Why Girls Rock Philly uses a shared leadership model - Generocity Philly

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Mar. 1, 2017 1:46 pm

Why Girls Rock Philly uses a shared leadership model

The collaboration-focused music education nonprofit is hiring for two co-director positions.

Girls Rock Philly's 2016 youth showcase.

(Courtesy photo)

When music education nonprofit Girls Rock Philly reached out to tell us about two open positions they’re looking to fill, our metaphorical ears perked up.

Creative Director Andrea Jácome wrote:

“Perhaps you heard the news but we’re really excited about the moment we’re in: We’re expanding our shared leadership model to include 3 co-directors. Right now the open positions are for operations director and program director.”

Shared leadership model? Huh?

Basically, rather than a top-down approach to organizational leadership, leadership is spread across several positions within the organization.

According to the current co-directors, there aren’t a ton of shared director models out there, but there are a few — for instance, New York’s Sylvia Rivera Law Projectwhich has nine directors, and Girls Rock Charleston, which has several “core organizers.”

As Jácome and Program Director Diane Foglizzo explained, here’s how the model came about for GRP:

Foglizzo was hired as GRP’s first full-time staffer in 2012. A few years later, GRP enlisted nonprofit consulting group AORTA (with the help of a grant from the Valentine Foundation) to conduct an audit of its leadership structure, which included engaging stakeholders and program participants about their feelings about leadership and what different version of it could look like for the organization.

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As a result of that process, a youth action council was formed, and in 2015 Jácome was brought on as a co-director.

Why? Collaboration and encouraging new skills are central to GRP’s mission.

“At its core, GRP is not just about picking up an instrument,” Jácome said. “We believe there’s power in working collectively, in being vulnerable together.”

2016TeenCamp Girls Rock Philly

Girls Rock Philly’s 2016 teen camp. (Courtesy photo)

Now, the organization is going through another strategic planning process and doubling down on its commitment to the co-directorship model.

“Right now we’re in a moment of transition,” Jácome said. “Diane is leaving after five awesome years, and we took that moment to do a lot of self-reflection and evaluation.”

GRP is not only looking to fill Foglizzo’s open program directorship, but also hire a new operations director and change Jácome’s title to community organizing director.

The new position, which will take over responsibilities previously spread among part-timers and board members, will support “having a more healthy and sustainable staff” and is “pushing back at this expectation that people who work at nonprofits are going to be burnt out,” Foglizzo said. “We really want to create an organization where that’s not the case.”

Meanwhile, Jácome’s shift in title “affirms our commitment to community organizing and social justice in Philadelphia.”

Applications are due this Sunday, March 5, and GRP hopes to fill its open positions by early April before Foglizzo’s departure on April 28.

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Julie Zeglen

Julie Zeglen is the editor of Generocity. Previous to joining the Technically Media team, she served as managing editor of Star Community Newsweekly, a hyperlocal newspaper focused on Philadelphia’s River Wards. The Temple alumna lives in West Philly.

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