Deep Dives — The Systems Sanctuary – focused exploration of key themes


Source: Deep Dives — The Systems Sanctuary

Deep Dives

Deep Dive Programs.jpg

What’s the deal?

We have identified a set of edgy issues and challenges we are facing in the field of systems change and we wanted to create the opportunity to crack these open, create time for reflection and deep dive conversation about them. In doing so we aim to strengthen our collective practice on these fronts.

These key themes have emerged during time together in our In the Thick of It and The Systems Sisterhood programs.

The deep dive series is a focused exploration of key themes including:

Health, Wellness and Burnout

How can we stay well and sane in the work we do? We heard over and over in both of our programs how systems leaders are stressed out, overworked and burnt out. They are struggling to find that balance of peace, passion and wellness and this is affecting both men and women.

We will be offering a space to acknowledge and explore this experience. We’ll offer tools to explore the patterns that lead to our exhaustion and practices to ground ourselves. As this is such a prevalent occurrence in the field, this will be a collective inquiry. We are committed to capturing and sharing this widely with the field as it develops, highlighting areas where innovation could support practitioners to flourish rather than become drained.

We will have both a women’s only Cohort and a mixed one on this topic.


Money is a taboo subject and difficult to talk about. Its a theme that also came up in many different ways in The Systems Sisterhood. How can we be better at growing, asking for and negotiating finances? How does taboo and shame prevent positive flow of resources? How do we value our work when we are working to create positive change in the world? How do we balance valuing our experience and contribution with sustaining ourselves to keep doing the work we are passionate about and setting a fair price? This is murky water, not often discussed.

Interrogating Whiteness

Why is it, even in work committed to diversity and inclusion, whiteness often remains un- marked and unremarkable? How can change leaders alter this dynamic so that whiteness becomes a site of dynamic inquiry rather than seemingly invisible yet silently privileged and powerful centre from which otherness so often stems? This deep dive will show how whiteness is worthy of further investigation in conjunction with anti-racist pedagogy and practice. It also stresses how white fragility often impedes these kinds of discussions due to white guilt, white paralysis, white privilege, white tears and/or white rage.

This workshop offers a variety of activities for leaders of all races that can help participants to articulate, interrogate and de-centre whiteness and white privilege.

Being More of Ourselves at Work

Shifting systems requires people to do and be different. As women, the systems that we work in are usually not designed to allow us to be fully ourselves and we end up sidelining some of our most powerful skills. From using our intuition, fully accounting for the roles we play inside and outside work, to having the confidence to be both gentle and fierce when needed, what might we achieve if we were able to show up in the fullness of ourselves?  This will be a women’s only group.

Who is this for?

Participants will be working in the field of systems change, or in a field that aligns and overlaps (like design, social entrepreneurship, social innovation, social finance etc).

This is for you if you read these topics and instantly know what we’re talking about. This is your experience.

You have no space to talk about this and yet, if we get you on the topic, you have a lot of say about it.

Space will be limited and we expect it to fill up fast. We will have a maximum of 25 participants, per group. Registration is first come first served basis.

What will happen on the calls?

  • Leading experts and practitioners in the field will share their latest thinking to inform our thinking and reflection

  • We will create the space to exchange and learn from one another in small, intimate groups, on and off our calls

  • Through our peer exchanges and individual reflection processes, we will be guided by our experience and the questions we are each holding.

More specifically

  • Virtual 1.5 hour gathering on zoom. This will including provocations from 2 leading experts and intimate conversations in small groups.

  • Homework – A curated list of articles, books and videos to watch in advance of and after each call to further your thinking.

  • Buddy call one-to-one conversation with two other participants.

  • Curated personal reflection practice

  • Virtual 1.5 hour gathering on zoom. This will include small group and larger group conversations. We will surface learnings and themes from the program.

  • A designated slack channel for you to continue the conversation during and after the program has ended.

The value

These are topics that we know show up in your life. You talk to your friends and family about them, they niggle at you, but you find it hard to find the time to delve into them in any meaningful detail and to develop the clarity of thought to set new boundaries and develop new practice.

This is an opportunity to put one of these topics at the center of your thoughts for a month. Taking part in these programs is an investment in building your network of systems leaders who will validate your experience with their own and could become trusted colleagues in the future.

Our special guests

We will share more details of our special guests closer to the time.


There is a sliding scale for different types of organization. Our sliding scale ensure’s we are able to have a diversity of participants and takes into account the financial risk people work independently take.

Early Bird price counts before August 31 2019.

Price is in USD

  • Corporate and Foundation $1,000, Early Bird $800 (You qualify even if you subsidize this yourself)

  • NGO & Government: $500 and Early Bird $400 (You qualify even if you subsidize this yourself)

  • Independent: $350 Early Bird $280


The System Sanctuary is committed to ensuring participation of system leaders from diverse backgrounds and contexts.  We recognize that system leaders are working in various ways that may impact economic security. If the proposed fees are a barrier to your participation, we offer a sliding scale.

Please fill out this form to apply for a sliding scale.

You must also have filled out the full Registration form, in order for us to process your sliding scale application. We will get back to you within 2 weeks.

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