About 20 years into a successful business and academic career that included working five years overseas, a Ph.D. in Business Strategy, and a post-doc at the European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management, I had a profound awakening after investing two decades in change management with a large systems focus. Change happens one person at a time. I still love the irony of that discovery! Sure, I was teaching business strategy and leadership to Sustainability MBA students which was personally rewarding on a number of fronts, especially helping create one of the first Sustainability MBAs on the East Coast AND I was working for a great, values-driven company with wonderful people. Yet, something else would not let go of me.
So I spent a lot of time in nature, on short walks, long hikes, on multiple day solos in the wilds to give my mind rest from these nagging thoughts, or so I thought. I climbed mountains in Colorado, hiked and biked along the Potomac, sailed the Chesapeake Bay. I saw the dying conifers, the urban pollution, dead zones in the Bay. I also noticed that some of my most talented grad students, both young and old, were striving to deliver their largest, most meaningful work in the world, feeling awed & a bit humbled by the magnitude of their dreams to leave the world a better place than which they found it. They were emergent ChangeMakers seeking to serve and be served by a community of empowerment. AND, the first and greatest teacher of that community was, yes, you guessed it – the natural world! I launched the Center for Nature and Leadership, and have focused my life’s work since then to exploring new frontiers at the intersection of nature and leadership and honing my expertise in nature-based leadership development, coining a new term.
Along with founding the Center for Nature and Leadership, and the Ph.D. in Business Strategy, I’ve done post-doctoral work in ecopsychology, and was an apprentice at the Animas Valley Institute. My organizational highlights include postings as the VP, Strategy and Organization for Manco-Henkel, Inc. and Director of Strategic Initiatives for Stratton Corporation. MBA courses that I taught include Strategic Management, Social Accountability in Organizations, and the Management of Innovation and Technology at universities in Europe and the US. I was a founding Board member of the Sustainable Business Network of Washington DC, a member of the Corporate Development Task Force of the Cleveland World Trade Center and am currently on the Board of Sheep Mountain Alliance, an environmental organization in Telluride, Colorado. When I’m not cultivating fearless and authentic leadership in the clients and community of ChangeMakers in the Center for Nature and Leadership, you’ll find me in all seasons in the backcountry of the San Juan Mountains in Colorado, my home, or sailing on the Chesapeake Bay.
I have a strong bent for creating and achieving bottom-lines of all sorts, making a concrete difference in the world and having a huge amount of fun with others. This is a strategy. The best ideas often come when you’re not looking for them, right? Cultivating fearless leaders, ones who stand firmly on the ground of their authenticity, speak their truth and strive to bring new futures into reality in concert with others is my passion and expertise. And let’s not forget that those others may be the “more than humans”, those sentient beings who share this magnificent cosmos with us.
And so, to end, I’ll share the guiding question for myself and others:
Time is short, we each have only one life to live.
Why spend it in service to something other than who and what you care most about?
Equity Partner, Co-Guide of the IGNITE Council
A visionary at heart, Lindsay is committed to empowering the Millennial generation to harness their unique gifts to build lives and careers of purpose and impact. Following the completion of her MBA in Managing for Sustainability at Marlboro College (2012), Lindsay is transitioning away from a successful career as Brand Strategist at Reebok International, to cultivate the next generation of business visionaries.
As a CNL Partner, Lindsay hopes to inspire the next generation to bring forth the change they want to see within themselves and the world through the launch of Path to Purpose. The path toward building a career of purpose and impact isn’t straight or clear. Path to Purpose brings nature-based leadership and career development together to help Millennials craft a clear vision of their contribution to the world by aligning their career path with their passion and purpose before entering the workforce.
At the age of 30, Lindsay’s strong business background balanced with her deep connection to the land and commitment to success of those around her, make her a powerful change agent and role model for fellow Millennials. In addition to her MBA, Lindsay holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Bentley University (2004). When she isn’t tending to her garden or chickens in Boston, you’ll find her high in the mountains of Vermont amongst the conifers where she feels most at home – especially in the winter.
Partner, Co-Guide of the Generative Council, Board
In October 2005, my colleague, then mentor Peter Senge, sent me a copy of his new book collaboration, Presence: Human Purpose and the Field of the Future, and indeed my future began to emerge. Because of the story Joe Jaworski shared in the book, in February 2006, I participated in my first Sacred Passage with John Milton, founder of the Way of Nature. During my 7-day solo on a remote beach in Baja California, the message became loud and clear: it was time for me to double down on my work in sustainability, and in the larger global context far beyond the work of Nike and the industry.
In August 2008, after 21 years at Nike, I “graduated” and took a deep dive into the vast world of possibilities I knew existed, but couldn’t name at that point. My time at Nike had provided me with multiple opportunities to tackle complex challenges (e.g. introducing the concept of sustainable business strategies into the heart of Nike, redesigning how Nike Brand organized and operated) to starting and leading new business opportunities (e.g. Advanced Research and Development, Global Women’s Fitness division).
After my final year at Nike in as Senior Advisor to the Nike Foundation, I opened DSW Collective, LLC in September 2008, to work with organizations focused on aligning organizational values and principles with the development and implementation of practical yet aggressive systemic sustainable design strategies. This work has cut across business, with clients such as Levi’s, Nike, AMD, Daimler, and Vulcan, to higher education, such as MIT Sloan School of Management, Willamette University, and Stanford University, to government, such as the US Forest Service and Multnomah County.
