Embodying Change: doing things differently in the  social change sector

A six month programme - including group sessions and 1-2-1 coaching - designed to help you to create change in organisational culture in your institution, community or initiative

I see you. A change maker who notices the dissonance, who sees that the way you organisations works day to day, has drifted far from the values you and your colleagues or community hold

  • An organisation that values equity, with an inequitable pay structure
  • An organisation that values human rights, where everyone is exhausted
  • An organisation that works for peace, where it feels like the staff are internally at war
  • A community group that isn’t inclusive, and that feels out of integrity

You are done with just complaining. So now what?

You want to be someone who can actually help an organisation or community be more values-aligned, and be a place that truly centres care and liberation. But how?

This programme will help you learn how to be part of culture change without letting the obstacles that show up along the way burn you out or keep you stuck.

Instead you will learn to work consistently to create a more values-aligned and powerful culture within your organisation or community space. And you will also learn how to support others to do the same.

Your discomfort is the impetus to do differently. It alerts you to the disconnect between vision and values & day to day practice.

Your discomfort is a sign of your readiness to be part of challenging the structures and systems within organisations that so often seem to contradict values and beliefs.

That usually is usually not one individual's fault. Rather it is symptomatic of the cultural soup that we are swimming in.

Our institutions have not been designed for change. Often they have been designed to uphold the status quo. As a result -

  • Change processes induce fear because we are set up to think that things should stay the same, when in fact, that are ever-changing
  • We are all so busy that there is hardly time to think about the change process, let alone accept and understand the resistance that it is likely to create and work to digest and transform it.
  • Perfectionism - and the gapping gap between that and the current reality - keep us stuck in the ‘way things are’
  • The idea that ‘things never really change’ is a powerful idea that actually gaslights us. Blinding us to the reality of the world all around us in which change is literally our day to day reality.

We actually need to build our skills for change within as well as without.

That means speaking about the fear, resistance and perfectionism that show up when we feel threatened by change

And it means developing our ability to digest and transform these difficult emotions and turn them instead into powerful fuel for our change making both WITHIN organisations and beyond them in the work that organisation do in the world.

It’s difficult to create cultural change in our institutions and space if our people lack awareness of how change feels, both psychologically and physically, if they have been focused instead on building technical skills that tend to uphold the way things currently are.

In this programme you will learn to anticipate the emotions that show up, for both yourself and others, in relation to change. You’ll learn to meet resistance and defensiveness. And you will learn to make time and space to digest and replenish when you need to and to keep moving towards the internal change your organisations needs.

In this programme you’ll be part of a small group and you will get to know each other.

You will learn from one another as well as from me.

You’ll support one another in the work that you are sharing and developing through the 6 months of this programme.

But your contexts will be different. You won’t learn a cookie-cutter one size fits all approach or framework.  Instead my approach is rooted in a generative and ecologically inspired approach to organisational change making.

In this programme, you’ll be supported to identify an approach to organisational change that is unique to your organisation, community or institution. An approach that is values aligned, rooted in solidarity and equity and designed to help your organisation to operate in greater integrity.

To do that we will lean into many aspects of the world around us.  In nature and the elements we will find a source of inspiration for your change making work.

And we will use trauma-informed and shadow conscious skills for change making that don’t deny the fear and defensiveness that arises when we initiate change but instead acknowledges them as an inevitable part of the organisational change journey.

The world needs these skills right now. All around us


Now more than ever we need to develop and practise the skills of change making to bring ourselves and our collective spaces and institutions in to greater integrity and that is what this six month programme is designed to do.

“Working with Mary Ann has given me so many ideas and insights into the change I want to be a part of. I am working in a different way now. I'm inspired, motivated and newly committed to the change I want to make, and now I have the tools to sustain it too.”

Madeleine Forbes

Each Month

  • A 2-hour Group Learning Session focused on a specific monthly topic
  • A 90 min 1-2-1 Coaching Session with me to help you integrate the content to your own circumstances
  • A 90 min group digestion session where you can ask questions and share your learning with your peers.


A deliberate space to build support between you and a small group of peers who have the same goals in a community of peers who support and encourage one another through the programme

Who is it for?

  • Leaders who are responsible for change in their social change organisation
  • People with a specific remit for change in social change institutions
  • Anyone with an interest in cultural change in social change institutions
  • Anyone who feels their community group or initiative could be in greater integrity & wants to figure out how

What you get from the programme:

  • You will hone your skills to create powerful change in your social change, social justice institution, community or initiative, without getting stuck in frustration and doubt
  • You will learn to lead into the natural world that we are part of and that is all around us to draw inspiration for changing the structures and systems we currently operate in
  • You will stop getting stuck in the fear of pushing for radical internal change which keeps you feeling dissonant and out of integrity
  • You will learn from your peers in the programme itself, sharing ideas, challenges and inspiration. In doing so you will experience a collective approach to cultivating change that you can also use to fuel change in your institution.
  • You will build an awareness of the structural and systemic challenges with creating change within institutions of social change. You will learn also about what David Allyn calls mission mirroring - and you’ll find ways to name, address and move through these things as they arise in your change making space.
  • You will create space to notice and embrace change as a constant in the world around us, so that you can remind yourself and others that skills for change are our birth right - and develop more capacity to really embrace that
  • You will learn how to make sure that you are resourced and replenished enough to meet and work with resistance and help transform it into powerful fuel for change
  • You will build your skills to centre care and refuse to be burnt out any more!

