Kenya. In three years Tatua Kenya has worked alongside over 3,000 Kenyans to change communities in Kenya – we’ve seen 80 kids go back to school, communities launch health clinics, test scores rise at schools and are beginning a campaign to establish a free public school in a slum neighborhood outside of Nairobi Kenya. This experience has transformed the way I understand mission and my work is growing into an international project that focuses on how faith-based groups do/don’t offer the transformational change I spoke of earlier. I am also a teacher; I have taught and consulted with groups all over the world that want to use the organizing tools. Teaching has challenged me to see organizing as a fluid framework that can be adapted per context but must remain true to the fundamental principle of developing a people that know and use their power for the promotion of justice. The promotion of that principle is my work.

Describe your leadership in the Network:

My involvement in the network began at the initial conference in 2012. I attended the conference and helped lead the conference by taking part in the coaching group. Since then I have been active in developing the Network Resource Center. At the 2013 online learning conference I hosted a webinar on how organizing can help end the dependency cycle promoted by traditional aid methods. I have also been a part of a few coaching groups/pairs that have developed from my participation in the network and those have really strengthened my work.

Why do you want to serve and what would you contribute to the Board?

If I am elected to the LCN board my priorities will be deepening the resources available to LCN members, developing our collective effort so that we can make a wider impact and establishing the infrastructure of the LCN. I believe the LCN already has a wealth of resources available – learning groups, coaching pairs, the resource center – my work would be to ensure that those resources are being used to the best of their ability. As someone who has worked outside of her culture I know how valuable it can be to connect to others and I would like the LCN resources to demonstrate clearly how they are building our capacity. I would also focus my attention on working with the leadership of the LCN to determine how we can combine our efforts in some way to make a larger impact on the world. My experience has taught me that groups stay best connected when we are working to a larger, external goal. I’d like for us to develop shared outcomes and goals that deepen our commitment to our another, to our work and build a more just world. Finally, I would like to be part of a team that establishes the infrastructure of the LCN. My experience as an Executive Director has taught me the need to develop structures that shape your finances, communication and operations. In particular, I’d love to explore what it means to be a member of the LCN – I would be using the experience I had of developing Tatua Kenya into an organization propelled by our activities as opposed to grants.

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predrag stojicicName: Predrag Stojicic

Location: Belgrade,Serbia

Organization: Serbia on the move

Role in the field: Organizer

Provide a brief description of your work:

“Our mission is to build a strong and responsible civil society by motivating individuals to actively participate in creating changes which will make their lives better.We strongly believe that every individual of our society has a potential and energy which can initiate a change” Civil Society Organization „Serbia on the move“ was founded on 4th July 2009. All projects of Serbia on the move are based on three principles: Citizens’ support – Each of our projects must obtain written support from 1.000 citizens before its actual implementation. If we cannot get the support, it means that our citizens do not need this project or that we have to make an additional effort to explain to people the importance of our idea. Community organizing – Each of our projects or activity is based on direct involvement of citizens in its realization. If we cannot mobilize volunteers, it means that the community where we live does not need that kind of activity. Transparency – All our resources and costs are presented publicly and available on website of our organization in the section Transparency. If we cannot publish our resources, it means that we are not responsible to the people for whom we exist.

Describe your leadership in the Network:

Since the very beginning of the LCN growth, I was serving as a leadership team member responsible for coaching and supporting LCN Network Resource center and I’ve actively participated in other LCN activities. During our LCN Global Gathering in 2013, I was responsible for organizing and leading recruitment team and we’ve successfully engaged over 200 LCN members, with the final result of 140 people from 29 countries participating in the gathering.

Why do you want to serve and what would you contribute to the Board?

My vision for serving on the LCN Board is very simple: To build an organization that will serve as a source of inspiration, wisdom and community for every organizer (or those who feel that way) in any part of the world. I will do this through extensively sharing our local experience from Serbia and creating and insisting on scaling up online learning opportunities within the network.

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rawan zeineName: Rawan Zeine

Location: Amman, Jordan

Organization: Ahel

Role in the field: Educator

Provide a brief description of your work:

In 2011, 2012 and 2013, I was a Teaching Fellow for the online LOA Harvard course supporting campaigns from around the world. I later was an on-ground Teaching Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School in 2013. I was also an online Teaching Fellow for the Greenpeace Mobilization Lab with the New Organizing Institute, leading and training a team of Greenpeace (GP) employees to train other GP activists in community organizing. I am currently the Head Teaching Fellow for the LOA program. I was a facilitator for various on-ground training in the Arab world and the US for both in public narrative and community organizing. Training campaigns included literacy, unions, disability, education, conflict resolution, and more. I was also a co-coach for the Six Minutes campaign in Jabal Natheef, Jordan and then wrote a case study on the campaign. I am a member of Ahel, a social enterprise that aims to empower communities to lead community organizing campaigns in the Arab world. I am also part of Mujtama3i, a community that develops knowledge and learning for community organizers in Jordan. After finishing my studies, I returned to Jordan and launched an initiative named Ta3leeleh. Ta3leeleh is a community that gathers to share ideas, interests, experiences and observations to a supportive audience. Ta3leeleh takes place each month in Amman, Jordan’s capital, Al-Salt and Ghor al Mazra’a to learn from one another.

Describe your leadership in the Network:

My participation in the Leading Change Network (LCN) started when I joined Nisreen Haj Ahmad’s leadership team on Campaign Timelines and Tensions for the Learning Conference in 2012. I was a team member with Nikola Illic, Ana Babovic and Nisreen. Together we prepared for the webinar, the material for the conference and our presentations. My presentation was on campaign readiness. After the conference, I was part of the editing team for the conference paper. I also participated in a team that would recommend potential LCN’s programs that were later selected. I was then recruited to be the Global Learning Circle Coordinator based on my experience in the Learning Circle in Jordan. After preparing an document with the support of Joy and Dan, I recruited a diverse team of 7: Ashraf Hamza, Ana Babovic, Dan Grandone, Jesse Wilderman, Heather Box, Stephanie Aines and Jake Waxman. Together we have been meeting and preparing for the launch this coming September. Shortly after I was invited to join the leadership team meetings of the LCN. I attended and participated in all the meetings and led one of the learning discussions on how to measure power in a ‘power with’ campaign. Following up on the conference in 2012, the LCN aimed to hold another global meeting, the Global Gathering 2013: this time online. I was brought into the team to write the event proposal along with Nisreen, Dan and Nikola. I then stepped up for the role of the Network Projects Coordinators. I worked with the 4 network project coordinators and we prepared our narratives and presentations along with our breakout room agendas and goals. I also presented on behalf of the Global Learning Circle and recruited the team for support in the break-out room. I also supported Professor Ganz on his PowerPoint and presentation for the plenary and the learning room.

Why do you want to serve and what would you contribute to the Board?

I am interested to serve the board because I have been part of the Learning Change Network’s journey and was part of its growth. Once, my friend asked, “Rawan, how do you think you’re changing the world.” My response was “I am part of this huge Network and we are all working together to give people a sense of agency to take leadership and create change.” So I strongly identify with the power of change of this community and the this Network. My skills are in training organizing, writing research and launching projects. I am creative and have built strong relationships with many people in this network. My vision is to this Network strength, exchange resources across the world and to learn from one another by actively engaging our Network members.

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