The Safe Space Resolutions Group is a training and facilitation collaboration that creates forums for discussion, engagement, and broader understanding. Our work includes facilitating conversations for work teams, groups in conflict, dialogue across differences, leading client groups through a process that results in actions for meaningful change for individuals, teams, and the broader Organization. Our work is tailored to the needs of each client; summary descriptions of some of our work and bios of the principals are below:
Listening sessions ~ Facilitated listening sessions to support members of traditionally underrespresented groups in educational institutions, corporations, non-profits, and other organizations, including employees and students of color. These sessions are designed to create a safe space for persons of minority communities to share experiences of isolation, micro-aggression and bias, as well as to brainstorm requests of their respective organizations for support, recruitment/retention plans, training, programming, financial pledges and other commitments in the areas of diversity, inclusion, equity, race relations, anti-racism, and racial and social justice. These sessions create a forum for support, empowerment, and solidarity for constituents of color, while also creating a mechanism for upward feedback to organizational leadership. Listening sessions can also be a foundational step as part of a larger process that includes facilitated dialogues with more diverse, multi-racial groups, which can result in broader understanding across the organization about the impact of racism and bias, and meaningful actions towards a more inclusive environment.
Conversations For Change: How Do We Get There? Race, Racism, Bias and Privilege Conversational Competency Training Series
This 4-module series is for groups seeking training and a forum to discuss issues related to identity, differences, unconscious bias, privilege, microaggressions, discrimination and systemic racism. These 2.5 to 3-hour modules, which can be done as stand-alone sessions or as an entire series, are dialogue based, and include role play and interactive learning and listening exercises. The content includes issues and situations that can be challenging and difficult to discuss in multi-racial groups, but there is an emphasis on the creation of a safe, nonjudgmental space so that all believe they can engage in a respectful dialogue. At the outset, it is acknowledged participants have diverse life experiences, and may be starting from varying levels of foundational knowledge. Although discussions may feel uncomfortable, the space will remain safe to ask questions, be vulnerable, make mistakes, express intense emotions, share honestly across differences. Sessions include introduction to the Nonviolent Communication (NVC) model, discussion of social and emotional intelligence, and building skills in how to frame difficult issues such that respectful and engaged listening and empathy for others is demonstrated. It is hoped that this will result in a space to confront uncomfortable truths together, new perspectives, meaningful connections with others, increased levels of self-awareness, and a renewed commitment to reaching across differences to collaborate towards equality, racial and social justice in our organizations, and a larger society where the dignity of all is affirmed and honored. (This training collaboration is co-facilitated with L. Trey Wilson by the Safe Space Resolutions Group.)
L. Trey Wilson
L. Trey Wilson is a facilitator, teaching artist and writer. He has worked as a facilitator and speaker on issues regarding race, gender, culture and sexuality for over 20 years. He has facilitated conversations for corporations in the legal, financial, merchandising, marketing, medical and tech fields as well as some of the top MBA programs in the United States. He has also had the fortunate opportunity to facilitate conversations regarding race, gender, culture and sexuality for businesses in other countries such as Canada, Israel and Australia. He has worked as a teaching artist for the acclaimed Manhattan Theater Club in New York and The Unusual Suspects in Los Angeles. In both locations he worked with students and adults in high schools, literacy centers and those incarcerated. He was a guest teaching artist at Rikers Island in NY for 7 years. Additional teaching credits include a class at The BGB Studio in Los Angeles called, The Creator’s Lab. And a Master Class at UCLA for actors to have an opportunity to work with a playwright during the process of creating new work.
As a writer, Trey has been the recipient of numerous awards including: The LA DRAMA CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD, The NAACP AWARD, The BACKSTAGE WEST GARLAND AWARD, The LA WEEKLY AWARDS, Two GLADD AWARDS and the most prestigious award in Los Angeles theater, The OVATION AWARD for playwriting. His plays have been nominated for 8 OVATION AWARDS in 4 different categories. He has also been featured on the NPR show ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.
His short play, THREE PART DISHARMONY about African American men and the police has been presented in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago in which he has facilitated post performance audience conversations. Trey is a graduate of Boston University.
