Applying For Leadership
La Leche League International (LLLI) seeks the equitable accreditation of a diverse body of Leaders, inclusive of race, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, physical or mental ability, socio-economic status, political views, gender identity, sexual orientation, family structure, or other protected status.
LLLI, through the work of the Leader Accreditation Department (LAD), accredits Leaders to carry out the purpose and mission of the organization. Leaders represent many cultures yet share a common philosophy and one-to-one or group approach to providing breastfeeding help.
The credibility and authority of La Leche League (LLL) are due, in large part, to the fact that personal experience in breastfeeding for a year or beyond is a requirement for leadership. “Mothering through breastfeeding” describes a sensitive and responsive way of meeting a child’s needs. Collectively, LLL Leaders provide a variety of real-life examples of “mothering through breastfeeding” and ways that challenges can be overcome.
During the pre-application dialogue, the potential Applicant and Group Leader discuss whether the LLLI prerequisites to Applying for LLL Leadership have been met. When an application for leadership is accepted by the LAD, a triad is formed: the Leader Applicant, the supporting Leader, and the LAD representative.
Throughout the application period, the LAD representative communicates with both the Applicant and the supporting Leader.
Section A: LLLI Prerequisites to Applying for Leadership
To begin an application, the Personal Experience Prerequisites, Organizational Experience Prerequisites, and Personal Skills Prerequisites must be met.
The LLLI Prerequisites to Applying for Leadership (prerequisites) are written in broad terms, recognizing that individuals in a variety of circumstances can and do embrace LLL Philosophy and put it into practice.
The supporting Leader and LAD representative make every effort to facilitate a positive application experience. This includes helping the potential Applicant meet the prerequisites, such as attending at least four LLL meetings, obtaining a Leader recommendation, and working together to provide the Applicant with resources in an accessible language and format.
Personal Experience Prerequisites
Individuals refer to breastfeeding in different ways, such as suckling, nursing or chestfeeding. For this policy, LLLI defines all of these terms as referring to feeding a child directly from the breast.
Experience with breastfeeding and nurturing through breastfeeding, plus the personal experience with La Leche League via in-person or virtual Group meetings and website resources, give an Applicant a strong basis for helping others as a Leader.
A potential Applicant:
- has breastfed, nursed, chestfed or suckled a child for 12 months or more,
- has introduced complementary foods when baby showed signs of readiness, around the middle of the first year for a healthy full-term baby, and
- has chosen attentive breastfeeding as the way to provide touch, comfort, warmth, protection, security, and responsiveness, as well as nourishment.
Special consideration is given to someone whose personal breastfeeding experience is outside the usual course of breastfeeding as described in The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, due to medical, physiological, or anatomical issues impacting either partner in the breastfeeding dyad.
Some examples requiring special consideration are:
- low milk supply because of breast surgery or insufficient mammary tissue,
- induced lactation,
- adoptive nursing,
- temporary interruption of breastfeeding because of a serious medical condition; or the need to take a medication incompatible with nursing, or
- inability of baby to latch, temporarily or permanently, due to conditions such as cleft lip/palate, prematurity, or genetic disorder.
For the Personal Experience Prerequisites to be met under the special consideration guidelines, the potential Applicant has demonstrated attentive breastfeeding as the way to provide touch, comfort, warmth, protection, security, and responsiveness, as well as nourishment.
The supporting Leader consults a LAD representative when the personal breastfeeding experience differs from the Personal Experience Prerequisites and might warrant special consideration.
Organizational Experience Prerequisites
A potential Applicant:
- is a member of LLL or contributes as appropriate for the entity in which the application is being submitted
- supports LLL Vision, Mission, and Philosophy
- when possible, has attended at least four LLL meetings in person or online
- demonstrates a clear understanding that leadership is volunteer work
- has knowledge of the information contained in the most recent edition of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, if available in an accessible language and format
- is willing to create time to fulfill the basic responsibilities of leadership and/or provide other service to LLL, as described in the LLL Policies and Standing Rules
- is willing to complete the application work, and
- has a recommendation from an LLL Leader.
