Freedom Through Shared Leadership: Owning our Fabulous & Rising Together

Freedom Through Shared Leadership: Owning Our Fabulous & Rising Together

A Half Day Immersion

When: July 22nd, 2017   1-5pm

Where: Centre for Social Innovation New York City (click for address)

Join GRTL’s Lori Hanau along with fellow realistic optimists, Ali Stroker and Jim Stroker for a half day immersion into shared leadership! We will immerse in some of the ingredients in the “secret sauce recipe” for leadership and sharing power, including the principles of the ensemble and the 5 Gs for Super Power Relationships. Come shine and rise with us!

Register Here!

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Seriously Joyful

Seriously Joyful

By Jodi Clark

“Children play earnestly as if it were work. But people grow up, and they work with a sorrow upon them. It’s duty.”

-Mary Oliver

How should we be behaving in beloved community? What are the practices? How do we even start the conversation? Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his infamous call, inspiring so many with his vision of how to live in celebration of our diversity every day: “Our goal is to create a beloved community and his will require a qualitative change in our souls and a quantitative change in our lives.” The key, like with so many shifts in our world, is to start with ourselves.

I am a part of the faculty in the management program at Marlboro College Graduate and Professional Studies, along with Lori Hanau, who is also a co-chair of the program. The program is one of blended learning, including online studies and monthly residency weekends. The residency weekends are the one time a month in the academic trimester where the students, staff and faculty (along with occasional family and friends in the mix) convene in person. Being cognizant of building a vibrant community, both on line and in person is a core value at Marlboro. We eat our meals together. We share what is happening in the rest our lives, take short hikes on the trails, have the occasional dance party and otherwise make space for impromptu shared moments beyond our coursework.

Flash to January 2017’s opening trimester residency weekend. Our deep community time is always a priority no matter the weekend.This residency had a particular weight to it, being both the opening of the new trimester as well as coinciding with the Million Woman March on Washington. Both impromptu and designed community time was filled with space to take in both the national and local events including viewing live coverage of the march along with some members attending a local Sister March Vigil. In the middle of the Residency on Saturday, we held Community Circle in the Management program. This practice, a rarity in any academic setting, is one of our core community building practices. Imagine masters program students, staff, and faculty, guests and family including children along with the occasional and very welcome dog coming together in the middle of a rigorous academic day to taking time to share quiet meditative moments, reflections, challenges, celebrations, and generally focus on being together rather than doing together. We embody our values of seeing each other as equal learning partners in our shared humanity first and foremost. Our value of wholeness is served when we open with silence and sometimes integrate moments of play, such as an improv game. We practice our value of collective wisdom when gathering input on challenges that are offered into the group of us by any of us attending. We always share about ourselves through an opening inquiry after the silence and/or play. This time, we were sharing around the circle in response to the inquiry of: What is inspiring you to action in this new year?

I was facilitating this Circle. I am deeply honored to show up in this way for the community. It is a sacred space. It is also the practice that inspired me to join Lori in the work of shared leadership out beyond Marlboro. I do not take the responsibility lightly. Given the weight of what was already in the room, I knew that holding a strong space was key. I was open. I made certain to make gentle eye contact with everyone. I was tuning in while each member shared. Then it was my turn. I said that what was inspiring me was how my communities were generously sharing and acting together in a time filled with uncertainty. And what I am inspired to do is remind us that in the midst of intensity and our deep community work, we remember our joy.

Within moments of my reminder of lightness and joy dropping out of my mouth, Lori leaned over and proceeded to tickle me, whispering, “So be joyful! My goodness, if you could see your face!” Busted! I was so busy being strong, I completely left joy by the wayside. Not only that, joy and playfulness are things I stand for, or rather, tend to instigate and giggle along with. I had totally forgotten.

Observing myself over the following weeks, I realized that not only had I forgotten it in that moment, but I had been forgetting it elsewhere in my life. I had been saying the words, but my words and my actions were not aligned. I was forgetting my humor, my easy smile, my groan-worthy puns, my playfulness.

