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Leadership for Social & Systems Change: Facilitating Cultural Change

What is Facilitating Cultural Change and Why Should I Do It?

Facilitating Cultural Change (FCC) is an advanced 5 day in-person institute for practitioners of cultural, systemic, and transformational change towards the common good.

Many of us who work towards change in the world are seeking a practical set of tools to support our ability to make that change.

FCC will equip you with a framework and skills to make lasting change towards your broader goals. FCC will give you access to expert practitioners, rigorous materials, a cohort of new colleagues and relationships, and the opportunity to reflect on your own experiences in new ways.

When you leave FCC, you will be able to apply new skills and tools to a broad and diverse range of organizations, institutions, networks, and social movements. FCC will help you to become a more confident, more effective, and more self-aware leader grounded in your deeper purpose and path.

Who Should Attend FCC?

  • You are a person who has a role (formally or informally) in facilitating dialogue within organizations or educational institutions about diversity, inclusion, equity. and justice.
  • You are invested in deepening your sense of connection to yourself and the lived experience of others.
  • You are a leader in an organization or community navigating relationships, strategies, and communication regarding change-making.
  • You want to learn models and skills to broaden and deepen your systemic impact, and/or…
  • You are a user of the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) who wants to deepen your practice utilizing the Intercultural Development Continuum (IDC) as a model to support facilitation and training towards racial equity.

Over the course of five days, you will learn, practice and reflect through facilitator-led content, small group work, and more.

What included in the FCC Experience?

  • A pre-institute webinar providing an overview of the FCC experience and key concepts.
  • Assessment utilizing the Intercultural Development (“IDI”)  Inventory & a pre-FCC questionnaire.
  • 1:1 meeting with one of the FCC facilitators to review your IDI profile and receive support to set individualized concrete goals for your FCC experience.
  • Suggested readings and podcasts to prepare for FCC.
  • 5 workshop days of in-person content, practice, facilitation, reflection, coaching, leadership development, and relationship building.
  • The FCC Participant Guide – over 100 pages of resources, tools, and templates to support application of the FCC learning.
  • 2 small group coaching sessions following the FCC Institute to support ongoing application of the material, including real-time problem-solving.

What Are the Details? Where? When? How?

The next Facilitating Cultural Change will take place June 12-16, 2023. We will meet in person 9:00 am – 4:30 pm Monday-Thursday (6/12-6/15)  and 9:00 am – 2:00 pm on Friday (6/16).

We will be in a multi modal, mobility accessible classroom with flexible seating options and abundant natural light.

  • Facilitating Cultural Change will provide breakfast, lunch, snacks, and recommendations for dinner. All food will accommodate people’s dietary needs.
  • We will provide a list of nearby hotels and ground transportation information.
  • Please contact us if you need additional assistance planning travel or lodging.

How Much Does it cost?

Your $3,000 investment includes:

  • 5 full day workshops
  • An individual IDI profile
  • One-to-one IDI profile report and goal setting
  • 2 small group coaching sessions
  • FCC Participant Guide with practical tools

Payment plans and a limited number of scholarships are available. If you need to discuss scholarship or payment plans, contact Beth at

*FCC registration is limited to 40 participants.

Who Are Your facilitators?

Beth Zemsky
Beth Zemsky

I bring over 35 years of experience, commitment and passion to my partnerships with organizations working towards social change and structural transformation including foundations, non-profits, educational, health, faith-based, and social change organizations.
A few career highlights include serving as staff at OutFront MN, founding Director of the GLBT Programs Office at the University of Minnesota, co-chair of the Board of Directors of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, Supervisor of the University of Minnesota Diversity Institute, Coordinator of Leadership Development & Organizational Effectiveness at the University of Minnesota, and principle of Zemsky & Associates Consulting.

