Leaders in a New Era: A Conversation on Leadership Development and Race

Tuesday, October 19, 2010 -
8:30am to 11:00am EDT
Foundation Center, 2nd Floor, 79 Fifth Avenue, NYC.
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A program in Philanthropy New York’s DECISION MAKERS series, presented by its Increasing Diversity in Philanthropy Committee.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND: CEOs, trustees, and other funders interested in creating and increasing diverse leadership in the philanthropic sector.


Current leadership development ideas and practices are heavily influenced by beliefs about responsibility and individualism, i.e., candidates have equal access to opportunity and are responsible for their fates by virtue of their individual behavior, skills, and talents. Leadership programs often focus on building the skills of individuals and often fail to understand structures that create and perpetuate advantage and disadvantage along racial lines. Research has shown that interpersonal racial bias is on the decline while structural racism is increasing.  Leadership programs need to help participants understand how race limits their access to opportunities -- in other words, the impact of structural racism. Working to change the behavior of individual leaders -- and help them understand their privilege or internalized oppression -- may be important, but it will not be enough.

These are some of the findings from Leadership & Race: How to Develop and Support Leadership that Contributes to Racial Justice, which was produced through a collaboration of key organizations in the leadership and racial equity fields, including the Leadership Learning Community. This publication explores the ways in which current thinking about leadership often contributes to producing and maintaining racialized dynamics, examines the intersection of investments in leadership development and racial justice, and identifies core competencies associated with racial justice leadership.  The publication can be downloaded at www.leadershiplearning.org.

Philanthropy New York and its Increasing Diversity in Philanthropy (IDP) Committee would like to invite you to a meeting to discuss several of the provocative ideas and recommendations put forth in How to Develop and Support Leadership that Contributes to Racial Justice. This will be an interactive session which encourages open conversation, problem solving, and recommendations in a safe space facilitated by IDP and the Leadership Learning Community.


  • Deborah Meehan, Founder and Executive Director, Leadership Learning Community (LLC); Co-Author of Leadership & Race: How to Develop and Support Leadership that Contributes to Racial Justice
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