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A Different Paradigm of Leading*

*This blog post was originally published on on September 17, 2019.

Our relationships with each other and with the earth are dangerously off-balance.

We know this. We are on the edge of a precipice with the climate crisis, deepening inequity and political and economic volatility, which we are witnessing and experiencing here in Canada and around the world. Polarizing narratives threaten our way forward — manifestations of white supremacy, misogyny and bigotry are on the rise and the exploitation of marginalized people and our planet continue to intensify.

Yet amidst all of this turmoil there is before us an opportunity to not only step back from the brink, but to pivot and shift course entirely. Away from the mindsets and approaches that were entrenched in the 20th century — the root causes of our climate and social crises — toward ecologically and socially just futures.

As we all know, this is easier said than done. Despite best intentions, we often get stuck. We follow the well-worn path of the way that things have always been done. We perpetuate and reinforce the very hierarchies and silos that we aspire to break free from. We forget that change takes time, deep relationships (not silver bullets) and abundant resources.

It is never easy. It is often infuriating. And it is always messy.

We are but two of many leaders in communities, movements and systems who are standing here in this critical moment on both the literal and figurative edge. Rather than lose our footing once more, we are consciously shifting to nurture a different paradigm of leading to thrive. A paradigm that is already alive in communities and movements, and that is currently underrepresented across the leadership landscape. One that is feminist, interdependent, human-centred, community-rooted, multigenerational, and grounded in social and environmental justice.

We have both seen and experienced this different paradigm of leading already — on the frontlines of the environmental movement, Indigenous rights, feminist organizing and community economic change. It’s alive in those that know what ego is, who put it aside, and whose leadership is an expression of building more leaders. It’s a way of leading that understands the interdependence of community well-being — especially youth — and a healthy environment. That sees and understands the intersections across issues and pushes boundaries to create conditions to work across difference and to integrate the necessary learning to propel change forward.

If we have any hope of manifesting this transition to ecologically and socially just futures, we must invest in, support and learn with those who already embody this different paradigm of leading. To amplify impact across communities and movements. To cede space and elevate the work of others. To make the shift happen.

This is why Tides Canada is partnering with CKX to nurture more intentional spaces for this paradigm of leading to thrive.

We are coming together to leverage our strengths, invest resources and support a platform for leaders and their communities embodying this way of leading to strengthen and deepen their individual and collective impacts.

How? Through Cohort Experiences — spaces for and access to reflection, training, deep personal and community inner work and co-evolutionary learning critical to creating just futures with the people, communities and movements that are showing the way and bringing these futures into being.

Will you join us?

Together, we can step away from the precipice… and step up and out to shift toward just futures.


Tatiana is co-founder of MetaLab and The System Sanctuary. She has 20 years of experience leading and scaling systems innovations, creating strategic learning communities and movement building. Co-founder of Girls Action Foundation and co-author of Girl Positive (Random House 2016), she has worked to reframe the narrative around gender equality and to advance social justice and the leadership of girls and women. She has served on numerous boards and advisory committees including the UN Commission on the Status of Women, the Carold Institute, Food Secure Canada, Exeko, and Actua.


Joanna Kerr has dedicated her career to advancing social justice and women’s rights, a healthy environment, and strong civil society. Prior to joining Tides Canada in 2019, Joanna served for five years as the Executive Director of Greenpeace Canada, part of a global network working to stop climate change, protect biodiversity, and advance Indigenous rights. She was the first female Chief Executive of ActionAid International, led the Association for Women’s Rights in Development and held senior positions with Oxfam Canada and the North-South Institute. She currently serves as Board Chair for The MATCH International Women’s Fund, Canada’s global fund for women.

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