Consulting

Consulting

My focus has been on intentional communities but I have experience with a range of cooperative organizations, including businesses and nonprofits. If you’re a forming or established group looking for support in aligning your vision or purpose, making plans, addressing issues, designing events, developing your organizational structure and culture, or are simply interested in a deep exploration of who you are and what you’re doing as a group, I may be able to help.

There are specific services I can offer, but I specialize in taking a whole systems approach to help groups uncover and address underlying dynamics, develop shared understanding, and find ways to move forward together. I bring an analysis and awareness of power, privilege, oppression, trauma, justice, and identity into all of the work I do.


“Sky gave an immeasurable service to our five year old community through a deep dive over the course of four months. Sky audited our governance, our culture, and our finances, and gave us feedback that is helping us course correct and align with what we are accountable to. Sky is kind, direct, very insightful, and quite the ‘community whisperer.'”

Cassandra Ferrera, Landwell Community and the Center for Ethical Land Transition

Practically speaking, the work I do may include:

  • Workshops and trainings
  • Interviews with members
  • Facilitated meetings
  • Mediations
  • Document reviews
  • Capacity & financial assessments
  • Project planning
  • Organizational development
  • Policy & process development

If you’re interested in working together, we’ll start with an initial conversation, after which I will provide you with a description of services you can take to your group for consideration. If your group is interested we’ll have another conversation to discuss scope of work, after which I will provide you with a proposal including timeframe and compensation.

My Resume

I’ve lived in and worked for numerous groups with different areas of focus, including:

  • Communities
    • Member, Twin Oaks Community
      • Board of Planners
      • Process Team
      • Child Board
      • Plumbing Manager
      • IT Team
      • Manager, 50th Anniversary Celebration
      • Member, Cesar Chavez Student Housing Co-operative
    • Board of Directors, Ecovillage Charlottesville
    • Member, Woodfolk House Collective
    • Member, Valley Oaks Village Cohousing
    • Short-term resident, Tryon Life Commuinty Farm
    • Live-in consultant, Landwell Community
  • Organizations
    • Foundation for Intentional Community (FIC)
      • Executive Director/Development Director
      • Board of Directors
      • Independent contractor
        • Policy development
        • Fiscal sponsorship program manager
    • Delegate, Federation of Egalitarian Communities (FEC)
    • Staff Facilitator, PEACH (inter-community healthcare fund)
    • Co-founder, Global Ecovillage Network of North America
  • Events
    • Manager, Twin Oaks Communities Conference
    • Co-founder, organizer, West Coast Communities Conference
    • Organizer, Arcosanti Convergence
    • Program Design & Facilitation, Southwest Inter-Community Summit
  • Community/Cooperative Businesses
    • Management Team, Twin Oaks Community Foods (soyfoods business)
    • Founder, Co-owner, Alexander House Inn & Hostel
    • Founder, Co-owner, C’ville Foodscapes

My Philosophy

I balance idealism and pragmatism. I believe in possibility and I also want to see if something will work. I have a keen sense for when things are being left out, ignored, or avoided. In any work I do, I try to develop a nuanced, multifaceted perspective and understanding of all the factors and dynamics involved. I see any situation as evolving over time.

I look at acute issues as likely being symptoms and look for underlying causes, and seek ways to address both. All groups have their intractable issues, irresolvable conflicts, and irreconcilable differences, and I look for what’s holding them in place. How cooperative groups function and behave involves structures and culture, and I look for how they reinforce each other in positive or negative ways.

I think a well functioning group is one that has a shared understanding of who they are, what they’re doing, how they want to do it, and works to develop and evolve their shared understanding as situations arise on an ongoing basis. I think it’s important to look at best practices and blueprints, while also recognizing that each group is unique and what works best in one won’t necessarily be best in another.

I have often found myself most useful to people when I’m asking them questions. They know their group and situation better than me, but maybe there are connections I can help them see or ways of looking at it they hadn’t thought of before. The groups that I can be most helpful to are ones that are willing to take a deep, honest, searching look at what they’re dealing with or want to do and come up with clear agreements and plans for how to move forward.

Presenting

I’ve presented on a wide range of specific topics related to cooperative groups. I can also present on intentional communities, looking at case studies or themes and patterns across the movement. I have presented at events as well as online.

Interviews

As a subject matter expert on intentional communities and cooperative groups I can give interviews to journalists and academics exploring this world.

Here are a few podcast interviews:

Here is a selection of articles that I contributed to as an interviewee and by providing additional contacts and resources to the journalist: