The experiential and developmental nature of my approach will support you to learn content that is broadly applicable, develop new competencies and practice new skills while you stretch and grow.

The approach I use with your organization will be determined from a thorough assessment process and in partnership with you to help you close the gap between your aspirations and daily actions by incorporating diversity, inclusion and equity into all aspects of your work.

I ground my work in well-researched, validated, and reliable developmental models that come from the fields of intercultural psychology, organizational development, adult learning theory, and community organizing analyzes of power.

Beth Zemsky speaking with microphone in hand

Intercultural Organizational Development

Linking Strategic Development with Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Intercultural Organizational Development is a process of linking your organization’s overall strategic development with your strategic diversity, inclusion, and equity goals in order to become more effective in meeting your mission, achieving your vision, and living your deepest held values.

Becoming an intercultural organization requires first making your current organizational culture transparent. This goal can be achieved by intentionally working to support your organization in becoming more proficient in recognizing and reflecting on how our assumptions about cultural commonality and dominant cultural norms are (often unintentionally) embedded in the ways our organizations operate.

We can then build on this awareness by developing more complex ways to engage with cultural difference and apply these insights to reconstructing policies, practices, and procedures to hire and retain more diverse staff, build more effective inclusive teams, and more effectively serve our communities.

Intercultural Organizational Development brings together vision, skill building, the development of policies and procedures, structural support and coaching. This combination helps you create an organization that is successful in meeting your goals, while also enjoying a healthy and supportive work environment for all.

“As an organization invested in housing and community building, becoming more interculturally competent is as important as any essential tool in our toolbox. Beth has shown us how to make the idea of centering and embedding equity a part of our organizational DNA, instead of simply providing a one-off training that loses potency with time. Playing roles of facilitator, coach, guide, and strategic partner, Beth has been an instructive voice in our ear for every step of the journey over the last two years. We are so very grateful for her partnership!”

Tim Jacobson, Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity

Coaching & Action Learning: Translating Ideas into Action

One of the greatest stumbling blocks for individuals and organizations is a lack of direction after the training or planning process is over. It is not always easy to translate ideas and intentions into work plans and then to stay with those plans on a daily basis. I am committed to your success, and will support you in implementing your plans for change into action by supporting action learning and providing coaching.

Action learning is a continuous process of learning and reflection, supported by colleagues, with the intention of getting things done. Through action learning, individuals learn with and from each other by working on real problems and reflecting on their own learning experience. Adult learning theory suggests that adults learn best when they are provided with new information and concepts, opportunities to reflect and increase self-awareness, and meaningful activities through which they can apply the new concepts and skills they have learned in a supportive environment.

Action learning is specifically well suited for the successful completion of complex projects involving multiple constituent groups with many necessary and sufficient outcomes. Action learning projects are designed to engage participants in projects that stretch their knowledge and skill base, while providing real time concrete application opportunities to achieve necessary organizational outcomes to advance strategic goals. Given the complexity of integrating an equity lens into everything an organization does, an action learning approach is well suited to address the needs of creating and reinforcing deep intercultural learning and systems change.

In addition to coaching provided to the action learning groups, I provide coaching for teams and individuals to support application of intercultural learning into effective leadership and constituent engagement.  Depending on the particular situation, coaching may be provided on a regular basis or sporadically as the need arises in order to support the practical implementation of your vision.

Our partnership with Beth offered a critical boost to our internal capacity as we launched the Bush Foundation’s internal equity work. She led our staff in learning workshops, provided coaching and support to individuals and teams. Her expertise and insight were significant. A couple years later you still hear people say “…as I learned from Beth…” or “I really appreciated how Beth helped me look at my issue/my skills in a new way.”

Stephanie Andrews, Bush Foundation

Strategic Movement Building

“A movement organization is not a contradiction in terms, but it is, by definition, in tension. It is always a compromise between the ideals by which it judges itself and the realities of its daily practices…” — Ferree & Martin, 1995, p. 8

Working within social justice movements adds complexity to developing organizational capacity as movements (and the issues they address) are always in flux. Strengthening an organization that aims to impact systemic issues of power and oppression requires an understanding of the local and national political milieu, the historical trajectory of the movement in which your organization is situated, and the context in which funding disparities and social justice policy and advocacy is created,  constructed, and shared. Utilizing social change and social movement theories, questions to be explored may include:

  • How can we use these changing times to move away from reactive, transactional approaches and toward purposeful, transformational social change?
  • How do we shape the nature and direction of social change towards equity rather than reacting to, or catching up with it?
  • How do we attend to, and manage, our power as leading organizations in the field as we address racial, social, economic and funding polarization and disparities?
  • What are our relationships with our colleagues, funders, and communities, as well as corporate, governmental, and non-profit partners as we do this work?

Through our work together,  I will assist you in exploring these core questions about who you are, what you do, how you do your work, and with whom you are doing it. Organizations often ask such questions during a strategic planning process. However, In this particular moment in history, it is important for social change organizations to link their strategic plan with the strategic development of a movement for fundamental social transformation.

Beth’s thinking around movement waves, collective identity development and framing is on the cutting edge of movement building and organizational development work.

Lisa Weiner-Mahfuz, The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

Visioning, planning, & facilitating

Planning, Capacity Building, Facilitating, Inspiring

Key to my approach is to link all work regarding diversity, inclusion, and equity to an organization’s core vision, mission, values, and strategic plan. Sometimes this means aligning strategies, programs, policies, procedures, and organizational culture with an existing strategic plan. At other times, our work together will include engaging in a process that centers equity in the development of a new strategic plan.

Organizational Capacity Building

Essential to carrying out the goals outlined in a strategy plan is building the internal capacity of the organization. This is often accomplished through the development of a group of staff who provide ongoing input regarding the implementation of various aspects of the plan, develop skills to provide peer support for their colleagues regarding ongoing intercultural development, help identify and support the implementation of the Action Learning Projects, and developing their leadership skills regarding intercultural cultural organizational development so that ongoing resource after the engagement with me ends.

Other times my role is to facilitate a community meeting with a definable goal, or provide a keynote address that links ideas and communities together in new ways. At other times it is to mediate between two or more parties who have reached a stumbling block in their working together, or simply to support an individual or an organization as they seek to grow their own vision.