Beyond Bad Training

Center for New Leadership - July 28, 2016 - 10:26am
Training in Facilitation with Andy Robinson In nearly every workplace or organization, somebody needs to train somebody to do something. Facilitation skills do not always come naturally, and as one of our students put it, “too much time has been lost in our lives to bad meetings already.”

To address this need, we teamed up with master facilitator Andy Robinson to offer tool-based workshops in facilitation.

We held our first workshop this June in Waterbury and feedback for Andy was glowing. One participant wrote, “this was one of those trainings from which I left with concrete tools, activities and approaches I can/will use with my trainings moving forward. Rich content–best three hours spent at a training ever!”

Get to know Andy’s work by visiting his website Then sign up for our next”Beyond Bad Training” workshop, this September in Brattleboro. Details here!

ALIGN Registration Open

Center for New Leadership - July 26, 2016 - 11:21am

ALIGN: Advanced Leadership Institute for Growing Nonprofits
with Jeff Bercuvitz
August 26 – October 29, 2016

Working for the greater good can feel overwhelming. To remain energized on the front lines of positive community transformation, mission-driven leaders need the space, skills, and support to feed their spark.

ALIGN prepares emerging leaders for executive positions in the nonprofit sector of northern New England by helping them clarify personal purpose, develop practices to support work/life balance, form a supportive community of practice, and strengthen the impact of their work in the world.

Our vision is to retain our best and brightest in mission-driven careers and help them perform at their peak by cultivating their practices of sustainable leadership.

Learn more and register:

Certificate in Nonprofit Management Program is open for registration

Center for New Leadership - June 24, 2016 - 9:14am

The Marlboro College Center for New Leadership has opened registration for the Fall 2016 class of the highly regarded Certificate in Nonprofit Management which will take place in Waterbury, Vermont. This 80-hour series helps nonprofit leaders develop the essential skills needed to strengthen their organizations and achieve their missions.

“The NPM Certificate Program was a great fast track option for busy working nonprofit leaders. The information was practical, the connections helpful and the faculty very experienced. I have a much more complete skill set to bring back to my work place along with a renewed confidence for tackling tough issues in the nonprofit world. I would highly recommend this program to all who want a fast education in leadership, management and planning for nonprofits,” said Julia van Ranson, a 2011 Certificate graduate from Brattleboro.


Classes meet for ten consecutive Fridays, 8:30am to 4:30pm, at the Hannah Grimes Center in downtown Keene, NH, beginning September 16th. Various sources of financial aid are available to support nonprofit participation in this program. To find out more about the Certificate in Nonprofit Management, please email Program Coordinator Kim Lier at, or reach her at (802) 251-7690.

Registration is open at

Registration Open! Nonprofit Management Summer Camp

Center for New Leadership - June 23, 2016 - 1:42pm



The third annual Nonprofit Management Summer Camp is a retreat for nonprofit professionals in beautiful southern Vermont. Participants have the opportunity to take two workshops focused on the competencies of their choice. Workshops are tool-based, out-of-your-seat sessions, that encourage participation, connection, and fun.

Summer Camp is an inexpensive way to receive the training you need in an amount of time you can work with. Join us for a day of catching up, connecting with your nonprofit colleagues and innovating sector leaders, and eating s’mores. There will be two 2-hour sessions, one in the morning and one in the early afternoon, interlaced with networking/fun events and lunch.

This year’s Summer Camp is on Friday, July 29th from 9:00am to 4:00pm, at the Marlboro Graduate Center, 28 Vernon Street in Brattleboro.  To register for Summer Camp, please visit

Workshops include:

Using LinkedIn to Promote Your Personal Brand with Kate Paine

Time Management with Claire Wheeler

The Role of Trust and Shared Leadership for Collective Impact with Jodi Clark

Clarifying Your Top Values & Life Vision with Travis Hellstrom

Storytelling & Presentation Skills with Hillary Boone

What I Wish I’d Known: Planning The Best GivingTuesday Yet with Debra Askanase


Contact Assistant Director Hillary Orsini with questions at


Why Cohorts? An Interview with Kim Lier

Center for New Leadership - May 16, 2016 - 11:48am

by Kara Hamilton, Admissions Counselor at Marlboro College Graduate & Professional Studies

Here at Marlboro we are preparing to launch our fall cohort programs. The cohort model shows up throughout the Center for New Leadership and many Marlboro graduate programs– and it’s no accident. This week we wanted to dip into the thinking behind this model, so we spoke with our Teaching and Learning Specialist, Kim Lier.


