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Relational Leadership Faculty

Teaching Faculty

Saliha Bava, Ph.D.

Saliha Bava is interested in the performance of (complex) relationships among people, the systems they create, and the construction of our social lives and realities. As a social “actor” (“scientist”) she combines interdisciplinary ideas and methodologies to reflect, design, and facilitate the performance of transformational relational processes. Saliha is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and Social Work at Mercy College, New York; a doctoral advisor at the Taos/Tilburg Doctoral Program and Director of Research with the International Trauma Studies Program, affiliated with Columbia University, New York. She is a consultant and designer of performative/play-based and Collaborative Dialogic practices within human systems-organizational, family/community, learning and research systems. She also performs as a couples and family therapist and coach for generative professional and personal relationships. Originally from India, she currently lives in New York City.
Twitter: @ThinkPlay

Ginny Belden-Charles, Ph.D.

Ginny's work focuses on relational leading and organizing; building connections within diversity, helping groups find coherent, collective action in complexity and working across fields to affect systemic and social change. She consults with a wide range of corporate, public and non-government organizations in the areas of organizational change, leadership and team development, strategic planning, and organization design. Ginny is a cofounder of the Center for Emerging Leadership, self-sustaining learning community for women leaders grounded in appreciative and relational practices. Based in St. Paul, Minnesota, she serves periodically on the faculty for St. Catherine University's MA in Organizational Leadership Program and for Pepperdine University's MSc in Organization Development, where she received her master's degree as a Bush Fellow. She has a PhD from Tilburg University and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Taos Institute.

Kristin Bodiford, Ph.D.

Kristin believes that magic happens when people come together around issues they care deeply about. Kristin is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Dominican University Graduate School of Social Work in Chicago, Illinois, and Principal of Community Strengths, working with communities to address important social issues and support positive change. Kristin is also co-designer of Designing Research, focusing on collaborative and participatory ways of doing research. She embraces transformative relational models, tapping into and strengthening generative possibilities that help to propel social innovation. Kristin is a Taos Associate, holds a Ph.D. in Social Sciences from Tilburg University and an MBA from University of California at Davis.

Celiane Camargo Borges, Ph.D.

Celiane Camargo-Borges is the research coordinator of the Imagineering Academy at NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands. As a faculty-member she also teaches and supervises in the Masters in Imagineering (business transformation by design) as well as in the International Leisure Management bachelor's program and the Performatory (social innovation bachelor). With a background in social psychology, her practice and research are centered on interaction and relationships, having as a main concern how one might design a conversational environment in which people can grow and develop in ways that help with organization's sustainability and effectiveness. For that she focuses on the potential of dialogue, generating new possibilities for people as well as for organizations. Her publications are in organization development, Public Health, Psychology, Communication, etc. Celiane is also a board member of Taos Institute Europe, serving as a Ph.D. supervisor and workshop facilitator.

Professor David Lane

As Co-Founder of the International Centre for the Study of Coaching at Middlesex University he contributed to leading edge research in coaching as well as supervising leading coaches undertaking Doctoral research with the Centre. David also developed a Masters programme in Executive Coaching, which is now available in the USA, South Africa and the UK and the first Professional Doctorate programme in coaching. These innovative programmes are work based and available to experienced coaches.

Through his associations with other bodies he has created accredited programmes for work-based development in a wide range of organisations including major consultancies, multinationals, and public sector and government bodies. 
He was Chair of the British Psychological Society Register of Psychologists Specialising in Psychotherapy, and has served on committees of the BPS, CIPD and EMCC. He convened the Psychotherapy Group of the European Federation of Psychologists Associations.

David's work with the European Mentoring and Coaching Council has been concerned with Codes of Conduct and Standards and kite marking of coach training. Working with the Worldwide Association of Business Coaches he researched and developed the standards for the Chartered Business Coach award. He co-founded the Global Coaching Convention. David's contributions to counselling psychology led to the senior award of the BPS for “Outstanding Scientific Contribution”. In 2009 he was honoured by the British Psychological Society for Distinguished Contribution to Professional Psychology.

Visiting Lecturers

Harlene Anderson, Ph.D.

