Change Matrix: Leading the Way Forward

Shannon on Multicultural Leadership

Change Matrix has been exploring the current state of leadership in different settings and efforts: leadership in systems change, leadership in community change, leadership in social justice efforts, and leadership in individual wellbeing.  From the thirty thousand foot view down to the daily walk, we have been looking, learning, and sharing with each other our discoveries. Now we have an opportunity to expand collective effort even further to include voices from other countries and communities.

A few years back, Shannon CrossBear had a chance to participate in a leadership exchange through the International Institutes for Mental Health Leadership(IIMHL). The focus of IIMHL is on leadership development through the creation of networks and partnerships for rapid knowledge transfer about innovations and problem solving across countries and agencies.  A major mechanism through which IIMHL advances leadership development is the international Leadership Exchange, held every sixteen months, rotating across the continents where sponsoring countries are located – Australasia, North America and Europe. The nine IIMHL member countries are Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, Sweden and the Netherlands. Shannon was able to participate in two exchanges, one focused on family voice in Mental Health systems in Ottawa, Canada and one focused on transitional age youth in Brisbane, Australia. In recent years she has kept up with the news through the IIMHL Newsletter.

Over the same period of time, Shannon and Suganya Sockalingam, with whom she co-trained at the Georgetown University Leadership Academy, discussed the concept of multicultural leadership and wondered if values and principles of leadership currently being expressed in leadership curricula within the US  resonated within other cultures. They started meeting regularly and identified concepts and frameworks related to leadership in collectivist societies. What they learned deepened their desire to practice leadership and provide leadership development from a different perspective – that of multicultural leadership practice.

In the last several months, along with Elizabeth Waetzig, Shannon, and Suganya have been exploring a transformation circle of Learning, Being, and Doing in Multicultural Leadership. Along with other interested CM team members, they are developing a curriculum to be shared in a future leadership retreat.

In the process of identifying resources on multicultural leadership, Shannon contacted the IIMHL to see how we might engage with members of their network in a dialogue about what leadership might look like across different countries and communities. As a consequence of CM’s interest in developing this multicultural leadership framework in connection with the IIMHL, CM was invited to sponsor a match during the next International Leadership Exchange slated for September 2019.  During this forthcoming match, CM will facilitate dialogue among match participants regarding leadership frameworks and leadership development in their respective Neighborhoods, Communities, Countries, Provinces, States, Tribes and Territories.

We (CM) believe that leadership is practiced in different ways across the globe and would like to explore various models of leadership development. We are curious and want to know…

  •      How do leadership models that are not from the dominant culture co-exist or operate within a more western and significantly different frame?
  •      How is leadership developed in youth and young adult populations? Do those models incorporate components that are culturally congruent with the populations that have the greatest disparities?
  •      How do you measure the effectiveness of that leadership development? (More people entering the field, more disparate populations being served, more community engagement, etc.)

These are some of the questions we will explore during the match. Through facilitated discussion, we will develop a leadership framework that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

Contributed by: Shannon CrossBear, Suganya Sockalingam, and Elizabeth Waetzig