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Building Shared Values and Collective Governance with Sumona Majumdar
The Hive Collective Podcast: Shifting Power in Nonprofits
Building Shared Values and Collective Governance with Sumona Majumdar

In this episode of The Hive Collective Podcast, we sit down with Sumona Majumdar, the CEO of Earth Island Institute, to explore her journey and the significant changes she has introduced since taking on the role in March of last year. Sumona shares the thoughtful approach she took in her initial months, starting with a two-day retreat designed to foster shared values and build strong relationships within her team.

Sumona discusses how these retreats, held every four to five months, were instrumental in creating an environment of trust and open communication. The process involved engaging activities that allowed team members to connect on a personal level, which paved the way for honest discussions about values and future goals.

A particularly memorable activity was envisioning the impact of their work seven generations into the future, as well as reflecting on their ancestral histories. This exercise helped team members connect on a deeper level, acknowledging their diverse backgrounds while uniting around a common vision for the future.

Central to their transformation was the implementation of collective governance. Earth Island Institute adopted values such as community, adaptability, justice, equity, and power sharing, which have become the guiding principles for their decision-making processes. They established decision-making circles for critical areas like compensation, hiring, and DEI, involving a broader range of staff in these decisions to distribute the leadership load more equitably.

Sumona also reflects on the challenges of this transition, including the initial excitement and the practical concerns of managing increased workloads. Despite some ongoing adjustments, the shift to collective governance has been a positive step towards a more inclusive and collaborative work environment.

Tune in to hear more about how Earth Island Institute is navigating these changes and the impact of shared values on its organizational culture.

Connect with us:

  • Visit Earth Island Institute:
  • Visit our website: Hive Collective
  • Follow Beth Ellen Holimon on LinkedIn for more insights and updates.

@Beth Ellen Holimon

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Sumona Majumdar

Sumona Majumdar