Catalyzing Connections Through Learning Together

Events Blog

Read about past TODN events here.
  • 12 Jun 2015 10:08 AM | Glennie Mercer

    TODN is an absolutely wonderful network! 

    We had a terrific "Unconference" to close out our 2014/2015 season, as members shared ideas, questions and information in an "Open Space" format. The challenge for all of us was picking a few sessions to participate in, as they all offered great dialogue and interesting opportunities for exploration and learning.Questions and topics included:

    • Great openings for facilitation
    • Fun with markers
    • What's going on in the world that's affecting OD?
    • SOAR +
    • Lego serious play
    • The future of Performance Reviews
    • How do we do cross border work? 
    • Comedy and culture

    There was an open and creative vibe in the room, and lots of laughter as we shared experiences, resources, ideas and thoughts about the many ways in which we practice and engage with our clients. 

    I am proud to be a member of this wonderful community, and am looking forward to our fall programs as we kick off in Sept. with our theme of "Redefining Engagement"!

    Have a great summer everyone and we look forward to seeing you Sept. 16th.

    Take care,


  • 09 Jun 2015 1:33 PM | Glennie Mercer

    Todd Charron facilitated a wonderfully interactive session with our TODN community at our May event. Engaging, Fun, Experiential, Active, Energizing!!!

    We expanded our ideas and perspectives regarding how and when to use Improv, as we learned a variety of possibilities as to it's uses with our clients. And YES - you can take it into organizations!

    Todd is an engaging and energetic facilitator who had us moving around, up and out of our chairs, mixing it up in different groups, playing in front of one another, and really challenging us to move out of our comfort zones!

    Laughter and learning are always a wonderful combination and Todd created an environment for both to thrive. 

  • 01 Apr 2015 4:58 PM | Glennie Mercer

    Thanks to Phil LeNir, who presented an engaging and practical model to our TODN community on Peer Coaching. 

    The framework provides participants concrete theories and models created by leading thought experts, and then guides them through small group dialogues using key questions to engage thinking, reflection, and inquiry related to the content. It's an opportunity for participants to coach one another, as they share their knowledge, expertise and perspectives related to the topics presented.

    Participants were extremely engaged in the practice demo, and comments included:

    "awesome"; "loved the opportunity to go deeper with colleagues"; "I'll be able to incorporate this in my own peer coaching groups"; "the peer coaching experience worked really well";  "the quality of the discussion, regardless of the outcomes, is extremely valuable"; "need to remember to ask questions rather than give advice".

    A terrific evening was enjoyed by all, and we thank Phil for an interesting, useful and energizing presentation. It was a great experience and Phil's presentation can be accessed below. 


  • 11 Dec 2014 3:30 PM | Christine Burych

    To close our Fall theme of “Resilience”, we had the pleasure of partaking in a drumming experience facilitated by Terri Segal of Rhythmic by Nature.

    Sitting in a large drumming circle we eagerly awaited the opportunity to begin drumming, shaking and making our cacophonic sounds that would soon become melodious.  Many of us had never drummed before yet within minutes, Terri got us working together within rhythm.

    Terri split the group into 3 parts, each part playing a different rhythmic pattern that when combined, created a group rhythm greater than the sum of its parts.  So, in order for the full rhythm to be successful, each player really needs to take responsibility for his or her part and work together (sounds a lot like a high performing team). 
 After we played and grooved with the 3 part rhythm (which sounded fantastic!), we spent some time debriefing the experience.

    Words used to describe the experience ranged from joyous, bliss, freedom, liberating and being as one.  One participant shared that the way she dealt with the challenge of being asked to stay with the same rhythm was by experimenting with hand positioning which resulted in creating different sounds while still maintaining the same rhythm. By finding simple ways to change the rhythm allowed her to experience more freedom and enjoyment while still contributing to the success of the overall rhythm.

