Move toward a model of transformation

Do you have a passion for equity and diversity but struggle with how to effectively connect or communicate across differences in a meaningful and impactful way? Are you involved in organizational change with an equity lens? If so, then Beyond Diversity 101 – a five-day intensive workshop held April 20 to 24 – will help you expose, stimulate and transform the dynamics of diversity at the root level.

Beyond Diversity 101 (BD101) offers a series of frameworks for deep transformation at the personal, organizational, and community levels. Niyonu Spann, the creator of the workshop, brings over 25 years of experience in organizational development with a focus on equity and social justice.

BD101 will take place at Geneva Park near Orillia. This is the first time the workshop will be held in Ontario and only the second time it has taken place in Canada.

Professors Lynn MacKinlay and Jill Esmonde are part of the Georgian College team helping to facilitate the five-day event. MacKinlay has been to BD101 over six times and said each experience has been life changing.

“I continue to use what I learned as daily tools for organizational change and find them wholehearted and effective in difficult conversations regarding equity and diversity,” said MacKinlay, who’s excited to be part of the team bringing it to Ontario for the first time. “I’ve also found the models excellent for personal healing and have complete confidence in the transformational impact of the work both on individuals and organizations. I go back repeatedly as I continue to grow, and learn each time.”

MacKinlay stressed that BD101 participants will engage in very deep work over the five days. “It’s not about sitting around watching a series of PowerPoint presentations,” she said. “And the work is also very energizing. There are daily yoga sessions and other restorative exercises.”

Esmonde added that Beyond Diversity 101 offers a compassionate approach to equity and social justice work, with opportunities for reaching across difference and connecting with others in truly transformational ways. “I was able to see clearly the patterns of oppression and privilege in my own life, and begin to see how our daily decisions and interactions are the place where real change can happen,” said Esmonde. “It’s truly empowering, inspirational, healing – an incredibly powerful learning experience.”

At BD101 participants will:
• Rigorously examine the dynamics of difference and power
• Move beyond the oppressor/victim framework toward a new model for transformation – real change within, real change without
• Develop applications for continuing work at home
• Become more honest about this work and see where we get stuck
• Recognize how our spiritual lives relate to our work toward social justice

The cost to attend BD101 is $1,225 for a shared room and $1,425 for a private room (HST extra). The cost includes meals and accommodation. Prices will go up after Jan. 31. To register visit To learn more about BD101, visit


Photo: Niyonu Spann (centre) will facilitate Beyond Diversity 101 April 20 to 24 at Geneva Park. The intensive five-day workshop will help participants expose, stimulate and transform the dynamics of diversity at the root level.

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