ILC during COVID

Hello, Inclusive Leaders!

It brings the Board of Directors great sadness that we cannot connect in a more personal way during the pandemic. Personal connection, learning together, and sharing our creative, inclusive gifts are truly the heart of who we are as an organization.

At the September 6th Board of Directors meeting, we considered next steps for ILC as the world deals with the next wave of COVID. We approved continuing to hold the monthly H2H meetings online.  With regret, we agreed to put on hold the online course, Discover Your Inclusive Leadership Potential, until such time that we can provide the appropriate level of support to all participants.

During the past 18 months, we’ve continued to meet as a Board and we’ve remained committed to the Co-operative. We’ll continue to explore ways to support the ILC Mission: To bring people from diverse backgrounds together to nurture and mentor Inclusive Leadership development in ourselves, our communities and our world. The Board welcomes your ideas!

Our AGM is planned for mid-November, and after that, the Board will meet quarterly for the remainder of the fiscal year (March 31, 2022) or until COVID is a thing of the past.

There will be some turnover on the Board at the 2021 AGM. We encourage all ILC members to consider serving on the Board of Directors, bringing your skills, experience, and creativity to the Board ‘table’. The Board meets on Zoom, so you can live anywhere in the world and be part of ILC!  

If you would like to communicate with us, we welcome your feedback.  Some ways to stay in touch are:

  • Post on the Inclusive Leadership Online FB Group.
  • Share a paragraph or two about your Inclusive Leadership work in the community and send it to the ILC Coordinator. You can find the contact information on the website,  We’ll post your update to the ILC website.
  • Attend the ILC 2021 AGM. The date, time, and Zoom link will be sent to all members in the near future.

We shall continually monitor the COVID situation and keep ILCers updated. We look forward to being able to gather in person sometime in the future.

Stay safe, stay well, and please stay in touch with the ILC. Thank you.

ILC & Provincial Accessibility Legislation

In November 2019, the Inclusive Leadership Co-operative was one of many organizations that hosted an independent community meeting to explore ways to build a better B.C. for people with disabilities and provide feedback for the Provincial Accessibility Legislation. Following is information about the act being proposed for legislation.

Dear Partner:

We are pleased to let you know that the Honourable Nicolas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction recently introduced the Accessible British Columbia Act. If passed, this proposed legislation will set British Columbia on the path to a more accessible and inclusive province for people with disabilities. In particular, the proposed legislation will allow government to establish accessibility standards to support the identification, prevention, and removal of barriers to accessibility and inclusion.

For more information about the proposed legislation, please visit: the accessibility legislation web page where you will also find a plain language overview of the legislation and an ASL video overview.

We want to express our sincere thanks to the thousands of British Columbians who provided input on the development of the proposed legislation. Public engagement and consultation will remain a priority as government develops regulations and standards to address the barriers people with disabilities face.

Yours sincerely,

Accessibility Secretariat
Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction (Victoria, B.C.)

Introducing Inclusive Leader Cathy Gilbert

My connection to the Inclusive Leadership Cooperative goes back almost a decade.  Our family moved to the Cowichan Valley from the Nanaimo area in the summer of 2012.   At the time our four youngest children included three BIPOC children. Perhaps because of this visible diversity in our family (or maybe just knowing we would love the connection) a local friend suggested I bring the kids to the Multicultural Leadership Group.  This was an amazing after school weekly gathering held at a church hall, and hosted by the Cowichan Intercultural Society from 2002 to 2012.   We soon became regular attenders and it was one of the most welcoming elements of our new community.  It was multicultural and multigenerational and we did indeed find a home there.   

Attending an Inclusive Leadership Cooperative week-end gathering was hugely inspiring. I (usually along with a couple of my kids) attended events at the Cowichan Lake Education Centre and at OUR Ecovillage.  Getting together in these weekend events, sharing food, education and experiential activities was a powerful way to connect and learn from one another.  Although dates seem a blur to me now (the aged brain not being what is was), I find myself in a photo of the Annual General Meeting of the Inclusive Leadership Cooperative in August of 2014, and  eventually I joined the Board of Directors.  The vision and mission of the organization aligned with mine and I was grateful to have found them and be part, in a small way, of something with such potential for changing lives and beyond.  

To give context to my life, I spent a year in the Cote d’Ivoire in 1976/77, living and working in a diverse community. I came home with strong views on the injustices of the world (my parents lived in a 4 bedroom house with a pool and ate meat every day – this was in distinct contrast to how I had lived in Africa) and there is no doubt this experience was foundational in my desire to live differently.  