Since December 2011, I have been the Managing Partner of the Academy for Systemic Change, an organization focused on advancing and building capacity for profound systemic change worldwide, in key domains such as education, health and health care, restoration of marine ecosystems and fisheries, and managing business value chains in more holistic ways.
I have been a lifelong athlete (how about a new sport every year?) and avid traveler, and when “home” you can find me in either progressive Portland, Oregon or in the stunning Sangre de Cristos in Crestone, Colorado.
Partner, Co-Guide of the IGNITE Council
I am a passionate community-minded teacher, inspired by the magic groups of deeply engaged co-creators can achieve. I hold a BA in Anthropology & Theater from Marlboro College, an MA in Theater Education from Emerson College and an MS in Managing Mission Driven Organizations from Marlboro College Graduate School. Over the course of my most recent graduate studies, I became increasingly aware of my yearning to bring my love of the co-creation process to more diverse groups and settings. I accidentally/on purpose coined the phrase “collective awesome” in a presentation about how I saw my leadership journey taking shape. It wasn’t until I brought that phrase and idea to my subsequent times out with the Generative Council that I started to discover what it really meant. Sitting with my new community or out on solo in the wise foot hills of the Grand Tetons, the ancient cliffs of Ghost Ranch, NM or simply in my backyard, I began to see and hear from nature what I was trying to say and have been striving towards. We need to bring our best selves to do our best work together.
I began my journey co-creating collective awesome via co-founding a Renaissance Faire in Brattleboro, VT. Since then, I have advised an LGBT student group at Marlboro College, taught/directed/was inspired by ActingOut, an issue oriented improv theater training and performance program for youth in the Southwestern NH, joined multiple community based coalitions working to bolster afterschool programs, community supports for healthy food and physical activity and substance abuse prevention. I am also a founding board member for Wolfgard Northeast, a wolf and wilderness education center in Southeastern VT. I completed my Capstone at Marlboro on the topic of learning collaborative structures for peer to peer professional development in the field of collective impact. My personal practice of co-creation includes teaching and performing improv theater and stage combat and singing in choirs.
Partner, Co-Guide of Sustainable, Flourishing, Whole: Exploring your Role in the Unfolding Earth Story
Lauren Chambliss leads group programs in wilderness and natural settings to initiate soul encounter, those profound “aha” moments when we have sudden and irrefutable clarity about our life’s purpose. Personally, she has had several such watershed moments. Her passion is to change the human relationship with the natural world and ultimately support what modern-day philosophers are calling the “great turning;” this time in human history that provides unparalleled opportunity and risk. In Lauren’s experience, it is a lifelong journey to find the sweet spot where our passion, our joy and our grief, merge with our innate and learned life skills.
Lauren is also the Communications Director for Cornell University’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future and she is a Lecturer in the Communication Department. A former prize-winning journalist in Washington, DC, she is responsible for crafting messages about sustainability in a language people can understand. Recently, Lauren headed up an energy conservation project for the university to encourage behavioral change in the work place by leveraging the internet and social networks to promote sustainable behavior.
Partner, Co-Guide of Sustainable, Flourishing, Whole: Exploring your Role in the Unfolding Earth Story
I’m a passionate advocate for living by my values, and for creating sustainable communities. Social change often starts with committed groups of people who have a vision, and can translate that vision into a practical, working model. I love to help that happen!
Building on years of work as a grassroots organizer, I co-founded EcoVillage at Ithica (EVI) with a colleague in 1991. I’ve dedicated my full-time work to bring this internationally acclaimed project from vision to reality ever since, serving as executive director of its non-profit arm.
I also helped to co-found Gaia Education which teaches a holistic model of sustainable community development on six continents. My two books, EcoVillage at Ithaca: Pioneering a Sustainable Culture, (2005, New Society Publishers) and Choosing a Sustainable Future: Ideas and Inspiration from Ithaca, New York, (October, 2010, New Society), have helped to introduce the concepts of ecovillages and sustainable communities to a broad audience in the U.S. and other countries.
I live with my husband at EcoVillage Ithaca, where until recently I managed the development of a third cohousing neighborhood, dedicated to affordability, accessibility, and cutting edge green design. I’m also coordinating an EPA Climate Showcase Communities grant in conjunction with Tompkins County Planning Department. The grant aims to popularize lessons learned from EVI, and apply them to mainstream residential development. Whenever I get a chance, I love to go biking, or hiking in the beautiful gorges in the Finger Lakes region of NY.
Suzanne Bansley is an innovative sustainability change agent with an entrepreneurial spirit. She is motivated and energetic with a professionally eclectic background that includes grants management, revolving loan fund management, accounting and finance, human resources, and general business management experience from large corporations, small businesses, higher education, non-profits, and governmental organizations.
In addition to her work as operations manager for the Center for Nature and Leadership, she is a part-time/volunteer webmaster, bookkeeper, and Board Member for the Daughters of Toleza Scholarship Fund for adolescent girls in Malawi, Africa to attend high school.
She has an MBA in Managing for Sustainability from Marlboro College (2011) and a Bachelors in Business Administration, specializing in Finance from Southern Connecticut State University (2005). She is an avid alpine skier and winter sports enthusiast and a marathoner working on a goal to run a marathon in every state. You can read about this journey on her blog Repeat Marathoner.