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Increasingly, people of color are becoming leaders of national community development organizations. When they do so, they face not only the challenge of taking the helm in historically white-led organizations, but the challenge of leading in times when more is demanded of leaders. What strategies are being used to address these challenges? And how are notions of what it means to be a leader being redefined?

For this conversation, our panelists are:

  • Tony Pickett is CEO of the Grounded Solutions Network, a Black-led national nonprofit based in Washington, DC, which supports inclusive housing policies, community land trusts and multiple other housing models with lasting affordability.
  • Dr. Akilah Watkins is former president and CEO of the Center for Community Progress, which works to works to transform vacant properties into neighborhood assets. She will also soon be president and CEO of Independent Sector, a national nonprofit association.
  • Seema Agnani is the executive director of National CAPACD, a progressive coalition of nearly 100 community-based organizations that serve Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, spanning across 21 states and the Pacific Islands.

This webinar explores:

  • What do inclusive models of leadership for racial and economic justice look like?
  • Why is radical empathy” critical to effective leadership?
  • What does collective leadership look like?
  • What are some leading challenges in redefining leadership?
  • What is the role of partnerships in this work?
  • What are tangible examples of new leadership practices?
  • How do you invest in leadership and develop leaders?



Seema Agnani, “AAPI Women Leaders Speak Out: We Are Not Your Flavor of the Month,” NPQ, May 25, 2021.

Michael Bochnovic and Courtney Knox, Championing Leaders of Color in Housing Equity and Community Development, Washington, DC:  Center for Community Progress, April 2022. 

Amy Costello and Frederica Boswell, “Facing ‘Existential Threat,’ Nonprofit Leaders Look to Cope and Make Change,” NPQ, April 16, 2020.

Steve Dubb, “What Does Community Development for Liberation Look Like? NPQ, April 27, 2022.

Steve Dubb, “Housing Justice Leaders Assess How to Build Power for the Long Haul,” NPQ, May 25, 2022.

Tony Pickett, “Envisioning Radical Empathy for Community Land Ownership and Prosperity,” NPQ, December 8, 2021. 

Marietta Rodriguez, Dr. Akilah Watkins, Lisa Rice, and Tony Pickett, “America’s Infrastructure Needs: Community Development Leaders Weigh In,” NPQ, October 27, 2021.