National Org, diverse leadership
From: Sherri Zann Rosenthal (
Date: Sun, 24 Aug 1997 23:41:21 -0500
I'd like to broaden the concept of a national organization a bit from the=

"task list" approach (though I think all the tasks listed as "phase 1" ar=
excellent). =

I think a national organization will encourage broader and more diverse
leadership, and is necessary if the cohousing movement is to broaden and
grow in a healthy, open way. I think some simple structures would provide=
clear path for input and ideas by new people, and for increased progress =
the movement in between the national conferences. =

Three reasons why: 1) Without clear means for participation, we are
unlikely to be able to realize a diverse movement. It's like word-of-mout=
job advertising as opposed to equal opportunity. It limits access to thos=
already "in the loop". 2) It would be really helpful be able to make
progress on issues (like the national org!) without waiting for a nationa=
conf. 3) This movement has the potential to explode in popularity--and
without clear "authorized" leadership, we will have no ability to steer
cohousing away from cooptation. Look at what's being called
"neo-traditional" these days, and you'll have a hint of what I fear for
cohousing. =

I  don't think this kind of leadership or organization need be the
over-controlling vise or money sink that Alan fears. I agree that it shou=
be "lean and keen" (very nice phrase, Michael).

Bottom line, as I alluded to in a prior post, is that without overt
structures, decision-making and leadership tend to travel along undergrou=
fault lines, or along well-worn paths. We need a way to bring more divers=
voices to the fore, and a regionally-representative board for a national
organization would be a good start. =

In community,
Sherri Zann Rosenthal
Eno Commons CoHousing
Durham, NC
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