STP Network

A home for long-term power building across the progressive movement

Mise en Place

November 18, 2019 – January 15, 2020

How might we...

  • Governing Power: How might we shift governing power more towards justice?
    • How do we start living into democracy now at Washington CAN?
      • How might we build a leadership council structure that mirrors our values ( eg in which there is equity and everyone feels powerful)?
        • How might I as the executive director open generative and vulnerable space for the board to grapple with movement issues?


By breaking a movement habit of learning in isolation related to recognizing women of colors work and sharing it with the board, I am modeling the kind of truthful participation in democracy that we want from our board.


Mary reached out to board member to inquire about silence in response to email where Mary apologized publicly  to one board member. 

Ask board member to lead conversation at next board meeting about the non responsiveness.

Create space for group reflection and grappling with learnings so that they are not all done in private and to bust through the habit that learning needs to be embarrassing(it doesn’t need to be!).


  • Success: Board member leads convo at board meeting. 
  • Failure:  no conversation happens, still no feedback or engagement with topic. Learning opportunity on movement issue lost.


Learning community is a space where we can say “ this is how it is hard and how we can at least acknowledge it.”

Habit of being used to chaos and high highs and low lows so was disappointed that there wasn’t something more profound and in reflection, leaning into ok to be even.  Not expect closure and light bulbs for everyone. 

Board was inquisitive and not everyone agreed about this movement habit and the impact/importance. 

They were able to practice not being in agreement and valuing different viewpoint.

Board was able to hold learning space that Mary set up. Another board member led the discussion, a necessary step in shared leadership.  Mary felt relief from this shared leadership.

We have to move up to grapple with movement issues, for example  people erasing each other’ s work and not apologizing and learning lessons in silence and isolation because that is what is safest-  thinking that it is an issue of performance. So in movement work we aren’t pushing it. Living into democracy is about being truthful, not a rubber stamp that isn’t true democracy. Good to have those harder real issues and bring them to the table.


Committed to finding ways board members can lead sections of board meetings.


How might other people on the board and/or staff continue to learn publicly with me?

Accountable Mary
Team Mary and the Board
Documents Design + Log
Modified July 22, 2020
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