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Facilitating with Liberating Structures

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NMC University Center, Room 7

2200 Dendrinos Dr

Traverse City, 49686

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We believe that community work is most powerful when we are inclusive and collaborative, involving key stakeholders of an initiative in its planning and implementation. We also understand that working together to bring an initiative to life can be frustrating. Sometimes traditional meeting and organizing structures hold us back from working together effectively.

Facilitate meaningful, energetic meetings using Liberating Structures, a set of exercises designed to unlock creativity and provide structure to your next collaborative endeavor. This series, facilitated by Sarah Ely, will introduce you to some simple facilitation practices that you can start using immediately. Attendance at all sessions for this series is not required - join us for one or more!

This series will best serve those who have some prior experience with Liberating Structures, or those who are interested in participating in a half-day Liberating Structures immersion session. Our next immersion session is scheduled for March 5 from 12:30-4:30 p.m.

You’re welcome to bring your lunch.

January 15, 2020, 12-1:30pm
Creating a Supportive Work Culture with Liberating Structures
- Participants will learn structures that will enable them to build a supportive work culture while discussing how to prevent burn out.

February 12, 12-1:30pm
Spreading New Ideas with Liberating Structures
- Participants will walk away with structures to help them facilitate more productive and creative idea sharing among diverse stakeholder groups.

March 5, 12:30-4:30pm
Liberating Structures immersion

About Liberating Structures

Create the conditions for good ideas to emerge, using Liberating Structures. Common meeting structures are either too inhibiting (presentations) or too loose and disorganized (brainstorms) to allow for the creative, engaged participation you need to shape effective projects. With a set of 33 Liberating Structures that are easy to use, anyone in your organizations or networks can facilitate productive and enjoyable meetings. Liberating Structures are designed to include everyone in the next steps of your work. They are set up to allow for equal and lively participation across power dynamics, encouraging participation from executives to volunteers to clients.

Meet Sarah Ely

Sarah Ely is a clinically-trained organizational development and learning specialist. Her early clinical experience was gained in Child and Family Service agencies (Monroe and Plymouth, Michigan), private practice (Dearborn and Northville, Michigan) and with the Salvation Army (Washtenaw County, Michigan).

Sarah’s less traditional applications of clinical expertise began in 1986 with UAW-Ford as employee training manager and facilitator of problem-solving teams. She eventually left the manufacturing sector to serve as a consultant and in-service trainer with K-12 Student Assistance Programs across Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. Those travels ended when Sarah accepted a position at U-M with the Center for the Education of Women where nontraditional faculty and graduate students were served through career coaching and group programs. Prior to retirement in 2017, Sarah was Associate Director for Training with U-M Facilities and Operations. It is in this position that she was introduced to Liberating Structures during a conference at the University of Washington. She enthusiastically applied her learning to the facilitation of employee and management team meetings, leadership retreats, program start-ups, and change initiatives across campus. Three years later, Sarah was invited to help train 150+ campus professionals in cross-functional workshops led by one of the Liberating Structures founders and authors. In 2016 and 2017, Sarah trained others in the practice and application of Liberating Structures via a network of Big Ten trainers.

Traverse City has been Sarah’s primary residence since December 2017. She is Principal of Crescent Hill Consulting with diverse projects involving Great Lakes Performing Artists Association, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Kent State University and Michigan Medicine. Sarah holds a B.S. from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. and her MSW from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.


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NMC University Center, Room 7

2200 Dendrinos Dr

Traverse City, 49686

View Map

Refund Policy

Refunds up to 1 day before event

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