ECW 2024

Many ancient views of leadership, including most indigenous traditions, consider deep connection with land as the source of vision and leadership beyond ego. The ECW provides a unique space for leaders and change-makers from diverse sectors to come together, connect to a powerful place and engage in deep reflection and conversation. Together, we will explore and address several key challenges facing the world today, including:

  • Fostering mindfulness, compassion, and human development as mainstream priorities.
  • Re-orienting businesses and educational systems towards balance and interconnectedness, moving away from relentless growth and exploitation.
  • Shifting mainstream views of leadership from driving change to creating more generative spaces that foster relationality, collaboration, and shared vision.

The ECW focuses on "Reconnecting to Place and Re-shaping our Future," emphasizing the importance of connecting with Mother Earth as a way to awaken awareness of interconnectedness among humans and all life. Part retreat and part capacity-building workshop, it explores these themes through various practices such as systems thinking, organizational learning, Theory U, Social Presencing Theatre, and indigenous wisdom and ceremony.

What happens at the ECW

The program is organized around different practices in our common work on awareness-based systems change: systems thinking and organizational learning, Theory U, Social Presencing Theatre, and indigenous methods of holding sacred space. Over the years, the potent combination of these tools and practices in concert with the energy of this special place have shaped spaces for deep conversations amongst peers around questions that have heart and meaning.

The ECW offers a highly interactive program that builds on a variety of tools, concepts and processes (and even a few short presentations) such as:  

  • Starting off “in a good way”: Ceremonial ways of arriving, grounding, and connecting with one another and the social-ecological field
  • Personal and collective contemplative practices
  • Social Presencing Theatre to connect us more intimately with the three fields within which we always operate: the individual mind-heart body, the “social body,” and the larger “earth body”  
  • “World Cafes” that hold and weave small group conversations
  • “Case clinics” to cultivate collective creativity around tangible leadership challenges 
  • Diving into ideas and concepts of thought leadership

Through it all, we will explore how we  

  • sense and cultivate a more generative social field,
  • appreciate and practice the basics of what it means to think and act systemically, and
  • understand together the deeper dynamics of social evolution unfolding all around us and how they are shaping the stresses and possibilities for institutions today.

Our guiding principle is that the necessary changes in the world occur at various levels, spanning from the individual and team levels to the organizational, cross-organizational, community, civil society, and industry levels.


The ECW will be facilitated by a diverse team of four facilitators who each bring an individual perspective and experience: 

  • Melanie Goodchild, Anishinaabe, the Presencing Institute & the Wolf Willow Institute for Systems Learning
  • Arawana Hayashi, the Presencing Institute and The Art of a True Move
  • Otto Scharmer, MIT Sloan School of Management & the Presencing Institute
  • Peter Senge, MIT Sloan School of Management & The Center for Systems Awareness

Who should attend this program?

The ECW welcomes a wide range of participants, including individuals in leadership roles and grassroots leaders who are actively shaping their communities. Our program attracts professionals from various sectors, including business, education, governance, and community development. We prioritize individuals whose work aligns with our core priorities as conveners, which encompass areas such as regenerative agriculture, equity, education for human flourishing, racial justice, and transformational philanthropy.

Our goal is to bring together a diverse group of participants, spanning a wide range of ages and backgrounds. From high-level executives within influential organizations to grassroots leaders leading change initiatives at the community level, we aim to create an inclusive and vibrant learning environment that fosters collaboration and shared insights.

We seek individuals who are deeply committed to reshaping society towards genuine social and ecological well-being, cultivating mindfulness and compassion, and transforming institutions to become hubs of local and global interconnectedness. Our participants represent diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences with a shared passion for transformative change.

The ECW is more of a retreat than a traditional training, benefiting from participants' basic familiarity with tools of awareness-based systems change. The quality of the program hinges on the quality of participants' engagement, as much of the learning emerges collaboratively. Online options are available before the summer session for those without prior experience:

Go to u-lab 0x  u-school open programs

The Invitation

Many years ago, a vice president from the World Bank, famous for her work around global sustainability, commented near the end of our time together in Vermont, “If we had signed the Kyoto protocols in a tent like this, the outcomes would have been very different.” It is time to re-learn that genuine intention comes not from human will but from nature’s voice – and how to listen to that voice.



The ECW is designed as a full three-day retreat. We start with registration at 3pm, followed by a first session at 4pm on August 20th and end with lunch on August 23rd.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided for all three days, beginning with registration and a welcome coffee on Tuesday, August 20. Additionally, there is an optional box lunch scheduled from 2-3 p.m. on Friday, August 23. We kindly request that you schedule your travel arrangements to accommodate this. Please note that it is a requirement for participation that you commit to attending the entire workshop.

Accommodations Terms

The Trapp Family Lodge's check-in time is at 4:00 p.m., and check-out time is at 11:00 a.m. If you require an earlier check-in, Trapp Family Lodge does its best to accommodate. Additionally, the concierge can hold your luggage both before check-in and after check-out if needed. If you won't be staying at the Trapp Family Lodge, kindly inform us by emailing ecw@presencing.org.


The workshop will be held at the Trapp Family Lodge, 700 Trapp Hill Road, Stowe, VT 05672, Phone: +1-802-253-8511, e-mail: reservations@trappfamily.com


The Trapp Family Lodge is approx. 45 min. from Burlington, VT (50 miles), approx. 2-2.5 hours from Montreal, ON (140 miles) and approx. 3.5-4 hours from Boston, MA or from Hartford, CT (220 miles) Rental car services are available at airport terminals. Directions can be found at http://www.trappfamily.com/directions.


Cancellation and Substitution Policy

All cancellations must be received in writing. The amount paid minus a $300.00 processing fee will be refunded for all cancellations received in writing six (6) weeks before the first day of the workshop. For international credit card users:  Currency fluctuations occur. Refunds, if requested, will be made in USD at the exchange rate in effect at the time the refund is processed.  The Presencing Institute will not be responsible for any loss incurred by card holder. NO refunds will be granted for cancellations received on or after this date. You may arrange for a substitute participant at least two (2) weeks before the program. Should the Presencing Institute need to cancel the program, participants will receive a refund of their tuition, but no reimbursement for booked flights or other travel or program-related expenses.


An invoice will be sent separately once registration is complete.


If you have any questions or concerns, please contact ecw@presencing.org

Credit: Trapp Family Lodge | https://www.trappfamily.com/