Trey’s approach to facilitation in his own words:
I have been engaging in conversations regarding race, gender, culture, sexuality, age, and the differently abled for over twenty years. One of my first jobs out of college was working for a company that used role play as a means of depicting various issues and using those scenarios as a catalyst for discussion. Often we are limited in our perceptions of the world because we surround ourselves with people that look like us, think like us and believe what we believe. It’s often through engaged, honest and safe discussions that other possibilities might be considered. Changing someone’s mind can’t be the goal. Expanding one’s thinking can be! After being a part of the team presenting these scenarios, I was asked to lead them. I began facilitating conversations for schools, companies and organizations to help them come to new understanding regarding the participants in those environments and help them identify and explore ways that could help the organization realize its stated values and goals. I have facilitated for a very wide range of companies, corporations and organizations in a variety of areas: legal, financial, merchandising, medical, marketing, advertising, insurance, theater and tech. In addition to the business realm, I’ve facilitated conversations at some of the top MBA programs. I’ve had the fortunate opportunity to facilitate conversations regarding race, gender, culture and sexuality for businesses in Canada, Israel and Australia. My first time facilitating in another country, I thought, ‘no matter how much I read or learn about a country, would that merit me going THERE and facilitating a conversation about THEIR culture?’ What I discovered is that facilitating is NOT teaching. It’s engaging. It’s asking. It’s learning. It’s being open and receptive for others to be comfortable enough to share their experience and circumstances in a forum that’s safe. Those experiences made me a better facilitator.
Donna Douglass Williams
Donna Douglass Williams has over twenty years professional experience as an attorney, facilitator, ombudsperson, and consultant. In her consulting practice, Donna helps groups identify and address issues related to respect and treatment, interpersonal interactions, conflict, trust, diversity and inclusion, and other dynamics that impact how teams function. Participants are led through interactive exercises for skill building in engaged listening, demonstrating empathy, managing emotions, framing constructive conversations and other skills crucial to improved collaboration and teamwork, and more positive work and learning experiences. Dialogue and training sessions facilitated on topics including compassionate communication, psychological safety, personality/work styles, conflict competence, conversational intelligence, respectful workplace, and social and emotional intelligence. Donna’s clients have included colleges and universities, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and corporate groups.
In 2019, Donna was appointed Ombudsperson at UConn Health, the University of Connecticut’s integrated academic medical center in Farmington, CT. In this role, she provides Ombuds services to faculty and staff, as well as University of Connecticut medical, dental and graduate students. Donna also serves as consultant ombudsperson for the United Nations Funds and Programmes, responsible for case work, training and outreach to global staff members in agencies including UNICEF, UNDP, UN Women, UNFPA, and UNOPS. Donna served as the inaugural Ombudsperson for the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the organizational funding mechanism for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, headquartered in Songdo, South Korea. Formerly, Donna was Director of the Ombuds Program at University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, where she led Ombuds services including conflict coaching, mediation, and training to M.D. Anderson’s 20,000+ faculty, staff, trainees and students. Donna also previously held the position of Ombudsperson for the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland serving WHO and UNAIDS staff in various duty stations worldwide. At WHO, Donna led a mediation training effort for key HQ and regional staff, including those serving in the Ombudsperson role across the Organization, and oversaw this training as it was replicated for staff in the Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office in Cairo, Egypt. Donna also introduced a Respectful Workplace initiative to the Organization, and through training, planted the early seeds for the current ongoing Respectful Workplace program in the Organization. Her professional experience includes work a corporate attorney for Equifax, Ombudsperson at Georgia State University (GSU), and systemwide mediator and mediator coach with the Consortium on Negotiation and Conflict Resolution in the GSU College of Law.
While at Georgia State University, she was the recipient of the Marian Wright Edelman African American Heritage Award for outstanding administrator. Donna’s experience as an ombudsperson, attorney, mediator, trainer, facilitator, and presenter includes work in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. She is a member of the International Ombudsman Association, Network of Ombudsmen of the United Nations and Related International Organizations (UNARIO), the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR), the American Bar Association (ABA), the State Bar of Georgia, and is a Certified Organizational Ombudsman Practitioner. Donna holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Purdue University, and a law degree from the University of California, at Davis King Hall School of Law.