Safe Space

Ruby Barclay, Co-Facilitator

Ruby Barclay, Co-Facilitator

This weekend I had the opportunity to talk about Powell River and our project, Defining Diversity: Creating Community (DDCC), at the Royal Roads University Leadership Conference in Victoria. I met some amazing people, including Barry Posner who autographed his book for me. (yes РI was thrilled!)  Preparing for this presentation gave me the opportunity to reflect on what we have been doing together and why.

My background is in leadership, largely in community living organizations. I realized DDCC has given me the opportunity to cross pollinate well known organizational leadership concepts and ideas to this community change initiative.

For example, a foundational belief behind DDCC is that our social and economic well-being relies on empowering and welcoming greater citizen involvement. This means breaking down historic divides and opening our hearts and minds to diverse views and opinions. It means inviting all citizens to contribute their gifts. Effective leaders know that genuine collaboration requires that we listen deeply to all voices, including those that have been traditionally unheard. It requires us to create safe space for dialogue. It requires active management of the ego and a conscious letting go of personal power in order to empower the group. Kouzes and Posner (2012) emphasize that the keys to creating a collaborative culture are establishing a climate of trust and facilitating long-term relationships (pp. 215-240).

Defining Diversity, Creating Community does just that. Janet Newbury and Ruby Barclay co-facilitated the Oct 3-4, 2013 delivery of the DDCC course. They created a safe space for participants that nurtured trust and made it easier to forge new relationships with one another. The collaborative culture that developed allowed new ideas to emerge. After such a powerful experience, we each adjust our internal  compass and act just a bit differently because of our our time together. We see ourselves, each other, and our community just a bit differently. We leave inspired to contribute to our shared future.

Submitted by: Alison Taplay, Vancouver Island University


Kouzes, J. & Posner, B. (2012). The Leadership Change: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations. (5th ed.). San Francisco: Josey-Bass.


Royal Roads Leadership Conference 2013


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