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Experience & Global TOur


James has 15+ years of experience working for Governments, NGOs, First Nations, and grass-roots organizations internationally.

 

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Experience & Global TOur


James has 15+ years of experience working for Governments, NGOs, First Nations, and grass-roots organizations internationally.

 

Awakening Thriving Environments – James wood, ma, ced

James' supportive facilitation approach is guided by the skills he has developed through his varied international experiences in his Community Development career.

I have learned that one of my greatest assets that I bring is my kind, grounded, action oriented, accountable approach. I also have a natural ability to build relationships with and between members, departments, boards, commissions, and community organisations, to engage these relationships and facilitate collaborative decision-making processes. In diverse environments, I have worked to crystallize the larger vision, and to utilise my planning, facilitation, conflict resolution, project management, outreach, and communication skills to find common-ground solutions that positively contribute to local visions. I cultivate strong teams by encouraging their best individual strengths towards attuned co-creative processes. 

My work is steeped in the training and principles of Sustainability, along with heart centred approaches to communication. My academic research focused on applied Sustainable Development initiatives that utilized multi-stakeholder consultation, community engagement, and public education techniques; my Master’s thesis, in particular, was foundational to the creation of an Ethical Purchasing Policy adopted and implemented by the City of Vancouver.

SELECTED career highlights

Experience

  • Organisational Development Advisor, Global Ecovillage Network International, Findhorn, Scotland, UK (2015-2016)
  • Community Advisor, Regional Economic Development, Yukon Government, Canada (2014 - 2015)
  • Senior Advisor, Community Affairs, Yukon Government, Canada (2013 - 2014)
  • Healthy Masculine Council Facilitator, Yukon BC, Canada, and Devon UK (2013 - 2018)
  • Sustainability Specialist, Boulder County Government, USA: Sustainability Office (2010 - 2012)

Education

  • Master of Arts: Corporate Social Accountability, Simon Fraser University (2006)
  • Certificate: Community Economic Development, Simon Fraser University (2003)
  • Bachelor of Arts: Social Anthropology, University of Victoria (2003)

Training

  • Council Facilitation level I & II (2015)
  • Compassionate Communication – NVC (2014/15)
  • Project Management Professional – PMP Prep (2012/14)

View James' complete CV

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Global Tour


Take a Global Tour below of James' career in Community Development, Planning and Sustainability.

 

Global Tour


Take a Global Tour below of James' career in Community Development, Planning and Sustainability.

 

James' career in Community Development – from 1998-2018

With 15 years of experience in Community Development working for Governments, NGOs, First Nations, and grass-roots groups internationally, James has seen the many faces of difficulties and achievements within communities and organizations. 

Take a Global Tour below of James' career in Community Development, Planning and Sustainability.

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United Kingdom


 

 

United Kingdom


 

 

Founder, Project Manager & Facilitator – CultureGarden.org, 2016–Current

In 2016, I began collaborating towards creating Culture Garden – a consultancy of skilled associates providing facilitation, training, and mentorship for individuals, organisations and communities that are in a process of change toward more collaborative ways of understanding, structuring, and expressing themselves. At every stage of the process, our strong, synergistic support draws from the wisdom of nature, the wisdom of the group, and the wisdom of the body in order to help you to grow new ways to live and work together.

Culture Garden draws from our Team's expertise in Community Development, Shared Governance, Body Informed Leadership, Peace Building, and Nature Connection to support organisations and groups to design and grow the collaborative group cultures that will best underpin and support their work in the world. And, we hold space for the – sometimes bumpy – transitional process that most organisations and groups go through as old patterns are brought to light and compassionately released, even while they integrate new ways of being.

Project Manager – Trinity Social Impact Fund (Global), 2016–Current

I have been supporting the founding development and growth of a new global Social Impact Fund to ensure the structural foundations of the new Fund are well grounded, and well positioned. Working directly with the CEO, I provide project management, action planning, mapping, and documentation consultation. Based on my guidance, Trinity has completed its founding documents, has inviting new Advisory Board members, and is now seeking new projects to support. Trinity aims to encourage and engage with organisations who work towards holistic vibrant health solutions, experiential education initiatives, growth of environmental stewardship skills, and social justice.

