Bridging Leadership Voices

Bridging Leadership Voices explores the power and practice of bridging leadership - the ability to build trust across the divides that set people in conflict or competition. It’s the form of leadership needed to address complex problems around the world, tapping the fullest contributions of diverse stakeholders to work in concert for the common good. Join us as we learn from thought leaders, practitioners, and advocates who are using bridging leadership to create positive change in their communities and organizations. Presented by Synergos, a global organization which has used this approach to help solve complex issues with partners around the world for more than 35 years. Learn more and download our free book at

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Tuesday Jun 27, 2023

In this episode, we hear a message from the late Corazon  Dinky  Soliman, a community organizer who was part of the People Power movement that brought democracy to the Philippines in 1986.
Afterwards, she continued her work as an activist with and for communities affected by poverty in the Philippines and around the world.
Dinky twice served as Secretary of Social Welfare and Development of the Philippines, and in 2018 shared with Synergos about helping shift that agency to be better able to engage with communities as partners.
In this story, she points out that building trust requires honesty, recognizing disagreement, and respect for our common humanity.

Wednesday Jun 21, 2023

In this episode of Bridging Leadership Voices, we hear from Neville Gabriel, CEO of The Other Foundation, an African trust that advances equality and freedom in Southern Africa, with a particular focus on gender identity and sexual orientation. 
Our hosts are Mark Gerzon and Shirley Pendlebury.
Neville's view of bridging leadership is provocative and unsentimental. His reflections spotlight aspects of bridging leadership that often lie in the shadows. 
For him, in working for social justice, timing is crucial for choosing when to follow 'the inside track of diplomacy' to build trust, and when to take the 'outside track' that challenges power with the intention of exposing contradictions and fault lines. 
As Neville says, "unless you expose those fault lines, you wouldn't know where to bridge." 
Learn more at

Tuesday May 02, 2023

In this episode of Bridging Leadership Voices, we hear from Victor Adejoh of Synergos Nigeria and Bambi Semroc of Conservation International who explore building trust and collaboration in food systems. 
Their stories illuminate the challenges, breakthroughs, and successes of bridging approaches in work for more sustainable agriculture. 
Power is a recurring theme in this conversation. Differential power can scupper efforts at trust-building and collaboration. A bridging leadership approach must acknowledge and find ways of dealing with the dynamics of power. 
Listen as Victor and Bambi talk about their work at the intersections of local, national and global programming, their personal and professional journeys, and their hopes for the future. 
Our hosts are Mark Gerzon and Chong-Lim Lee.
Learn more at


The Bridging Leadership Voices podcast grows out of the project to create a book: Bridging Leadership Voices: Building trust for collective action.

The project is an invitation for you to engage with a global community of practice. Scattered around the world is an extensive and diverse community of bridging leaders. and organizations. You may be one of them, using bridging leadership to help to solve complex problems in your community, corporation, country, or region. Perhaps you long to know others who are working in a similar way. If so, we invite you to expand and deepen your engagement and to connect with the larger global community.

Even if you have never heard of bridging leadership, this book may still strike a chord. You yearn to bridge the divides that keep people at loggerheads instead of finding common ground to achieve a shared purpose. You’re disenchanted with the idea that leaders are individuals who alone hold the power, authority, and insight to lead. You peek into the book. There’s a spark of recognition: “That’s it! That’s kind of what I’m doing!” We invite you to enter the book in a spirit of exploration. Between its covers you’ll find stories and examples to inspire and guide you in your own life and work.

The book’s main chapters and this podcast are conversations between people who are leading collaborative change processes to address issues of local, national, and even global importance. Their 23 voices form a unique chorus from 14 different countries in Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Europe, sharing stories of bridging leadership. What happens when two people talk together about bridging leadership in a particular context, such as philanthropy or education? And when they speak from two different geographies or cultures? Over several months in 2021 and 2022, we invited pairs of bridging leaders to take part in online conversations.

We, the book’s co-editors, served as hosts, keeping the conversation flowing, with occasional prompts or linking comments. Contributors spoke from their own experiences, knowing they were part of a chorus but not knowing what cadences other voices might bring. The result is polyphonic, full of local pattern and color, but with a strong interwoven strand that showcases the key features of bridging leadership. Don’t expect these conversations to give you definitive answers or step-by-step instructions.

Do expect them to prompt new insights and questions, to offer rich examples of practice. Bring your curiosity, hopes, challenges, and experiences to these conversations. Whether you’re a seasoned bridging leader, a newcomer, or someone hovering on the threshold, come join us as we seek to build trust and connection in the midst of fear and division.

-- Mark Gerzon, Chong-Lim Lee, and Shirley Pendlebury, Editors

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