Session N - Post-Conference Session
Building Community Ecologies: Goals and Roles for a Human(e) Approach to Transformation
Presented by Dave Flanigan and Tracy Huston


Description: The world is constantly shifting and with it the roles of each and every person are also changing. Attendees are invited to participate in this interactive workshop where they will explore the framing question: What is the independent mix of personal, relational, and structural conditions that are needed to allow us to create the futures that we want?

Drawing from their work at the Menlo Lab, the workshop leaders, Dave Flanigan and Tracy Huston will share strategies and tactics that will help the participants respond to this framing question by developing, holding and manifesting intention in a context of whole-system cross-sector transformation.

Consider the possibilities when this framing question is asked in the context of sustainable food production, in complex social areas such as water capture and re-use, green building and landscape designs, permanent job creation, renewable energy, and sustainable mobility and access. Consider the possibilities when it is asked in the context of whole systems in any area of concern. Participants at this workshop will learn to engage people from the source of their deepest aspirations to create intentions for the future and to crystallize those intentions into transformational action.

Target Audience: Leaders who desire to create whole system change within complex multi-stakeholder environments, and to generate profound breakthroughs.

Organization Issues: this session will address...

  • Rapidly changing and unpredictable conditions—a state of “whitewater”
  • Working across institutions and public-private sector boundaries
  • Redefining the role of leadership in ways that develop our collective capacity
  • Moving from idea generation to execution through rapid cycles, in ways that expand learning and also deliver significant results
  • Improving results through both reflection and learning-in-action, at the speed of change

Objectives: Through the workshop, attendees will gain:

  • New ideas on ways to lead whole system change from the “inside-out”
  • Experience with tools to create breakthroughs in a generative visioning and prototyping process
  • Renewed commitment and will for leading change, even within the most complex conditions

Date: Monday, April 19th

Length: 3 hours (8:30-11:30am)

Location: California State University, 18111 Nordhoff Street, Northridge


Handouts: Available for download after Forum

Dave Flanigan

Biography: Dave Flanigan is co-founder of Menlo Lab, has 33 years of global business experience in the automotive and financial service sectors.  Dave was President of Ford Credit International where he led 9,500 employees and developed highly profitable financial services businesses in 38 countries.  After retiring from Ford, he now employs his leadership and business transformation experience to coach other leaders in building high-performing teams and creating whole-system, cross-sector change.  Clients include Exxon Mobil, the National Security Agency, the World Bank and Nissan. He is Chairman of the Detroit Institute for Children, serves as Trustee of the Society for Organizational Learning, and actively supports community transformation projects throughout the global Menlo network.

Contact: Dave can be reached by e-mail at for additional information about this post-conference session.


Tracy Huston

Biography: Tracy Huston is a co-founder of Menlo Lab, a global, non-profit network of leaders from the public and private sectors dedicated to creating the social and economic conditions needed to ensure sustainable well being, for our institutions and the people they serve. She brings over 20 years experience in working with leaders from business, social services, government, healthcare, education, and non-profit organizations in effecting meaningful and sustainable change to generate the results they want. Her work with executives and line leaders from global corporations, as well as with leaders from school districts, social services agencies, civic groups, and youth, represents the breadth and depth of expertise required to successfully engage all stakeholders in complex systems to overcome barriers to collaboration and co-create the innovative solutions that work and last. Her approaches address both the personal and systemic transformation needed to not only initiate but to sustain real change.

Tracy is the author of the book Inside-Out: Stories and Methods for Generating Collective Will to Create the Future We Want (Society for Organizational Learning, 2007), and of numerous articles published in organizational learning and leadership development journals. She is engaged as a speaker at organizational learning, systems thinking, and other forums throughout the country, and is a member of the Society for Organizational Learning and the Presencing Institute.


Contact: Tracy can be reached by e-mail at for additional information about this post-conference session.


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