Harlene Anderson is founding member of the Houston Galveston Institute, the Taos Institute, and Access Success. She is recognized internationally as being at the leading-edge of postmodern collaborative practices as a thinker, consultant, coach, and educator. She takes her tools -- her insights, her curiosity, her engaging conversational style, her leadership skills, and her keen interest -- to help professionals turn theory into new and often surprising possibilities for their clients, students, and organizations. She embodies her own belief in learning as a lifelong process -- inviting, encouraging and challenging people to be inquisitive, creative, authentic, and open to the ever-present possibilities for newness in others - and in themselves. Harlene has authored and co-authored numerous professional writings including her book Conversation, Language, and Possibilities - A Postmodern Approach to Therapy. She is a member of the editorial review boards of several journals, has presented at numerous national and international conferences, and has consulted with a variety of organizations.

Frank Barrett, Ph.D.

Frank Barrett is Professor of Management and Organization Behavior in the Department of Systems Management at the Naval Post Graduate Academy. He is also a faculty member of the Human and Organizational Development Program at Fielding Institute. Frank's professional interests and expertise lie in Appreciative Inquiry, improvisation and organizational innovation, organizational learning, spiritual development, social impact of information technology and information revolution, and global studies. He is a consultant to organizations in profit, non-profit, and governmental sectors. He has written and lectured widely on social construction, appreciative inquiry, organizational change, jazz improvisation and organizational learning. He is the author of, Appreciative Inquiry: A Positive Approach to Building Cooperative Capacity (Taos Institute Publications, 2005) and Say Yes to the Mess: Surprising Leadership Lessons from Jazz (Harvard Business Review Press, 2012) and has published articles on metaphor, masculinity, improvisation, organizational change and organizational development, as well as numerous book chapters. In addition to leading his own trios and quartets, he has traveled extensively in the United States, England, and Mexico with the Tommy Dorsey Band.

Ann L. Cunliffe, Ph.D.

Ann L. Cunliffe is Professor of Organization Studies at Leeds University Business School, having previously worked at the University of New Mexico, California State University, and the University of New Hampshire, in the USA. She is also Visiting Professor at Escola de Administraçâo da Fundaçâo Getulio Vargas, Brazil, and the Universities of Strathclyde and Hull, UK. Her recent publications include the books: A Very Short, Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap Book about Management (2009/2014) and the co-authored Key Concepts in Organization Theory with John Luhman (2012). She has published articles on leadership, sensemaking, qualitative research methods and reflexivity in Organizational Research Methods, Human Relations, Management Learning, Journal of Management Studies, and Organization Studies. Her research is based on a social constructionist/hermeneutic phenomenological perspective. In 2002 she was awarded the Breaking the Frame Award from the Journal of Management Inquiry for the article that best exemplifies a challenge to existing thought. Ann is Co-Editor in Chief of Management Learning, and organizes the biennial Qualitative Research in Management and Organization Conference.

Karen Dawson, Ph.D.

Karen Dawson is an executive coach, leadership development consultant and facilitator based in Calgary, Canada. She is an associate faculty at the University of Calgary Business School, Royal Roads University, and The Banff Centre. Karen specializes in growing leadership capacity in large organizations in the energy industry, government, insurance and banking sectors. Karen has a particular interest in exploring the intersection of creative processes (theatre, improvisation, dance) and change initiatives in the organizational world.

Gerda van Dijk, Ph.D.

Gerda van Dijk is Professor Organizational Ecology at the Tilburg University, Department of Humanities, The Netherlands. She supervises PhD-students who are finishing their dissertations as reflective practitioners. These dissertations are rooted in the daily practice of organizations and society. She is Director of the Zijlstra Center for Public Control and Governance at VU, the Free University Amsterdam, specialized in Organization, Strategy and Leadership Development. She is dedicated in supporting public and profit organizations and leaders in their development of leadership to create public value.