Ultimately you will learn to continue to welcome the change that you want to see in the world as it manifests within your change making organisation - as well as in the world beyond it.


The six month programme will run from May - Noevmeber and be structured as follows:


May: Naming the Vision

In month one we will dream together about what our entities could look and feel like.

And we will also invite and share radical honesty about the current status quo.

By the end of our first month together you will have a clarity about what you want to work on through the 6 months of the programme and have named & be able to articulate the dissonance between where your change making space is right now, and what it would be like if it were values aligned. In this first month together we will also shape shared agreements for working collectively as a group through this programme.

June: Replenishment First

In month two we will focus on replenishment.

In other words we will explore what fills you up and thereby enables you to be of service.

And will will also explore what is needed to fill up you team, community or whoever is around you - the whole context in fact in which you hope to bring cultural change. By the end of the month you will have explored replenishment as a critical ingredient in change making and a commitment not to let the pursuit of change ever become a reason to burn yourself out. 


July: Meeting Difficulty

In month three we will focus on meeting difficulty in change making context and processes.

We will explore what it means to meet fear and resistance without defensiveness or avoidance and how you can make space and time to digest difficulty with integrity and turn what emerges in to powerful change in your institution.

You will develop a practical sense of how you can meet resistance differently and build your own and others capacity to be with change.  

August - Digestion & Replenishment Break 

September: Letting Go

In month Four we will explore the grief and letting go that is a necessary part of change.

People grieve the way things have been in myriad ways and creating spaces and time for that can help them move on more effectively.

This requires you also to be willing to acknowledge grief. We will explore what this could look like in your organisational context and how letting go can be both honoured and encouraged.


October: Embracing Uncertainty

In month five we will explore what it takes to live with uncertainty on an on-going basis, in a generatibe way. You'll learn how to help others recognise, and even welcome uncertainty as well.

By the end of the month you will have and approach to how an awareness of uncertainty can be a powerful tool within your institution and how naming change as our constant reality can help us get more comfortable with it.



November: Supporting one another

In month six we will return to the vision you had in month one and ensure that all of the ideas you have developed during the programme have a place to land, be reviewed, be integrated and become part of your future plans.

We will also focus on how the peer support and collective energy we have generated together through the programme can potentially help to continue to sustain you in your work for internal and external change, both in yourself and in your institution. In month six we will also take time to celebrate the journey you will have travelled through this programme.

You'll leave with a practical plan for the way forward as well. 


Why would you want to work with me?

I have worked at the intersection of healing spaces and global solidarity for many years now and been in leadership and advisory positions in social change organisations for over 25 years.

I am committed to the possibility of solidarity movements that heal, rather than perpetuate injustice. And I am fascinated about how we change our social change organisations to make that possible.

I am trained in Shadow Work Coaching, Action Learning, Somatic Movement, and Trauma-informed approaches as well as Anthropology which taught me to always question why. I’ve also studied gifted specific coaching and am able to meet people in any need for greater depth or complexity as we navigate these complex waters of change.

These practices supplement all I have learnt from many years in so called ‘international development’, disability and women's rights work.

Roles have included Executive Director Able Child Africa, Regional Representative Basic Needs (East Africa), Chair Lambeth Women’s Aid, Assessor Comic Relief, Co-Directory of Healing Solidarity. Clients have included (put in a list). I am currently Co-Chief Executive and Transformation Officer at ADD International working part-time. I am also the co-author of Red Tents: Unravelling our Past and Weaving a Shared Future which explores some of the ideas we will use in the group from the perspectives of women's circle spaces. 

Experience that has taught me that we need to name the dissonance between who we think we are and how we operate in order to get ourselves in greater alignment to face the challenges of this time. My goal in offering this programme is to enable you to both name the dissonance and then move forward to bring your change making space into greater alignment with its reason for being here.





This work is here for you if you want to enable your organisation to thrive, developing a just and equitable culture aligned to your mission and values

This work is for you if you are here to support your organsiation, team, community or colelagues get out of the ikckiness of dissonance and in to alignment and action

  • You’ll move from a deep sense of frustration to a coherent plan of action designed for your context
  • You’ll shift from feeling powerless to trusting the inate power and inevitably of change and your ability to shape it
  • You’ll heal your relationship to what it means to embody change, while supporting and engaging others in doable change in your institution
  • You won’t be fixed on frameworks and instead trust your wisdom and the inate wisdom of those you are working with to be able to shape change that bends towards justice.


Right now, more than ever, we need the people and organisations in our world that are committed to bending towards justice to show up in wholeness and integrity.

If you have read this far, I know that you are someone who feels the dissonance and the pain and confusion when this isn't the case and wants to do something about it.

This programme will help you to do that by inviting change in the environment you work in.

Join the my list and be one of the first to hear from me as soon as this programme opens