Leadership & Learning Letters

Written by Deanna Rolffs, Senior Design Consultant
Leadership & Learning Letters - Website Header

Wait, Are You Saying I Have Power?

Posted by Deanna Rolffs on Apr 7, 2021 6:00:00 AM

What does power feel like, look like, sound like?

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Topics: leadership, learning, power, anti-racism, anti-oppression, marginalization, oppression, fragility

The False Allure of Technical (vs. Adaptive) Leadership

Posted by Deanna Rolffs on Mar 24, 2021 6:00:00 AM

The path isn’t a straight line; it’s a spiral. You continually come back to things you thought you understood and see deeper truths. - Barry H. Gillespie

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Topics: process consulting, leadership, journey, power, anti-racism, anti-white supremacy, technical problems, woman-owned business, business startup, privilege, anti-oppression, new consulting practice

Part 2 - Anti-White Supremacy: Mileposts and Calls to Action

Posted by Deanna Rolffs on Mar 10, 2021 6:00:00 AM

How do you react to messy things? Embrace? Eschew? Ignore? Make peace? Fight?

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Topics: leadership, learning, courage, brave, growth mindset, power, White Supremacy Culture, whiteness, love, anti-racism, anti-white supremacy, equity, inclusion, racial equity

Part 1 - Anti-White Supremacy: Who am I, as a white person, to be anti-racist?

Posted by Deanna Rolffs on Feb 24, 2021 6:00:00 AM

What does it mean for me as a white woman to be anti-racist? I'm learning  that these things are imperative: learn about the system of white supremacy, grow white consciousness and deeply understand power. Anti-racism is not a destination nor a way of being; it's a leadership and learning practice that is more relevant and necessary than ever. 

Everything I know about white supremacy I have learned from People of Color. Yet I see white supremacy culture evidenced more clearly every day in myself, my relationships, our institutions, and U.S. systems. Recently Sam Sanders, on NPR's It's Been a Minute, interviewed Claudia Rankine. Dr. Rankine shared that "Black people didn't create racist systems; it's up to white people to fix it."

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Topics: leadership, learning, courage, brave, power, White Supremacy Culture, whiteness, love, anti-racism, anti-white supremacy, diversity, equity, inclusion, racial equity

Perfectionism Pressure: It's Killing Your Soul

Posted by Deanna Rolffs on Feb 10, 2021 6:00:00 AM

I grew up frozen, in fear of the next arrow if I wasn’t perfect. I was enculturated to shrink from authentic feedback. Whispered trash-talking was a common response to any mistake. How can we proceed when perfection is expected?

I received my first consultant role at 26 years old. They were drawn to my non-traditional perspective: a social worker with organizational change background working with a diverse team serving thousands of K-12 educators, administrators, and superintendents. Soon after nervously facilitating a few groups, I learned through the grapevine that one administrator told my boss: “don’t you ever put her in front of my team.” They expected perfection, a specific pedigree.

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Topics: leadership, learning, courage, growth mindset, Brene Brown, power, joy, community, perfectionism, vulnerability, White Supremacy Culture, laughter

Silencing Your Inner Hater

Posted by Deanna Rolffs on Jan 27, 2021 6:00:00 AM

I was petrified to write.

Women's voices can be deemed too shrill, intimidating, loud, bossy, or bitchy. Those narratives seek to silence us, to drain our power and crush our wisdom. Critics are everywhere, even inside our own heads.

For years I fought my inner critic that kept me from writing.  I tried to force writing, set better deadlines with strategies, mandate SMART(er) goals, or follow yet another successful writer's methodologies. Maybe then I could live up to a million external expectations. That blocked my inner flow.

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Topics: leadership, listening, brave, fear, listen, transformation, quiet, peace

Welcome to Leadership & Learning Letters Launch

Posted by Deanna Rolffs on Jan 13, 2021 6:00:00 AM

Leadership can be lonely, but we don’t have to walk this journey alone.

I walk alongside clients as a coach and consultant and am constantly amazed at the bravery, openness, and creativity it takes to lead well. I'm inspired when leaders tackle their biggest challenges, such as:

  • How do I work toward being an anti-racist leader?
  • Is this a good time to solidify or update our mission, vision, and values?
  • How do I develop as a leader, and how do I develop leaders around me?
  • My perfectionism paralyzes me; what now?
  • What is white supremacy, and how does it impact me?
  • Why is being on my growth edge is so uncomfortable and lonely?
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Topics: leadership, learning, brave, growth, journey