network weaver learning lab

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.

NWLL photo.jpg

Launched in 2017, 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 - 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 is 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
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?

Through participation in the lab, participants continuously cultivate and enact 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


Program Components 

1. Convenings

Participants take part in four learning sessions, 3 days each, over the course of the 18 months. 

2. Experiments for Change

Participants conduct projects - either new or in process - to improve existing network efforts and seed new innovations. 

3. Coaching and Support

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

4. Art and Meaning Making

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

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.

Image by Lupe Poblano, CompassPoint