I strongly believe in freely sharing tools and resources; its a reflection of my values and the world I wish to create. Choosing to work with a consultant is a big commitment of time and resources for an organization. The information below may help you with this process.

How to Choose a Consultant

Selecting the right consultant it integral to your success.  The two resources below provide handy tips to help you with this process.

Imagine Canada, an on-line library for Non-Profits has a good set of resources, this Factsheet is one of their links and is particularly good. provides helpful tips to their member organizations.

Theories and frameworks for creating change are constantly evolving and being refined.  As a consultant I see it as my job to stay abreast of current thinking and theories on organizational development, social change, movement building, leadership development, critical theory etc. I combine this knowledge with my experience to serve as a bridge between theory and practice in my work with organizations.

I know that for many (if not most) people working in Nonprofits the day to day reality of staying ahead of the chaos trumps having the time to read the latest research or theory, making this bridging a valuable role for me to fill.

There is no avoiding the reality that working for equality, rights and justice is complex; due in no small part to the interconnectedness of individual experiences, group dynamics and social structures.  Theories abound on why individuals, groups and society behave as they do.

Embracing this complexity is a cornerstone for me, and as such I believe that theories are tools to draw upon, but are really only a way to get started. People and groups learning together is powerful, and an inevitable aspect of organizational change.

There are a few foundational theories that I always have in mind as I work with organizations, below are very brief references for those theories.

Group Development

Groups of people coming together is a dynamic and complex process, and thinking about the process of group development is a valuable tool for being pro-active in building effectiveness, and for understanding what may be going on if the group is breaking down.

An brief explanation of the two models I use most can be found here.  To see how many people are dedicated to constant refinement of these models you can look at this.

Life Cycle of a NonProfit

A Fundamental theory in Organizational Development is that organizations have a life cycle.  Much like individuals, organizations are developing over time with various aspects developing and maturing a different rates.  A good explanation of this theory can be found here.

Its critical to realize that not all facets of a group are maturing at the same rate, and in reality, for some organizations maturity may not be the goal.  Thinking about life cycles is a beneficial lens for understanding where the ecosystem of an organization is in balance, or where it may be out of balance.  This is a particularly beneficial lens when working on Capacity Building priorities.


I had the great fortune to have a number of encounters with Kimberle Crenshaw when she was developing the theories that underpin the concept of Intersectionality.  She offered an exciting and fresh framework that addressed some fundamental weaknesses in identity politics that could strengthen anti-oppression work across many issues and communities.  Her seminal paper remains relevant, and I think important to understand.

Kimberle Crenshaw provided a clear and concise language for recognizing that each of us has experiences and characterstics of more than one identity group.  Crenshaw challenged us to recognize that identity politics create a dynamic of false segregation of our identities and experiences.  It was groundbreaking to name that how a woman of color experiences rape and its aftermath is informed by both her race and her gender, and to separate that reality is both inaccurate and ineffective.  Crenshaw offered us a new tool for understanding both the dynamics and the experience of violence, and through this the possibility of developing stronger more effective strategies for changing the conditions that make rape possible.

Fast forward almost 20 years, Intersectionality has finally gained significant traction among those who seek progressive social change.  Activists, organizations, and funders alike use intersectionality as shorthand for the complexity that Kimberle Crenshaw sought to unravel.  We do a disservice to her work, and undermine our vision for change if we allow intersectionality to become no more than lip service to the complexity of our circumstances rather than a powerful tool for understanding the issues we are confronting.

Margin/Center Social Arrangement

Beth E. Ritchie is a professor and activist who has been a leader in the work to end violence against women for more than 20 years. Years ago, she presented an Institute at a National Coalition Conference that she developed to explore the connections between multiple forms of oppression, individual experience, and institutional oppression.

The Margin/Center Social Arrangement is a framework I have worked with since learning the core concepts from Dr. Ritchie.  Because of the evolution, any flaws in the thinking are my own.  The Margin/Center Social Arrangement is an analysis of how power manifests in individual experiences, institutions, relationships and systems.  For me, it is a helpful tool to call upon especially when dynamics are messy, painful, complex or counter intuitive.

The Theory is straightforward, a review of definitions and a simple graphic to explain it can serve as great tools for analyzing a situation.