2018 Architects of the New Paradigm Conference Speakers
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Aftab Erfan, Ph.D. is the Director of Dialogue and Conflict Engagement at the University of British Columbia, where she also teaches in the School of Community and Regional Planning. She studied fine arts, environmental sciences, and urban planning, but much of her growing-up years were spent as an activist in the youth environmental movement, where she became aware of social justice issues and the difficulties of working across societal divides. She subsequently completed a Ph.D. that provided a space to study the theory and practice of conflict engagement – and in particular, an approach hailing from South Africa, called Deep Democracy- which resulted in an award-winning action research project set in a small BC First Nation community.
Aftab remains preoccupied with the question of how we can live together in diverse communities and resist the trends of polarization and estrangement. Much of her current work focuses on convening dialogue across deep difference within a university setting, and building the capacity of the university community to work with conflict as it naturally and inevitably arises in their day to day lives. She has published papers and book chapters and has consulted to numerous private, public and not-for-profit organizations on four continents.
Career Focus: Community Engagement, Intercultural Diversity, Leadership Development for Social Transformation, Deep Democracy Group Work
Will Wilkinson is an author, presenter, and visionary mentor, helping individuals, businesses, and communities thrive. He specializes in evolutionary thinking and dream casting, and has developed unique tools for consciously creating preferred futures. Will serves as a senior consultant with Luminary Communications, an international consulting firm based in Ashland, Oregon. He has designed and delivered training programs in conscious living for forty years, interviewed scores of leading-edge change agents, and pioneered experiments in small-scale alternative economies.
During decades as a professional ghostwriter Will contributed to over thirty books and countless articles. He has written or co-authored seven books of his own, including Awakening from the American Dream, Attunement with Life, Forgiving the Unforgivable, Modern Spirituality – The Power of Balanced Living, Lessons in Love, Now or Never, and 12 Essential Practices for Thriving in Business and Life.
Career Focus: Individual Mentoring, Business Training, Community Activation
Holly Truhlar, JD, MA, is a grief practitioner, ritualist, and community builder. She has combined her law degree with a Masters degree in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology to create an intellectual, emotional, sociological, and spiritual approach to activism. Her body of work dances with planetary grief, cultural trauma, environmental-social justice, conscious collapse, community building, and subversion of the dominant system.
In law school, Holly worked in a prisoners’ rights clinic where she was exposed to the inhumane practices of the prison system and injustices of the legal system as a whole. She left the legal field to explore how to humanize influential fields such as law and medicine. As a result, she became a transpersonal therapist and is now trained in somatic trauma therapy, attachment-based relationship work, companioning grief methods, and mindfulness-based practices.
Career Focus: Planetary Grief, Cultural Trauma, Environmental-Social Justice
Carmen Spagnola is a Registered Clinical Hypnotherapist, Somatic Attachment Practitioner, and Licensed Wilderness Guide. Her annual 12-day wilderness quests in the mountains of British Columbia, Canada, are a modern-day rite of passage for people seeking initiation into the mysteries of birth, death, regeneration, and nature-as-guide. They are uniquely situated in the liminal space between personal and ancestral healing, grief work, trauma recovery, and cultural repair.
In her clinical practice, she applies Attachment Theory to an integrated suite of modalities that includes trance work and visualization, myth and storytelling, ecospiritual ritual work, and a somatic approach to trauma resolution. Carmen has led workshops in four countries, works with clients in fifteen time zones, and has been teaching in-person and online for nearly a decade. Her popular courses serve a global community, including over 300 students in The Numinous School, her online intuition development program.
Career Focus: Eco-Spiritual Ritual Work, Somatic Trauma Resolution, Wilderness Quest
Desiree Adaway is a Principal of The Adaway Group, a minority and woman-owned consulting firm that brings together multi-racial teams to work on projects related to racial equity and social justice. With over 20 years experience creating, leading and managing international, multicultural teams through major organizational changes in over 40 countries, she is uniquely qualified to partner with talented leaders to successfully navigate through integrations, reorganizations, and all stages of organizational evolution.
Desiree has held senior-level roles in several large, well-respected organizations in the nonprofit and grant management sectors. Her deep level of expertise in fundraising, grant management, and environmental, social justice, and faith-based initiatives has allowed her to help organizations achieve consistent, quality program results at the chapter, national, and international levels. She works from an intersectional perspective, which believes that organizations thrive when they build cultures that are inclusive of wide ranging ethnic, racial, gender, sexual, religious, and national identities and abilities.