Personal Skills Prerequisites
A potential Applicant:
- has communication skills in the potential Applicant’s preferred language necessary to begin the application and preparation for accreditation,
- demonstrates an accepting and respectful attitude toward others,
- provides information and support without judgment, and
- is willing to develop further communication skills as needed to fulfill the responsibilities of leadership.
Section B: LLLI Criteria for Leader Accreditation
During the application period the Applicant dialogues with the supporting Leader and LAD representative to learn more about breastfeeding management, leadership, and LLL philosophy.
The supporting Leader and LAD representative make every effort to provide resources in an accessible language and format for the Applicant.
To be accredited as an LLL Leader, an Applicant
- meets the LLLI Prerequisites to Applying for Leadership,
- demonstrates understanding and practice of LLL philosophy
- completes all steps of the LLL Leader application work as described below in Breastfeeding Management Skills and Leadership Skills criteria, and
- signs the LLLI Leader Statement of Commitment.
The following information describes the application work to be completed prior to accreditation.
Breastfeeding Management Skills
- Demonstrate accurate, current knowledge of and/or the ability to find information in up-to-date, credible resources, including the Breastfeeding Resource Guide, the most recent edition of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, or LAD-approved counterparts in an accessible language and format; be able to convey that information accurately; and commit to maintaining up-to-date knowledge pertaining to:
- basic lactation management and problem-solving techniques,
- basic lactation physiology,
- how active participation in childbirth can facilitate the initiation and establishment of breastfeeding, and
- the usual course of breastfeeding.
- Be aware of situations outside of the usual course of breastfeeding so that additional support and/or medical advice can be sought by the mother and/or parents if needed.
- Demonstrate knowledge of how to use LLL information and resources as available and accessible. In addition to The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, the Breastfeeding Resource Guide, and the Leader’s Handbook, these may include:
- LLL Professional Liaison Department,
- Leader Today (or another LLL Leader publication),
- Breastfeeding Today (LINK) (or another LLL publication for parents),
- LLLI website or other LLL websites,
- credible breastfeeding resources available on the Internet, and
- other evidence-based resources.
- Complete the Checklist of Topics to Discuss in Preparation for LLL Leadership.
- Read and promote the contents of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, if available in an accessible language and format.
- Read the Leader’s Handbook, if available in an accessible language and format..
- Demonstrate the following:
- awareness and understanding of the leadership skills necessary to assume the responsibilities of leadership,
- understanding of the importance of acceptance and respect for individual choices regarding breastfeeding and parenting,
- ability to communicate accurately and effectively when helping others,
- commitment to continued development of effective communication skills that support others in developing their own expertise and confidence,
- familiarity with LLL resources, particularly The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and the Leader’s Handbook, if available in an accessible language and format, and the ability to gather, organize, and retrieve pertinent information from them,
- understanding and agreement to work within LLL guidelines for consulting, documenting, and reporting,
- understanding and agreement to work within LLL policies as presented in the Leader’s Handbook, LLL Policies and Standing Rules, and as discussed in the Leader’s Handbook and other LLLI or LLL publications, and
- willingness to work with and support people from a diverse variety of backgrounds in achieving their breastfeeding and/or leadership goals.
- Be committed to continuing development of leadership skills and attitudes as covered in the Leader’s
Handbook and as learned through:
- personal experience
- attendance at LLL meetings in person or online as available
- LLL conferences and workshops, and
- discussion with supporting Leader and LAD representative.
These skills and attitudes are demonstrated in the application work such as the personal history, during LLL meetings, and during completion of the Preview of Helping Questions and Group Management .
Leaders use the Leader’s Handbook to help them implement this policy. (See resources below.)
Section C: Appeals
An appeal regarding accreditation as a La Leche League Leader can be made when
- an application to become an accredited LLL Leader has been declined or
- a Leader Applicant’s application has been stopped before accreditation.
When a Leader or LAD representative informs a potential Applicant of the decision to decline an application or when the LLLI Director of Leader Accreditation Department (DLAD) tells an Applicant of the decision to stop the application, they must also inform the person of the right to appeal and share the Leader Accreditation Appeals Procedures policy and the LLL Leader Accreditation Appeal form.