Laughter and joy are strong. I had gotten so caught up with getting this time and other times perfect that I was leaving out a major portion of myself. This is another key role of beloved community. We can help each other to remember and see what is best in us. Doing this with joy and laughter, we can move a step further into lifting each other up along the way.

Comedian Negin Farsad said recently in a TED Radio Hour, entitled Painfully Funny, that “the way humans get through these really terrible times is by flipping the script on themselves.” By remembering to laugh. Point taken. But how does that make a difference for a whole community? Sandi Toksvig from the same TED program reflected that, “When we laugh out loud and we realize that there are others who think the same as us, then we feel better. And maybe it encourages us to keep going and not to just sit at home and lock the door and think, I’m not coming out till this is over. . . I saw that when I was in the theater last night, and I heard 700 people all laughing together, and I thought, we don’t even know each other but we’ve been brought together by that wonderful noise.” In our beloved communities, let’s remember to make some joyful noise together.

A Beloved Community is Seriously Joyful #culture #sharedleadership #joy #wholeness @ChampionJodi Click To Tweet

Here are some simple ways to bring in joy that we practice at Marlboro that can bring some instant joy to a work day elsewhere:

  1. Be mindful of how you greet everyone. Offer gentle eye contact. An open expression. Smile when it feels authentic. Words may or may not even be needed. Rather than say “How are you?” Which can carry an unintentional expectation to respond, “I’m good, how are you?” whether we are in fact “good” or not. Smiles are authentically contagious.
  2. Start a meeting by asking: “What made you smile recently?”  The contagion of smiles around the room will light everyone up and help your meeting start off on an undeniably joyful note.
  3. Take a 5 minute dance party break. Not only is this a great little workout, you can learn more about your group very quickly, getting to know the types of music individual members love and the memories they have associated with those songs. Here is a guide on how to host and integrate them into your work day.
  4. Share a corny joke, especially one from your children or your childhood. When are we ever too old to enjoy these? Whether you are groaning together or laughing or a little of both, it provides a moment of deeper connection to your whole self. Can’t quite remember a corny joke in the moment? Here’s one from my four-year old “messy food obsessed” brain to get you started:

Knock, knock

(Who’s there?)


(Bologna who?)

Bologna all over your head!

We will share more ideas and practices during our Building Beloved Community Webinar session: Making a Joyful Noise on April 25th 11:30am-12:45pm EST

What ways do you bring joy into your workplace? Share your favorite practices and stories with us in the comment section below!

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The New Women’s Movement: A Global Virtual Summit

The Nefullsizeoutput_7bbw Women’s Movement: A Global Virtual Summit

Join GRTL founder, Lori Hanau and 24 other powerful women leaders in Conversation: How do we heal the FEMININE WOUND of separation from our power, our bodies, our earth, and other women? How do we truly come together? Join this timely roundtable conversation.  Lori’s talk, The Undefended Heart: Upgrading Our Humanity Through Shared Leadership will air on Monday, January 23rd!

Sign up for free access to the whole summit here:

Rising into #SharedLeadership with an undefended heart in the New Women's Movement… Click To Tweet


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Creating a Yes, and Culture

Creating a Culture of Yes, and. . .

By Jodi Clark

(Originally published for NHBSR’s November 2016 Newsletter )

“Would you lead us in an improv game right now?” That was the question I received at the conclusion of a panel discussion on how to build a network at the recent Sustainatopia conference in Boston. I responded with, “Yes, I would be glad to!” I had not known that would be asked of me. I had simply shown up to the session wanting to participate, to be informed, enlightened, and make new connections. I was delighted to be invited to co-create the end of the session! I was grateful that I had something I could readily contribute and that it was so openly and enthusiastically received. All of the participants took part in the activity. It was a magical, emergent moment of group co-creation.

