Cohorts and retreats

Learning and development are social.

We learn best in conversation and practice with others. And sometimes we need to step back to grapple with big questions. We can make room to try on new ways of seeing, seek language that’s big enough for what we’re facing. I love to design and host group learning and reflection, and to help others do the same.

A note about the right mix of hosts

I am a straight white man of a certain age. I have many unearned advantages, and my life holds little trauma. This means I’m not always the right person to be the host of a conversation. I bring valuable experience and perspective. I’ve done my best to cultivate an attentive caring ear. I practice standing in defense of people’s belonging and breadth of being. So there’s that. And when the group includes different identities, especially BIPOC folks, we’ll need a conversation. I’ll either step back or insist on hosting as part of a diverse duo or team.

Learning groups

I help conceive, plan, gather, equip and host learning groups. These are regular gatherings of people who want to grow new skills and habits of mind. Usually they involve unfamiliar and complex challenges. (For example, working with leadership in social complexity. Working for racial justice in university culture.) Such challenges need a mix of outside input, reflection, conversation, practice and scaffolding. They need space for brave vulnerability and mutual care.

Hosting and facilitation

I help create purposeful gatherings. When we gather diversity and power, good hosting can scaffold listening and dialogue. When the situation is difficult, we need to see together before we decide together. Each group is different, and so each hosting team and plan is different. I draw from a broad mix of sources: design, Art of Hosting, Liberating Structures, art-based methods, complex facilitation. I’m happy to talk about how I can bring this to bear on your situation.


A retreat can break things open. We too seldom step away from our usual rhythms and demands. When we gather with others that share our questions, we can find new perspective. Better questions. I’ve hosted retreats for design managers, change leaders, and corporate groups. The questions may be practical, professional, personal or societal. Often it’s a tangle of all those things. Retreats can last a day or a week, online or in person, and take place in your town or deep in nature. I love to design and host these experiences of rest, learning and reflection, and to help others do the same.

Skilling: first steps in hosting / facilitation

Anyone can become better at hosting conversations that matter. So often we need better gathering, listening and seeing, deeper relationships and creativity. But most of us have only a few tools in our group-work cupboard.

I enjoy helping people take their first steps in group hosting. In a few weeks they go from “I’ve never facilitated, and I’m scared” to “I hosted my first group gathering and I can’t wait to do more.” I love to open the door to this wide world of methods, approaches, principles and skills.