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Gwen Whiting

Director of Training and Leadership Development

Gwen WhitingWhy I work at Everyday Democracy:

This is my passion – working with people, addressing issues of conflict, and helping people work together. I love the idea of looking through a racial equity lens.

I’ve been involved with Everyday Democracy since the 1990’s back when it was called the Study Circles Resource Center. At that time there were a lot of churches being burned across the country, and the process of dialogue was introduced to communities to help address that issue. I was trained as a facilitator and I really enjoy working with different kinds of people and working in communities. It’s a practical way of using my conflict resolution background to help people resolve their own issues through a guided process.

 

What I love about what I do:

Over the last 20 years I’ve trained others to be organizers and facilitators for Everyday Democracy’s process. Now as Director of Training and Leadership Development, I’m in more of an administrative role. I love this new position because I’m using my conflict resolution background and on-the-ground experience to help people use our process. I’m in the Strengthening Democractic Capacity team developing onboarding and enrichment programs for our group of Senior Associates. I also have a significant role in developing a Democracy Institute and working on our national convening.

 

How I got here:

Throughout my career I’ve evolved from a schoolteacher into a training consultant. After teaching, I went on to get my Master’s in Public Administration and achieved doctoral candidacy in the Conflict Analysis and Resolution program at George Mason University.. I’ve worked on many different issues, including change management, community leadership development, racial equity, and diversity. For the last 20 years I’ve been working as an international training consultant where I got the chance to engage with many different cultures in many different countries. Moving into this new role at Everyday Democracy was a natural fit for me with my varied background and previous work experiences .

 

What I do when I’m not helping communities create change:

Family and friends are very important to me and since I’m not doing as much travel in this role, I’m enjoying spending more time with them. Every year I look forward to a smooth jazz cruise and beach weeks that have become a tradition with some of my closest friends. I’m also very involved in the women’s ministry at my church.

Dialogue to Change

Our ultimate goal is to create positive community change that includes everyone, and we believe that our tools, advice, and resources will help foster that kind of change. Whether you’re grappling with a divisive community issue, or simply want to include residents’ voices in city government, Everyday Democracy's Dialogue to Change process, using a racial equity lens, can help.