This is the essence of the improvisational theater concept of “Yes, and. . .” One person makes an offer of an idea. Another person in the scene accepts that offer without question, and then builds off of it with their own. The scene continues in this way, birthing into being one offer after another until the actors collectively decide it has come to an end. There is never a moment of “No, and. . .” or even “Yes, but. . .” as the ethos of those statements is to negate, shut down, and exclude. Improv theater is about accepting what is brought, building off of it and unequivocally supporting everyone in the scene, no matter what, in order to co-create the best possible story together.

“Yes, and. . .”  and weaving the principles of the ensemble or what we call Shared Leadership is something we are committed to supporting in our work with organizations and teams at Global Round Table Leadership. In our definition of Shared Leadership, everyone is equally responsible for the vibrancy and high function of the whole, no matter their role, status or expertise within their team or organization. When everyone in your organization shows up leading with your full selves in support of and in relationship to everyone else’s success in the organization, there is greater purpose and meaning for the team and the whole company. Your team experiences greater creative sparks in the work itself and greater capacity to create positive impact in the world with your work.

W. S. Badger is one of these workplaces where you do not need to leave parts of yourself out. The company has said “Yes, and. . .” to all who work for them by the nature of their everyday practices with each other. Recently named as one of NH Business Magazine’s Best Places to Work and also named Best for the World and Best for the Environment by B-Lab, Badger’s culture reflects their commitment to the wholeness of their employees, accepting the offer of everything that’s brought. In addition to the initiatives my colleagues, Lori Hanau and Claire Wheeler featured in their recent spotlight article in Conscious Company Magazine: 3 Lessons From a Case Study from a True Sharing Model, there are a number of practices and initiatives which honor the wholeness of each employee in their everyday lives with the company. When an employee asked if there could be a labyrinth on site for meditation, Badger said “Yes, and…” by supporting the employee to construct it. They have said “Yes, and. . .” to families being an essential part the work environment by implementing a Babies at Work program and building a daycare center down the street on their old company site. Badger has said “Yes!” to committing to sustainably grown ingredients for all of the products “and. . .” to ensure that the food they eat together is partially sourced from the onsite organic gardens the employees cultivate.  Badger’s “Yes, and . .” ethic has provided the opportunity for community, nourishment, and stewardship of the land to be woven into their everyday experience together.

Badger’s participatory, ensemble-like culture recognizes the inextricable link between the wholeness of each person to the wholeness of their work together and their impact on the world around them. We at Global Round Table Leadership are continually inspired by companies like Badger who offer the “Yes, and…” power of shared leadership by creating the space for their employees to be their whole selves in order to offer their full gifts.

(Thank you once again to NHBSR  and Conscious Company Magazine for inviting us to share our thoughts and shining the light on companies living into shared leadership!)

Exploring the Benefits of Creating a Yes, and. . . Culture at work @BadgerBalmUSA @ConsciousCoMag… Click To Tweet

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GRTL Heading to Philadelphia for the SVN Fall Conference 2016


WORKSHOP: Shared Leadership: Exploring a New Paradigm of Leadership

Join GRTL Team Members, Lori Hanau and Jodi Clark at the Social Venture Network Fall 2016 Conference: The Business of Impact November 2-5 in Philadelphia, PA. They will be offering the following session on Friday, November 4th:

Shared Leadership: Exploring a New Paradigm of Leadership

Transition from a paradigm of profit-over-people, roles-over-relationships and separations-over systems thinking and learn how to identify the foundations of the Shared Leadership Framework versus the traditional “boss” model of hierarchical leadership. You will model a process by embodying a “jazz ensemble” flow that brings all voices and perspectives into our co-created conversation and practice together.

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Shared Leadership at Performing the World

Awakening to Our Agency at Performing the World


GRTL is once again honored and excited to be facilitating a workshop for the Performing the World conference happening in New York City, September 23-25, 2016. This year’s theme is “Can We Perform Our Way Into Power?” We would love you to join us there!

