A call for network weavers

It is even more imperative in today's political climate that we deepen our capacity to work collaboratively on the issues we care about most.

What does it take to work in networked ways (mindsets, habits, practices)?

How do these mindsets, habits, practices impact our relationships, leadership, and engagement of others in the broader ecosystem?

How can we create a networked approached to ending partnership-based violence, one that works at the intersection of a number of interconnected social justice issues?


Network Weaver Learning Lab

The Network Weaver Learning Lab (NWLL) is an 18-month program that creates a space for leaders to develop their thinking and practice and to explore and experiment together on ways to advance the movement to end relationship-based violence.  

It is a place of challenging, collaborative, fearless, alive, open and loving exchanges that get to root causes while maintaining a radical systems-perspective - one that embraces the past without being constrained by it, one that deepens and amplifies all the transformational work already taking place.  

NWLL is not about imparting a set of skills and lessons that are predetermined and prescriptive, but rather cultivating the synergy that comes from bringing together network leaders’ strengths and creating opportunities for them to draw on each other to build and amplify their work. 

It supports participants in centering relationships, holding an experimental stance, and deepening their capacity to work in emergence.   


Program Overview

Created through a partnership between Management Assistance Group (MAG) and CompassPoint - and generously funded by Blue Shield of California Foundation - the NWLL is an advance space that builds on the work of the Strong Field Project Leadership Development Program and its alumni.

The lab’s own emergent design and delivery will be guided by these principles: 

  • Leadership is not a position or a static state. Leadership is about being and doing.
  • NWLL is about diving deeper into systems change, addressing root causes to increase impact in ending relationship-based violence
  • We will center curriculum around experimentation, action learning and co-creation that is rooted in movement building frameworks and systems change as well as root cause analysis
  • Learning is mutual among participants and the facilitation team (we all bring diverse wisdoms that collectively create a platform for transformative change)
  • The only way to effect meaningful social change is by addressing race, class, privilege and power and all the ways it impacts the work

Through participation in the lab, participants will be continuously cultivating and enacting the network weavers mindsets of:

Multiple Ways of Knowing

  • Recognizing, lifting up and engaging wisdom in multiple forms (experiential knowledge, art and culturally-based forms of expression and meaning-making)
  • Letting go of expert and embracing co-learner/co-creator
  • Rooting into a values-based frame

Systems and Complexity Perspective

  • Breaking silos – interconnectedness and interdependence
  • Engaging and developing leadership at many points and levels of authority in the system
  • Collaborative decentralization of power
  • Shifting from scarcity to abundance
  • Hold priorities of individual, organization and network
  • Balancing short and long-term goals
  • Understanding systems implications for ending violence

Balancing the “Being” and “Doing”

  • Spaciousness
  • Head and heart
  • Complexity of mind – whole person, mindfulness, levels of being
  • Whole people/whole systems
  • Space for relationship building

Race, Class, Power and Privilege

  • Building a foundation of trust for courageous conversations
  • Love, human dignity, compassion
  • Unpacking levels of oppression (systemic, institutional, interpersonal, and internalized)
  • Seeing and understanding the role of social-location-based power in broader systems
Photo by Devonyu/iStock / Getty Images


Program Components

1. Convenings

There will be four learning sessions, 3 days each, over the course of the 18 months. 


2. Experiments for Change

Projects - either new or in process - will be conducted to improve existing network efforts and seed new innovations. 

3. Coaching and Support

There will be individualized and/or peer coaching to support ongoing reflection and learning. Each participant will receive a $10,000 stipend. 

4. Art and Meaning Making

Participants and other justice-minded artists in California will create artistic experiences that inform, education and shift thinking about relationship-based violence. 

Program Timeline 

The NWLL will launch in the spring/summer of 2017 and conclude at the end of 2018. 

First Convening

When: Wednesday, May 17th through Friday, May 19th

Where:  SF/Bay Area (location TBD) 

Second Convening

When: Wednesday, August 9th through Friday, August 11th

Where: Southern California (location TBD)

Two Additional Convenings - To Be Scheduled

There will be two additional convenings—alternating between northern and southern California locations—in early 2018 and then again early that summer.

The other aspects of the program will take place during and in-between these convenings.



Participant Make-up 

For this first interaction of the NWLL, we are seeking:

  • 16 leaders - half of whom are Strong Field Project alumni and half who are working in intersectional ways to advance transformative change, particularly around such issues as:  
    • reproductive justice
    • racial justice
    • gender/LGBTQ justice 
    • or other connected issue area
  • People who hold influential roles (with or without authority)
  • Are based in California
  • Are engaged in bridging generations to advance social change


Participant Selection Criteria

Participants will be selected for the program based on the above and their wiliness to: 

  • Let go of “expert”

  • Examine their own assumptions and practices
  • Hold a race, class, power, privilege orientation (with a readiness to apply analysis)
  • Be in a learning and collaborative stance leading with curiosity

We are particularly looking for leaders who have:

  • Organizing experience that extends beyond the organization where on staff 
  • Lived experience of working across boundaries of race and class
  • Policy experience
  • Experience with broadening or reframing issue narratives

Application Process and Deadlines

Applications will be accepted until Friday, February 24, 2017. Final decisions regarding participation will be made in early March 2017.  There are no costs for program participation. Each participant will receive a $10,000 stipend (to support their time and energy) and reimbursement of travel costs to the four convenings up to $1,200.

To submit an application, please out this form. 

If you have any questions about the NWLL, please email Laurie Linn at llinn@magmail.org.


Standing On The Shoulders Of

This program would not exist without the creativity and commitment of the NWLL planning grant and proposal process Design Team and Advisory Committee.


NWLL Design Team Members

Cristy Chung, Monique Mehta, Mari Schimmer, and Stephanie Medley (RYSE Center)

Advisory Council Members

Aiko Pandorf, Jacquie Marroquin (CPEDV), Jean King (One Safe Place), Jennifer Chen Speckman, Kad Smith (CompassPoint), Kalyne Foster (Monarch Services), Mary Martinez (WOMAN, Inc), Patty Bennett, Paul Bancroft (Tahoe SAFE Alliance), Surina Khan (The Women’s Foundation), Tracy Lamb (NEWS), Matt Huckabay (The Center for Violence-Free Relationships), Jesenia Santana (Novo Foundation), and Hahn Cao Yu

About CompassPoint and Management Assistance Group

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CompassPoint intensifies the impact of fellow nonprofit leaders, organizations, and networks as we achieve social equity together. We believe that nonprofit organizations and leaders need relevant support that builds on their strengths, experiences, and achievements and that those individuals and organizations that invest in increasing their leadership and management capacities are better poised to achieve progress. CompassPoint Nonprofit Services provides the leadership development component of Blue Shield of California Foundation’s Strong Field Project. 


Management Assistance Group has over thirty-five years of experience working with thousands of social change organizations, networks, funders, and leaders. Management Assistance Group’s Lab (MAG Lab) is an ongoing program of dialogue, analysis, partnership, co-creation, and active learning to strengthen progressive movement networks. Developed by MAG along with social justice leaders, key thinkers, and funders, MAG Lab aims to grow the field's understanding and support of movement networks. MAG Lab stimulates innovative thinking and identifies ways to support people who operate at the intersection of organizations and networks. We share that work with the social change field through dialogue, partnerships, and online and print publications.