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Findhorn, Scotland


Findhorn, Scotland


Development Advisor – Global Ecovillage Network International (GEN-I), 2015-2016

After choosing to leave my government employment in 2015 to get back to more grassroots, community-based solutions to sustainability, I took on a Development Advisor contract at the GEN-I office in Findhorn in December, 2015. My primary task was to ensure that the structural foundations of the new Scottish Charity were well grounded. To do so, I nurtured the organizational structure through a SWOT analysis, while supporting the integration of specific models and practices that both represent and inform the workings of the organization itself. Specifically, I:

  • Led the development of the organization through new key financial and fundraising structures and policies
  • Developed key elements of the organizations' employment structures, payments, contracts and job reviews.
  • Developed a SWOT analysis to lead GEN-I forward as a Scottish Charity, providing structure to meet legal requirements.
  • In collaboration with the President, I ensured structural changes were implemented.
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Whitehorse, Yukon


 

 

Whitehorse, Yukon


 

 

Economic Development Advisor, Program Review, – Yukon Government, 2014-15 (and 2007-08)
I led the branch's Program Review by scanning national Economic Development best practices and creating a Gap Analysis of the branch's current suite of services. This will contribute to a recommendations report that outlines ways the branch can improve its Community Economic Development services to better reflect the needs of rural Yukon.

I also sat on the $3.4 million Community Development Fund board to evaluate which projects would be funded.

Senior Advisor, Our Towns Our Future (OTOF) – Yukon Government, Community Development, 2013-14
I led the implementation process of a partnership between municipalities and the Yukon government to understand and address the challenges of municipal sustainability. With 75 actions condensed into 18 theme areas, I worked directly with rural administrators and elected officials to provide a direct link to the Government of Yukon, to deliver advice and support, while implementing and reporting on the 18 theme area actions. 

As the Senior Advisor, I led the implementation process of a partnership between municipalities and the Yukon government to understand and address the challenges of municipal sustainability. With 75 actions condensed into 18 theme areas, I worked directly with rural administrators and elected officials, to provide a direct link to the Government of Yukon, to deliver advise and support, while implementing and reporting on the 18 theme area actions. 

By designing and rebuilding the Community Affairs website to showcase the projects' implementations, the government is able to offer upto date public information on this multi-stakeholder process, including: 

As monitoring and evaluation is essential for progress, I interviewed and wrote an evaluation of the Yukon's first Community Development Team, a pilot multi-stakeholder project that won Premier's award of excellence:

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France


 

 

France


 

 

Sabbatical – National Forest of the Cevennes, France (Winter 2013)

I took a 3-month sabbatical in 2013, which I spent in South France in a small rural community. I was investigating local community development actions to get a glimpse of how Europe was thinking about sustainability, while writing & reflecting on what could be most needed in our world for wellness & balance.  During this time, I began to vision an approach to Community Development that focuses on culture building and supporting interpersonal relationships as the cornerstone of any community development endeavor. This was a time of great creativity for my wife and I, as we encountered many people, places, and local initiatives that inspired and informed how we understood our respective work in the world.

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Colorado


 

 

Colorado


 

 

Sustainability Specialist – Sustainability Office, Boulder County, 2010-2012
From 2010-2012, I lived in Boulder, Colorado, where I worked in the Sustainability Office of the Boulder County Government. I collaborated with County, State, Municipal and Federal staff towards innovative sustainability initiatives, while promoting the County’s current sustainability programs and services. I also built, managed & updated the newly designed www.BoulderCountySustainability.org website.

During this time, I conducted informal interviews with all Department Heads and elected officials to define and develop the County’s Sustainability Framework & Inventory, leading towards an Integrated Sustainability Plan:

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Dawson City, Yukon


 

 

Dawson City, Yukon


 

 

Program Manager  –  Yukon College, Tr'odek Hatr'unohtan Zho Community Campus, 2008-2009
In 2008 I as was re-hired with the Yukon College as the Program Manager for Dawson City. As the Program Manager, I collaborated and networked with local partners and agencies including the Tr’ondek H’wechin First Nation, L’Alliance Francaise Yukon, Parks Canada, the High School, and the School of Visual Arts (SOVA) to bring new courses to the community. I also sat on various committees & advisory boards, including the Community Development Corporation Working Group, the School of Visual Arts (SOVA) Board, the Dawson City Interagency, and the Dawson City Chamber of Commerce.

A major accomplishment as Program Manager was the successful transition of the College from the old campus to a temporary site, while the new campus was being built with the funding our local committee received. 

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Old Crow, Yukon


 

 

Old Crow, Yukon


 

 

Director, Health & Social Department – Vuntut Gwitchin Government (VGG), 2007-2008
In June 2007, I returned to Old Crow for a term contract as the Director of the Health & Social department of the Vuntut Gwitchin Government.  I was accountable for 8 staff, a budget of $500,000, and all programs and services provided by the Health & Social department (which included Social Assistance, Family & Child Welfare, Addictions and Personal Counselling, Home Care for Elders & Clients with Disabilities, Community Wellness and Restorative Justice).

