Expanding Inclusive Leadership: Maven Leadership Collective

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Photo courtesy of the Maven Leadership Collective, Facebook.

The Maven Leadership Collective, co-founded by Corey Davis who serves as Executive Director and Daniel Anzueto who serves as Board Chair, is a leadership development institute for queer and transgender people of color and allies that focuses on closing the technical skills gap of social impact organizations.

According to Davis, a study published in early 2017 by the Building Movement Project reported that the percentage of nonprofit senior level representation of people of color, has not changed in a decade and that queer identity is a compounding barrier to advancement.

“There is an urgent need to shift our culture to make inclusive leadership the norm,” Davis stated.

Davis said that he and Anzueto are long time volunteers in the community who saw the need for inclusive leadership and created Maven Leadership as their contribution to moving the needle for this singular focus. Borrowing a quote from Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman to be elected to Congress in 1968, Davis said, “Ours is a very simple premise. ‘If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.’ In 2017, we still need more folding chairs.”

One of the ways that Maven Leadership Collective is implementing their goal for inclusive leadership is through their Maven Leadership Cohort program. The 14-month program is free and open to residents of Miami Dade and Broward counties who have professional or volunteer experience in social entrepreneurship and community impact.

The curriculum is based on a “Learn, Play, Share” model where leaders engage in seven monthly learning sessions that focus on five competencies of capacity, synthesis, wellness, cultural fluency and resilience. Recently twelve local change makers were selected for the program.

“When we selected the finalists, we were looking for people who are resilient, willing to learn, and have a clear vision for how they want to foster greater community engagement to become better equipped as nonprofit leaders and social entrepreneurs,” Davis stated.

The twelve selected Mavens are a diverse group who are broadly identified, but are unified by their proven commitment to social impact and inclusive leadership.

“Our Mavens impact issues related to the arts, housing, climate change, youth advocacy, equality and much more.”

According to Davis, the selection process for the Maven Cohort program began in August 2017 with community partners participating in a group selection process to assist Maven Leadership in making determinations. Davis said that the program is transformational because necessary technical skills are taught to redefine the leadership narrative at a time when all hands are needed on deck.

“We do not have the luxury of the status quo where meaningful inclusion and access to opportunity are not prioritized. Sustainable solutions will only come through innovation.”

As South Florida has historically been a transient region, Maven Leadership Collective strives to give talented individuals a reason to stay. Their strategy is to help leaders strengthen their professional networks, create paths to new career and volunteer opportunities, and discover new neighborhoods, institutions and people who make South Florida a great place to live.

“We believe that Mavens will be more likely to deepen their connection to South Florida long term as a result of our program. Miami is on the rise and we are betting on it having a bright future,” Davis said.

The application period for Maven Leadership Cohort program, Cohort 2, will open in April 2018, with the program set to start in July 2018. Those who are interested should follow Maven Leadership on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter @mavenleaders or visit https://www.mavenleadership.org/.

Also scheduled is Maven Leadership Collective’s popular salon series, #NotMyReality, that explores the highs and lows of queer people of color representation in film, pop culture and media. This is a free event scheduled to take place at O Cinema Wynwood, located at 90 NW 29th street, Miami on November 5th from 12 to 2 p.m. 


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