Fast forward and I married and my partner and I became parents to birth children as well as adopting from the foster care system. Becoming parents is a learning curve for most folks; adopting children with diverse heritage, experiences and needs proved an even bigger one.  

I know that we learned as we went along: to quote Maya Angelou “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”    

Along the way sometimes when the system didn’t provide what was needed for our kids we helped make it happen.  An example of this is the Coco Cafe in Cedar, BC.  The Coco Cafe is the direct result of the efforts of some local families who started meeting in 2004.  We were seeking opportunities for our children with disabilities who were quickly becoming adults to have supportive work environments in our community.  Eventually, in 2011 the Coco Cafe opened in Cedar, as a cooperative with the goal of providing socialization and work opportunities for our adult children with developmental disabilities.  The Cafe is still alive and well, meeting original goals as well as being a hub in the community for people to come for coffee and a meal as well as expanding to do catering all over the central Island.  Being a small part of the creation of this social enterprise makes me recall that famous Margaret Mead quote “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has”.

Being able to effect change in the world, whether in your own family, neighbourhood, town, country or even across the world is an incredible gift.  

The Inclusive Leadership Cooperative offers that opportunity to those who are willing to participate and learn. Sadly the pandemic has put a halt to face to face gatherings which are indeed incredible ways to share our experiences with one another.  Hopefully these will be able to resume in the future.  

Meanwhile, those who have not already taken the online Discover Your Inclusive Leadership Potential can do so at any time.  It’s a great way to learn and you can do it from anywhere.  

Just imagine if we can, our world(s) as more inclusive and connected.  Believe it if you can.  

Volunteer Opportunities with Inclusive Leadership Co-operative

New year, new projects, new people…
Whatever your reason – giving back, learning, having fun – join us

in embracing the diversity in all living beings as gifts that enrich our world.

Discover Your Inclusive Leadership Potential (DYILP) online course team:

Position/Role: Administrator – Liaise with ILC Coordinator to keep the course enrolled and
running smoothly.
Tasks: Register new students and follow up with them; create certificates of engagement and completion; update the site and/or learning material.
Commitment: 2 hrs / week
Experience: Inclusive Leader with previous ILC experience such as DYILP or weekend
Familiarity with database software and website management is an asset. Some training
provided. Willing to learn as you go.

Position/Role: Mentor – engage with students on the discussion forum. 2 hrs / week
Experience: Inclusive Leader with previous ILC experience such as DYILP or weekend
Training provided.

Position/Role: Migration Project Lead – Our Thinkific site needs to be updated to a “new theme” by April 5, 2121, using the Thinkific migration tool. Liaise with the ILC Coordinator and DYILP Administrator and possibly Thinkific support staff.
Commitment: approximately 4 – 5 hours for completion
Experience: Experience with websites is an asset. No training available. Willing to learn as you go.

Resource Development

Position/Role: Grant Team Member – collaborate with ILC Coordinator and other team
members to search and apply for appropriate grants.
Tasks: Search for grants, determine ILC eligibility, liaise with funder, co-write applications. Team meetings on Zoom.
Commitment: 4 hrs / week for 6 months (may vary week to week)
Experience: Inclusive Leader with previous ILC experience such as DYILP or weekend

Position/Role: Fundraising Team Member – collaborate with ILC Coordinator and other team members to create a fundraising activity.
Tasks: Plan, prepare, execute a fundraiser.
Commitment: 2 – 6 hrs / week for 3 – 6 months (may vary week to week)
Experience: no experience necessary.

Practice Group Project

Position/Role: Co-Facilitator – collaborate with ILC Coordinator and other team members to
coalesce all materials from first two pilot groups and modify into a third pilot.
Tasks: Weekly Zoom meetings. Using the curriculum and materials on Thinkific and Website Toolbox discussion forums, plan, prepare and execute and evaluate the 3rd ILC Practice Group pilot. Create the announcement and enroll participants.
Commitment: approximately 20 hours to plan and prepare, and another 20 hours to facilitate and evaluate.
Experience: Inclusive Leader with previous ILC experience such as DYILP or weekend

Email List / Mailchimp Project

Position/Role: Data Entry – collaborate with ILC Coordinator to compile emails into the master list in preparation for Mailchimp migration.
Tasks: Using Excel enter contacts in Master List. Optional expansion of role: Access ILC Mailchimp account and migrate data for various mailing lists. Tutor the ILC Coordinator on Mailchimp.
Commitment: approximately 5 – 10 hours to create master list, and 2 hours to train
Experience: Microsoft Excel (or training provided). Mailchimp (or learn as you go).