I have specialized training in intercultural competency, organizational development, systems change, change management, community organizing, leadership development, coaching, intercultural conflict, mediation, assessment, and action learning. I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, certified workplace mediator, and a qualified administer of the Intercultural Developmental Inventory (IDI) and the Meyers Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI). In addition, I’ve been adjunct faculty at University of Missouri – St. Louis, Augsburg College, and the University of Minnesota where I’ve taught courses in Gender & Sexuality Studies, Social Work, and Family Social Science. I am also a member of the international IDI Qualifying Seminar Instructor team.

Recognitions of my work include: Grand Marshall of the Twin Cities GLBT Pride, Quorum’s Lifetime Achievement Award, OutFront MN’s Legacy Award for service to the LGBT community, and the 2016 IDI Intercultural Award. In addition, I was awarded a Bush Leadership Fellowship to study organizational development of social movement organizations.

While I am passionate about my work, my spare time involves endorphin rushes from long distance bicycling, losing myself in cooking, playing with my goofy dog, and getting my hands dirty in a garden (growing more kale than any one person could possibly eat).

Athena Adkins
“Who do we Choose to Be?
This is the question that drives Athena and her work. Throughout her 20+ year career in the non-profit and philanthropic sector, her effort to leverage her experience and expertise and align her personal values with mission-driven organizations has led her to engage in deep, meaningful work at the intersection of organizational development and capacity building—where those ideas intersect with authentic leadership, intercultural organizational development, healing from trauma, and emotional intelligence. Essentially, she is a champion of the idea that it is not just “what we do,” but also “how we do it.”

As both the president of a woman-owned, minority-owned business, and as an executive coach, Athena brings deep leadership and management experience to all of her client engagements. Her experience leading teams—beginning at the University of Miami where she rowed stroke seat for their Division 1 program and led the team to an NCAA second place finish behind Navy, and culminating as a True North Leadership Fellow through the George Family Foundation—includes leading from the middle, motivating volunteer teams, coaching executives on balancing vision, team building and day-to-day operations, and building her own team of consultants—with varied skills, experience, motivations and life experience—to excel professionally and understand the power of culture and team. She is a values-led leader who understands when to deploy the tools of co-creation, coaching, and mentorship, as well as the power of stepping up and in during critical times to hold space, navigate through discomfort and uncertainty, and try to work in ways that honor people and evoke their best human qualities.

Athena has spent more than a decade building a successful private practice working for high-impact organizations—from small community-led nonprofits to universities and health care systems. She and her team are the “secret sauce” for their clients, co-creating processes to build capacity of both organizations and individuals. These include strategic plans, program development and evaluation, implementing DEI through intercultural organizational development, and working behind-the-scenes to help organizations understand and unleash the power of their stories in order to galvanize public and private support. Her superpowers include asking hard questions and not being afraid of the answers, seeking clarity, and breaking ideas down into foundation pieces in order to increase understanding—her own and her clients. Her favorite part of the work is the opportunity to co-conspire with smart, accomplished, fiercely principled people to create environments that let us all thrive.

Liz Loeb
Liz Loeb

Liz Loeb is a civil rights attorney, community organizer, and non profit director who brings over 20 years of high-level experience in organizational leadership, campaign strategy, and movement building. She uses that experience to support organizational decision makers in building towards greater racial and gender justice in the workplace. Liz prides herself on working with clients to name equity-based goals, to connect those goals to shared organizational values, andto develop creative and collaborative tools to move those goals forward at an organizational level.

As a white, queer, Jewish woman, Liz knows that who we are shapes the work that we do. Liz invests in people in coming to the work of transformation on their own terms, through their own stories, histories, and experiences. Liz believes in our shared interdependence, and seeks to address challenging issues with humor, compassion, and courage.

A graduate of Brown University, Liz holds a law degree from NYU School of Law and has completed a Ph.D. in critical social theory from the NYU Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. In her career as an attorney, Liz litigated international human rights cases for the Center for Constitutional Rights and then moved to the national ACLU criminal justice project. At the ACLU, Liz was part of the litigation team that won the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Safford v. Redding, which led to a national prohibition against strip searches in public schools. For the past 10 years, Liz has guided nonprofits and social movement organizations through strategic development and growth, and has become a nationally recognized writer, facilitator, and trainer on racial justice and LGBTQ rights. Liz knows that to achieve equity in our workplaces, we need to work together over years and decades – beyond any single training, session, or curriculum.

