ToP Moments 2016


Well, I’ve been in Phoenix Arizona for a week. It has been raining, hailing and cold but jam-packed with moments of delight, creativity and inspiration. Since I’ve been so busy, I’m sending you photos of my week just to give you a sense of what great facilitators can do together. The photos will include some great visuals that I’ve seen my facilitator colleagues use, some story boards of my involvement and some great quotes. Hope you enjoy.

Certifying for the ToP Program

I started off last week with one day doing some continuous improvement on the ToP certification program. And the next day having the pleasure of assessing a new colleague who did get certified. Her name is Lisa and she is a director at a University on the East Coast of the USA. We learned so much from reviewing her portfolio and speaking with her. She ended up taking a course with me and my mentor colleague, Eunice this week. So I got to know her even more.


Continuous improvement session on the certification program.


I loved the simple centerpiece my colleagues chose.


Newly certified colleagues!

Start of the ToP Conference

We learned of many transformational social justice work projects that used ToP methods.  One that I found particularly compelling was by a new colleague doing some formidable work with a Muslim reform movement with youth combating the messages of terrorism that are prolific and damaging not only to her community but to all of us.

Another story was about a native man who has done some tremendous work using the ToP methods to have dialogue about change within an indigenous community that allows them to keep their traditional values but also take advantage of some modernization opportunities.


Arizona landscape is amazingly different.  We did get to go for a walk one night to a restaurant for our Board meal and these are some of the sites I saw in the dark.  They are giant cactuses. Or is that cacti?

I didn’t waste a minute learning.  In the morning, I got up super early to attend some ToP book charting processes. I chose to work on the book related to climate change by Naomi Cohen called, “This Changes Everything”.  Although I couldn’t participate subsequent mornings, I loved at least starting to do the book and having a very rigorous process to go through its credible detail in  a group setting.

I love these quotes that a fellow facilitator posted in his upcoming workshop.  I think you will also find them inspirational as you think about your role as a facilitator.


Other Conference Highlights


We started and ended our large gathering in with a huge multi-decade wall of wonder or historical scan. We all learned a lot about our last 25+ years of history.

For our celebratory dinner, we ate outside under heat lamps, listening to one of our colleagues who had her own band.  And then these funny looking flower things are actually fancy pieces of butter each placed on a single leaf.  Those Arizonans certainly know how to entertain!

My mentor, friend, ToP co-trainer and co-facilitator, Judy Weddle.

Conference Ends on a High Note for Me

The last day of the conference, myself and another colleague were congratulated and acknowledged for our work on the Board for the last few years. I got a great little gift of a book of affirmations.

I ended the conference co-facilitating with my colleagues Beverly Scow, working with Wise Women Gathering non profit organization, residing in OneiDa Wisconsin and Dawn Newman, residing in Cloquet, Minnesota, and working with the University of Minnesota extension department and multiple Indian communities in the Midwest USA area. We co-designed and co-led a large group plenary session on organizational image shift to help our network deal with the places which we need to uplift.

Everyone seemed very engaged and energized by thinking about where we are now with our own internal unconscious images that rule our behavior. Then we looked at how we might begin to shift those behaviors and operate out of new messages. Bev, Dawn and I did a great job and I was proud to work with them.

All in all it was a great conference, rather exhausting for me. As you read this blog, I will just be finished co-teaching with mentor, Eunice Shankland a one-day course on depth and design for social innovation and impact using the ToP Focused Conversation Method. That also was a pleasure to work with a dozen people on deepening our learning and understanding of the ORID framework.

Barbara MacKay

Barbara loves “everything facilitation”. She thinks BIG! She loves working with other facilitators around the globe to create transformational results for client groups. She loves teaching others how to do that. She loves presenting at global facilitator conferences. She loves certifying new professional facilitators. If you also love what process facilitation can do for the world, connect with her – virtually or in person. She believes facilitation processes, used well, will provide the roadmap to a more just and sustainable world.


  1. Martin Gilbraith on January 13, 2016 at 2:08 am

    Great review of what sounds like a wonderful gathering, thanks Barbara!

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