Dance Lightly

March 17th, 2011

Tsunamis. Unemployment. Volcanoes. Cote d’Ivoire. Homelessness. The Middle East. The Midwest. Pirates. Earthquakes. Drug and human trafficking. Union busting. Collapsing economies. Dropout rates. Nuclear fallout. Foreclosures. Floods.

Warm rains. Youth-led movements. Birdsong. Plum blossoms. Racial justice work in GLBTQ communities. Michelle Obama. Sweet peas. 100,000+ people in Madison. Cross-sector collaborations. Days growing longer. Foal season. Women in Egypt. Late winter full moons.

It’s a busy and fascinating time. Plenty going on to capture our attention.

As leaders, it can sometimes feel that it is our responsibility to respond to everything. I’ve been watching people valiantly trying to find some way do something about all that’s going on. The world can seem quite overwhelming right now.

Truth is – each of us can only do what each of us can do. I have to trust that someone else is tending to the things I cannot, and to continue to do my part, because someone else is counting on me. No one of us can possibly respond to everything. We need each other, and partnership is essential.

While I’m very aware of what those close to me are up to, I also have to trust in the efforts of people I may never encounter. I am clear that my fate is inextricably linked to the work of some young woman in Cairo whose name I will never know. We are mutually accountable, even if we never meet.

What does it mean to be in partnership with unknown kin? What is my relationship to the woman in Cairo? What might be my covenant with her?

Who are you counting on? Who needs to be able to count on you?

As I think about it, good partnership requires attention to personal well-being and sustainability. It does not serve the woman in Cairo for me to be worried sleepless or to neglect my welfare. It does her absolutely no good when I eat on the run rather than take the time to be grateful for what sustains me. And I want the same for her. I sincerely hope that she has time to restore herself – that she gets enough rest, and that she pauses to hug the children around her.

Personal sustainability requires balance. And it requires deep partnerships and trust. It’s important that we pay as much attention to the natural rhythms of the earth and the wonderful things going on in our lives, as we do to all of our challenges. And as effective, long-term leaders, it’s important to remember that we don’t need to take care of all of the challenges in the world, but to trust and support our sisters and brothers where they may best lead. We live in wonderful, terrible times. Both in equal measure.

Negotiating both the gifts and challenges of these times requires us to move forward as change agents by doing the best work we can do in the places we can be most effective. And at the same time, to dance lightly, in our lives and on the planet. So I invite you to dance. Lightly and in partnership. Let’s remember that we’re not alone, that we can solve what needs solving because we’re all connected. You, me and every woman in Cairo!

From my heart to yours.

March 2011

Rockwood Welcomes Pia Infante Our Team!

We are delighted to welcome Pia Infante as the newest staff member to join the Rockwood team! As BCORR Program Manager, Pia will be responsible for managing the Building Capacity for Organizational Resilience and Renewal Program (BCORR). Prior to joining Rockwood, Pia had the pleasure of serving as an organizational development consultant and coach to social justice organizations for nearly a decade. With deep roots in popular education and training, Pia encourages connection, inner wisdom, a systems approach and joyfulness with every engagement. She has bridged the non-profit and philanthropic sectors for seven years by working simultaneously in “the field” as a consultant and serving as a thought partner and program staff for The Whitman Institute, an independent foundation promoting cross-perspective dialogue and vibrant civic engagement. Pia received her M.A. from The New School for Social Research in Education, her B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley in Rhetoric, her executive coaching credential from The Academy for Coaching Excellence, and her secondary teaching credential from the State of New York. Pia is a founding member of the Movement Strategy Center’s Organizational Development for Social Change cohort and a founding member of The Coaches of Color Consortium.

Accepting Nominations for the California Leaders of Color Fellowship

We are now accepting nominations for the California Leaders of Color Fellowship. Entering its third year, the California Leaders of Color Fellowship (CLOC) is for nonprofit leaders who are committed to inspiring and aligning others to work towards common goals. Over the course of nine months, Fellows will engage with a powerful learning community of leaders of color throughout California and learn leadership skills. Click here to see a list of past Fellows of the program.

If you would like to nominate a leader, please email Stacy at In your email, please include the name, organization, email address and a brief description of why you are nominating this person. The deadline for nomination submissions is May 5th at 5pm PST.

Art of Leadership for Southern Leaders

Rockwood will be offering our third Art of Leadership for Southern Leaders. This training is an opportunity for Southern social change leaders to hone their leadership skills and deeply connect with each other. This training is co-sponsored by Highlander Research and Education Center and stone circles.

In the words Art of Leadership for Southern Leaders Alumni:

“Art of Leadership gave me tremendous insight into my leadership abilities. It also provided me with tools to access other areas of leadership I may not have valued before.”
--Misty Maaya, East Biloxi Coordination and Relief Center

“Connecting deeply with a strong group of peers from the South was especially great”
-- Dave Newton, Kentuckians for Commonwealth

Rockwood invites applications from leaders working in: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia,, and West Virginia.

The training will be held May 30-June 2 at Stone House, Mebane, NC. The deadline to apply is April 18, 2011. Apply today!

Rockwood Alumni Ilyse Hogue Featured in The Nation

Ilyse Hogue, a Rockwood National Yearlong Leading from the Inside Out Fellow, had an article recently published in The Nation about what Wisconsin, ACORN, and Planned Parenthood share in common. Congratulations, Ilyse!

If would like to suggest an article written by or about a Rockwood alumni, please contact:

Apply for the 2011 Alston Bannerman Sabbatical Fellowship

The Center for Social Inclusion invites applications for the 2011 Alston Bannerman Sabbatical Fellowships from long-time organizers of color who would benefit from the opportunity to step back, reflect, and recharge.  Fellows are awarded $25,000 to take sabbaticals for three months or more.  If you, or someone you know, would be a great applicant for this fellowship, please visit the application page for fellowship criteria.