Date of Award
In this capstone project, I explored how I could serve 350Vermont, the grassroots climate justice organization I work with, in transitioning from a more traditional staff structure to a shared leadership, staff collective model.
The person-centered approach described by Carl Rogers (Rogers, 1977) served as a central framework for the project: practicing unconditional positive regard, empathy, authenticity, and attention to power dynamics and oppression. Methods included various practices to deepen relationships, increase collective awareness of power dynamics, build capacity to communicate and collaborate, center well-being, co-create a shared vision, and develop a shared narrative to empower and support the collective.
From these methods came many capacities being developed in our emergent collective, in interpersonal relationships, and in my leadership practice, such as practices of discussing relationships and power dynamics, the ability to analyze and discuss how white supremacy shows up in our work, a commitment to adopting justice frameworks, incorporating more diverse ways of knowing, and responding to emergence. Evaluation points to the project being a strong beginning of 350VT’s move to a staff collective, with value to be found in continuing the practices initiated in the project, as well as in cultivating additional capacities.
Matthew Kolan, Ph.D.
Professional Affiliate Coach
Jacobson, Lily, "Master's Project: Creating Conditions for Collective" (2020). Rubenstein School Leadership for Sustainability Project Publications. 22.