Shaun Leonardo: I’m seeing a number of these questions regarding power dynamics that play out with the welcoming—or “acceptance,” maybe, is more appropriate—of a co-director. And I want to make one thing very clear: I didn’t take on this invitation to fulfill tasks that Allison [Freedman Weisberg] did not want to do. Nor did I take on this invitation, or accept this invitation, to be the public-facing Brown person of the organization.
Sign up for our free newsletters
Subscribe to NPQ's newsletters to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.
And so, in assessing power dynamics, what is critical is that we—Allison and I—are collaborating to expand capacity. One with imagination, one with possibility that, yes, is messy; yes, might be slower. But then I would reverse the question and say, “What did a top-down, hierarchical methodology that centers speed and perfectionism…who did that serve in your organization?”
And I’ll get to this later when we get to a final question, but I think intentionality means that shared power opens possibility. It means that you are asking yourselves, in collaboration, “What is it that we’re not seeing? Is this the best way to do things? How do we call people into a practice so that this organization reshapes and evolves toward a community of care and accountability, toward a community of possibility?” And that’s a very different starting point.