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Through our work with nonprofit organizations, grantmakers, movement networks, and other partners in the field, we have had the opportunity to work collaboratively with people deeply engaged in advancing love, dignity, and justice. Through these partnerships, we are getting increasingly clear that both deep and wide-scale change is found in the interconnected practices that weave together a set of five elements.

  • Advancing Deep Equity
  • Cultivating Leaderful Ecosystems
  • Valuing Multiple Ways of Knowing
  • Influencing Complex Systems Change
  • Creating the Space for Inner Work

We first shared approaches and practices for embracing these elements through a series of articles published in the Nonprofit Quarterly where we looked at each element separately. The five articles in the series present each element in turn, exploring what it means and how people, organizations, and networks are putting it into practice.

Cultivating Leaderful Ecosystems by Aja Couchois Duncan, Susan Misra, and Vincent Pan is the second article in the series.

Today’s complex world and immense obstacles to justice demand that we think of leadership from a highly interconnected, ecosystem place rather than as a codified set of structures, practices, or even people. Leadership is the capacity to create something of meaning and align values and actions across groups of people or communities. It is about relationships among people and how they support, complement and supplement each other and the broader ecosystem. Leaderful ecosystems are mutually supportive and highly equitable, and support the kind of engagement that will yield meaningful and sustainable social change.

Read Cultivating Leaderful Ecosystems, published by the Nonprofit Quarterly.