Pre-Conference Workshops

Public - accessible to all site users

Join us for a day of Pre-Conference Workshops; we have a range of half day and full day options from which to choose. This workshop day gives the opportunity for in-depth exploration of relevant leadership topics.

Click here to view the Workshop Schedule

Influential Conversations: Changing Your World, One Conversation at a Time

Presenters:  Cheryl Smith, Brent Stewart


Conducting influential conversations is not just a leadership skill, but a fundamental life skill. Whether at work, at home, or in our community, we participate in these conversations on a daily basis. One of the most basic ways we can improve the world around us is through becoming more influential in our interactions with others.Influence is like lubricant in a fine machine. It makes everything easier—with less friction and resistance. Individuals who have developed the art of influence often stand out. People want to work with them and want to contribute to accomplishing their goals. There’s an environment of mutual respect and trust. These compelling individuals are able to get a lot more done—even when they are not present in the workplace. How do they do that?In this interactive workshop we first explore the distinctions between influence and other approaches to initiating change. Building on these distinctions we reveal 5 principles that provide a foundation for influence as well as a structure for conducting influential conversations. Through a series of exercises participants will learn to apply these principles and will leave the workshop with a practical template for being more influential in their interactions with others.

Exploring the U: What the Practice of Presence Contributes to Leadership

Presenters: Catherine Etmanski, Kristi Mader, David Stevenson


In his 2009 book on Theory U, Otto Scharmer asserted that as we move into a future that is profoundly different from the past, we, as leadership practitioners, need to develop skills and abilities for learning our way forward into the future as it emerges. In so doing, Scharmer encouraged his readers to shift the key focus of our attention from the outside world (our words and deeds in the external, material reality) to our internal worlds (the inner source from which we, as leaders, operate). He further proposed the model for a collaborative process that enables communities of interest to come together to co-create the reality we want. This “U” process includes five movements: co-initiating, co-sensing, co-presencing, co-creating, and co-evolving. On Vancouver Island and the surrounding Gulf Islands, a regional Community of Practice has been emerging around the idea of Change Labs (based on Theory U) as a practice for social innovation and whole systems change. Members of this community have a strong desire to draw upon local expertise in practices such as the Art of Hosting, Theatre for Living, as well as Mindfulness practices related to Scharmer’s concept of presencing. This group of practitioners has been exploring a home-grown approach to participatory leadership founded upon the cross-pollination of these various practices and will be piloting a number of workshops in the coming year.This workshop will introduce the five movements of Theory U by experientially engaging participants in a number of methods drawn from the various practices mentioned above. 

Words for Worlds: Building Leadership Capacity through Narrative Practices

Presenters:  Marcy Strong, Victor Shewchuk, Christine Cavanaugh-Simmons


Stories are important to leadership.  The ability to connect others through narrative resulting in shared meaning has been shown to transform relationships and culture through language.  In today’s world of greater complexity and speed, it is a crucial leadership capacity to create adaptive organizations starting with the foundational and strategic stories told for sense making.  This workshop will explore how stories and language transform leadership practice, focusing on the three stories leaders tell to engage with individuals and teams in an organization.  Using these three fundamental narratives of organizational life, participants will learn how to listen for values and important metaphors in the stories to better understand their current culture and therefore know how to interpret these elements to guide change.  Some attention will be paid to identifying a problem saturated story and how to work with others to transition to preferred narratives that are generative vs. blocking.The practitioners will share models and stories of “in-play” leading edge applications of leadership development and encourage participant sharing to enable individual learning for back-at-work application.

Leading as a Way of Being: Engaging and Sustaining Leaders in Canada's Health System

Presenter:  Barb Stoddard


This forum would engage workshop participants in an interactive exploration of health system leadership. The objective is to identify why people choose to lead in the health system and what keeps them there. The process begins with "salon style" mini presentations by noted health leaders, followed by plenary or small group discussions to surface new understandings of how to develop, engage, and sustain leaders in our health system.Participants would gain the opportunity to learn, voice their ideas, participate in an integrative thinking process, and share in building new understanding that will support the recruitment and retention of health system leaders. 

The Future and the Role of Leadership in its Creation

Presenters:  Dr. Randy Patrick, Dr. Bill Manduca


Many people ask, “How do I deal with the future and the change it will bring?”, but few have made an actual study of it, and fewer still have implemented those findings into their workplaces and communities. This workshop is designed to equip leaders for greater success by giving them  the knowledge, and basic skills required to embrace and handle effectively the inevitable changes associated with the future. This workshop is recommended for mid-to senior level organizational and community leaders including those who influence strategic planning and public policy development. The workshop considers best practices for transforming organizations to be successful, not only today, but into the future. Workshop participants will learn about the principles and processes associate with change; consider social, industry and economic trends; and learn how to identify weak signals that may become trends and how to adapt to changing environments these trends produce. They will also learn the basic skills needed to anticipate the future and how to apply practical techniques that can be used to help shape the future of their organizations.

Other People Think Differently Than I Think: Exploring Mindful Leadership

Presenters:  Beth Page, Guy Nasmyth


Organizations have been evolving from a time in which individuals were asked to leave their emotions out of the workplace, to a time where it is acknowledged that creativity, passion, and innovation are engaged when employees are excited and committed to their work. Mindful leaders are realizing that paying attention to the human dimension and accessing the whole person in the workplace are necessary for true organizational success in this global, increasingly challenging marketplace.Through a focus on theory of mind, this session would explore the fundamental considerations of cognitive diversity and emotional intelligence (EI) by exploring self-awareness and self-management ultimately exploring social awareness and relationship management through reflection and interactive experience.Mindful Leadership calls for the integration of heart and mind to engage and deepen the leadership experience.