Yes We Can: A New Agenda for Advancing Leaders of Color in Social Change

Date: 11/18/2008
Time: 8:30am - 10:30am
Location: The Puck Building, The Rudin Family Forum for Civic Dialogue, 2nd Fl.
295 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012-9604  map

The election of Barack Obama as the first African-American President heralds a historic moment in US history.  It is an opportunity to reflect at the national and local levels on where we have come in race relations and where we need to go. This is an especially pressing question in the nonprofit sector, where a study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation finds that as many as 24,000 nonprofit executives could retire by 2010, creating significant openings for the next generation of leaders to take the helm. 


Leadership programs have a significant part to play in attracting and supporting talented leaders of color as they develop the skills, knowledge and networks to take senior positions in nonprofit and social change organizations. New research holds significant promise for practical strategies to both affirm and draw on the expertise and experience of leaders of color as they navigate often unwelcoming power structures. Research also shows the active roles white leaders can play personally and as part of broader efforts to establish more equitable and effective systems. At the same time, the leadership literature’s treatment of issues of race does not offer innovative ideas to address the demands described. There is a need for both scholars and practitioners to reconceptualize the way we think about the connections between race and leadership. 



* Laurie M. Hunt, Management Consultant, Center for Gender in Organizations

* C. Nicole Mason, PhD, Executive Director, Women of Color Policy Network, NYU Wagner

* Sonia Ospina, PhD, Faculty Director, Research Center for Leadership in Action and Associate
   Professor of Public Management and Policy, NYU Wagner

* Elissa Perry, Web and Community Learning Director, Leadership Learning Community



Erica G. Foldy, PhD, RCLA Faculty member and Assistant Professor of Public and Nonprofit Management, NYU Wagner