    Through drumming we had the opportunity to feel out of sync, stuck, overwhelmed, fear of being judged and making mistakes. The need to control lead to the experience of surrender which gave way to just being.   A true sense of being lost in the moment of total connectedness. And as Terri reminds us “just like we do in the drumming process, in our own lives we can: -simplify, less is sometimes more -cultivate resilience -ask for support & support others -experiment  -suspend self-judgment -know that making mistakes is all part of the learning experience -take risks and try something new -listen and trust ourselves -find our own unique voice.”

    If you would like to contact Terri you can reach her at or

    All that drumming and fun lead us right into dinner for our Winter Social.  Dinner was fantastic- for those of you who couldn’t make it; we drank and ate enough for everyone. 

    Looking forward to seeing you all in February.

  • 30 Oct 2014 6:42 PM | Melanie Ollenberg

    Last week we were thrilled to have Christine Burych of Starlingbrook Leadership Consulting bring her expertise, humour and wisdom to the TODN community. Looking across the room, I was once again impressed by the wealth of experience, and the diversity of organizations present. Clearly, mental health in the workplace is an issue that spans every work environment.

    Opening with some shocking and persuasive research, the case for having mental health strategies in the workplace was quickly made clear. One participant put it well in saying "The hidden costs and wasted human potential are extraordinary today...The ROI on an effective organizational mental health program is a strategic advantage".  Case in point, Christine gracefully challenged us to see the mental models that have created stigmatizing thoughts and beliefs in all of us, and offered some excellent tools for facilitating important conversations about mental health in the workplace. "Clearly an expert, Christine brings mental health into the conversation in a way that we can all work with in our professional communities" suggested one participant. Christine moved us through the continuum, from identification of risk factors that contribute to mental health issues in the workplace, warning signs of the most common workplace mental health issues, and opportunities to integrate specific strategies such as into existing Organizational Development initiatives (e.g., appreciative inquiry, change management, and emotional intelligence initiatives).

    "Dynamic, knowledgeable, and very engaging", Christine set us on the right path for incorporating mental health strategies within our organizations, even offering a number of resources to continue the learning (listed below).

    If you're interested in exploring the concepts in more depth, you can contact Christine Burych through

    Some helpful resources from Christine include:
    Thanks for coming, and we look forward to seeing you at our Winter Social in November!
  • 24 Sep 2014 1:36 PM | Anonymous

    Wednesday, September 17 kicked off our fall theme of Building Resilient Workspaces. Andrew Soren a graduate of, and Assistant Instructor at, the University of Pennsylvania's internationally renowned Master of Applied Positive Psychology and a Senior Advisor of Talent Management at BMO, provided a thought provoking introduction to the science of resilience.

    There was so much applicable information and relevant tools introduced in this session it will be a challenge to whittle it down into a manageable blog post. I will stick with a few key take-aways from my perspective, and invite you to check out any number of resources at the end of this blog.

    According to research, in particular Reivich and Shatte resilience is strongest as a result of six factors Emotional Awareness; Impulse Control; Optimism; Self-Efficacy; Flexible Accurate Thinking and Empathy and Connection. How we think changes how we feel changes what we do – this isn’t particularly new to OD practitioners; however, how the US Army and the University of Pennsylvania are applying this adage and the six factors is moving towards revolutionary.

    Much of their work is steeped in CBT therapy. CBT helps us become more aware of our beliefs and thoughts and how they result in our triggers, which generate an emotional response and subsequent behavior. Andrew’s introduction to CBT and overview of Penn’s Train the Trainer model used with the US Army re-affirmed for me how as OD practitioners it is vital we continue to encourage the adoption of multi-modal programs as opposed to “magic bullet” events to ensure success in any area of focus.

    Andrew also touched on the work being done through in relation to character strengths. Interestingly, if we are able to find new and different ways to use our top 5 character strengths our resilience and optimism will increase; this in itself could have amazingly positive impacts on an organization if utilized well.

