We’re changing our name. And upping our game!

By: Ben Mangan

Executive Director

We have some big news to share. As we enter the second decade of leading social sector work at Berkeley-Haas, we are thrilled to announce that we’re changing our name – to the Center for Social Sector Leadership. Our spiffy new logo appears below:


We made this change because the social sector is growing and evolving– and so is the work of our Center.

Over the next century, leadership for social impact will increasingly emerge from all sectors of society – not just nonprofits and government. I believe that Berkeley-Haas is uniquely positioned to shape the leadership we need – across all sectors – to solve the greatest social, economic and environmental challenges we face. Indeed, as an exemplar of successful cross-sector collaboration, Berkeley-Haas has talismanic power in preparing the coming generations of leaders who will shape California, the nation and the world.

We aim to leverage this power to realize the Center’s vision – that millions of people around the planet will have measurably better lives because of the experiences and tools provided through our offerings.

Since its inception, this Center has been an incredible community asset – teaching thousands of students here at Haas through courses, and impacting countless lives through our Berkeley Board Fellows and Social Sector Solutions programs.  We will continue to grow these invaluable programs, while also starting new initiatives that broaden our courses, experiences and thinking about leadership and problem solving in the social sector.

Some of this exciting new work will emerge on campus and beyond in the coming months. Here are just a few examples:

  1. This summer, we’ll publish a snapshot of the social sector based on interviews with dozens of social impact leaders.
  2.  In late 2015, we’ll publish groundbreaking research by Nora Silver and Paul Jansen on Multi-Sector Leadership.
  3. This fall, we’ll offer a course on using Lean LaunchPad principles for social impact, in conjunction with Berkeley-Haas’s Lester Center for Entrepreneurship.
  4. In the spring of 2016, we’ll premier educational offering for families and individuals seeking to increase their impact through philanthropy and impact investing.

And there’s much more to come beyond these four examples. We’re excited for this new chapter in the life of the Center and very happy to have you along for the ride. Upward and onward!


Practicing What I Preach

Prof. Jane Wei-Skillern

Jane Wei-Skillern listens to understand effective leaders.

Practicing What I Preach:
Creating a network to study and advance networks for impact
By Jane Wei-Skillern

I have been doing research and teaching in the social impact field for fifteen years and have met countless social sector leaders over the course of my career. While I am always impressed by the good intentions and the drive of these leaders, only on rare occasions will I find a ‘needle in a haystack’. A leader that works tirelessly with a single-minded focus on advancing the mission rather than their organization, a leader who is better at being humble than at self promotion, works well with trusted peers and routinely advances the field ahead of their own interests. These are some of the most accomplished leaders that you likely have never heard of. They have helped to generate social impact efficiently, effectively, and sustainably in fields as wide ranging as environmental conservation/climate change, housing, education, international development, economic development, animal welfare, and health, among others. These leaders have achieved tremendous leverage on their own resources by catalyzing networks directly with the communities that they serve and supporting the development of local capacity to serve these needs on an ongoing basis.

Although I am often referred to as an expert on nonprofit networks, I emphasize that everything that I know about networks I have learned and continue to learn from the practitioners who are doing the work in the field. My role has simply been to listen, learn, and distill the patterns and lessons to be drawn from their collective experience and to package these ideas into publications or presentations so that others may learn from these leaders’ wisdom.   It is fascinating to see that while these leaders and organizations played vastly different roles in their networks, some providing funding through philanthropic foundations, others running programs directly on the ground, in different types of institutions some well-established and others fledgling, across different issue areas, they are incredibly similar in their approach. These leaders and their networks routinely demonstrate through their actions,

  • a commitment to an ambitious vision,
  • dedication to the mission before their own organizations,
  • reliance upon long term, trust based relationships to govern the network,
  • humility rather than brand building in their work, and
  • a heightened awareness that they are merely one among countless others that must work in concert to ultimately achieve the mission.

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