Portfolio: graphic facilitation in action (created live in the meeting)


The City of Atlanta and Leadership Atlanta brought together influential thought leaders, creatives, businesses, educators, innovators and change agents to think about and purposefully design what kind of city Atlanta wants to become. I covered the plenaries on the first day including a talk on education by Sir Ken Robinson. The 2nd day I brought in two of my colleagues to cover the three tracks on education, talent and innovation. We built sculptural pyramids out of the visual maps which were the focal conversation points in the atrium.

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United Way Worldwide

At the annual conference of UWW finance and human resources leadership, I worked with the HR folks to illuminate their conversations around hiring and engagement as the United Way is building a new model to keep and promote the best of their talent. Dan Pallatta, a prominent speaker on how the nonprofit model needs to be re-examined, was the keynote presenter.

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Tasked with creating a national agenda on ocean exploration NOAA gathered a who’s who of oceanographers for a meeting at the Aquarium of the Pacific. Scientists, researchers, citizen explores like the guys at OpenROV (who stole the conference with their exciting work), the Schmidt Foundation and Google Earth generated powerful ideas on how to collaborate with limited budgets on retrieving significant data from the oceans depths about the health of our planet.

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The Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce—Mackinac Policy Conference 2013

Once again I was back at my favorite conference (MPC) on Mackinac Island. This year the Chamber secured a sponsor for my participation as the conference is a fundraiser for them and any way to offset costs is a win. (This is a great idea to consider if you are a conference organizer.) Michigan Media Solutions underwrote my presence, provided a banner and backdrop where I worked and featured me at their party.

I love this conference because of the fabulous team I work with and the depth of policy issues that are engaged. This year Michelle Rhee took on the issue of education and our failing schools. Jeb Bush also spoke on education and the need for a better immigration policy. High school classmate of mine (he was a few years older) Joe Scarborough was there along with Mika—he gave me a shout out—talking about civility in politics and bipartisanship.

It was great to see some of my clients there such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Washtenaw Community College as MPC generates a fair amount of work for me in the state of Michigan throughout the year.

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The Fund for Theological Education

What a juicy four days I spent with about 100 participants who are youth leaders considering a career in ministry at a time when the church as an institution is undergoing deep change. I worked with one of my favorite facilitators from the Art of Hosting community, Chris Corrigan, who beautifully led the group thru the Living & Dying systems model as it was laid out full scale on the floor. Participants walked the model then chose the place where they felt most affinity for in their life and spoke poignantly from that place about how it felt to be there. For this group, there were a lot of people in compost–tilling the soil, waiting for new seeds to emerge. To read the map: Chris’s words are in black, the participants in blue.

The other visual maps are from keynotes exploring topics such as discovering who you are, the intersection of work and purpose, and comparisons between the church and gangs from a former gang member who is now a minister. Very rich content to work with, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce: Mackinac Policy Conference 2012

The Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce reached out to me to provide graphic facilitation at its annual Mackinac Policy Conference—held at the iconic Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island annually for the past 50 years.

The collaborative event attracts government leaders, top business professionals, corporate CEOs, entrepreneurs and veteran regional champions. Plus big thinkers like Fareed Zakaria and Thomas Friedman.

It was the first time they had used graphic facilitation at the conference and the live visual mapping process blew them away. I got to chat with the amazing Donna Brazille over champagne cocktails. And I was delivered to the hotel in Mammie Eisenhower’s ’59 Cadillac. All in all, a very special event.

An interview with me at the event was aired on Michigan Public Radio. And one of the visual maps was used as a backdrop on the set of Michigan Public TV.

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CDC (Center for Disease Control & Prevention): Weight of the Nation Conference

1200 public health policy makers and health professionals gathered in DC to assess where we are as a nation on the challenge of addressing obesity.  I provided live graphic facilitation so attendees could see the content visually. We covered subjects ranging from Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” project to Sesame Street’s efforts to promote healthy eating to HBO’s new documentary Weight of the Nation. Scientists, policy makers and academics love seeing their information presented in a creative visual way.

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Wisdom Thinkers

Three days with brilliant leaders: academics, philosophers, artists, community activists and business people, having deep dialogues about what sustainability looks like not only in our environment but in our democracy, economy and within us individually. Most of the meeting consisted of four small groups having conversations which I meticulously gathered the essence of those ideas and synthesized into a rich visual map. We also held a town hall to highlight and discuss those ideas with the public.

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Accenture: International Energy & Utilities Conference

For several years in a row I have supported with graphic facilitation Accenture’s International Energy and Utilities Conference, an annual gathering of senior executives from around the world who lead energy and utility companies. Because of my background in environmental policy and sustainability, it’s easy for me to capture the technical content of the presentations and panel discussions. Presenters have included Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Former Secretary of the United Nations Kofi Annan, EU climate consultant Jeremy Rifkin and MIT inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil.


Interestingly enough, two years later at SXSW Ray started his presentation with a slide of my visual map saying, “Here’s my presentation, any questions?” I love that these visual maps live on long after the conference.

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Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS): World Cafe

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), an organization that works on immigrant and refugee issues, held a series of meetings around the country to assess what kind of impact they are having in the communities where they work.  I graphically facilitated the meeting in Tampa Bay. The day was rich in storytelling as people from Venezuela, Italy, Thailand and many other countries shared their experiences about their home country and their new country, America. After the first round of the World Cafe, I gave the organizers a digital image of the visual map which they quickly copied and inserted into a folio along with a certificate of participation. They wanted folks to walk out with a little reminder of the day and something to show their family and friends. This is a great example of how graphic facilitation turns a one-time event into a long-lasting memory. 
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Personal mapping and visual business plans

In coaching sessions over the phone, I facilitate and map deep conversations with my clients to uncover where they are stuck on a project, idea or dream they want to bring to fruition. I help them see visually where they want to go and we create action steps to get them there. They get a 4×8 foot map and a digital version of the session.

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