Outside of her work with clients, Liz serves as the Co- Director of Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light – an organizations that works nationally and statewide people at the intersection of climate justice and racial justice. Liz has previously served as Co-Director of Kaleo Center for Faith, Justice & Social Transformation, as the Director of Collective Resourcing for Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, and as the Democracy Campaign Manager for TakeAction Minnesota, where she successfully led the statewide campaign to defeat the 2012 voter restriction amendment in Minnesota. She has served on multiple local and national Boards of Directors, and completed two terms as a Civil Rights Commissioner for the City of Minneapolis.

Liz is a 500-hour registered yoga teacher, a former actor and classical musician, and a passionate lover of musical theater. She lives on Dakota land in Northeast Minneapolis with her partner Sarah, their child Lyra, and their dog Chloe.

FCC CoP: FCC Community of Practice

FCC Community of Practice groups meet for ten (10) monthly sessions via Zoom for two (2) hours over the course of a year. In addition, 3 quarterly workshops sessions will be offered to bring all the FCC Community of Practice groups together for further advanced learning regarding leadership for social and systems change.

These intentionally small (10 people or less) groups will have a trained facilitator who has been part of the FCC faculty. The facilitator will serve like an “orchestra conductor” – knowing when to push for deeper discussion, encouraging multiple perspectives, and making sure everyone is heard – all while ensuring the group stays focused on its goals and timelines.

Below are some comments shared by participants in FCC CoP in 2022…

“I highly recommend FCC CoP! It was a great experience. I learned a lot. The CoP provided the opportunity for practitioners to share knowledge and concerns, ask questions and provide support in a safe space.”

“The FCC CoP is a unique space where the shared wisdom, expertise and support is incredibly powerful.”

“My experience in the FCC CoP allowed me to learn from other practitioners across sectors and geographies, expanding my professional network and my professional growth. It was an incredibly valuable experience!”

“My FCC CoP helped me dig deeper into my own skills, assumptions, and practice of facilitating cultural change in a supportive and inspiring peer group.”

All applications will be reviewed to determine your placement within a FCC Community of Practice group that best suits your needs and goals.

Price – $1,750 includes ten (10) monthly sessions via Zoom for two (2) hours over the course of a year. In addition, 3 quarterly workshops sessions


Origins of FCC

In the late 1990’s, the Diversity Institute at the University of Minnesota conducted a student immersion leadership program, facilitated by Nehrwr Abdul-Wahid, called “Diversity Explorations.” Beth Zemsky soon joined the facilitation team. Together Nehrwr and Beth expanded the curriculum and the audience to include University of Minnesota students, faculty, staff, and community members who wished to build their leadership skills around diversity and inclusion. Nehrwr and Beth conducted Diversity Explorations workshops annually at the University of Minnesota, and later in community settings through the early 2000’s when Phyllis Braxton and julius erolin (both of whom had been participants in earlier Diversity Exploration workshops) joined the team. Nehrwr, Beth, julius, and Phyllis brought their over 50 years of collective experience in working for diversity, inclusion and equity, and their commitment to learn from each other and workshop participants, to create a new design for training leaders committed to intercultural competence and social justice. Facilitating Cultural Change was born out of this collaboration. The current design of Facilitating Cultural Change owes much to the creativity, passion, commitment, compassion, wisdom, and intellectual rigor of this team.

The FCC workshop was an absolute game-changer. I learned not only that we're all on a spectrum of "intercultural competency" but also how to recognize and effectively meet where people they are. I'm so much more effective, accessible, and able to sustain the work over the long haul.

Delaney Russell, JD

Want to know more about these workshops?

Listen to Beth and colleague Phyllis discuss the January 2018 FCC workshop…

Listen to the episode

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