ON-DEMAND Facilitating Transformational Change toward Sustainability (Part I of II)

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Course Code(s) SC 162
Duration Five - 1 hour sessions
Start and End Time ON-DEMAND
Location ON-LINE supported by Community of Practice on Sustainability Learning Network
Course Description

Facilitating Transformational Change toward Sustainability: authentic leadership inside - out (Part I)

“The quality of an intervention is dependent on the interior state of the intervener”, Bill O’Brien.

Addressing the complex sustainability challenges facing society today, sustainability leaders and facilitators must steer their way through complex, participatory planning processes. 

In most cases, sustainability requires engaging people in profound change, an inner shift in peoples values, TheLotus_v3aspirations and behaviours guided by their mental models as well as an outer shift in processes, strategies and practices.

Sustainability Managers, Green Team Leaders & Facilitators need to be adept at engaging individuals and groups in a collaborative and dialogical manner, unearthing the group’s collective intelligence and assisting employees to gain a whole system perspective.  Facilitating this type of transformation depends first on the authentic leadership of the facilitator.

Nine Personal Capacities

Research by Baan, Long and Pearlman shows that successful sustainability leaders embody nineTheLotus_v4 personal capacities:

1) Being Present, 2) Suspension and Letting Go, 3) Intention Aligned with Higher Purpose, 4) Holding Paradoxes/Ambiguities and Multiple Worldviews, 5)Compassion , 6) Personal Power, 7) Whole System Awareness, 8) Whole Self Awareness and 9) a Sense of Humour. 

Creating Space for Personal & Collective Practice

One important path to the embodiment of these capacities is through personal and collective practice.  

In this program, Facilitating Transformational Change towards Sustainability (Part I), we share the first 4 of these 9 personal capacities,  create a space for personal and collective practice and commence a dialogue on integrated and holistic practice.  The final 5 attributes and a continued dialogue on creating an integrated and holistic practice scheme is offered in the follow up program, Facilitating Transformational Change towards Sustainability (Part II).

In both programs we share authentic leadership concepts, self- and group facilitation reflection questions, readings and practices for developing your capacities.  Essentially, we explore insight to becoming an authentic, effective sustainability leader, from the inside out.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Explore why it is important to be authentic when leading sustainability initiatives and working in collaborative spaces.
  • Examine 4 personal capacities authentic leaders find essential in their work (based upon research with 33 change agents) when leading change processes.
  • Learn how authenticity and self-awareness may be developed through personal and collective practices.
  • Assess one’s own personal leadership capacities to determine what capacities to develop.
  • Create an action plan for self-development.

 This program will emphasize leading systemic change and increasing personal awareness in body, heart, mind, shadow and spirit when facilitating collaboration. The workshop also aims to support a community of practice by enhancing relationships among participants and increasing personal insight around leading oneself through complex transformational processes in order to lead others in those spaces, as well.

Workshop program:

Each module will help participants explore authentic leadership capacities through:

  • Presentations that describe each personal capacity authentic leaders find essential in their work during collaboration and how they develop the capacities through practices,
  • Examples of authentic leaders in action,
  • Exercises and practices to help participants perceive the capacity beyond cognition alone,
  • Group dialogue and self-reflection practices to increase personal awareness, and,
  • Poetry, quotes and other forms of wisdom and inspiration to convey the essence of each leadership capacity.
Trainer and Subject Matter Expert


Dana Pearlman, M.Sc. Strategic Leadership Toward Sustainability, M.Sc. Psychology

Dana is a graduate of the internationally recognized Master’s in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability (MSLS) program, at the Blekinge Institute of Technology, Karlskrona, Sweden (the academic partner of The Natural Step NGO).  This program is based on research conducted by Dana and her colleagues Phil Long and Christopher Baan.

Dana’s inspiration for working in sustainability initiated from her deep love for Earth’s creatures. Fascinated by humanTheLotus_v1 behavior and empowerment, Dana pursued a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and women’s studies from the University of Pittsburgh. She traveled around the globe visiting 11 developing countries. This thought-provoking journey exposed human suffering and graciousness. After graduation, she advocated for and empowered victims of domestic violence, and in return received the gift of being in service to others. She facilitated support groups, provided legal advocacy and police escorted outreach.

Wanting to delve deeper into the human psyche, she obtained a master’s degree in clinical psychology, practicing psychodynamic psychotherapy. Dana’s background in psychology, facilitating groups and her own personal work gave her insight into the lifelong journey of self-discovery, group dynamics and the shadow work behind personal growth. Her knowledge about energy work as a Reiki practitioner, the use of flower essences, and animal behavior consulting gave her the ability to understand the less cognitively articulated connections for this research area.

She believes community building through collaborative learning and innovation that centers around a holistic approach to engage the whole of people (mind, body, heart and spirit) creates resiliency and is essential to combating our global sustainability challenges of today.

Christopher Baan, M.Sc. Strategic Leadership toward Sustainability

ChrisHaving graduated
 from the Master's in
 Strategic Leadership 
towards Sustainability 
at BTH in Sweden, Christopher works for 
several organisations 
in the field of 
strategic sustainable
 development, authentic leadership, and creating vibrant cross-sector coalitions.

At 'Nederland Krijgt Nieuwe Energie' (The Netherlands gets new energy), he supports and facilitates a multi-stakeholder process to accelerate the transition towards sustainable energy in the Netherlands, engaging a broad spectrum of sector organisations and NGOs.

At the ALIA Institute, he coordinates networking and outreach for the ALIA Europe Intensive. In his free time, Chris enjoys everything that is outdoors, from running to sailing, hiking in the mountains to long-distance cycling.

Who Should Attend

This course will be of value to anyone leading sustainability teams, projects or sustainability change agents in any community.

  • Sustainability Leaders
  • Sustainability, Environmental, Green Team and Corporate Social Responsibility Managers and Leaders
  • Facilities, Waste Management or Energy Managers
  • Purchasing Personnel
  • NGOs
Course Price: $ 150 for 5 modules and access to readings and videos on the ON-Line Community of Practice
Sustainability Learning Centre - Continuing Education Units (contact hours) Certificates of Participation in "Sustainability Education" will be awarded with 5 contact hours for this course.

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