Highlights from May 2015 Network Leadership Training Academy

Group photo rev

Sixty public sector leaders from across the U.S. and Canada participated in the 2015 Network Leadership Training Academy in Denver. Participants learn, share ideas and develop skills for the “network way of working.” This annual 3-day training includes conversations about network leadership, activities to share and demonstrate skills and ideas, and tools to translate back to practice.

By the end of the training, participants learned how to:

  • Understand more clearly and better assess the logic of and rationale for networks
  • Better understand why networks develop and what conditions influence their form and success
  • Better understand their own networks, how they operate and how they are structured
  • Have a basic understanding of social network analysis concepts and methods
  • Work more effectively with other organizations in their networks
  • Work more effectively with members of their own organizations who are working in a network setting
  • Improve the benefits of network involvement for their own organization while minimizing drawbacks
  • Be a more effective leader of and manager in a network
  • Meet other practitioners working in networks in your sector
  • Be able to use PARTNER (www.partnertool.net) to effectively evaluate networks and use network analysis to strategically align goals with outcomes, leverage resources, and strengthen networks.

Attendees heard remarks from some of today’s leading thinkers on the “network way of working” and what it means for those working within networks. The core training was led by experts in the area of partnership development, network effectiveness, and evaluation of interorganizational collaboration. Trainers included:

  • Darrin Hicks, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Communications Studies at the University of Denver
  • Brint Milward, PhD., Director of the School of Government and Public Policy at the University of Arizona
  • Janice Popp, MSW, RSWan Adjunct Assistant Professor, Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary
  • Danielle M. Varda, Ph.D., an Associate Professor at the School of Public Affairs, University of Colorado Denver, Director of Center for Collaborative Governance

Breakout workshops were offered to 1) connect practitioners working in similar fields and 2) provide small group, hands-on experiences for learning and sharing.  The breakout sessions offered were:

  • Facilitating Network Leadership: Managing Conflict and Skills for Negotiation in Diverse Groups. Taught by Lisa Carlson, Director of Facilitation at Engaged Public.
  • Facilitating Network Leadership: Skills for Communicating With and Between Diverse Partners, Stakeholders, and Funders.    Taught by Lisa VanRaemdonck, Executive Director of the Colorado Association of Local Public Health Officials and the Public Health Alliance of Colorado as well as Co-Director for the Colorado Public Health Practice-Based Research Network.
  • Building Your Personal Network using Boundary Spanning Leadership, With Lessons From the Private Sector. Taught by Phil Willburn, Faculty and Network Scientist at the Center for Creative Leadership
  • PARTNER: A Tool for Organizational SNA. Taught by: Danielle Varda, PhD., Associate Professor at University of Colorado Denver, Director of Center for Collaborative Governance

Here’s what people said about their experiences at the 2014 NLTA…

“At the NLTA I learned about the research that support networks as a valuable method for cultivating ideas, sharing connections and building community. At this intimate conference, there was the opportunity to learn from the presenters as well as from the other participants. I use the data all the time and implemented some of the break out activities with my clients and the networks that I manage almost immediately.”

Amy Rosenblum 

Founder and Principal at Cultivation Center


“The NLTA explored both the art and science of organizational networks and was useful to my work.”

Jenna Bannon         

Early Childhood Systems Building Manager at Denver Early Childhood Council


“The event was extremely valuable to me because I had a great deal in common with the diverse networks represented. I especially appreciated the way the Academy applied academic research to real-world scenarios. “

Cassalyn David        

Network Director at Santa Cruz County Adolescent Wellness Network


You can find more testimonials here and learn more at www.spa.ucdenver.edu/nlta.



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