Resources available to the public
Resources available with Leader or Leader Applicant username and password
- Leader Applicant’s Resource Kit
- Personal History of Breastfeeding and Mothering
- Breastfeeding Resource Guide
- Checklist of Topics to Discuss in Preparation for LLL Leadership
- Preview of Helping Questions and Group Management
- Leader’s Handbook
- Leader section of LLLI website
(Feb 98; rev Oct 98; Aug 04; Jun 19; Sep 19; Feb 20; Nov 21)
LLL Leaders are accredited by LLLI and are recognized as LLL Leaders worldwide.
“Applying for Leadership” is adopted as LLLI policy and included in the LLLI Policy and Standing Rules Notebook as an Appendix.
“Applying for Leadership” includes:
- LLLI Prerequisites to Applying for Leadership
- LLLI Criteria for Leader Accreditation
- LLLI Prerequisites to Applying for Leadership – Guidelines for Leaders
(Jun 85; rev Nov 85; completely replaced Feb 98; rev Oct 98; completely replaced Jun 19; rev Sep 19)
Accreditation Review Committee
The Accreditation Review Committee (ARC) is composed of five to nine active or retired LLL Leaders.
The LLLI Personnel Committee will ask the DCE administrative bodies for nominations to the ARC and recommend suitable candidates to the LLLI Board. The members of the ARC will be appointed by the LLLI Board members at the Annual Midterm Session of the LLLI Board.
The Personnel Committee ensures that the ARC members they recommend to the LLLI Board are familiar with LLL policies related to Leader accreditation and LLL philosophy, have experience interpreting policies, and reflect the international nature of LLL. There is broad representation from a variety of DCEs.
Candidates for the ARC send an application form and at least one reference to the Personnel Committee at least one month before the Annual Midterm Session of the LLLI Board.
ARC members serve staggered 2-year terms starting November 1st. No member may serve more than two consecutive 2-year terms, or a total of 5 consecutive years, unless this requirement is waived by the LLLI Board of Directors.
The ARC will elect a chair within a month after the Annual Midterm Session of the LLLI Board. The Chair of the ARC will serve as liaison between the ARC and the LLLI Board Chair(s) and may hold this position for a maximum of three consecutive years.
An ARC member recuses themself from working on any issue in which they have a conflict of interest, or if the subject matter or parties to the appeal prevent the member from being fair and impartial. That ARC member recuses themself even if they feel able to be impartial. If there is doubt about the need for recusal, the LLLI Board has the final decision.
The Personnel Committee of the LLLI Board will seek and recommend candidates to the LLLI Board whenever necessary to replace any ARC member who resigns or is removed before the conclusion of a term. The LLLI Board will appoint the chosen candidate(s) who will then serve for the remainder of the original term or for a specified term.
After due consideration, the LLLI Board may remove a member of the ARC for failure to perform member duties or for non-compliance with the LLL Code of Conduct, LLLI Bylaws, or LLLI Policies and Standing Rules.
The ARC makes a report to the LLLI Board and the DCE administrative bodies about the number of appeals processed each year and any recommendations they have as a result of the appeals.
(Feb 98; Feb 99, Apr 16, Nov 21)
Accreditation Appeal Procedures
LLLI seeks the accreditation of a diverse body of leadership. The aim of this appeals process is to ensure that any person who meets the LLLI Prerequisites to Applying for Leadership has the opportunity to become a Leader Applicant with La Leche League.
An appeal regarding accreditation as a La Leche League (LLL) Leader can be made when:
- An application to become an accredited LLL Leader has been declined or
- A Leader Applicant’s application in process has been stopped.
Before a request or application to become an accredited LLL Leader is declined, the Leader to whom the request was made presents to the Leader Accreditation Department (LAD) representative for their Area or DCE the reasons for declining, referencing the specific prerequisite(s) or criteria that the potential Applicant has not met. The LAD representative for the Area consults with the LAD representatives in the Direct Connect Entity (DCE) where the potential Applicant would have been supported and/or the Director of the Leader Accreditation Department (DLAD).
If the application was declined by a LAD representative, the LAD representative presents the information described above to their LAD supervisor and to the supporting Leader for consultation as described above.