Our workshop will be:

Awakening to Our Agency – Embodying Our Leadership

We have been conditioned within our workplaces, communities, and homes to identify and act first and foremost through our roles, status and expertise, disconnecting us from our full potential and from one another. In our current culture, we are given the strong message that we need to work our way to the top in order to lead.  There is a different way of leading that is not only necessary, it is already arriving.  There is a growing paradigm shift in which leadership is about cultivating new ways of working together, rooted in our innate abilities to collectively accomplish business objectives and impact social change.  This is shift from positional power into shared power. This interactive session will provide a frame for cultivating the awareness, presence, and skills to build vibrant environments that activate one’s purpose, collective wisdom and creativity. Participants will practice and experience what our authentic leadership can look and feel like for ourselves and for the group.

For more information or to register:

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Shared Leadership For Entrepreneurs

WORKSHOP: Shared Leadership for Entrepreneurs


GRTL’s Lori Hanau and Jodi Clark will be bringing Shared Leadership to Brattleboro, VT through the Instig8 Program of the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC).

Thursday, July 21st 6-8pm at Marlboro College Graduate and Professional Studies in Brattleboro, VT

Register Here!

A workshop focused on innovation in leadership, culture building and teamwork for
entrepreneurs. Whether you are building the team of your company or considering
collaborating with other teams, this interactive session will offer you experience in building
the muscles of shared leadership. We will identify the foundations of the Shared Leadership
Framework up against the traditional “boss” model of hierarchical leadership. In doing so,
we’ll model the process by embodying a “jazz ensemble” flow, bringing all voices and
perspectives to co-create the conversation. After building the framework, we’ll begin
practicing this new way of leading, touching on shared leadership skills and techniques that
offer ways to begin building group awareness, empowerment, collaboration, wholehearted
communication, positive risk taking and collective creativity. Participants will leave with the
groundwork to understand their own leadership mindset and how to guide teams toward
greater excellence and outcomes from the inside out.

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A Hundred Strangers

A Hundred Strangers

Guest Blog on Shared Leadership by Dhruv Jagasia, CEO and Founder of Dharma Eyewear @dharmaco

Dhruv Jagasia

Dhruv Jagasia

A hundred strangers. That’s how we all started out, at least; as strangers. I took a fifteen minute subway ride to Parsons, walked into the classroom and I sat down at a desk not too far from the front. After all, I knew Lori Hanau well and I wanted to experience firsthand what was about to happen. Little did I know what would actually happen.

I knew that Lori was a community builder within the management programs at Marlboro College Graduate School and that she worked in the Shared Leadership space, but I hadn’t yet experienced her work outside of the ultra-liberal safe-zone that is Marlboro College. I’m a graduate student at Marlboro, working towards my MBA in Conscious Business. There, in the tiny city of Brattleboro, Vermont, amongst yogis, business people and non-profiteers, Lori had cultivated a close-knit community at a graduate school in which our hybrid in-person and online learning setup meant that we commuted from as far as California, New York and Florida. “Building a community there mustn’t be too hard, I thought. After all, we’re all a bunch of pseudo-hippies. Sitting in circles and talking about our feelings comes naturally to us.”

“So how the hell was Lori going to achieve that in New York?” I thought. New York is so densely packed and the pace of the day is so quick that by the end of the day, most people want to lock themselves in their apartment or in a bar, let alone sit together with strangers and talk about the “f” word – feelings.


“Okay, everyone, let’s all take our desks and turn them so we form a circle,” she said, after introducing herself and introducing us to the four pillars of shared leadership. Circle was something I was used to and had been exposed to going to school at Marlboro. There, we were all considered ‘learning partners’. Sure, it can sound a bit cheesy, but flattening hierarchies can introduce a sense of ease, openness and ownership (at the best of times).That meant that we spoke up to professors or administrators if we thought they were in the wrong. In a way, it turned professors in to students as well; there was a sense that they were there to learn from us just as much as we were there to learn from them.

But what about these Parson’s students, teachers, and otherwise New York professionals? How would they react to it? I could sense a little uneasiness, but we were all reassured by Lori’s calm and pervasive sense of confidence that filled the room. “She’s bringing a bit of Marlboro to New York,” I thought to myself. “This should be interesting.”


