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Liberating Structures

Date: March 13th, 1-5pm
Location: 202 E Grandview Parkway, Traverse City - Chamber of Commerce building, Blue Room
Facilitator: Sarah Ely
Cost: $30

Click here to register.

At Rotary Charities we believe the most effective initiatives are inclusive and collaborative, involving diverse stakeholders from conception to implementation. Sometimes traditional meeting structures hold us back from working together effectively. What can we do when meetings seem to fall short on energy and ideas, or fail to optimally engage everyone?

Join us for an extended conversation about how we can work better together, while learning to facilitate Liberating Structures, a set of exercises to unlock creativity and provide structure to your next collaborative meeting. This 4 hour workshop will introduce you to some simple facilitation practices that you can start using immediately. You will have the opportunity to join a local user group to continue exploring Liberating Structures.

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 project. They are set up to allow for equal and lively participation across power dynamics, encouraging participation from executives to volunteers to clients.  

About 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 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 University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.


Earlier Event: February 28
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