Program Manager & Instructor – Yukon College, Alice Frost Community Campus, 2005-2006
In 2005 I as was hired as the Yukon College Program Manager & Instructor in Old Crow where I developed educational and Community Development activities based on the collaborative “Needs Assessment" I conducted by networking with the Vuntut Gwitch’in First Nation’s Chief & Council and Directors. I monitored, evaluated, and coordinated all College activities, and managed staff. 

During this time, I negotiated a $30,000 partnership between the College and the First Nation to create and manage a new Skills Exploration / Land Based educational pilot program, and completed the lessons learned Final Report:

Project Evaluation, Community Mobilization Program – Federal Government, Watson Lake, Yukon 2005-06
As the Community Project Assessment Coordinator, of the Community Wellness Initiative in Watson Lake, I led the Formative project evaluation based on interviews/focus groups with multi-stakeholders.

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British Columbia


 

 

British Columbia


 

 

Master of Arts – Corporate Social Accountability & Public Policy – Vancouver, BC, 2003-2006
Cultural Anthropology BA, Community Economic Development, Cert – Vancouver 2001-2003

In July 2006, I completed my Master’s Thesis Project working with multi-stakeholders towards Ethical Purchasing Policies (EPP) at both Simon Fraser University and the City of Vancouver. The Project reviewed Corporate Social Responsibility literature and utilized Action Research methods to research if EPPs are viable in Canada.

I raised $35,000, to organize and hold an EPP Conference for Universities and Municipalities which was well attended by businesses, government, universities, students, administrators, and policy makers. After the conference, I wrote a final report, and became an adviser on both the SFU’s administration's and the City of Vancouver’s EPP Task Forces which adopted the first Canadian Municipal EPP policy after 6 months of multi-stakeholder collaboration:

While completing my studies, I engaged myself in several grassroots, Canada-based Community Development projects including being a founding member of the BC Ethical Purchasing Group (a multi-stakeholder coalition working with Municipal policy makers to achieve common ground solutions on the development, implementation & compliance of standardized ethical & sustainable purchasing policies), a Steering Committee member of Oxfam Vancouver during the "Make Trade Fair" campaign, and a founding member of the Vancouver Fair Trade network (www.FairTradeVancouver.ca).

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Vanuatu


 

 

Vanuatu


 

 

Community Economic Development Project Assistant – Foundation for the South Pacific, 2001

On the heels of my community development project experiences in Mexico, in 2001, I traveled to the South Pacific where I worked as Community Economic Development Project Assistant & Assessment Officer in a Community Eco-Forestry Portable Sawmill project. The European funded project had 6 test model sites, facilitated by the Foundation for the Peoples of the South Pacific Vanuatu (FSPV), a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) focusing on sustainable development, particularly in the sectors of forestry and environment, health and nutrition, youth, small business and community capacity building.

For 4 months I lived in a remote village called Naone (‘where 2 rivers meet’) on Espiritu Santo island in Vanuatu, conducting informal interviews (in the local Bislama / Pidgin English language) to evaluate the project’s process and progress in the eyes of the local community. My goal was to determine if the goals of the NGO office met those of the local community. I was part of local capacity building workshops in Participatory Rural Appraisal Techniques, and also evaluated, facilitated and mediated a new partnership between 2 local NGOs in a highly sensitive environment.  

Finally, based on this Vanuatu case study, I wrote an academic paper on: Community Self-Reliance, Women's Agency Development, and Alternative Economics, to address development problems in rural areas:

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Mexico


 

 

Mexico


 

 

Community Development Project Assistant – El Centro de Encuentros Y Dialogos, 1999-2000

In 1998, I took a year off from my University studies to experience "on the ground" realities in my growing field of interest – Community Development. I was hired by the Victoria International Development & Education Association (VIDEA) to work on a knowledge sharing agriculrual community project. In 2000, I moved to Cuernavaca, Mexico to continue this work with an NGO partner organization, El Centro de Encuentros y Dialogos (CED), as a Community Development Project Assistant. This organic agriculture project was initiated by local community members (mainly women) who wanted to address the serious poverty and health concerns adversely affecting their children in rural Mexico.  

Funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), I assisted the community by building relationships between the NGO office and community village, gaining an understanding of the local needs and wants in order to evaluated the project’s process and documenting that progress while writing evaluation reports in both English and Spanish for the Mexican NGO and CIDA.