Dialogue/Facilitation/Strategic Planning

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My work in dialogue, facilitation and strategic planning is based on a core belief in the ability of dialogue to humanize participants and bridge understanding through authentic inquiry and exchange. Mutual curiosity, collaborative inquiry and compassionate listening are successful alternatives to adversarial approaches, and encourage transformative social change. I focus on the achievement of positive, enduring impact on issues of critical community and organizational importance, building respectful, inclusive and meaningful partnerships.

Past work has explored important local, national and international issues in partnership with government, civil society, and the private sector, through facilitated public dialogues and focused stakeholder workshops to generate unbiased, interactive and outcome-oriented programs.

Global Civic Policy Salon, “Bees and Dialogue,” video 4 May 2016

I’m available for:

Interactive Workshop

Developing Dialogue Skills: Explore dialogue as a useful tool to generate non-partisan and constructive communication around difficult topics that impact the social, economic, environmental and cultural well being of our communities.

Probe these and other aspects of dialogue in an active, experiential, interactive and skills-based format. Our goal is to develop concepts, structure and content that will encourage participants to conduct their own dialogues with productive outcomes useful within government, business and community groups.

This program is for you if you’re interested in conducting internal dialogues within your organization to improve routine meetings, conflict resolution, strategic planning and team building; want to develop dialogue-based workshops and conferences that take participants beyond the usual static meeting into novel and engaging formats where innovations flourish, or are interested in putting on civic consultations with multiple stakeholders that use dialogue to transform your public event into a productive, efficient, and consensus-building meeting.

Talks

 Sum is Greater Than the PartsThis talk covers what we can learn from honeybees about layering individual actions into complex organizational functions. We’ll look at how bees collaborate, communicate, listen and respond to each other, plan work and transfer information to the thousands of individuals that make up a hive. Our focus will be on lessons we can apply to our own organizations to better integrate individual actions and to strategically implement effective organizational change. This program is relevant for corporate, non-profit, government and academic audiences; the talk can be followed by a workshop tailored to your organization’s needs.

Facilitation

 I’m available to facilitate strategic planning sessions, multi-stakeholder invited meetings, workshops and public dialogues. Services provided can include background research, agenda planning, organizing conference participation, facilitating the session itself and follow-up reporting.

Examples/Awards (Dialogue/Facilitation)

  • Centre for Dialogue: Founding Director of Simon Fraser University’s premier link with community, recognized globally for its distinctive programming and use of dialogue as a tool for civic engagement, http://www.sfu.ca/dialogue.html
  • Free the Children: Non-profit organization addressing child labour and economic issues globally; facilitated workshops on dialogue, writing, and speaking, http://www.freethechildren.com
  • Institute for Canadian Citizenship: Citizenship organization founded and directed by Canada’s former Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson. Facilitated dialogue for new citizens to explore their arrival in Canada and growth into Canadian citizenship, http://www.icc-icc.ca/en/
  • Adaptations for Climate Change: Moderated public discussion concerning how communities can adapt to environmental challenges caused by climate change, http://www.sfu.ca/act.html
  • New Brunswick Horticultural Trades Association: Facilitated discussion on cosmetic pesticide use in horticulture, http://www.landscapenbmember.com
  • Natural Resources Canada Biofuels Sustainability Workshop: Advised NRCanada to design consultation process around sustainability of biofuels (Toronto), http://www.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/eng/
  • The Simons Foundation: FacilitatedThe Will to Intervene” at the Centre for Dialogue with author Frank Chalk and participants, http://www.thesimonsfoundation.ca
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS): Facilitated session, “Speaking Scientific Truth to Power: The Roles of National Science Academies,” San Diego, http://www.aaas.org
  • Institute for Health System Transformation and Sustainability (IHSTS): Facilitated dialogues on the future of anesthesiology in B.C., http://ihsts.ca and the way family physicians practice medicine, Physician Heal Thyself
  • Department of Fisheries and Oceans: Developing an approach to understanding cumulative effects of factors affecting Pacific salmon, Nanaimo BC, http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/science/facilities-installations/pbs-sbp/index-eng.html
  • Hollyhock Educational Retreat Centre: Facilitated day-long workshop Developing Dialogue Skills, Vancouver (2014, 2015), http://www.hollyhock.ca
  • QMUNITY: Six-month community consultation with Vancouver’s LGBTQ community to provide feedback useful in planning a $10 million community centre, Building Qmunity Project
  • UBC Family Practice Residency Program: “Bees, Mindfulness and Medicine: Opportunities for Convergence,” workshop, April 2017

Testimonials (Dialogue/Facilitation)

Amazing facilitator. Calm, listens better than anyone I have ever met. Very positive in his comments

 Strong skills in group processes, personal growth and challenge, interactive group learning and dynamics

You were masterful in that meeting – combining all our concerns, guiding us gently, pointing out some obvious areas of difficulty and assisting gently to move us to resolution. Truly, your help was paramount to us.

Mark is the original gentle guru. Every time he speaks, you know something profound will emerge

Reflective, responsive, an excellent facilitator. Gave us good guidelines and stuck to them himself

 Mark is a model mentor and facilitator. He taught me a lot about listening, and providing constructive feedback. He was also incredibly perceptive, and always available to help a group work through hard times

 Mark guides through careful discussion. I learned a lot seeing how he facilitated sessions. He helps bring people’s own ideas out without expressing judgment

Mark’s sessions were great learning experiences – set the tone for really paying attention to others, and to myself

Descriptions of the conference format sent out ahead of time gave no hint of the electricity that would be quickly generated among the participants once it all got started. The absence of all hierarchy was refreshing and key to the process. It enabled the breakout groups to very quickly begin developing ideas. . . Most people made no attempt to dominate discussions, and truly seemed to be listening.

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