Any decision to decline to recommend a potential Applicant, to decline an application, or to stop an application in progress, reflects the La Leche League International (LLLI) Prerequisites to Applying for Leadership and LLLI Criteria for Leader Accreditation as stated in Applying for Leadership, LLL Policies and Standing Rules. The reason for declining is made in writing to the appropriate LAD representative, referencing the specific prerequisite or criterion that is not met. Only the DLAD can stop an application in progress.
These appeal procedures will be used only as a way to make decisions regarding interpretation of policy, including the LLLI Criteria for Leader Accreditation and LLL philosophy.
These appeal procedures will not be used to contest the existence or wording of any LLL policy. The process for recommending changes to the Applying for Leadership policy or any other LLL policy can be found in the Responsibility for Policy policy.
General Accreditation Appeals Procedure
- A copy of this policy is part of the Leader’s Pre-Application Packet.
- When a Leader or LAD representative informs a potential Applicant of the decision to decline an application or when the DLAD tells an Applicant of the decision to stop the application, they must also inform the person of the right to appeal and share this policy and the LLL Leader Accreditation Appeal form.
- “Appellant” refers to the person appealing.
- The appellant has 90 days after receiving this policy to complete and send the appeal form. If there are extenuating circumstances that cause a delay of longer than 90 days, the DLAD or Chair of the Accreditation Review Committee (ARC) will take these into consideration.
- The appellant pays no fee to bring an appeal.
- When the appeal is received, the DLAD or ARC Chair acknowledges receipt within one week. All communications used in an appeal must be documented, including email, telephone calls, video or audiotapes, online or in-person meetings. Copies of the appeal file will be kept by the DLAD for a period of five years.
- LLLI is committed to prompt responses and a thorough review.
For an appellant whose application has been declined, the appeal has two possible stages of review: review by the DLAD and review by the ARC.
For an Applicant whose application has been stopped by the DLAD, there is one stage of review: review by the ARC.
Appeal Review by DLAD
- The appellant sends the appeal form to the DLAD, stating the reasons for appeal review.
- The DLAD creates an appeal review group of 4-5 LAD Council members which reflects the international nature of LLL.
The DLAD and this LAD Council appeal review group conduct a review, dialoguing with the appellant and consulting with the Leader(s) and LAD representatives who have been involved with this application.
- With the appellant’s permission, The DLAD may consult, if necessary, with the LAD Council or LLLI Board of Directors concerning interpretation of the prerequisites or policy. All of the appellant’s personal identifying information will be withheld from that discussion.
- With the appellant’s permission, the DLAD informs the relevant Area/DCE administrators of the fact of the appeal.
- The DLAD reports the decision to the appellant and the LAD representatives and Leaders who have been involved with the application.
- If the appeal is declined, the DLAD informs the appellant of the right to appeal again to the ARC and the procedure for doing so.
- The DLAD includes general information about any appeals in their regular reporting to LLLI.
Appeal Review by the ARC
- The appellant sends the appeal form to the ARC stating the reasons for appealing.
- The DLAD shares the appellant’s appeal file with the ARC Chair.
- The ARC conducts a review, dialoguing with the appellant and consulting with the Leader(s) and/or LAD representatives who have been involved with the application, and with the LAD Council and LLLI Board about policies and prerequisites, as necessary.
- All decisions of the ARC are based upon the materials in the appellant’s file and with discussions with only the Leader(s) and the LAD representatives directly involved with the application.
- The decision of the ARC is final.
- The ARC reports its decision to the appellant and the Leader(s) working with the appellant, and separately to the LLLI Executive Director, the DLAD, and all LAD representatives involved in the application and the appeal.
- The ARC produces a bi-annual committee report for the LLLI Board that gives general information and themes. It does not share personal identifying information from appellants.
- A person who has had their application for leadership declined or their application stopped is not prevented from re-applying if something changes and they meet the LLLI Prerequisites to Applying for Leadership and LLLI Criteria for Leader Accreditation. See Applying for Leadership.
(Feb 98; rev Feb 99, Apr 16, Nov 21)