Career Focus: Racial Equity And Social Justice, Leadership Training, Organizational Development
Kia Scherr is the Founder and Co-President of One Life Alliance. She is the wife and mother of Alan and 13-year old Naomi, who were killed in the Mumbai terrorist attack on November 26, 2008. Kia co-founded One Life Alliance to create a positive outcome to this tragedy by exploring, developing and implementing practical ways to increase peace and decrease violent behavior of all kinds. Kia is working with schools, businesses and government leaders all over the world and is partnering with many other organizations to strengthen this mission.
Career Focus: Grief and Forgiveness Work, Non-Violence
Aaron Ortega is a Pacific Northwest Native who has spent 25 years facilitating educational and experiential forums for the reclamation, preservation, and integration of Indigenous insights. Ortega is one of the founding members of ‘Inside Circle’, the recent subject of the award-winning documentary ‘The Work’, a film about the benefits of skilled confrontational inquiry for men within a maximum security prison. Aaron co-created cross-cultural rites of passage with Dallas Chief Eagle for the ‘All Nations Training Center’ in South Dakota, and has contributed to the development of ‘The Mankind Project’s New Warrior Adventure for Men’. Recently He has been offering consultations, special one-day events, and a two day ‘movement’ course for Women, ‘Way of the Luminous Warrior’. He lives in Southern Oregon.
Career Focus: Decolonization, Indigenous Wisdom, Rites Of Passage
Rachael Rice is a full-time artist, musician, writer, educator and death doula. Her work lies at the crossroads of grief, radical togetherness, creative expression, death, learning, and magic. Her background is in critical pedagogy and constructivist theory where she specialized in differentiated instruction and educating for democracy with concentrations in Art and English.
She spent over 20 years in the classroom as a certified, licensed public school art teacher, as well as in after-school and out-of-school community-based arts programs that serve primarily at-risk youth, folks with disabilities and low-income communities. She also worked in the social enterprise non-profit startup world implementing systems to support communities our current systems have failed.
Career Focus: Art and Music, Education and Social Justice
Bayo Akomolafe, PhD, is a renegade academic, lecturer, speaker, and proud diaper-changer. Bayo curates an earth-wide organization, The Emergence Network, for the re-calibration of our ability to respond to the civilizational crisis, a project framed within a feminist ethos and inspired by indigenous cosmologies. He considers this a shared art—exploring the edges of the intelligible, dancing with posthumanist ideas, dabbling in the mysteries of quantum mechanics and the liberating sermon of an ecofeminism text, and a part of his inner struggle to regain a sense of rootedness to his community. He also hosts a writing course, We Will Dance with Mountains, among other offerings. Bayo has authored two books: We Will Tell Our Own Story! and These Wilds Beyond our Fences: Letters to My Daughter on Humanity’s Search for Home.
In short, Bayo has given up his longing for the “end-time” and is learning to live in the “mean time.” In the middle, where we must live with confusion and make do with partial answers. His greatest vocation, however, is learning to be a satellite orbiting his greatest gift, his goddess (wife) Ijeoma, and knowing the blessings of her gravity. He speaks and teaches about his experiences around the world, and then returns to his adopted home in Chennai, India—“where the occasional whiff of cow dung dancing in the air is another invitation to explore the vitality of a world that is never still and always surprising.”
Career Focus: Creative Activism, Decolonization, and Indigenous Cosmology
A facilitator, author, and social entrepreneur, Donnie Maclurcan, Ph.D., is passionate about all things not-for-profit. Originally from Australia, he moved to the U.S. in 2013, from where he runs the Post Growth Institute, exploring how we accelerate the shift to a thriving, prosperous society within ecological limits. As a consultant, Donnie has helped more than 400 not-for-profit projects start, scale and sustain their work, while his own initiatives include developing: Free Money Day, the Post Growth Alliance, the (En)Rich List, the Offers and Needs Market process, Cascades Hub, and Project Australia. Affiliate Professor of Social Science at Southern Oregon University, Donnie holds a Ph.D. in social science, with his research having explored nanotechnology’s implications for global inequality. He is currently completing his third book: How on Earth: Our Future is Not for Profit.
Career Focus: Not-for-Profit Sector Consulting, Social Entrepreneurism, Education