Inspiring People. Growing Organizations. Strengthening Communities.

News Updates

New Publication! Facilitation And Evaluation

I co-edited this issue of New Directions in Evaluation to bridge the views of these two fields. More



How will we write the next chapter of the story of race in America?

Using Art of Hosting and Conflict Transformation: An event in Houston, Texas.    More


New Results on Girls' Lives in Afar

Why is it hard to change attitudes about girls' education? Because in poor countries, it's more complex than you may think. Check out the results of this study funded by Girlhub Ethiopia More


Photo courtesy of Girlhub Ethiopia ©2013


Arts in Evaluation

My webinar on the use of Arts in Evaluation is now available online.  More


Rita's Blog

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Jun 14, 2016
Category: Racism 
Category: Power Dynamics 
Category: Participatory Leadership 
Category: Leadership 
Category: Antiracism 
Category: Inclusive Conversations 
Category: Tips for inclusive conversations 
Author: Rita Fierro, Ph.D.

When you take a stand, it doesn’t have to be you against the world. Taking a stand can also inspire a group to be the best it can be.

Until now, all the tips on inclusive conversations were about being receptiveasking questions, and listening. Today’s tip switches gears: it’s about taking a clear stand in the presence of flawed process.


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Apr 13, 2016
Category: Racism 
Category: Power Dynamics 
Category: Participatory Leadership 
Category: Art of Hosting 
Category: Leadership 
Category: Emergence 
Category: Antiracism 
Category: Inclusive Conversations 
Category: Tips for inclusive conversations 
Author: Rita Fierro, Ph.D.

In the last blog, I listed a self-care tip for having inclusive conversations: choosing when and where to invest your energy. Inclusive conversations are conversations where differences are seen as a resource instead of a threat. These conversations can be tricky because differences can bring up fear, hurt, or anger.

Today's tip is also about self-care. If you're not taking care of yourself in a conversation, or hosting yourself, and being present, as the Art of hosting’s four-fold practice would put it, then it's unlikely that the conversation will be productive. Inclusive conversations are often hard and courageous conversations. So today's tip: Look for allies and build support before you jump in.


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Mar 25, 2016
Category: Antiviolence 
Category: Education 
Category: Racism 
Category: Power Dynamics 
Category: Participatory Leadership 
Category: Art of Hosting 
Category: Antiracism 
Category: Inclusive Conversations 
Category: Tips for inclusive conversations 
Author: Rita Fierro, Ph.D.

Many friends have talked to me about struggling with Facebook posts on their "friends' " timeline especially in this time of heated presidential debates and recent tragic terrorist attacks in Nigeria, Lebanon, Mali, Turkey, Ivory Coast, Belgium, and Pakistan. Some posts were prejudicial, others blatantly racist. The way Facebook is structured, someone's status shows up on our feed, so many of us feel the need to "call out" misinformation and prejudice, and feel deeply disturbed when we choose silence. It is known that reacting to Facebook posts can create more trouble in relationships and friendships.


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Feb 16, 2016
Category: Antiviolence 
Category: Racism 
Category: Power Dynamics 
Category: Participatory Leadership 
Category: Art of Hosting 
Category: Antiracism 
Category: Why Invest in Inclusion? 
Category: Why invest in inclusive conversations? 
Category: Inclusive Conversations 
Category: Italiano 
Author: Rita Fierro, Ph.D.

"What is it about you Americans?” a friend in New Zealand said to me a few months ago, “Why are you so resistant to the common good?" The state of panic, fomented by some presidential candidates, reminds me of that statement. Inclusive conversations are defined as conversations where differences are leveraged as a resource, not a threat. For this issue, I’m addressing practicing inclusion for our common good.


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Sep 1, 2015
Category: Antiviolence 
Category: Group dynamics 
Category: Racism 
Category: Power Dynamics 
Category: Participatory Leadership 
Category: Antiracism 
Category: What is an inclusive conversation? 
Category: Inclusive Conversations 
Author: Rita Fierro, Ph.D.

Ever feel that having a conversation in a productive way when people have different perspectives is hard work? I've got news for you. You're right!

This blog is the first in a series of 13 about inclusive conversations. With three introductory blogs and ten topical blogs, along with the e-book that will compile them all, I'm focusing on ten barriers to inclusive conversations and 10 skills that can help overcome them.

What is an inclusive conversation and why do inclusive conversations matter?


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May 26, 2015
Category: Group dynamics 
Category: Participatory Leadership 
Category: Leadership 
Category: Emergence 
Author: Rita Fierro, Ph.D.

If the term Emergence gives you a discomforting itch either because you don’t understand it, don’t value it, can’t work with it, or it sounds too woo woo for you, I have a fun and light suggestion that may bring your mental lightbulbs to life. Watch the animated film: Penguins of Madagascar. I’m not joking. You can watch it with your kids over the weekend, have fun, and no one will suspect you’re learning or working. 


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Apr 29, 2015
Category: Power Dynamics 
Category: Evaluation 
Category: Participatory Leadership 
Category: Art of Hosting 
Category: Harvesting 
Author: Rita Fierro, Ph.D.

I’ve been integrating Participatory Leadership practices with Evaluation for years now. It started simply as a way to bring two passions together. After systematic reflection, blogging, proposal writing, co-editing a journal issue (New Directions in Evaluation, Spring 2016), and teaching trainings on building the bridge between evaluation and facilitation, I have become a lot more aware of the critical importance of this bridge for evaluation practice in service to our changing world.