The Art of Participatory Leadership: Hosting meaningful conversations that matter

Information from Pre-Retreat Online Training Sessions: March & April, 2020

Session #1: 

Session #2: 

Session #3:

The Art of Participatory Leadership Retreat


The COVID experience has presented some very real challenges to all of us, yet within these challenges are gifts to re-evaluate what is important and how we want to move forward both individually and collectively. The Art of Participatory Leadership provides more than tools, it creates a community of practitioners to make this transition easier. We need to be together to imagine and co-create the changes needed now.

We are dedicated to help make this happen. Our team is now developing new plans for an innovative approach to learning the Art of Participatory Leadership. This approach will be virtual and may include some limited blended virtual and face-to-face sessions in different locations in BC for those who can gather safely for part of a day. More information will be posted when it’s ready.

Facilitation Team: 

David Stevenson:David has spent the last 25 years supporting personal, social, cultural and organizational healing, wellness and reconciliation. He is a practitioner of the Art of Hosting Meaningful Conversations/Art of Participatory Leadership and current chair of the Royal Roads University School of Leadership Studies. As CEO of the Moose Hide Campaign-an Indigenous innovation for the benefit of all Canadians- he supports a national team with a mission to end domestic and gender-based violence in Canada. David has held leadership roles in the private, non-profit and government sectors, including Strategic Lead for Aboriginal Services with the Ministry for Children and Family Development, Executive Director of Indigenous Leadership and Transformation Services; and 7 years as CEO of the Government Crown Corporation …the Vancouver Island Aboriginal Transition Authority for Children and Families. David lives on Mount PKOLS [pq̕áls], in SENĆOŦEN and Lekwungen peoples territory, also known as Victoria BC with his partner and two daughters.

Bob Stigler: Bob Stilger, PhD, is an activist-scholar who explores social change, leadership and community building in these times of collapse and regeneration. Bob’s first work with collapse was in Zimbabwe in the early part of this century. He has worked extensively with communities in Japan where people are creating a “new normal” after the devastating Triple Disasters – earthquake, tsunami and nuclear explosions – of March 11, 2011. Bob’s book, AfterNow: When We Cannot See the Future, Where Do We Begin was published in Japanese in 2015 and then in English in 2017. Bob has worked with First People’s from across the world who have been forcibly displaced by climate crises. He’s carried this work into Northern California, after the fires and now his nonprofit, NewStories, has launched a regional initiative in the Northwest called Regenerating Communities.  Visit for more of Bob’s story. Check-out www.AfterNow.Today

Ingrid Liepa: Ingrid is a consulting professional from Kimberley, BC, with a strong background in environment, climate change, health and sustainability. She’s been engaged in climate change since the late 1990s in work that has spanned classrooms, communities, corporate boardrooms, government policy agendas, and simple, everyday life. And since her teens, she has been a student and practitioner of facilitation, experiential learning, knowledge mobilization and participatory engagement techniques, with the good fortune to lead, support or be part of dozens of projects bringing the transformative potential of well-designed processes to support people, organizations and communities to further their missions. Ingrid first discovered Art of Hosting in 2010 and quickly made it an essential part of her toolkit. She completed the advanced training in 2015, and is excited for this training to be offered in the Kootenays.

Jayme Jones: Jayme has a passion for sustainability and engaging others to build resilient communities. She is a natural facilitator, project manager, and communicator. She loves being in roles bringing people together to address complex issues. Her key interests are water governance and climate change. Jayme has a Master of Art’s Degree in Environment and Management where her master’s thesis examined community action on climate change. Jayme has experience in government, industry, academia, and non-profit sectors. She is presently working at Selkirk College in the Columbia Basin Rural Development Institute as a Faculty/Research Assistant where she is doing applied research and supporting capacity building for local governments on a variety of projects, including a project on climate adaptation. When Jayme is not busy with work or volunteering, you will find her skiing, crafting, singing, or exploring with her husband and two young kids.

Jenn Meilleur: Jenn is a facilitator, systems-thinker, and a strategist who works collaboratively to co-create clarity, purpose and impact. Her passion is for drawing upon bold, creative, and participatory leadership to build capacity and create the conditions for happier, healthier, and more environmentally sustainable and resilient communities and workplaces. With leadership experience in the public, private, cooperative, nonprofit, and philanthropic sectors, Jenn has been developing and delivering sustainability and community development programs for two decades. Jenn has been privileged to build the foundation of many of her skills as part of the leadership team at Canada’s largest retail cooperative. Since that time, she has worked collaboratively on a national wilderness conservation engagement campaign, as a staff member with five local government on public policy, sustainability, communications, and community engagement, as the coordinator of a Collective Impact food systems initiative, and with a Community Foundation on organizational and community capacity building. She has been supporting and leading non-profits since 2011 in the role of board director, advisory member, and steering committee member. Jenn finds her inspiration in nature on the traditional lands and waters of the K’omoks First Nation on Vancouver Island in Canada with her husband, two children, and many furry friends.

Retreat Venue:

Yasodhara Ashram is a unique setting for our gathering. Spacious, light-filled classrooms and sacred spaces combine with the incredible natural beauty of this land which will help to create a meaningful space for renewal, conversation, celebration and change. The ashram, and those who call it home, are very dedicated to spiritual and monastic practice. This is not a conference centre or a hotel. We have had many discussions with the ashram leaders about bringing the program there and they are excited to host us. It’s a beautiful and magical place and they are also feeling ‘called’ to support leaders and influencers at this critical moment in the human story. We view ourselves as honoured and respectful guests rather than customers and will be respecting the rich traditions of the ashram while we are there. More details can be found at

Learning Outcomes:

  • You’ll learn theories, methods, tools and practices for leading and hosting groups though processes of discovery, development, design and implementation of solutions to complex challenges.
  • You’ll increase your personal and organizational development capacities to co-create collaborative solutions, resolve conflicts and build collective wisdom.
  • How these practices create new and powerful options for leadership and solution development that are frequently not present in our personal, organizational or community development approaches.
  • Concrete practical experience and tools to support participatory leadership initiatives and to host meaningful conversations in challenging contexts.

Each AoH is uniquely designed based upon participants. Some of the processes learned will draw from:

  • Traditional Circle Practices
  • Four Fold Practice
  • World Cafe
  • Chaordic Path: Chaos and Order
  • Diamond of Participation
  • Organizational Paradigms
  • Open Space Technology
  • Story Telling Trios
  • Triads
  • Solo Time — Meditation, Journaling, TIme on the Land
  • Pro Action Cafe
  • Art of Harvesting
  • Art of Powerful Questions
  • Two Loops of Innovation
  • Cynefin Framework
  • Theory U
  • Collective Story Harvest
  • NowCast
  • Spiral of Co-Creating

Read more about the Art of Hosting here:

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