When you have a project that you want to accomplish, a conversation that needs to occur between multiple stakeholders, or a challenge you need to deal with, sometimes you need an impartial facilitator to help shape and structure the conversation.
I describe my approach as "assertive facilitation" - differentiated from passive facilitation which can allow things to get off-track and aggressive facilitation which forces a group to go your way. I work to include all voices while still making forward progress and achieving the group's goal.
Examples of my facilitation experience include:
Over a course of 12 months, I served as a lead facilitator for a "policy academy" funded by the Lumina Foundation in Vermont. The goal of the cross-sector dialogue was to identify a goal for post-secondary attainment in Vermont and move toward a plan to achieve it. I helped the lead agencies plan agendas, facilitate meetings, and navigate challenges. The result was the 70% by 2025 goal now in place in the state.
Once a council of individuals was recruited to move this initiative forward, I helped to plan and facilitate a 2-day Grafton Conference to launch the initiative. I continue to work with this group on a regular basis.
When a small college in Vermont wanted to explore their organizational structure and the implications of that structure for its ability to effectively govern, they invited me to facilitate a 2-day retreat on this topic. I began by talking with lead representatives of the group and framing out an agenda, and then implemented that agenda. I adapted on the fly to shift the agenda as needed and also shared with them a summary of key takeaways from our time together.
In June, 2017, Vermont's Governor (Phil Scott) signed an executive order identifying outdoor recreation as a key economic opportunity for the state and creating the "Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economy Collaborative (VOREC)." A committee was formed to guide VOREC's initiatives, but input from those in the field and from the public was also essential. I was invited to facilitate a 2-day "Grafton Conference" at the Grafton Inn, sponsored by the Windham Foundation, The Vermont Community Foundation, and the High Meadows Fund. This conference kicked off their transparent planning process, and included panels, breakout group sessions, and full-group planning. Again, I worked with the lead planners to map out the time with this group, and I provided a post-event summary for the lead planners.