I work with communication and conflict in all different kinds of contexts, from global corporate and state organisations to community and activist groups with a specific purpose or goal, to individuals and couples. This range of contexts keeps me attuned to many different kinds of language, cultures, and ways of being in the world, and it keeps me on my toes. My key skill is serving as an approachable and supportive bridge between people and groups in conflict.
I was born to two Londoners who both left school early to work in the post WWII boom. I am the first in my family to go to university. That fact has led to a distinctive flavour in my working life. I have been hungry for life and experience, being able to do things and having doors open to me that none of my family had previously experienced. The life that you are born into matters. In the U.K., class, race, and gender really shape experience. The ability to communicate information and enable learning has been a key skill throughout my life. After studying English at university in Brighton, I went to Brazil to teach English. In my early days of teaching, I considered myself a success if people were laughing a lot in my classes. Living in Brazil for six years taught me a lot and it highlighted the privileges that I have as a white, English-speaking, European person that I had hitherto not really understood.
Upon my return to London, I studied for a master’s degree in poetic practice and began to work in communities, supporting people to express their life experiences creatively through text. It was at this moment, and after my son was born, that I encountered Nonviolent Communication (NVC), which I started weaving into the creative community projects I was already working on.
As many of you who love Nonviolent Communication and how it enriches life may have experienced, I threw myself into the learning and living of NVC. It became my main way of sustaining myself in 2017 when I became a Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC) Certified Trainer.
I am also a contemporary interfaith minister, and I see “my ministry” as supporting people through conflict and of nurturing resilience and reconciliation.
Both of these roles as an NVC facilitator and a contemporary interfaith minister require:
- Being trauma-informed (which for me means being embodied)
- Being aware of systems of power and privilege
I keep reminding myself and others who I work with that my perspective is not universal. I have global north, white privilege, and I speak English as a first language, all of which open doors for me which may be inaccessible to many. I am trying to understand and dismantle the conditions by which this happens so more and more people can thrive — until everyone can. I am a facilitator, mediator, and creative conflict practitioner. I am pragmatic, guided by spirit, not an academic or a therapist, but I am always part of enquiry and healing. To counter the privilege I have (and just to be a real human being), I welcome feedback when I make mistakes or am not as informed as is needed for the context.
Alongside my utter enjoyment of the teaching of Nonviolent Communication, I spend my time in organisations as we figure out how to become more inclusive, equitable, and resilient, and so that our workplaces are more joyful places to be.
Recent case studies include:
Supporting a global medical health organisation with a high proportion of Ukrainian and Russian employees who are navigating the ongoing invasion of Ukraine by the Russian government, supporting all the human beings in the organisation.
Supporting a London university to help embed peacemaking practices based on Nonviolent Communication into the curriculum.
Supporting a U.K. grant-making trust undergoing a racial-justice journey, helping cultivate a more relational feeling within the organisation and helping racially marginalized staff members fulfil more of their potential while guiding white colleagues towards interrupting acts of racism.
I am also developing a series of in-person courses and experiences throughout Europe called Raw Human, involving invitations into embodied and playful approaches to transformative communication, conflict transformation, grief work, and collaboration with various bodywork practitioners as a way into soulful intimacy.
The key skills essential for all of this work are:
- Empathic listening and increasing presence
- Authentic and honest expression
- Seeing systems within an organisation or a relationship, and how they are informed by mainstream ways of thinking
- Mobilising around needs rather than moralistic judgement
- Moving out of punitive/binary ways of thinking and acting into new kinds of arrangements that allow us all to care and connect
- Having a sense of humour
- Being self-aware of my own patterns and conditioning
- Conflict Transformation
- Education (including schools and youth programs)
- Family and Interpersonal Relationships
- Leadership (including organizational culture and executive coaching)
- Peace and Civil Discourse
- Restorative Justice (including prison work)
- Social Change
- Spirituality and Inner Work