Effective organizations keep learning and growing together. 

We come together for many reasons, but we need to keep learning and growing together in order to maintain effective organizations. Knowledge, Experience, Good Communication, Adaptation, and Trust are essential.  

We help you get there.  

Rhonda Baird facilitating a large group workshop, 2018

Rhonda's Story

 In 2016, I was working to help organize the second Continental Permaculture Convergence. Sitting at a picnic table in a dusty open area north of San Francisco, Bonita Ford and and I had a long conversation. Sure, we agreed, permaculture has a lot of the technical and experiential knowledge to do amazing restoration projects that can transform our natural world, its economy, and our well-beings. But there is a problem. Or, rather, more than one. 

  1. We (people, including permaculture people) don't know how to make long-term agreements so that projects persist into the future.
  2. We don't even know how to really agree with each other on a vision and how to proceed from there. 

This led me on a journey from Gaia University's Regenerative Living program to Sociocracy for All's introductory resources and then their Sociocracy in Leadership Training. Eventually, I trained in SoFA's Academy and have been working with SoFA since then. 

In addition to sociocracy skills, I've been drawing on previous training and experience in nonviolent communication, organizational design, facilitation, and governance to support groups in having difficult conversations, designing solutions, and affirming collaborative relationships. Over the last 25 years of organizing groups and founding nonprofits and businesses, experience and continuous learning have built a toolbox that is helpful to others. 

Have you struggled with any of this? 
  • Not being able to share your ideas in a meeting
  • Knowing there were other ideas and solutions, but not getting people to agree on them
  • Feeling some people (maybe you) do more talking than is needed
  • Feeling stuck in older or unhealthy patterns of power distribution, but not being sure how to address them? 
  • Talking about the same things in every meeting and not making progress toward your goals?
  • Having difficulty offering or receiving feedback within the group
  • Working in a small group that needs to expand, but not sure how to share tasks and get the right people on board…

The Solution:

Effective Organization

Whether you are working on a new project or re-thinking how to be more effective in your existing organization, we can support your goals. The solutions might mean something intensive, like restructuring your organization. Or it might mean rethinking how you communicate when you collaborate. Most often the solutions are not about your platforms or other expensive technologies, but about how people contribute and what the common vision is. Here are a few things we've facilitated before. 

  • Group/project design and facilitation
    • Hopewell is a great example of combining permaculture education and facilitated, sociocratic process for a short-term neighborhood group as they advocated for the redesign of an area in Bloomington, Indiana. 
      • Here is an article I wrote about my work with the group.
  • Community conversations. Following my experience with Hopewell, the group asked me to facilitate three community-wide conversations about a divisive zoning issue. Those were important for helping people to reconcile differences and find a way forward. 
  • Board Retreat design and facilitation
  • Support for Organizational Development. I currently hold a role for Organizational Development in Sociocracy For All.  

Ready to learn more about Effective Organizations? 

Our next live Introduction to introductory workshop is not set until fall 2023. Let us know you are interested. Send us a note in the meantime, to let us know you are interested.

We know what we want to do.

We need the right tools tools to help us get there. 

leaf art

 How we express our needs and the way in which we conduct ourselves when we are working with others lays the foundation. 

Urban women farmers workshop

When we have a sensitive and creative facilitator that can read the situation and draw out each person, meetings and gatherings are more engaging and productive. 

organizational structure and edge

Deciding together with the means to be agile and empowering means projects are more resilient and able to adapt to changing culture over long periods of time in a dynamic context with more ease. 

About Rhonda

Rhonda Baird has been a community organizer and student of cultural practices since her high school days more than 25 years ago. After spending a decade involved in permaculture design, she came to the conclusion that we can understand a lot of the technical solutions, but without a way of making agreements themselves more sustainable, we will keep moving in the trajectory we have been. For the past five years, Rhonda has been learning and experimenting with dynamic governance, or sociocracy. As she moves toward completing her certification as a trainer and consultant, she is offering this introduction.

Rhonda also serves has an Organizational Development role with Sociocracy For All and serves as a leader, facilitator, delegate, or member of the following circles with SoFA: permaculture, NGO/nonprofit, Ecosystems, Audience, Outreach, General, and Partnerships.

Rhonda - Paoli

Recommended Resources

Sociocracy For All

sociocracy facilitator plaque

There are a good number of articles, videos, free trainings, and events offered in these subjects at Sociocracy for All (SoFA). Rhonda works with them as a part of the organization and a facilitator. It is a great place to gather resources.

North American Permaculture Convergence 2014
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Start the conversation

Send us an email and let us know how we can help. 

Relevant Journey

sociocracy facilitator plaque
Sociocracy For All

Certified Facilitator, 

Trainer/Consultant in Training

People working in groups
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Permaculture Institute of North America

Education/Site Design Diplomas, Field Advisor