Ildi Carlisle-Cummins, California Institute for Rural Studies

Ildi Carlisle-Cummins, CIRSFacilitating Power is not just a strategy consultancy organization with facilitators for hire-- they are an integral part of the movement for social justice and can help your organization realize its full movement potential.

Rosa facilitated a virtual strategic planning retreat for the California Institute for Rural Studies (CIRS) in the spring and summer of 2020. Her skillful facilitation helped us refine a new mission/vision for our organization and craft a strategic compass for the next ten years of our work. I am really proud of what we were able to come up with! Our new mission statement reads: CIRS conducts community-driven research for action in rural communities working for justice, equity and health. And our powerful new vision statement: Rural life in California is radically transformed as systems of oppression and extraction give way to systems which are life-affirming, sensitive to many types of knowledge, equitable and reflective of the rich cultural landscape of rural California.

Rosa was able to understand our organization's work immediately, bringing her deep knowledge of social justice movements into the facilitation process, which allowed her to gain our board's confidence, build relationships between board members and move forward quickly even though the pandemic forced us to switch from an in-person event to a series of zoom planning sessions. The set of tools that she suggested could help guide us-- a story-based process for understanding our organization's long history, a strategic compass, a table of principles and practices with strategy screening questions-- were new for us and just right. She was also able to lead zoom sessions with grace, creating spaciousness in the sessions that made them personally meaningful. We all emerged from the sessions recharged, with a renewed sense of purpose and deeply invested in CIRS. A board member who was planning to leave the organization in the fall decided to stay on and the strategic compass is actively guiding us-- not sitting on a shelf somewhere like other strategic plans I've worked with!