The first thing you’ll notice about Lori Hanau is that she is wacky – in the most charming and disarming way possible. She’s smiling, she’s laughing, she’s cracking jokes, she’s goofy – but she’s Lori. And that is what she preaches. “We need to show up in our humanity and in our wholeness,” she would often say. I hadn’t really understood what that meant until that night at Parsons. Just as being vulnerable and opening yourself up to others allows others to open up around you, being your goofiest self, if that’s who you really are, gives others the confidence to show up authentically, too. In a few moments, we went from being a mix of strangers, unsure of ourselves and unsure of each other, to laughing and sharing deep vulnerabilities; some stuff, I’m sure, not even our closest loved ones knew about us.


At one point, we were practicing an exercise where we all stood in a circle, and we would take turns sharing vulnerabilities and stepping further into the circle and, thus, out of our comfort zones. The most profound moment occurred when one of the teachers, whom many of the students were familiar with, admitted to everyone that speaking in front of others filled with him a sense of anxiety and dread. At first, we were shocked. He’s a professor, after all. And then, we all held him together in a sense of nurturing. It was like we were all saying, “there, there… we understand… it’s okay.” No one said anything, but that’s what we all felt and we cared for him in that moment. We transcended our individual selves, we became a community and, without words, we felt as one. In that moment, I understood what shared vulnerability meant, and how powerful communities can be.

Collective Wisdom

And I realized the power of vulnerability, as after the professor spoke, a very young student said another thing that shocked us all with its rawness and its bold truth. Here was a nineteen year old student speaking with maturity, with poise, and with assuredness. In that moment, she immediately gained all of our respect for being vulnerable and for being her true self. I can’t imagine many other scenarios where someone so young could be so openly bold and frank, speaking amongst her peers and adults, many of whom she did not know, and could be regarded with that much respect. Community norms established and held by us all in the last hour had allowed for her personal growth in that moment.

Shared Leadership

Now that I think about it, Lori Hanau had not issued one single command. She only asked us that we form a circle. She only asked us to be ourselves. She only asked us to share space with each other. She asked us to listen with intention. She only asked us to respect ourselves – whoever we are. Whoever we are – that can’t be stressed enough. No judgments were issued. Here was a safe space, in the middle of New York City.

She did not lead in a traditional sense; she was not our boss. We were given the space to be human, to grow, to laugh, to learn, to be kind, to cheer and to be together. This was Shared Leadership; this was the product of Equality, Wholeness, Humanity and Collective Wisdom.

By the end of the workshop, we were no longer strangers. The kinship we felt cannot now be put into words. The way we felt, as one, could never be truly synthesized into this article. But, one thing became certain. If Lori Hanau can convert strangers with all sorts of superficial differences into kindred spirits in just a couple hours in the middle of New York City, we can create kinship and community anywhere. And our world needs this more than ever.

Many of us feel, I’m sure, a sense of longing, of loneliness, of disconnection and discontent. Especially in an age of electronic-device proliferation. What many of us want, I think, is to be needed, to belong, to be close to other people; to be part of something bigger than ourselves. That is but a small part what community offers us.
So I urge you to step out of your comfort zone. I urge you to be vulnerable. I urge you to give others the space to be their authentic whole selves, to grow, to earn respect, and to be human. Everyone has a leader hidden inside of them. All we have to do is let that seed flower and watch the world become a better place.

Dhruv participated in Lori Hanau’s Shared Leadership Workshop at Parsons School of Design in the Spring of 2015. We so appreciate him sharing his insights and reflections about his experience. For additional reflections from that workshop and Shared Leadership Practices, see Lori Hanau and Claire Wheeler’s May/June article in Conscious Company MagazineLead Better By Putting People First

How do you show up in your wholeness and humanity in your work and community? Please share your thoughts and stories with the link below.

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While they were saying it couldn't be done, it was done.
— Helen Keller