Kim started working at Marlboro College in 2013 focusing on the Certificate in Nonprofit Management. Her combined background in adult-education and project management quickly became integral to the development of the program.


When Kim first started the content was great, but the participants were disconnected. “People used to say that all the important conversation happened in the parking lot afterwards.” The goal, she said, was to “bring those parking-lot-conversations into the the workshop space more intentionally and not just have them be accidental.”


As Kim took on more of a leadership role with the Certificate she began to spend more time with each cohort, both in the beginning to help everyone get to know each other and throughout to create a sense of continuity. It worked. People started to draw connections between the different speakers and they really bonded.


We asked Kim from her perspective as a learning specialist about the significance of those bonds. She told us that an important part of adult learning is having immediate applicability.


“If you’re able to ask a question about your life or your work that’s really real then you get an answer that you can immediately use. If you don’t feel safe asking those kinds of questions then you’re not going to get the same kind of answer that’s really specific to you. In the certificate especially [the participants] start to really know each other’s organizations, because they talk about them a lot, and the trust is really important there. If they don’t feel like the confidentially agreement [that nothing shared will go beyond the room] is in place then they’re not as likely to share information.”


Trust, she said, is really important in the other cohort programs as well, particularly for the Women’s Leadership Circles which place so much emphasis on personal leadership development. It’s not all about ice-breakers, and potlucks though, she told us.


Last week the CNL staff and consultants went on a retreat with the intention of forging stronger connections between the consultants. Prior to the retreat it had been suggested that doing the work was also a way to build community. As a result the group did several workshops together: Hillary Boone and Kate McGowan led a workshop on Results Based Accountability and Joe Heslin did one on sales and marketing pitches. “We learned different things about each other than we would have in typical community building exercises.” Kim said. “That’s the direction that this community is going: deepening [our] connections to each other by learning and working together.”


In the end these actions feed each other: we build connections to do better work, and we do the work to build better connections.

The End Approaches! Deadlines & Things to Know: Spring 2016

Library Blog - May 10, 2016 - 11:20am

As the blossoms appear and the heat drives us all to south pond, it can be easy to let all thoughts of books get washed away in the cool water and the nap-inducing sunshine.

So here is a reminder about some important upcoming dates at the Library, which are important for all library users (and especially important for graduating seniors).

Wednesday, May 11: Due date for most library items.

      • Everyone: All Interlibrary Loans must be returned by May 11.
      • Everyone: Please return all library DVDs before leaving for summer.
      • If you are returning in the fall, you can borrow/renew Marlboro College library books over the summer. See our full circulation policies.
      • Please, please, please do not leave library items in storage over the summer.
        • Not using them over the summer? Return them before you leave.
        • Using them over the summer, and coming back in the fall? Renew them and bring them with you on your summer travels!

Friday, May 13: The big clean-up. Please remove all personal items from the library by 8am on Friday morning. On Friday:

      • All library books left around the building will be picked up, checked in, and reshelved.
      • Personal items will be moved to the lost and found (Recycling Room, middle floor); anything left there on June 1 will be donated/discarded.


      • Graduating seniors: Official print & electronic Plan copies (and optional personal copies) are due to the Registrar by noon on Thursday, 5/12. Questions? See Print and digital Plan submission guidelines or ask the Registrar or Library staff.
      • Want your own personal plan copy? Read this! Town Meeting provides funding for each senior to receive one bound copy of their Plan for free. Additional copies can be purchased for $20 each (payable to Student Accounts). You must provide the extra printed out copies to be bound. Bring them to the Registrar when you drop off your official Plan copy, and provide the friendly person there with a mailing address to which your Plan can be sent in late summer/early fall. (More on personal Plan copies) And, hey: congratulations!

Sunday, May 15 (Commencement): Building closes at 5:30 pm.

      • Graduating seniors: please return all library items by Sunday, 5/15! Not sure what you have checked out? You can log in and view your account.
      • A return bin will be placed outside the entrance near the Service Desk when we close; please leave items there if the library building is not open.

Summer hours (9:00am – 4:00pm) begin on Monday, May 16.

Questions? Let us know.

Have a fantastic summer! Congratulations to all our wonderful graduates!

