But Ellen, how does this relate to facilitation?
This makes me highly adept at seeing who's afraid to speak, who's upset, who's nervous, who's bored, and actively shift and tailor the format and flow of the conversation to ensure, best I can, secure space for conversation for participants. This includes knowing how to ask someone to step back so others can step in to take space they have not had available. It also means I know who to check in with afterwards or during a break to identify how solutions can be found for anyone struggling, or just excited about the work and how to help direct it.
Why else are you good at facilitation?
I came to facilitation initially as an educator and guide. Leading groups to do new or challenging things has been in my wheelhouse since I was 19 years old and I led my first backpacking trip through the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico. After I finished college I continued guiding and also took roles as an outdoor educator and ESL teacher. I then went to graduate school and became an urban planner and communications specialist.
In all these roles I had to bring groups of people together, sometimes a small group on a hike or river trip, and sometimes in the hundreds (or online, thousands) to plan a vision for their city, while also staying on the mark for the politics involved. Over the past 20 years I have become a highly adept, intuitive, and attuned facilitator. I bring people together to create a common vision, or have a common experience, despite their differences and benefiting from their diversity. I make sure as best I can that everyone feels welcome, included, and can come along if they choose.
Can you give us a short list of your facilitation clients?
• State of Oregon, Governor's Office
• Metro regional government, Portland, Oregon
• City of Beaverton, Oregon
• Confluence Environmental Center
• Hacienda Community Development Corporation
• Camp ELSO
• Mt. Adams Institute
• Greenbelt Land Trust