Creating Confluence

Training Leaders + Leading Trainers
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Creating Confluence

October 12 + 13, 2018

Creating Confluence is “Training Leaders & Leading Trainers” because
leaders constantly need to hone their skills in order to guide others well and
trainers need continuing education to support their communities in making transformative change.

Expand the awareness, knowledge, and skills that are crucial for engaging with diverse constituencies.

Attendees receive certification from Inclusant, access to ongoing training, and CEUs via the Pitt School of Social Work.

Scroll down to learn about: topics and format | timing and logistics | fees | previous breakout sessions

Topics include:

Facilitating meaningful and inclusive dialogue

Incorporating equity at all points of planning and activity

Understanding the impact of institutional and individual biases in order to counteract them

Local diversity, equity, and inclusion issues

The Creating Confluence workshop series will train leaders to acquire critical competencies that are crucial for successfully engaging with diverse constituencies.

The curriculum for Creating Confluence is based on the model ASK: Awareness, Skills, Knowledge and includes education about historical barriers to equity in the United States, experiential learning techniques, peer-to-peer education, facilitation best practices, action planning, and problem-solving.

Inclusant has developed this training in order to provide leaders with the tools they need to facilitate meaningful and inclusive dialogue, incorporate equity at all points of activity, and understand the impact of institutional and individual biases in order to counteract them.

Recognizing that most of us do not routinely have opportunities to develop core skills to be effective leaders in diversity, the team behind Creating Confluence has developed a unique workshop format, designed for local leaders to gain immediately applicable knowledge about diversity, equity, and inclusion. In addition to providing attendees with a solid foundation for addressing emerging diversity challenges, the training offers access to facilitators with varied areas of expertise.

The Creating Confluence 10- hour workshop focuses on Inclusive Leadership + Equity Education

Event Details

Day One: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Inclusive Leadership + Equity Education

Day Two:

9:00am – 11:30pm  Customized problem-solving discussions

12:00pm – 4:15pm Optional breakout sessions led by facilitators with varied expertise


Registration Fees (including meals):
$525  If you are an employee of and representing a for-profit company
$425  If you are affiliated with a nonprofit, community group, or are attending as an individual

To make the training accessible to as many people as possible, we offer the following financial accommodations:

$75 off for Early Registration

Discounted rates for multiple people from the same institution

Scholarships and in-kind arrangements

Email to request accommodations and for information about partial scholarships.

Read our FAQ and learn even more in our Creating Confluence overview booklet

Past Breakout Session Topics:


February 2018. This session will explore disability identity as a natural experience that enhances, rather than diminishes, one’s life. Attendees will increase their cultural competency related to disability, disability justice and explore the impact of ableism. The discussion will focus on innovative ideas for creating a strong cultural focused on ‘togetherness’ and how universal design supports this concept. Vision and strategy shared to assure the voices of the disability are represented and make sure all institutions are supporting the vibrant disability community in the region. Facilitator Chaz R. Kellem is the Senior Director of Advocacy for Race and Gender Equity at the YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh and previously managed diversity initiatives for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Despite suffering many broken bones, 10 operations and facing lifetime challenges due to being born with a rare bone disorder called Osteogenesis Imperfecta, Chaz has the passion and energy to make a difference in the community and inspire all of us. Read more about Chaz at NEXT Up.


April 2017. This workshop will cover types of diversity, challenges of diversity, and communication and management strategies for diversity. By the end of the session, participants should be able to recognize diversity in different forms; ideate around challenges of diversity for others; better advocate for yourself as a “minority” and communicate more effectively with “minorities”; and manage diversity goals at the organizational level. About the facilitators, Akwasi and Marian Opoku-Dakwa:
Akwasi is an Assistant Professor of Management at Duquesne University. Prior to entering academia, Akwasi worked in IT consulting in New York City and as a brand manager with Procter & Gamble in South Africa. Akwasi teaches and researches such subjects as principles of management, human resources, organizational behavior, business ethics, workplace motivation, and employee attitudes and behaviors. With degrees in Economics and French (Smith College) and International Affairs (Columbia University), Marian is an independent Intercultural Consultant who conducts workshops and research for organizations working with international associates. As a cross-cultural trainer, Marian consults with corporate clients to help them understand how to effectively manage employees from different backgrounds. She specializes in the instruction of intercultural awareness, effective intercultural communication, and skill building for people who will be doing business internationally or across cultures.


