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Appreciating Eugene After 8 Years of Service

There are no words to express our gratitude to Eugene Kim but we are going to try…..

First, let’s be clear, Eugene Kim may be finishing his term as board chair but he has promised us, and we are going to hold him to it that he will still be around and involved.  After all, there is no way we could let someone with Eugene’s countless talents get away.  It is hard to believe that it has been eight years since Eugene joined the LLC board.   Eugene was all about collaboration when we met him and LLC has followed in his footsteps putting a stake in the ground that this is the type of leadership we need.  Eugene embodies the LLC ethos of participant driven learning and expertise and was a thought provoking partner in designing collaborative learning spaces with a network lens. I remember one time that we convened a group to plan our national meeting, Creating Space, and quickly realize that the small assembled group was not reflective of our community in age or race/ethnicity.  We fired ourselves and with Eugene’s urging put out an invitation to our entire network to see who would like to help design Creating Space.  Over 30 people responded and I remember asking Eugene how we should select people.  His answer surprised (and yes, worried me).  He said, “Take everyone”.  Under his leadership we did, we used virtual tools to be able to engage a national group and as Eugene predicted some people took on specific parts of the meeting and a smaller group held the whole.  When you do an event year after year it can be hard to step away from the tried and true to make room for innovation.  Eugene opened that room…wide open, and it was the best Creating Space ever!

But that was not all, Eugene was not done shaking things up with his creative approach.  At a board meeting Eugene led an exercise where board members had to go find strangers and tell them about LLC, then Eugene brought those strangers in to tell us what they heard.   As you might imagine, we had some humble lessons in how we message who we are; between Eugene and Natalia I think we are doing a better job.  We can always count on Eugene to push our thinking.  Under his leadership as board chair he challenged us to set some bold three-year goals for ourselves and we are making good progress, especially on thought leadership and practical tools; we hope you have noticed.  Eugene is the kind of friend, that every organization (and individual) should have, the one the will hold you fiercely accountable to being your best.  LLC has grown under Eugene’s leadership and so have I.    From the bottom of our hearts, thank you Eugene for your many contributions to LLC as our board chair and for helping us to do our best in promoting leadership that is more inclusive, networked and collective!  And thank you in advance, for the years ahead in which we will find creative ways to tap your talent and brilliance.  (We know where you live.) 

From Eugene :

“Saying Goodbye to the Leadership Learning Community…I spent eight wonderful years on the board of Leadership Learning Community, an innovative Oakland-based nonprofit focused on transforming how we develop leaders for a more just, equitable world. Today was my last day on the board. I'm so proud of what the organization has accomplished over the past eight years, so honored that I was able to be a part of it, and so grateful for all of the friendships and deep learning that I'm taking with me.”

And just for fun, here is a link to Eugene's blog article on LLC back in 2007.


thank you!

Deborah, thank you so much for this and for everything. The stories you shared say as much about you and the organization as they do about me. It takes an incredibly strong commitment to values to question your own approach, to hold yourself accountable, and to not only be open to but to embrace discomfort and curmudgeons like me.

I stuck around for as long as I did because LLC is making the right kind of difference, because I was constantly learning from all of you, but most of all, because of the incredible people you brought together. You are at the center of that, Deborah. Thank you so much for everything you've done, and thank you for letting me be a part of it.