The Art of Participatory Leadership: Hosting meaningful conversations that matter


Yasodhara Ashram – Kootenay Lake

Wednesday, May 6 (evening arrival) – Saturday, May 9 (afternoon finish)

Art of Hosting Facilitators: David Stevenson and Bob Stilger

There is limited space available for this unique training opportunity. We recommend registering early.

Join us on the beautiful shores of Kootenay Lake to deep dive into three days of hands-on learning and skill building in the Art of Hosting. Come away with new understanding of theories, methods, tools and practices that leaders and change-makers can use to co-create solutions to complex challenges like climate change. This retreat will build your capacity for incorporating collaborative solutions, conflict resolution and collective wisdom building into your personal and organizational leadership practice with a focus on community action.

This leadership training opportunity is hosted as a partnership between CBEEN and Selkirk College. Registering through this course will also register you for a Selkirk College Continuing Education Course and you will be eligible for a tuition tax credit.

The current global climate crisis calls on us to ground ourselves in this beautiful place we know as the Kootenays. We must find ways to transcend the fragmented social, organisational and political processes that limit our collective wisdom, our leadership and our ability to co-create the lives and communities we want. No reason to wait; let’s learn together how to host the conversations that matter, now. 

The Art of Hosting is a three-day leadership training course that scales from the personal to the systemic. We’ll help you develop leadership practices that co-create a collective impact that responds to the complex challenges surrounding us. Participants will learn models and practices to maximize personal leadership abilities and surface the collective intelligence needed to respond to the most pressing issues of our times.

Climate change affects all of us. We will come together in May 2020 on the east shore of Kootenay Lake to learn and practice skills to host the conversations needed to successfully navigate the complex issues and system changes facing us today.  Here in the Columbia Basin, our mountain landscapes and small rural communities create unique opportunities and challenges for action. What is needed? How can we make a difference? From where can we take inspiration? By coming together, understanding where we are at, and having new conversations to address our vulnerabilities and paths forward, we will co-create solutions to this challenging issue – turning conversations to actions. 


David Stevenson has spent the last 25 years supporting personal, social, cultural and organizational transformation. He is a “Global Steward” of the Art of Hosting Meaningful Conversations/Art of Participatory Leadership International Community. He is CEO of the Moose Hide Campaign, a social movement that started along the Highway of Tear in 2011 with a mission of engaging Indigenous and non-Indigenous men and boys in taking a stand to end violence against woman and children. David is currently the chair for the Royal Roads University School of Leadership Studies and has held many executive roles in government and non-profit sectors.

Bob Stilger, PhD, is an activist-scholar who explores social change, leadership and community building. Bob 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. 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.


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:


  • Date Format: YYYY slash MM slash DD
    CBEEN Membership: If you are not a member, but would like to become one to access discounted rates, go to If you are unsure if you are a member, but want to register as one, please select the member rate and then email to confirm your membership status. And if this event really calls to you, but you are unable to afford these options, please contact us and we will see if we can accommodate you in other ways.
  • The Ashram is at least one and a half hours from the nearest hospital and three hours from larger hospitals with specialized services. Because of the Ashram’s isolated rural setting, ambulance services are not always immediately available; at best an ambulance takes half an hour or longer to arrive on the Ashram site. Although the Ashram has basic first aid and a medical clinic is nearby, the clinic is only open three days per week and is without emergency service; accordingly the Ashram’s ability to respond to medical situations is limited.
  • An allergic reaction can affect the skin, gastrointestinal, respiratory, immune or cardiovascular system. In severe cases allergies can be life-threatening.
  • $ 0.00 CAD
    Please note our refund policy: Refunds of 90% of your registration fee are available up to 1 month before the event. Refunds of 50% of your registration fee are available up to 2 weeks before the event. No refunds within 1 week of the event.
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