Dog Days

August 26th, 2010

It’s August. Although we’ve been having cold and overcast days here in the Bay, I know that in other parts of the country it is summer. The peppers in our garden are ripening despite the chill, and corn is in abundance at the farmer’s market.

Erika (a fabulous intern here at RLI) recently told a story of taking the ferry across the Bay. It’s been awhile since I’ve hopped on a ferry, but I remember the feel of the waves under the boat, the wind in my dreadlocks, and the sun on my face. It takes much longer to ride the ferry than to drive or take the train – you cannot be in a hurry. You need to be willing to
slow down.

Slowing down is a challenge for many leaders. I think we get so used to the constant motion and the constant traffic of our lives that a change of pace can be unsettling, even when we know we need it.

Over the past couple of years I’ve been honored to serve on the selection committee for the Allston Bannerman Fellowships, a sabbatical program for long-time activists of color. Each Fellow is awarded a stipend allowing them to take three months off work in order to restore and rejuvenate. It’s a wonderful award, and a couple of weeks ago we chose our recipients for 2010. I find myself wondering how long it takes these incredibly busy leaders to get used to a sustained amount of time off. Slowing down isn’t always easy.

I’m just home from the desert of New Mexico after a week of contemplation and rest. I was away from cell phones, email and newspapers, and virtually had no schedule whatsoever. As I contemplated going, my first reaction was… disquiet. While my reaction should probably have been bliss, joy or relief, it had been a long time since I’d been unstructured, and it felt a little daunting to contemplate letting go of my anchors – home, partner, work, and media. It was wonderful, however, to not be in a hurry for 8 whole days.

Good leadership requires breathing. Both in and out. If work and activity are the breath in, then rest and relaxation are the breath out. Both are necessary. Both ensure balance and life.

Take a moment and notice your rhythm of work and rest. What is the ebb and flow of your work? Is the rhythm sustainable? Might it be time for respite?

Imagine how your leadership might be different if you could fully take a break, fill up any depletions and rest. What might it take to let go of your Blackberry, your schedule and your workday responsibilities in order to lie like a dog in the sunshine? Who might benefit by your taking a little time off to rejuvenate?

I invite you to consider resting. It is August, after all.

Let’s take a moment and honor the dogs.

From my heart to yours.

August 2010

New and Refreshing: An online fundraising opportunity for Rockwood that needs only mouse-clicks from you!

Rockwood is trying a little something new to raise money to support our transformative leadership work. We've joined a group of progressive organizations to jointly compete in an online fundraising opportunity called Pepsi Refresh Everything.

While we ordinarily steer clear of contests like this, Pepsi is giving away some serious money and we think we have a great shot at winning. Moreover, because of the way it is set up, we can raise money not only for ourselves but for a group of great organizations called The Progressive Slate. In total, we have the chance to collectively raise over $750,000 in September alone.

This is where we need your help!

Rather than asking you to donate money, we're asking that you to sign-up to be a daily online voter for Rockwood Leadership Institute for the month of September.

As a Rockwood daily voter, you'll receive a short email each morning in the month of September from the Progressive Slate. Each email will include an easy, one-stop link for you to vote for all 7 of the organizations on the slate. The contest runs through September and we'll know by the end of the month whether we won or not.

As part of The Progressive Slate, we're hoping to build a group of several thousand daily voters. Can you take a minute to sign up now to help us win?

This money will make a big difference for our work this year, allowing more and more social change leaders to access our transformational trainings. But our work doesn’t stop there: we are building a network of powerful, collaborative, visionary leaders who are leading their movements from a place of strength and inter-connection.

Other groups on the slate include organizations working to advance social, economic, and racial justice and coordinate progressive efforts at national and state levels. This is a chance to support a number of organizations working for social change all at once, with one easy click!

If Rockwood’s work has made a difference in your life, your organization, or your movement, please consider signing up to be a daily voter!

While we could use your vote every day in September, the first three days of the month are when we can use your support the most. We will be sending you a reminder on September 1st so we can make the most of this new opportunity.

A great way to help is to spread the word among your amazing networks of colleagues, peers, friends and family--you will see more options for this on the sign up page.

Thank you for your involvement and support!

If you have any questions, or if your organization would like to be on future slates, please feel free to contact Liz Bohm, Development and Communications Manager at

2010-2011 Leading from the Inside Out Yearlong Fellows Announced

We are pleased to announce our newest Leading from the Inside Out Yearlong cohort. This advanced, invitation-only program for senior executive leaders is designed to create a dramatic shift in participants' capacity to lead their organizations and networks effectively, and to collaborate across the boundaries of issue area, political and organizing orientation, geography and background.

Since 2003, this executive leadership program has emerged as one of the nation's leading learning laboratories for experienced social change leaders.

