Rockwood Leadership Institute moves to partner­-led leadership model

OAKLAND, CA – With the recent announcement Akaya Windwood and Darlene Nipper will partner-lead ​the organization, Rockwood Leadership Institute demonstrates how distributive leadership in grassroots movements like the Movement for Black Lives and Occupy Wall Street are shaping the future of nonprofits.

“Our notions of who’s a leader, where change happens, what constitutes a movement: those things are changing, and that’s where we’re headed,” Nipper said.

This is not the first time Rockwood has been shaped by the wider movement. Since taking over for Rockwood co­founder Andre Carothers in 2008, Windwood’s leadership has directly addressed big issues facing the nonprofit sector — like its struggle with executive succession. While roughly 33% of executive leaders say they’ll leave their organizations within 5 years, less than half have a plan in place for when that time comes.

“The demands of leadership in the 21​century have changed, and our current single­leader models are not sustainable,” Windwood said. “They take a huge toll on the health and well­being of both leaders and their organizations.”

Rockwood is known for developing sustainable ways of leading, especially with funders looking to build stronger movements among their grantees, like the Haas, Jr. Fund.

“Rockwood has become a key partner to us in helping to strengthen the skills of immigrant and LGBT leaders,” Director of Haas Leadership Initiatives Linda Wood said. “And in fostering the relationships and networks among these leaders that form a critical underpinning to collaborative work.”

Previously Executive Deputy Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force and Executive Director of the BET Foundation, Nipper started as a trainer in 2012, and became Chief Impact Officer in 2015. As of January 1, she oversees day-­to-­day decisions, while Windwood continues to expand Rockwood’s funding base and develop curriculum.

About Rockwood Leadership Institute:​ Rockwood provides personal transformative leadership practices and resources that connect social change leaders in powerful networks to create a just, sustainable, and equitable world. Twitter: @rockwoodleaders.