MARTIAL PRACTICE 3: The Space Between Us and Other Martial Side Effects

Center for New Leadership - May 2, 2016 - 3:34pm

Core Consultant at the Center for New Leadership at Marlboro College and Faculty at Marlboro College Graduate and Professional Studies. Photo credit Kelly Fletcher.


is what lies beneath our feet. It is the place where we already stand; a state of recognition, the place or the circumstances to which we belong whether we wish to or not. It is what holds and supports us, but also what we do not want to be true; it is what challenges us, physically or psychologically, irrespective of our hoped for needs. It is the living, underlying foundation that tells us what we are, where we are, what season we are in and what, no matter what we wish in the abstract, is about to happen in our body; in the world or in the conversation between the two.

To come to ground is to find a home in circumstances and in the very physical body we inhabit in the midst of those circumstances and above all to face the truth, no matter how difficult that truth may be; to come to ground is to begin the courageous conversation, to step into difficulty and by taking that first step, begin the movement through all difficulties, to find the support and foundation that has been beneath our feet all along: a place to step onto, a place on which to stand and a place from which to step.



The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words.”

© David Whyte and Many Rivers Press 2015


I would not have picked my swords back up for my own practice if I had not been for Lori. My dear friend and colleague asked me to teach her sword. I had sustained an injury a number of years ago which prevented me from engaging in my regular practice, so I had let it go in favor of focusing on teaching and performing stage combat here and there for our local theater groups. Lori and I had been sharing a great deal about our work and personal journeys, so the topic came up unexpectedly, but organically. When we started, I had the idea that we would be working within a sort of hybrid version of my stage combat pedagogy and technique.


For those already lost, stage combat is the theatrical performance of choreographed violence. It is first and foremost about storytelling. The only reason there is ever a fight in a show is that mere words alone won’t suffice to tell the story properly. The telling of such stories, even with a safe technique, is still laden with risk. You are still swinging fists, legs, and swords with each other! Another key difference between stage combat and actual combat is the intention. The intention is to co-create a story with your fight partner, not to defeat your enemy. The words we give it and the intention of the actions matter a great deal.


I was naively and ambitiously thinking that Lori and I would jump into creating a sword story together, with full sword choreography within four to five months. Looking back, this oversimplified vision of our work makes me smile compassionately at my innocence. Our learning journey has been far deeper and much more nuanced. We have delved into how we show up in our leadership and in our bodies, exploring what it means to be in a relationship which calls us to be strong together as we practice. We are just now almost ready to co-create a “sword story” that is based in the divine feminine, told through our duo sword practice. (More on that in a later post.)


We started with our feet.  You always start with your feet in martial arts of any sort. Your connection to the ground is essential and fundamental for engaging in any sort of movement. Typically, you want to lead your movement with your heart. Leading from your heart-center allows your whole body to move in concert with itself rather than in any sort of awkward, unbalanced way. If you lead with your head, you end up leaning too far forward and can’t move swiftly in all directions. Your head is also a really easy target if you stick it out too far beyond the rest of your body. If you lead with your lower body, you won’t have enough forward momentum to carry the whole of you together. Alignment is key. The torso needs to be aligned so you don’t cause undue stress on your legs and feet or back. And that is where we began looking at our own movement over ground in other areas of our lives. Do we lead with our heads too much and when? How do we know? When and why might our full selves not be in alignment with our hearts as we move through our days?


Simultaneous to this learning experience, Lori and I began co-creating our course we were teaching together, The Art of Facilitative Leadership, at Marlboro College Graduate & Professional Studies. We deeply engaged in that process having already begun establishing our shared practices of open inquiry, mutual compassionate accountability, and exploration of our strengths. The work we did together on and in the class was some of the most fulfilling I have ever experienced. We held nothing back from each other, offering ideas and feedback in a powerful harmonic dance infused with love. I felt and continue to feel challenged and called into a higher form of myself to meet Lori and go further, be clearer, be of service to and with her. The similarities to the flow of our emerging sword form were likely not accidental. My ongoing work with Lori continues to develop the strength of these collaborative “dance” muscles, through challenging growth and sometimes painful stumbles into more graceful form with each other.

My old sword injury was the result of bad form. I had been teaching for over 10 years, and not once did I receive or ask for feedback on my form from one of my students. I had a teacher, but we focused on my overall technique, not the ergonomics of my form. In making our observations in our current practice, what has become clear very quickly for Lori and I is that having someone witness and experience us in our body movements is essential to gaining insight into them. These are not questions that could come up on their own. Without someone facing us in direct relationship, how can we have a mirror to observe as well as respond to our actions and movements? We are holding space for each other to practice together to learn how to respond to sword movements. We are also holding space for and with each other, inviting our best from each other, our strength, our groundedness, our focus, and commitment to learning and playing. This has become our sword story, which will be a work in progress for years to come.