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Webinar series: An Integrated Brain and Body Approach for Undoing Oppression for Facilitators

February 28 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every 2 weeks that begins at 7:00pm on Wednesday, repeating until 05/09/2018

$125 - $150
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6 every other Wednesdays 7-8:30 Eastern/4-5:30pm Pacific: February 28, March 14 & 28, April 11 & 25, May 9

With Madeline McNeely and Simone John

An evolving edge for the Work That Reconnects has been deepening with awareness and skillfulness with how power, privilege and oppression are showing up in Work That Reconnects spaces. This webinar series is intended to equip Work That Reconnects facilitators with greater skills and capacities for navigating power, privilege and oppression.

As people who care about cultivating inclusive spaces and societal equity, we must look beyond the intellect to incorporate brain science and the body. For facilitators, this means learning about somatic, emotional and cognitive elements of oppression: superiority patterns and fragility for white facilitators and internalized oppression for facilitators of color.

Grounded in the neuroscience of brain and body, this webinar series will provide you with a basic set of tools that will help you better understand and work to minimize the ways we all can unconsciously perpetuate oppression and unequal power dynamics. By directly engaging often unseen dynamics, we can create liberating and whole-hearted work.  When we tend to our interior landscape as facilitators, we are even more powerful stewards of The Work That Reconnects and as those interested in undoing oppression.  When we’re conscious of our multiple identities and responses to stress, we build trust across differences and feel more competent and confident as facilitators.

This webinar is geared towards people with some anti-oppression experience or familiarity with the basic vocabulary and concepts. It is designed to give those interested in facilitation an embodied experience and set of tools to support facilitating in mixed race, anti-oppression spaces.

Sessions will focus on the self as facilitator as we prepare and lead as well as help us manage the external group dynamics as we lead. Webinar teaching methods include homework (videos, articles, writing), presentations, powerpoint, large and small group dialogues. Each session will be recorded.

Desired Outcomes: Participants will leave with

  • A tool-kit (approaches and frameworks) that they can apply directly to their facilitation experiences.
  • Greater competence and confidence to facilitate anti-oppression dialogues, especially ones related to white supremacy and structural racism.

Curriculum Description

Topic 1 Course Overview and Introduction to Neuroscience: An Integrated Brain and Body Approach

In this opening session, we will preview this webinar series. Simple brain science and somatic principles are a foundation as we move through this series.  The body doesn’t lie. We will unpack what happens to the body under pressure.  Learning to listen and use the body’s wisdom distinguishes us as facilitators of undoing oppression.

Topic 2 Unconscious Bias

In this session we will learn about microaggressions or unconscious bias slights. These actions have a denigrating impact on others, and they are far more commonplace than we may be comfortable admitting.  Raising our consciousness about implicit bias and how our biases leak out in conversations can help minimize the way people in marginalized groups are disproportionately affected when in facilitated dialogues.

Topic 3 Storytelling

It’s hard to dislike someone whose story you know.  Storytelling helps us bridge differences and deepen our willingness to trust one another. In this session, we will share our life stories from the perspective of race. Brene Brown’s research on vulnerability will guide our inquiry.  Vulnerability is the first thing that humans look for when we meet one another, but the last thing we are willing to share. Through storytelling we’ll discuss how vulnerability is essential to building and deepening trust and how trust is essential for sustaining anti-oppression work.

Topic 4 Facilitator Interior Condition

In facilitation, “it’s not knowing what to do, it’s knowing what to do when you don’t know what to do.”  Being in a facilitator role requires a certain quality of attention and intention. What are the “mantras” that you remind yourself of when you prepare to lead others? How do you recover your center and keep participants engaged when you experience the dreaded “deer in the headlight” moment?  We’ll seek answers to these questions and more from Radical Dharma (angel Kyodo williams et al), Lynne Twist, Alice Walker, Parker Palmer and others. We will co-create a list of mantras and methods to use in our personal facilitation practices.

Topic 5 Healing Trauma: Tools for Recovery/Restorative Justice

The founding of the United States includes genocide, enslavement, exclusion and segregation. The legacy of this history shows up in our facilitation environments. Healing these wounds means facing trauma as perpetrators and targets of oppression. In this session we will discuss societal trauma and how these dynamics manifest in mixed race groups.

Topic 6 Facilitator Equity Best Practice Tips

How do you observe racial dynamics when in mixed race spaces? What are best practices for responding to microaggressions? What are practical tips you can employ to ensure that you’re leading equitably? We will review best practices for people leading anti-oppression, equity and inclusion dialogues and reading racial dynamics in general. We will also unpack how to skillfully respond more effectively to microaggressions when they arise either from us or participants.


Register on EventBrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/an-integrated-brain-body-approach-for-undoing-oppression-for-facilitators-tickets-42167915370

Cost per Person:                                $125.00 Early Bird special till February 7th and $150 thereafter.

Scholarships:                                     A limited number of scholarships are available. Please inquire by emailing Jennifer Catalano at [email protected]

Registration Deadline:                          Wednesday, February 21st


Please direct all other questions to Jennifer Catalano at [email protected]

About the Facilitators:

Madeline McNeely’s mission is to condition leaders and organizations to do meaningful work for decades. She is a master-level coach, consultant, facilitator, and trainer with almost 30 years of experience as an interdisciplinary, multi-sector professional. Clients include former gang members, youth workers, non-profit executives, surgeons, and corporate C-Suite leaders. Madeline’s expertise includes systems change thinking, leadership presence, the neuroscience of leadership, culture change, organizational development, equity and inclusion, collaborations, trust and team building, communication, strategic planning, facilitation, supervision and management, diversity, women in leadership, executive and career coaching. At the heart of Madeline’s practice is expertise and passion for issues of social and racial equity and inclusion.  She weaves this lens into her work. Madeline teaches Nonprofit Leadership and Community Engagement and Leadership Coaching Strategies at Harvard Extension School. She is raising her white daughter to understand white supremacy culture, structural racism and all forms of oppression.


Simone John is a poet, educator, and facilitator based in Boston, MA. She received an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College with an emphasis on documentary poetics. Her poetry has appeared or been reviewed in Wildness, The Boston Globe, Public Pool, PBS Newshour, Bustle, and more. She is a contributing editor at Gramma Poetry and chief creative officer at Hive Soul Yoga. Simone has facilitated workshops and retreats at colleges and organizations across New England. Areas of expertise include: professional development for teaching artists and youth workers; mindfulness and life design for millennials and creatives of color; and incorporating racial equity into organizational change processes. Testify is her first full-length book of poems. Find her online at simonejohn.com and on twitter @simoneivory. 



Aravinda Ananda