The new cohort of 23 inspiring Fellows includes:

Aaron Dorfman, Executive Director,
National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy
Ai-jen Poo, Director,
National Domestic Workers Alliance
Al Davidoff,
Chief of Staff,
American Federation of Teachers
Amado Uno,
Executive Director, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), AFL-CIO
Ana Yanez Correa,
Executive Director,
Texas Criminal Justice Coalition
Anita Earls,
Executive Director,
Southern Coalition for Social Justice
Arturo Vargas, Executive Director,
NALEO Educational Fund
Benjamin Jealous, Executive Director,
Dan Lashoff, Climate Center Director,
Dan McGrath, Executive Director,
TakeAction Minnesota
Diann Rust-Tierney, Executive Director,
National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty
Erich Pica, Executive Director,
Friends of the Earth Gustavo Torres, Executive Director, CASA de Maryland, Inc.
Ilyse Hogue, Director of Political Advocacy and Communications
Center for Community Change,
Jonathan Liss, Executive Director,
Tenants and Workers United and Virginia New Majority
Judith Browne Dianis, Co-Director,
Advancement Project
Kirk Noden, Executive Director,
Mahoning Valley Organizing Project
Patti Devlin, Federation Liaison to the General President, Laborers' International Union of North America
Pramila Jayapal, Founder & Executive Director,
One America
Raquiba LaBrie,
Program Director,
Open Society Institute
Rebecca Tarbotton, Executive Director,
Rainforest Action Network
Rinku Sen, Executive Director,
The Applied Research Center
Tracy Sturdivant,
Vice President for External Affairs, Center for Progressive Leadership
Vanita Gupta, Deputy Legal Director, Director of Center for Justice - American Civil Liberties Union

For more information and a truly inspiring read, we invite you to check out the backgrounds and bios of these dynamic leaders.

Please join us in thanking and welcoming this group of remarkable leaders as they make huge strides forward—for themselves, for their organizations and movements, for our world!

Invitation to Women working for Racial Justice & Human Rights

Rockwood is now offering our fourth annual Art of Leadership for Women in Racial Justice and Human Rights! Join a powerful community of women leaders who are organizing for immigrant rights, health, youth, environmental justice, and other critical issues.

Date: Monday November 1 to
Friday November 5, 2010

Location: Westerbeke Ranch, in
Sonoma, CA

“The Art of Leadership for Women Leaders in Racial Justice and Human Rights gave me the chance to truly ask myself and recognize my purpose and vision in life. In clarifying what my purpose and vision is, it helped me to critically look at the ways that I fulfill those things in my life and to think about what was necessary and what was unnecessary.”
– Elizabeth Sy, Banteay Srei, Oakland, CA

Invite women leaders you know or apply to this
special training.

Also, check out our range of other upcoming 2011 leadership trainings.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact our Director of Programs, Stacy Kono at

Women and Power: Our Time to Lead

Rockwood’s President, Akaya Windwood will be joining Elizabeth Lesser, Ani DiFranco, Gail Collins, Zainab Salbi, Jennifer Buffett, and 30 other inspiring women leaders, for a weekend of celebration and conversation guaranteed to wake up your inner leader and leave you brimming with renewed purpose. Omega’s annual Women and Power conference is one of the most celebrated women's gatherings in the world, unique in its rich diversity of speakers, performers, and participants. The conference is dedicated to empowering women to bring hope, healing, and change into their own lives and to the world around them. Check out the line-up of presenters and workshops at this renowned event.

Our Allies at the Center for Progressive Leadership Launch their Executive Fellowship in Washington, D.C.

The CPL Executive Fellowship is a selective nine-month, part-time leadership development program for future senior and executive leaders in Washington, D.C.  Through training, coaching and mentoring, the program gives up-and-coming leaders the skills and networks they need to develop and manage highly effective progressive advocacy, organizing, policy, and electoral organizations.

The program will start in December 2010. CPL is currently accepting applications and nominations for the program.

Learn more about the program, including how to apply or nominate someone you know.

Qualified applicants should have:

  • Demonstrated leadership experience in progressive policy and/or political change work
  • Interest in future executive or senior leadership in progressive advocacy, organizing, policy, or political organizations
  • A commitment to investing in their leadership skills and openness to learning and growth
  • 6-10 years of professional experience in progressive organizing, advocacy, policy, or political organizations, including 3-5 years in a management role
  • Direct management experience-ideally a current management role
  • Significant time to commit to monthly training workshops and group and individual coaching sessions

Whether it is through organizational or non-profit leadership, community activism, issue advocacy, or policy leadership, the CPL Executive Fellowship provides invaluable resources, networking and training to individuals who are committed to advancing progressive political or policy change. 
Nominate or apply online today!

Another world is possible: Take a Stand, Sit for Change.

At the end of June, tens of thousands of activists, organizers and leaders for social change convened in Detroit, Michigan for the second United States Social Forum, with the theme Another world is possible. Another U.S. is necessary. As we shared in our May 2010 Rockwood e-news, we were gratified to see large numbers of Rockwood alumnae/i acting as forum organizers, workshop leaders and active participants.

At the Forum, Rockwood Leadership Institute partnered with The Center for Transformative Change, and others to sponsor a People’s Movement Assembly, to make the case for holding Transformative Social Change as core to our movements for change.

The People’s Movement Assembly gave leaders the opportunity to engage with transformative practice – mindfulness, yoga, somatic work, creative work—in order to experience and discuss how these practices can strengthen our work for change. Then, following the Forum, a declaration entitled “Defining Transformation for Social Change” was created and posted with the aim of furthering the use of these practices.

At all Rockwood trainings, we invite you to integrate new practices into your life that will help you connect with your purpose and inner knowing, manage your emotional reactions with resourcefulness and resilience, build deep relationships and to be your best self, your best leader.

One great way you can integrate transformative practice into your life and connect with other social change leaders is by joining The Center for Transformative Change’s 3rd Annual Sit-A-Thon on September 18, 2010: Take a Stand, Sit for Change.

Strengthen your practice, build community and quiet your mind—you’ll be in good company!