“Group facilitation is my true love and passion,” said Ann Waterhouse about her 20 plus years as a meeting facilitator, board trainer and long range planner. Ann has been working with cooperatives since the early 70s. Her co-op knowledge and experience is a real asset to the CDS team. Ann started her work with co-ops in the housing and economic development sector in Minneapolis, MN. In 1980 she was appointed to a position with the National Co-op Bank as the regional director.
Groups who have worked with Ann know she is unflappable in the board room. “As a facilitator nothing will throw me.” In addition, she often finds herself in the role of helping groups work through conflict. “I like asking the questions that help people find the keys to work together again.”
She enjoys working with cooperatives because she finds they are willing to delve into issues, discuss their values, and really work at it. “I enjoy helping people move to the next level of effectiveness. Working with co-ops you really see a difference; it’s fun and the people are great.”
When you’re learning something new, sometimes it helps to have someone show you the ropes. Michael Healy has carved out a niche as the CDS board facilitator who can undo a slip knot in no time, as well as inspire groups to new levels of achievement. That’s because Michael has incorporated some of the techniques he’s used for Ropes Course Facilitation into his work with boards.
Ropes courses are “experiential activities” that encourage groups to see themselves and patterns and behaviors in a new light. By helping each group member accomplish the course, they work together toward something bigger. Michael brings the concept indoors with simple group activities (all done within the safety of one’s seat at the table) that enhances group cooperation. Activities help generate a sense of fun too—an often overlooked ingredient in board work.
“The experience or game has a connection to the work they are doing together,” said Michael. “People in co-ops have a great sense of values and ideals. It’s a natural conversation starter.”
Linda Stier joined the cooperative movement in the late ’80s when she joined Weaver Street Market in Carborro, N.C. as a member, followed closely by serving on the co-op’s board of directors. Her first introduction to the Carver Model of Policy Governance came from a workshop given by Marilyn Scholl to the Weaver Street Market board.
“Something just clicked,” she said. “It seemed so simple and made so much sense.” The following year she graduated from the John Carver Policy Governance Academy and implemented Policy Governance as the board president of Weaver Street Market. In addition, she co-authored The Policy Governance Fieldbook. Linda continues to work in many sectors with publicly appointed boards, co-ops, nonprofits, and for-profits with a “social bottom-line.”
Linda sees Policy Governance as “a tool that is very effective in providing critical leadership functions for the 21st century. It’s a way of making a difference in the world.” Linda posed the questions, “What if everyone had an understanding of good governance? What if every organization, government and institution practiced good governance? How would that alter the quality of life in this country? By understanding and demanding good governance, we can have the society we dream about having.”