Gerda has also a Management Consultancy Practice and works as consultant, lecturer, speaker and facilitator. She has an extensive experience in facilitating small and large scale group and organization interventions as well as teams bridging reflection and inquiry with effective execution. She has specialties in both ecology and organizations incorporates her experience and knowledge in both areas to approach organizations as complex living systems characterized by diversity, life-cycle dynamics and being part of larger systems. Revitalizing organizations, interventions using the 'laws of the ecology' of organizations, a focus on 'making diversity work' and making sense, are core elements of her activities.

Kenneth J. Gergen, Ph.D.

Kenneth J. Gergen is a founding member, and President of the Taos Institute. He serves as Senior Research Professor of Psychology at Swarthmore College. Gergen is a major figure in the development of social constructionist theory and its applications to practices of social change. He holds honorary degrees in both the U.S. and Europe, and has been the recipient of awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Fulbright Foundation, and the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung. Gergen lectures widely on contemporary issues in cultural life, including the self, technology, postmodernism, the civil society, organizational change, developments in psychotherapy, educational practices, aging, and political conflict. Gergen has published over 300 articles in journals, magazines and books, and his major books include Toward Transformation in Social Knowledge, The Saturated Self, Realities and Relationships, An Invitation to Social Construction, and Relational Being. With Mary Gergen, he publishes an electronic newsletter, Positive Aging ( now translated into five languages.

Mary M. Gergen, Ph.D.

Mary Gergen is professor emeriti of psychology and women's studies at Penn State University, Brandywine. Her major works are at the intersection of feminist theory and social constructionist ideas. In 2001 she published Feminist Reconstructions in Psychology: Narrative, Gender and Performance. Her other published pieces focus on dialogue, gender, narratives, collaborative practices, and qualitative inquiry. Most recently she has written Playing with Purpose: Adventures in Performative Social Science, with Kenneth J. Gergen, and has edited a book on the process of retirement, Retiring, but not Shy: Feminist Psychologist Engage Their Post-Careers, with Ellen Cole. In addition she is a world traveler, mother, grandmother, golfer, tennis player, and general bon vivant.

Jenny Helin, Ph.D.

Jenny Helin is a research fellow at the Department of Business Studies, Uppsala University, Sweden. Her research interests lie at the intersection of process philosophy, relational theory, and dialogue, where she primarily inquires into living conversations and generative meeting practices in organizational contexts. Being connected to Centre for Family Enterprise and Ownership, an internationally renowned centre on family business and ownership, Jenny has extensive experience of executive teaching and collaborative research projects on leadership and communication in family owned businesses.

Dian Marie Hosking, Ph.D.

Dian Marie Hosking Is Professor in Relational Processes in the Utrecht School of Governance, Utrecht University, The Netherlands. She has published on subjects such as critical relational constructionism, leadership processes, organising as a relational process, methodologies of inquiry, development and transformative change. Her many publications include Research and Social Change: A Relational Constructionist Approach, and Research and Social Change: A Relational Constructionist Approach (both with Sheila McNamee). The Turku School of Economics awarded her an honorary Doctor of Science (DSc Econ) for her constructionist work on leadership and organisation theory. Her current interests focus on relations between relational constructionism, Buddhism and the management and organisation of end-of-life care. She is a member of the board, trainer and advisor to the Hospice de Liefde in Rotterdam..

Mette Vinther Larsen, Ph.D.

Mette Vinther Larsen is Assistant Professor at the Department of Business and Management at Aalborg University. She is teaching within the fields of strategizing, organizing and communication for BA and MA students in business and in public governance. Her currrent research is focused on the fields of management, innovation,and leadership training. She is interested in relational sense-making, organizing, communication and strategizing. Dr. Larsen is the coordinator of the master program in Organization and Strategy at Aalborg University and author of Strategising through organizing - the significance of everyday relational sensemaking (2013) as well as co-author of a Danish book on strategizing. She is currently editing a book on relational leading.

Sheila McNamee, Ph.D.

