what i bring to you…

Facilitation, Support and Training
for individuals and groups committed to social change

“Do good and be good,” my grandfather used to say: do good in the world while we are being good to each other. Successful social change today means bringing our whole selves to the projects and people we interact with — and that’s hard!

I work with individuals and groups to reflect, connect and strategize on effective forward movement based in a whole-systems experience.

Are you…

      • part of a group that’s juggling tricky interpersonal dynamics?
      • starting or stuck in a project?
      • feeling exhausted with your social change work?
      • needing some good ol’ fashioned strategic planning or meeting facilitation?

Do you want…

      • a super energizing meeting or organizational retreat?
      • to learn effective group process and reflection skills?
      • someone to talk to who’s been involved in a lot of well-intentioned community efforts and has deep compassion for the complexity of it all?

From new and established non-profits to cooperative businesses to informal community networks — groups often need support to move through sticky interpersonal, personal and strategic moments. After 20 years of collaborative work, I have compassion for the common patterns and agility to respond to new situations.

Everyone — from visionary leaders to brand-new volunteers — needs to feel seen and included meaningfully in their groups. Without a sense of place as well as organizational commitment to healthy process, we too often find ourselves mired in conflicting strategic directions, interpersonal tension and burnout.

Let’s bring meaning and action together!

Note: I believe that a core piece of all social change work is to become versed in the patterns of oppressive systems and how we unintentionally reinforce and intentionally change them. As such, I recognize that I am a white, cis-gender, able-bodied woman on my personal journey of learning, practicing and integrating anti-oppression work into everything I do.

jennyleis@gmail.com
503-548-8459

community power!

MEETING FACILITATION / GROUP PROCESS

Community Conversations
Groups need to discover collective meaning, explore their ideas and form plans to implement strategies.

Using interactive and small group activities, as well as visual components, I facilitate groups to generate better ideas and build more understanding.

In Fall, 2019 I facilitated a series of three community conversations for the
St. Johns neighborhood about a houseless people village project moving into the neighborhood. My focus was building empathy across differences and arriving at collaborative solutions together.

Ongoing Meetings

Working with the same group over time builds a special level of integration between the facilitator and group.

I currently facilitate the monthly board meetings for People’s Food Co-op.

INDIVIDUAL / ORGANIZATIONAL CONSULTING

Organizational Retreats

Time is precious when a group gets together to reflect and move forward on their journey. I have a multi-faceted “bag of tricks” for activities and approaches to a range of organizational needs. And I am committed to the pre-work it takes to plan a successful meeting.

A few months after a 3-day organizational retreat, this community member proudly showed me a useful meeting technology that the group adopted during our time together.

visioning

Supporting Visionary Leaders

Starting a project takes serious commitment to navigate the logistical, visionary, interpersonal and structural components of an idea. As a co-founder and leader of a number of non-profits and collective projects, I have experience and compassion for the many nuances and hard work it takes!

Throughout 2019 I worked with 4 visionary founders/leaders who just needed someone to talk to — whether it was mapping interpersonal dynamics of a longstanding group or working out how to build a new board and strategic vision, I adapt to each person’s style and needs. (Like sitting on a rooftop, pictured here!)

VISUAL THINKING

Organizational Clarity

Simple, colorful maps tend to shift overwhelming feelings, complex relationships and nuanced ideas into something more approachable. I often take what I hear from a group and bring it back in a new visual format.

The top photo is the map of the “Layers and Players” involved in the St. Johns houseless person village project.

After listening to a conversation among white folks in arts organizations working to understand racism (and undoing it!), I drew this diagram to help organize their thoughts and next steps.

Group Activities

Engaging with simple drawings and colors has a magical ability to release anxiety from conversations: when people draw they tend to think/feel differently and transform emotional reactions into connective conversations. I integrate these tools into meetings.

For a set of community conversations about houselessness I created “Concern Maps” for people to explore their concerns more deeply by identifying causes and effects, underlying needs, different points of view and feelings. Insights (in this case solutions to address concerns) emerge naturally as people step one bubble at a time through a “systems thinking” process.

Communications

In this world of fancy computer graphics, sometimes it’s refreshing to work with handmade drawings.

I worked with a doctor to communicate a brand new model of her medical clinic through this fun “zine.”

TRAININGS and WORKSHOPS

Facilitated Reflection

We learn when we reflect! Examining our personal or organizational life stories, impactful moments, and hard questions does wonders for opening new insights and next steps.

I lead workshops on Reflective Practice, using visual thinking activities, peer learning, storytelling and creative interactions to help us mirror and witness ourselves and each other and draw out our best selves.

In 2019 I led two sets of workshops on Life Story Mapping, Skill Mapping and Vision Mapping. I created a step-by-step process for people to organize and visualize their ideas. It was fun!

Group Process Trainings

There’s nothing like a good meeting or functional organizational system! 🙂 I teach a range of group process techniques including:
*Formal consensus
*Policy Governance
*Meeting facilitation/design 101
*Social Ecology

Kids can be fantastic organizational participants! I’m happy to have kiddos at meetings, either doing their own project or helping with ours.

About

My visual resume

Jenny is a spark of enthusiasm! She has 20-years experience developing organizational systems for grassroots non-profits, facilitating collective group process, managing volunteers, organizing campaigns, raising funds and hosting events. Immersed in the “movement of movements” since 2001, she is inspired and informed by innovative social change efforts that foreground healthy group process as a necessary foundation for creating external change.

Jenny’s master’s degree in Whole Systems Design is accompanied by decades of practical experience in learning what makes groups and individuals thrive. Over the past several years, she has deepened her commitment to anti-oppression and is working to better understand and change both the systems and behaviors that perpetuate oppression.

After a decade of working with small non-profits, Jenny is now focusing her skills, energy and experience on facilitating, teaching and supporting individual and group changemakers. She specializes in consensus decision-making, visual thinking (translating ideas into folk graphics), facilitated reflection, and helping people thrive (even have fun!) as they navigate complex social and interpersonal issues. Her teaching style is based in compassion for the hard work of social change, lighthearted silliness, interactive activities and commitment to healthy communication.

Jenny lives in the Cedar Moon intentional community located at Tryon Life Community Farm (www.tryonfarm.org), a seven-acre non-profit sustainability/anti-oppression education center, which she co-founded in 2005. She recognizes this is the stolen land of the Multnomah Chinook, Kalapuya and Clackamas peoples.

Resume and references available upon request.

Tryon Life Community Farm, is a community venue for gatherings and educational events of all kinds! www.tryonfarm.org

Say hello!

Ask a question, share a thought — I’ll get back to you soon!