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01-07-20 Radical Transformational Leadership: What does this imply? Guest Speaker: Therese Adams

Radical Transformational Fund-raising

We invite you to a discussion with Therese Adams. For over 20 years, Therese Adams has held nonprofit leadership positions working in Santa Cruz, California as an executive director, fund development consultant, development director, and community organizer.

To solve problems in an equitable and enduring manner, we must identify what we wish to shift Therese Adams will share the shifts they worked on, using templates and tools in the Radical Transformational Leadership approach: 1)shift nimbyism from neighbors stopping housing units into their neighborhoods to allowing housing to be built in all neighborhoods; 2)shift the attitude that those who experience homelessness are undeserving to everyone is worthy has a right to be housed and healthy; and 3)shift apathy and resignation, an attitude that the problem is unsolvable to it is solvable and many communities around the country have ended homelessness.

Therese will share 7 guiding principles she developed for transformational fund-raising events:

  1. First of all, I must continue my own practice of Radical Transformational Leadership and the Conscious Full Spectrum Response template to identify universal values as well as norms and systems that need to shift to solve the problems.
  2. Hold the event where clients (and donors) feel comfortable and make the food simple and delicious—not ‘gala’ events in fancy spaces!
  3. Before the event it is crucial to have clients access their own inner potential for empowerment and prep client speakers to talk about their core universal values and what they care about. This is the key to promoting conscious reciprocity- mutual respect and dignity. It is a space where donors’ hearts break open and they see each other (clients and donors) as people.
  4. I create spaces for everyone present to anchor themselves in their universal values.
  5. I design activities where everyone can identify the most pressing problems and identify the root factors as well as the systems and norms that are not working.
  6. I make two committed requests: I ask donors and clients to volunteer – I discuss leadership position open for both clients and donors. Ask for donation if it is a fundraising event.
  7. Afterwards, I ask for feedback about the event from attendees to check if the activities were meaningful.

We will have a discussion on how Therese now designs fund-raising events for a much bigger outcome – to transform the attitude and behavior of the participants, beyond the event to inspire mutual generosity and foster participant’s leadership, each in their own way—a process we refer to as ‘conscious reciprocity’.

Therese AdamsBio:  For over 20 years, Therese Adams has held nonprofit leadership positions working in Santa Cruz, California as an executive director, fund development consultant, development director, and community organizer. Since 2014, Therese has practiced Leadership for Community Transformation with Dr. Monica Sharma and has supported the training of hundreds of leaders in Santa Cruz County and the Bay Area of California as a practitioner coach. In her work with nonprofits, she has incorporated the Conscious Full Spectrum Response and Radical Transformational Leadership to promote equity and generosity to transform the current nonprofit fund development and philanthropy practices to create sustainable change.

Since 2012, Therese has worked on the issues of homelessness as Community Organizer with the United Way of Santa Cruz County and Development Director at Pajaro Valley Shelter Services. Currently, she is the Executive Director of the Santa Cruz affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), using the Conscious Full Spectrum Response to stop stigma and to improve the treatment for those with mental health conditions. Originally from Los Angeles, Therese moved to Santa Cruz to receive her BA in Theatre Arts from UC Santa Cruz. For several decades, she was the Director of Moving and Storage Performance Company and was the SPECTRA Arts Coordinator and Instructor for Cultural Council of Santa Cruz, County working to ensure every school in the county had arts programming. To contact Therese Adams please email her at

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