Illinois Art of Hosting Learning Retreat


   Monday September 30th

   Tuesday & Wednesday                          October 1st & 2nd

   Daily:  9:00 am to 6:00 pm

   Continental Breakfast:                          8:00-9:00 am 


   Monday evening:                                  6:00- 7:30 pm

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   Morton Arboretum
   4100 Lincoln Avenue
   Lisle, IL 60532

Driving Directions 


   Lina Cramer
   Wisdom Exchange

 AoH Hosting Practices

  •    World Cafe

  •    Appreciative Inquiry

  •    Open Space Technology

  •    Circle

  •    Four-Fold Practice

  •      Pro-Action Cafe

  •    Storytelling




Leading Engagement:

Involving People in the Decisions that Affect Them 

Join us to explore strategies and methods for designing and hosting meaningful engagement - whether it be in communities, with public officials, in organizations or around a specific issue.   Learn from others how to lead and sustain authentic engagement approaches that result in change for the good.

What?    large AoH circle with Teresa

Leading Engagement is an intensive 3-day retreat where you will experience and practice a set of simple - yet powerful - processes for building community and facilitating meaningful conversations among diverse stakeholders - including the people who are most affected by the plans and decisions you are making. 

Leading Engagement is also a personal leadership retreat where you can reconnect with your own leadership passion and do the inner work needed to navigate in times of radical change.  Rooted in the practices of Art of Hosting (, this learning event teaches a participative approach for leading, convening and engaging groups.

Who?   cafe conversation 

Individuals and teams who are eager to build stronger partnerships with each other and within their communities, constituencies, organizations and systems.  People dedicated to creating change by working in partnership with residents, neighborhoods, local leaders, experts and public officials.

Change agents, Young leaders, social entrepreneurs, community leadders, policy makers, planners, educators who seek innovative approaches to public engagement and systems improvement.

Why?   large cafe conversation

The tools and know how for meaningful and productive engagement are now available in the fields of dialogue, social media and design.  The combination of these dsiciplines and tools enables us to genuinely integrate those who are most affected in the disign and delivery of services, systems, strategies, products, plans, infrastructure and more.

Deepen our individual and collective capacity to engage teams, organizations, and community stakeholders in conversations that lead to collective ownership of meaningful and innovative results.

Key Questions:    small groups outside

  • What are the foundations of good engagement?
  • What becomes possible when we give people real influence over the decisions that affect them?
  • How do we move beyond adversarial change into collective thinking and collaborative action?
  • How do I shift my own leadership to design and host authentic engagement?

Come if You Want to: 

  •  Practice using and hosting a set of simple, yet powerful conversational processes for  thinking together, such as Circle, Appreciative Inquiry, World Cafe, Open Space, and  Pro-action Café. 
  •  Explore how to build relationships of trust and reconsider the meaning and uses of  power 
  •  Enhance your design and facilitation skills 
  •  Move beyond ‘planning a meeting’ to developing multi-step engagement processes,  including diverse methods to effectively capture and use community input. 
  •  Hear and share success stories and put learning to work on real-life concerns.

Our Hosting Team:

Tim   Tim Merry's work focuses on building relationships of trust between residents, experts, and leaders in Nova Scotia via carefully designed community engagement processes to plan public buildings, economic development strategies, and housing policy

Tueday Tuesday Ryan-Hart is helping redefine attitudes toward power, working with activists, experts and leaders in Ohio to ensure all voices contribute to addressing complex issues such as homelessness, hunger and healthcare.  

Lina  Lina Cramer  works with policy makers, advocates and community residents to address trauma and violence and promote individual and community healing, resilience and well being in Chicago and Illinois.

Caryn Curry  Caryn Curry designs and hosts trainings, consultation and public education using participatory processes to build capacity among educators and community residents to promote social and emotional learning.

Renee  Renee Jackson  works to restore hope in communities by developing leaders to advocate for themselves, their family and their community.

Kevin Johnson  Kevin Johnson is a trusted advisor to organizations - large and smaill -  leaning towards collaborative strategies and tapping into the collective wisdom of all involved.

Kristy Miller  Kristy Miller uses AoH methodologies in her children's school, her church and community to bring people together to have conversations that matter.


  The Morton Arboretum is dedicated to the planting and conservation of trees.  Come early and enjoy the grounds.  Leading Engagement will take place at the Thornhill Education Center.

Registration fee:

$650.00  until August 31st;  $750.00 after September 1st

Price includes tuition, handbook, continental breakfast, lunches and reception on Monday evening.

Hotel Informtion:

A block of rooms has been reserved at:  The Hyatt Lisle - 1400 Corporetum Drive, Lisle Illinois - 630-852-1234.

Access the special rate by 9/22/13:

Leading Engagment Calling Team:

Lina Cramer - Wisdom Exchange ; Caryn Curry - Mental Health America of Illinois; Renee Jackson - The Next Generation of Leaders; Kevin Johnson - Market Place Learning Community; Kristy Miller; Chris Petit - Regenerative Design, LLC; Peter Newman - Cook County Juvenile Court Resource Division; John Zeigler - Eagan Urban Center, DePaul University