This week I’m taking off for a vacation to sunny Honolulu! I’m staying somewhere in Waikiki near the beach. As you read this, I’m probably on my third mai tai watching the waves crash on the North Shore. While I’m here, I have the pleasure of hanging out with Josh Levinson, Nikki Love, and Tia Blankenfeld, nonprofit leaders at Community Links Hawaii and some folks from the Hawaii Fashion Incubator. I also get to talk about building socially conscious careers with students in the Hogan Entrepreneurs Program at Chaminade University in Honolulu.

Until I resume blogging next week, here are a few things to check out:

  1. BlogHer Reach Out Tour 2008 in Boston & D.C. If you don’t know already BlogHer is an amazing community for women who blog. The BlogHer community hub is the Web’s number-one guide to blogs by women. Every blogger is invited to list her blog and share her latest words, pictures, video and opinions. More than 26,000 members have listed over 15,000 blogs by women. BlogHer’s conferences are the world’s largest for bloggers, regardless of gender—and men are indeed invited to attend! In 2008, BlogHer will host a Reach Out Tour that will hit Boston Oct. 11 & D.C. Oct 13. Whether you’re a seasoned or aspiring blogger, this is the place to be! I’m excited to be moderating a panel and learning from all the sessions at BlogHer D.C.!
  2. Recommended Reading On the long plane ride, I’ll be reading “The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations” by Ori Brafman and Rod A. Beckstrom. It’s a great framework to think about shared leadership in nonprofits. I bought it a while ago, but I’m just picking it back up now in anticipation of Ori Brafman’s keynote at the OD Network Conference I’ll be attending Oct. 19-22… The concept of the book is that it’s a starfish world and most people don’t even recognize it: One thing that business, institutions, governments and key individuals will have to realize is spiders and starfish may look alike, but starfish have a miraculous quality to them. Cut off the leg of a spider, and you have a seven-legged creature on your hands; cut off its head and you have a dead spider. But cut off the arm of a starfish and it will grow a new one. Not only that, but the severed arm can grow an entirely new body. Starfish can achieve this feat because, unlike spiders, they are decentralized; every major organ is replicated across each arm. But starfish don’t just exist in the animal kingdom. Starfish organizations are taking society and the business world by storm, and are changing the rules of strategy and competition. Like starfish in the sea, starfish organizations are organized on very different principles than we are used to seeing in traditional organizations. Spider organizations are centralized and have clear organs and structure. You know who is in charge. You see them coming. Starfish organizations, on the other hand, are based on completely different principles. They tend to organize around a shared ideology or a simple platform for communication- around ideologies like al Qaeda or Alcoholics Anonymous. They arise rapidly around the simplest ideas or platforms. Ideas or platforms that can be easily duplicated. Once they arrive they can be massively disruptive and are here to stay, for good or bad. And the Internet can help them flourish. So in today’s world starfish are starting to gain the upper hand. How can Toyota leverage starfish principles to crush their spider-like rivals, GM and Ford? How did tiny Napster cripple the global music industry? Why is free, community based Wikipedia crushing Encyclopedia Britannica overnight? Why is tiny Craigslist crippling the global newspaper industry? Why is Al Quaeda flourishing and even growing stronger? In today’s world to answer this it is essential to understand the potential strength of a starfish organization.
  3. OD Network Conference Oct. 19-22 in Austin, Texas. The Organization Development Network is an international professional association of organization development practitioners. Some are external consultants; others work within their organizations to promote healthy change. They may specialize in such areas as human resources, training, leadership or talent development, change management, strategic planning, and a broad range of initiatives designed to make organizations more effective.


imageRosetta Thurman is an emerging nonprofit leader of color working and living in the Washington, D.C. area.  She holds a Master’s degree in Nonprofit Management and blogs about nonprofit leadership and management issues at Perspectives From the Pipeline.