Social Innovation Facilitator - Private Sector

"As a consultant—whether internal or external to an organization or an innovation lab—a facilitator must be nimble and able to dive deep into an organization quickly to be effective. I play a key role in developing and assisting in the implementation of strategic solutions to support organizational objectives. Specifically, I’m responsible for the design, delivery and facilitation of workshops, modules and tailored training programs for community, for-profit and nonprofit organizations. I rely greatly on systems thinking, human-centered design, design thinking, and dialogue. I work with clients across all sectors and different industries to build organizational capacity for community impact as well as develop leadership skills to make systems-level change happen."

Salary Range:

$89,000 - $125,000

The Tip

Being a facilitator requires that you are passionate about people and working within ambiguity. Being a good facilitator is about practice, practice and more practice. It’s also about taking opportunities to experience as many different group contexts as possible, because all these different experiences will contribute to you becoming the best you can be.

Priority Knowledge & Skills
Systems Thinking

Knowledge & ability to:

  • Understand systems thinking

  • Analyze and map systems

  • Recognize trends, opportunities and underlying patterns

 

Human Centered Design and Design Thinking

Knowledge & ability to:

  • Apply human-centered design principles to solve problems

  • Think laterally

  • Identify patterns

  • Work with third-party groups, such as think tanks, labs and accelerators

  • Ability to formulate research questions

  • Conduct secondary, qualitative and/or quantitative research

  • Synthesize key issues

 

Communication, Collaboration & Facilitation

Knowledge & ability to:

  • Use contextual knowledge

  • Communicate effectively in all formats

  • Design and facilitate collective impact initiatives

  • Facilitate small & large groups

  • Cultivate new collaborations and partnerships across sectors

  • Develop & execute workshops, training sessions and/or events

  • Use technology and specialized collaboration tools

  • Compelling presentation & report writing skills

Changemaking

Knowledge & ability to:

  • Be authentic, empathetic and ethical

  • Apply changemaking principles to create impact

  • Ask questions

  • Embrace challenges as opportunities to create systemic change

  • Demonstrate long-term social impact and sustainability

  • Break down silos and leverage relationships

  • Engage a changemaker mindset

 

Oversight & Knowledge Management

Knowledge & ability to:

  • Leverage stakeholder relationships

  • Develop and implement program schedules

  • Budget management & oversight

  • Evaluate social, financial and collective impact

 

Core Transferable Skills

Be an expert at all core transferable skills:

  • Thinking skills

  • Communications skills

  • Organizational skills

  • Interpersonal skills

  • Technical literacy

Building Block Experiences
Education & Learning:
  • Bachelor of Arts (Psychology)

  • Master of Environmental Studies

  • Certificate in Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution

  • Prosci Change Management Certification

  • Ongoing professional development courses and seminars with Alchemy Strategy Group, Art of Hosting Facilitation Training, and Waterlution to increase my knowledge in change management, facilitation and collaboration

 

I read Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point and learned I had a connector archetype. This shifted my thinking and I felt like it gave me permission to purposely connect groups and individuals as a business skill, something I naturally did as a personal skill. So, while at university, I connected with policy studies students, so I could understand how to influence policy changes at corporate and government levels.

 

I’m a bit of a personality and career assessment test junkie. I’m perpetually fascinated by characteristics that can predict behaviours. It helps me to understand why people behave the way they do. That allows me to help them be understood in group settings.

 

Employment Experiences:
  • Summer job as camp counsellor for local nonprofit working with at-risk youth

  • Upon graduation, I worked for a municipality on a contract to inventory trees after an ice storm

  • Got another contract in waterworks department, convincing residents to install water meters. I learned how important facilitation is when working with community groups.

  • Continued at the city for another six years in different roles, all of which I enjoyed

 

In every role I have had, I’ve learned how working in groups is essential to ensuring the best decisions are reached. With the city, I was exposed to working in a union setting and participated on the bargaining committee. It was an eye-opening experience as I saw how important mediation, negotiation and facilitation skills were to helping groups make decisions. I also learned I was pretty good at helping groups reach consensus, but increasingly realized I wanted to go out on my own and develop my practice. I have not looked back. I set my own hours, only work with groups I am interested in helping and love the excitement of meeting new folks and helping them achieve their goals.

Community Experiences:
  • Volunteered at Women in Need Society and this is where I first saw how an effective facilitator can help groups reach consensus and solve a problem

 

While I have learned a great deal consulting to the private and public sectors, I am always so impressed when I see what the charitable sector is able to do given the constraints it sometimes has to work within. Today in my consulting practice, I have established a reduced rate when I work with nonprofit organizations, in recognition of the fact that their capacity to pay differs from that of the private sector.

 

Contextual Experiences:
  • Worked abroad for one year as an au pair where I learned to ski and perfected my French

  • Before I returned to Canada, I spent three months interning in London at a small social enterprise

 

While I was in Europe, I became very aware of the social innovation world and social entrepreneurship. I started to fully appreciate how business can be leveraged to create positive social impact

 

Relationships:
  • I have always believed in building relationships with the people I work with, even when I leave an organization I tend to stay in touch. You never know when your paths may cross in the future!

 

I have always been the go-to person when organizing trips and events. I organized a monthly dinner club for all the new staff at my first job where we sampled different cuisines. It helped everyone to get to know each other a little better.