Sheila McNamee is Professor of Communication at the University of New Hampshire. She is a founder, board member and vice president of the Taos Institute. Her work is focused on dialogic transformation within a variety of social and institutional contexts including psychotherapy, organizations, education health care, and communities. She is author of Relational Responsibility: Resources for Sustainable Dialogue, with Kenneth Gergen and Research and Social Change: A Relational Constructionist Approach, with Dian Marie Hosking. Other books include, Therapy as Social Construction, with Kenneth Gergen, Philosophy in Therapy: The Social Poetics of Therapeutic Conversation, with Klaus Deissler, and Research and Social Change: A Relational Constructionist Approach with Dian Marie Hosking. Professor McNamee has also authored numerous articles and chapters on social constructionist theory and practice. She actively engages constructionist practices in a variety of contexts to bring communities of participants with opposing viewpoints together to create livable futures. Professor McNamee lectures and consults regularly, both nationally and internationally, for universities, private institutes, organizations, and communities.

W. Ellen Raboin, MBA, MSOD, Ph.D.

Ellen is a scholar-practitioner who applies social constructionist principles in the transformation of healthcare. In hospitals this means working with caregivers to collaborate with each other engaging patients and family. In the community, she serves as President of the Ronald McDonald House-San Francisco- who partners with the University of California, San Francisco, to keep families of critically-ill children near the bedside. Ellen is principal researcher and consultant of CareQuest Consulting, and an Associate of The Taos Institute. She holds a Doctorate in Human and Organization Systems from Fielding Graduate University, a Masters in Organization Development from Pepperdine University, and a MBA from California State University.

John Shotter, Ph.D.

John Shotter lives in Cambridge, England, is now an Emeritus Professor of Communication in the Department of Communication, University of New Hampshire, and worked as a consultant with KCC International (Kensington Consultation Center) for many years. His long term interest is in the social conditions conducive to people having a voice in the development of participatory democracies and civil societies. He is the author of Images of Man in Psychological Research (Methuen, 1975), Human Action and its Psychological Investigation (with Alan Gauld, Routledge, 1977), Social Accountability and Selfhood (Blackwell, 1984), Cultural Politics of Everyday Life: Social Constructionism, Rhetoric, and Knowing of the Third Kind (CP) (Open University Press and Toronto University Press, 1993), Conversational Realities: the Construction of Life through Language (CR) (Sage, 1993), and Social Construction on the Edge: Withness-Thinking and Embodiment (Taos Institute Publications, 2010), among other books.

Tojo Thatchenkery, Ph.D.

Tojo Thatchenkery is professor and director of the Organization Development and Knowledge Management program at the School of Public Policy, George Mason University, Arlington, Virginia, U.S.A. He is the author of several books and articles on organizational change and social constructionist thinking, including Appreciative Sharing of Knowledge (2005) and Appreciative Intelligence (2006). Tojo has consulted with many international organizations, including Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, American Red Cross, IBM, Alcatel-Lucent, General Mills, 3M, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and Tata Consulting Services (India). He is a member of the NTL Institute of Applied Behavior Science and an Associate of the Taos Institute.

Diana Whitney, Ph.D.

Diana Whitney is a founding member and board of director member emerita of the Taos Institute, Distinguished Faculty in Organization and Leadership Transformation at Saybrook University, and PhD advisor for the Taos PhD program. Whitney is a major figure in the development of Appreciative Inquiry. She has published sixteen books including Appreciative Inquiry with David Cooperrider, The Power of Appreciative Inquiry: A Practical Guide to Positive Change, and Appreciative Leadership: Focus on What Works to Drive Winning Performance and Build a Thriving Organization as well as numerous chapters and articles. Diana enjoys traveling the globe, speaking and teaching about Appreciative Inquiry, Appreciative Leadership and Spirituality at Work.

Dr. Whitney's early ethnographic research into the dissemination of innovations, as a systemic communication process, set the stage for three decades of international consulting. As founder and president emerita of Corporation for Positive Change, Diana has introduced constructionist approaches for strategic planning, large scale culture change and merger integration to Fortune 500 companies as well as health systems, religious communities and educational organizations worldwide. She has designed and licensed trainers in 10 countries to facilitate the first relationally based, fully affirmative leadership program the Appreciative Leadership Development Program©. As a founding advisor and consultant to the Global Council of the United Religions Initiative Diana served as a facilitator for its organization design and growth to become a global network of 600 interfaith cooperation circles in 80 countries.