October 2017. We may want equality in our group decision-making, but it doesn’t always happen organically even with the best of intentions.  This session will cover preparation and group facilitation tools that will help create spaces where everyone has an opportunity to share in both the power and the action. About the facilitator: Susan Loucks is Senior Consultant, Organizational Development and Strategy at the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management at Robert Morris University. Particular areas of focus include transitions (e.g. leadership, business model, size), efficiently and effectively involving people in organizational improvements and systems development, and communication/conflict. Susan holds a master’s degree from the University of Michigan, a bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College, and a certificate in Grassroots Development and NGO Management from the School for International Training.


April 2017. When discussing difficult topics such as oppression, we can be sure to touch on deep pain, possibly trauma, and hidden rage. This workshop focuses on how to create spaces for openness and curious engagement, for facilitators as well as participants. We will learn about tools from facilitation, mindfulness, coaching, theatre, and art. Facilitator Hannah du Plessis of Fit Associates blends design, personal development, and the arts together with the intention to equip people to embody the change they seek.


April 2017. Explore how conflict shows up in our workplaces and how it complicates communication and professional relationships. Learn foundational skills for effectively navigating conflict and increasing our understanding of the differences that divide us. Facilitators Dawn Lehman and Vanessa Mayers-Snyder work with the Center for Victims in areas including Restorative Justice and Victim Offender Dialogue.


October 2017. This workshop offers an examination of diversity within the LGBTQA community and beyond.  During this breakout, you will examine your personal understanding of gender and sexuality and begin to assess it’s impact on your organization from staffing to programming.
About the facilitator: Vanessa Davis has focused her career in working with organizations to help them create LGBTQ inclusive environments by focusing on individual relationship building to effect systemic change. She is a founding member of THRIVE of Southwest PA, an organization seeking to support schools as they meet the needs of their LGBTQ students.


April 2017. Participants will strategize how to engage in movements for racial and economic justice. We will brainstorm and problem-solve in several spheres of action, including individual, family & friends, and work place or organization. Understanding that challenging structural oppression is necessary for achieving change, we will connect our strategies to institutions, policies, and governing bodies, where applicable. About the facilitators, etta cetera and Yvetta-Lynne Shipman, from Walk the Talk Pittsburgh: Certified through Pittsburgh’s Dialogue and Resolution Center and an alumna of the Anne Braden Anti-Racist Organizer Training Program, etta is an artist who facilitates community dialogues, leads justice-based workshops and study groups, and has volunteered with the Juvenile Victim Offender Dialogue Program.  etta co-founded Let’s Get Free: The Women and Trans Prisoner Defense Committee which confronts the mass incarceration of women and works grassroots parole reform in PA.
With degrees in communications and public policy, with a focus on conflict mediation and peace studies, Yvetta-Lynne is a mother, advocate, facilitator, and co-founder of 
Walk the Talk Pittsburgh, As a volunteer mediator for the Center for Victims for more than a decade, and a facilitator of pro-social justice and anti-racism workshops, she is committed to personal growth and development and external learning around these issues. 


February 2018. Gain a better understanding of the current political climate. Understand what options immigrants have to come to the United States. Learn struggles immigrants face once they are here in the United States and discuss ways to support immigrant justice work. Facilitator Monica Ruiz is the Civic Engagement and Community Organizer for Casa San Jose and has been working with the Latino community for over 15 years. Monica earned her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh with a concentration in Psychology, and a Master’s degree in Social Work with a focus on Community Organizing and Social Action.

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