Workshop Series: From Scarcity to Abundance: Cultivating Diverse Leadership for Ecologically Sound, Inclusive & Just Communities

Thursdays, March 24, April 28, May 26, June 23 (all 9 am – 4 pm) and July 7 (9 am – 1 pm), Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County


Striving to cultivate diverse leadership and participation? Wishing you could have better results? This series will give you the tools to be more effective.

The Natural Leaders Initiative (NLI) is now accepting registrations for its highly acclaimed 5-workshop Sustainability Leadership Development series. This series is especially designed for those in local organizations working on issues such as food, energy, waste, transportation, land use, green jobs and entrepreneurship, local economies, climate change, etc.

While a series requires a significant commitment of time, these workshops are designed to enable participants to use in-class time to work with others (within and across organizations) to:

· Identify new approaches to cultivating diverse relationships and leadership
· Develop concrete action plans to meet personal and organizational goals
· Try out ideas out between sessions, and return to share successes, problem-solve solutions, gain new perspectives and refine plans
· Build a support network for change – within and beyond your organization
· Evaluate success.

By the end of the series, participants will have a concrete work plan that integrates cultivating diversity into the work they are already doing.

Session dates: Thursdays, March 24, April 28, May 26, June 23 (all 9 am – 4 pm) and July 7 (9 am – 1 pm),. Location: Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County Education Center, 615 Willow Ave., Ithaca, NY

Now accepting registrations; limited to 20 participants. To register, for more information, or to talk about how this series might assist your organization, contact Margo Hittleman at or 272-2292, x 167.

About the series:

The need to “cultivate diversity” is a foundational principle for those working on ecological sustainability. It’s well known that without widespread, diverse relationships, biological systems are weak and vulnerable to collapse. The same is true for our social communities. But in spite of good intentions and efforts, many local organizations have struggled in this regard.

This series is designed to help those in local “sustainability” organizations strengthen their abilities to build diverse relationships and develop diverse leadership, while simultaneously furthering their mission, goals, and work.

NLI’s half-day “From Scarcity to Abundance” workshops have been receiving rave reviews. But participants have consistently requested more intensive support to explore and implement NLI’s approach to building and supporting diverse relationships and leadership. Here it is.

The 2014 and 2105 series received overall evaluations of 4.9 on a 5-point scale. Participants reported greater knowledge and skills to develop diverse relationships and help their organizations do so as well. 75% developed 1 or more new relationships that diversified their professional networks.

Who should attend:

· Staff, volunteers and Board members from Tompkins County organizations committed to the inter-related work of building inclusive, just and ecologically sound – that is, sustainable —   communities.
· Leaders are found at all levels of an organization, whether or not they have formal leadership titles. For this reason, we welcome participants from all levels of your organization, as long as they have their supervisor’s support to experiment with new approaches to their work and are willing to share what they are learning with others in their organizations.
· We encourage organizations to send multiple participants to increase impact and bolster organizational change.

Participants will:

· Develop the skills and perspectives to engage with diverse groups of people and take action to intentionally build and strengthen mutually beneficial, reciprocal and respectful relationships, while furthering your organization’s mission and work
· Identify the diverse, untapped pools of natural leaders and potential leaders who already have some connection to your organization, or share interests and goals
· Identify and implement strategies to systematically build diverse relationships and develop diverse leadership
· Identify and implement strategies to support and retain diverse grassroots leaders as staff, volunteer and Board members
· Integrate a relationship-building and leadership development orientation and activities into your organization’s ongoing programs
· Recognize and intentionally use personal and organizational resources to further relationship-building and goals for diversity and inclusion
· Make more intentional decisions about how to prioritize and integrate diversity and inclusion efforts into your work
· Begin to develop a “network mindset” and plan for sector-wide collective impact in this area
· Define and evaluate “success” so you can account for your relational and leadership development work
· Build an ongoing leadership support network with other participants

Action Learning: NLI’s workshops are highly interactive. You will work with other participants to explore new ways of thinking and working; define desired results and identify promising actions; put your plans into action; notice what happens; come together to reflect on successes and challenges; problem-solve, learn new skills, and refine your plans or identify new steps. You should plan on assignments between sessions to practice new skills, take actions that you have identified, and reflect on what you are learning.

Coaching and support: Between sessions, NLI facilitators will be available to participants via email, phone and occasional face-to-face meetings to provide coaching and support.

Networking opportunities: We will provide networking opportunities with NLI Grads and other natural leaders interested in building sustainable, socially just, inclusive communities.

Certificate: Participants who attend at least 4 of the 5 sessions will receive a Leadership Development Certificate from Cornell Cooperative Extension-Tompkins.

Cost: Fees cover the workshops, handouts, lunch, and healthy snacks through the day. Non-profit rate - $150 for the series (equivalent to $30/session) for the first person from an organization; $75 for additional participants. For-profit rate: $500 (small organizations) and $800 (large organizations). Note: We are able to offer these highly subsidized rates thanks to a grant from the Park Foundation and support from Cornell Cooperative Extension-Tompkins. Some additional scholarships are available.

About the Facilitators:

Margo Hittleman, NLI Co-founder and Coordinator. Margo is passionate about helping people and organizations strengthen their capacities to collectively build strong, inclusive communities. This goal has guided her work with grassroots, human service and educational organizations in Tompkins County for over three decades, as well as been the focus of her educational consulting firm since 1990. Margo has also taught at Cornell University where she was the recipient of three teaching awards there. In these capacities, she has designed and led numerous educational and professional development workshops and curricula on leadership; staff and organizational development; diversity and inclusion; human rights; social and organizational change; alliance-building, university-community and school-community partnerships, participatory action research; and evaluation. She has also written several professional development books and publications, including Winning Decisions: Getting It Right the First Time (Doubleday, 2002), and Counting Caring: Attending to the Human in an Age of Public Management (Cornell Cooperative Extensions, 2007). She lives in Lansing, where she has built a home-scale permaculture garden-farm and writes an occasional blog: “Everyday Eden.”

Phoebe Brown, Founder & Facilitator, “Women’s Healing: Mind, Body & Spirit"; Community Educator, Multicultural Resource Center; and NLI Graduate. A highly skilled community activist, advocate, and multicultural bridge builder, Phoebe brings her passion for community-building to everything she does and everyone she meets. She moved to Ithaca 22 years ago from Harlem, NY, where she grew up in a community of neighbors who supported each other through life’s joys and challenges. Phoebe is the founder and facilitator of Women’s Healing: Mind, Body and Spirit, which brings together women of all ages from diverse cultural and economic backgrounds to meet in a supportive environment, and a community educator with the Multicultural Resource Center. She has also worked with the Cayuga Medical Center’s Center for Healthy Living, Southside Community Center’s Black Women’s Empowerment Project, the Ithaca City School District, BOCES, the Crisis Hostel Project, and other local organizations. She is on the Board of Directors for GreenStar Community Projects, Bike/Walk Tompkins and Lifelong; and a member of the Steering Committees for Building Bridges and Get Your Green Back Tompkins. She has been selected as a Civic Leadership Fellow by Cornell University and received the Rere Sojourner Hassett Social Justice Award. She is a 2014 Graduate of the Natural Leaders Initiative. But her biggest achievement, she says, is that she is the mother of three and the grandmother of six.

Additional NLI Grads will join the team as presenters.

To register, for more information, or to talk about how this series might assist your organization, contact Margo Hittleman at or 272-2292, x 167.

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