    This is just a snapshot of the session and if you were unable to attend we have posted the link to Andrew’s powerpoint below, highlight the link and right click to access the presentation. Other resources mentioned in the session:

    • The Resilience Factor: 7 Keys To Finding Your Inner Strength And Overcoming Life's Hurdles by Karen Reivich
    • Learned Optimism: How To Change Your Mind And Your Life by Martin E. Seligman
    •    - character strengths including free survey
    • University of Nebraska   - doing work on psychological capital (HERO: Hope, Efficacy, Resiliency, Optimism)
    Download Andrew's Presentation:

    Posted by: Beth Allen
  • 30 Jul 2014 9:11 AM | Andrea Swanson

    Through a happy din of new connections and reuniting old friends, our July 24th "Patio" Night at Factory Girl on the Danforth was a Summer Social Success.

    Thanks to all that came out. Welcome to some new faces and welcome back to some esteemed long time members!

    We look forward to seeing you in the Fall!

  • 17 Jun 2014 2:46 PM | Glennie Mercer
    Once again, the TODN community actively participated in a lively and thought provoking dialogue as we explored the theories, concepts and applications of "Holacracy". With excellent facilitation by Fernando Lopez, the information, which was quite new to many, was shared, explained and then demonstrated, as several members volunteered to participate in a "fishbowl" Holacracy Governance meeting session. This provided us all the opportunity to see the ideas in action, ask questions and provide feedback in real time. 

    Some of the words used to describe the evening included "exciting", "mindbending", "thought provoking", "interesting", "challenging", just to mention a few. As always, there were lots of differing perspectives, great questions, useful insights, and an environment that included and respected the diversity that is present when our community comes together. 

    If you're interested in exploring the concepts in more depth, you can contact Fernando directly at

    Additional resources include:
    Thanks for coming, and we look forward to seeing you at our July 24th Patio Night.

    Also, thanks to our resident graphic recorder, Charlotte Young, and the visuals that she created:




  • 13 May 2014 1:37 PM | Glennie Mercer

    Thanks to Mark Federman (Academic Vice-President, and Dean of the Faculty of Leadership and Organization at the Adler Graduate Professional School in Toronto) for his presentation at our TODN event on May 8th. Mark shared his theory, a new mental model, for working with and thinking about organizations.

    His theory was based on the idea that the purpose  of an organization is to bring PEOPLE  together and from their relationships and connections their directions, goals and actions  will emerge.

    Mark’s theory identifies 5 types of relationship Valences or capacity to bond, interact and react: Economic, Affective, Identity, Knowledge, Economic. Each relationship needs to be assessed and can be a focus of organizational interventions.

    Other key concepts:

    BAH (buearcratic, administrative, hierarchical) which is a form that is transactional or fungible

    ba (a state of common understanding/ knowledge/values, in which the self disappears and people just know what to do), in which shared expectations enable an imagine future.

    Asking what are the “effects” you want to have versus what are the “outcomes.” And, whom/how do you want touch people today versus “what is your vision?”

    Our members used the theory in small groups to explore with a new lens an Organizational issue that they were having.

    A link to his slides

    For more details about Mark’s theory, you can contact him 

  • 31 Mar 2014 9:07 PM | Glennie Mercer
    Thanks to Jason Little (of Leanintuit and Leandog) for presenting to our TODN audience on March 27th. Jason shared his experiences and knowledge of Agile Change Management with us, including his slides

    Many found the information useful, with plans to integrate relevant ideas and tools immediately. Those newer to Agile were intrigued by the concepts, and also began to see possibilities for integrating the methods and tools into their current change processes. "Stand up meetings", "culture hacking", and "lean coffee" were just some of the ideas shared and discussed. 

    The four key values of Agile including: 
    - Visibility; 
    - Feedback driven planning; 
    - Co-creation of change; and 
    - Acceptance of uncertainty and complexity 
    were shared, and certainly resonated with the philosophies of many of our membership. Jason also shared some of his favourite resources and references (;; work by Dave Snowden; timeboxing) each of which provides more options for us to engage in further exploration. 

    Let the change, and the learning continue! 

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