ILC – Nigerian Chapter

Position/Role: Nigerian Chapter Team Member – Liaise with ILC Coordinator, Board Liaison and Nigerian Inclusive Leaders to provide information, peer support and learning opportunities to new and experienced Inclusive Leaders in Nigeria.
Tasks: Zoom meetings and other activities to be determined by the Team.
Commitment: 1 – 2 hours / week.
Experience: Inclusive Leader with previous ILC experience such as DYILP or weekend

Planning for January 2021

Hunkering down, avoiding close contact with people outside the home, socializing via screens have become daily routine. We are still learning about living this way. It’s not necessarily automatic yet, and likely will never be automatic behaviour. This morning I learned that long held habits die hard. For years I’ve woken up and in my half-sleep, made a pot of English Breakfast tea for my husband and myself. I stopped doing this in April when my husband quit caffeine. I make my tea and his dandelion ‘coffee’. This morning seven months of behaviour was amiss when, in my half-sleep and on auto-pilot I started spooning out the tea as if I were making a big pot to share. “What am I doing?” I thought as I caught myself in the act of an old ritual. Old habits die hard and new habits are hard earned.

All this is coming to mind as I and the Inclusive Leadership Co-operative and people all around the world are thinking about the new year, after the December break. With the vaccine for COVID-19 in our midst, tantalizingly close and whispering the promise of safely stepping out, embracing friends and sharing spaces, we are at risk of launching ‘auto pilot’ mode. I know our old ways of 2019 stretch back thousands of years, and are merely repressed, not gone, just like making a pot of tea to share. So how will all of this impact plans for our coming season?

I’m thinking of balance. January is a classic time to restore balance. Isolation for some might have led to a lack of stimulation. For others shifting work to home and online screen time with colleagues has led to reduced eye movements and burnout. We’ve adopted changes to stay safe during a pandemic and we are still adapting to those changes. As we discover what is good, what is too much and what is missing we can reorganize our daily routines to be a healthy balance of stimulation, rest and recreation for body, mind and spirit. If you are looking for your screen time to be both stimulating and social, I highly recommend ILC’s two online learning opportunities.

Discover Your Inclusive Leadership Potential

An introduction to the four pillars of Inclusive Leadership can be found in Discover Your Inclusive Leadership Potential. With the adjunct discussion forum, this course engages us in researching our own experience so we are learning and discovering our potential at the same time, building community in a cohort of participants.

Click HERE for more information on Discover Your Inclusive Leadership Potential, or contact me: inclusiveleaders @ (remove spaces when emailing)

Developing Your Communication Skills

If you are already introduced to Inclusive Leadership through the Discover Your Inclusive Leadership Potential, or a weekend workshop, then Developing Your Communication Skills will be a great way to strengthen your Inclusive Leadership potential. As co-op members learn and grow in their skills, the ILC provides opportunities for emerging facilitators. Join new facilitator, Betty Doherty and veteran, Raj Gill in this interactive course.

“This is great, will definitely make effort to be part of it.” ~Peter O.

Click HERE for more information on Developing Your Communication Skills or to register contact Betty & Raj:   raj.gill @ bdoherty1 @ (remove spaces when emailing)

The Inclusive Leadership Co-operative has volunteer openings and these will be posted in the coming week. This is another way that balance can be maintained or restored. Being engaged in meaningful action either working collaboratively on a project, or working independently on tasks that help make a worthy organization function well might fit perfectly with your new year plans. Stay tuned for the next post.

Lindsay Beal,

Coordinator, Inclusive Leadership Co-operative

Developing Communication Skills

A six week course for anyone in the Inclusive Leadership community committed to developing communication skills for building mutually supportive relationships at work and at home.

Participants will practice:
Setting an intention
Becoming aware of how my thinking impacts my words and actions
Building the practice of Self-empathy
Develop an authentic connection
Reflecting back or asking for reflection
Understanding what is important to each party
Practicing listening to diverse perspectives
Developing space between stimulus and response
Setting clear boundaries
Distinguishing true feelings from interpretations/thoughts
Giving and receiving feedback
Building a practice of gratitude and appreciation

Starts: First session – Wednesday, January 20th
Last session – Wednesday February 24
from 9:30am to 11:30am PST.
Facilitators: ILC members, Betty Doherty and Raj Gill.

To register: email Raj Gill at and Betty Doherty at:
raj.gill @
bdoherty1 @ (remove spaces when emailing)
stating what you hope to get out of the course and what you are willing to contribute to the group.  Please plan to attend all 6 sessions and practice the skills in between.  We want this course to meet your needs, so the more you practice and bring real life examples to explore, the more we will all learn.  This course is about sharing together our experiences of communication and learning to connect more effectively.

Inclusive Leadership Co-operative is looking for a huddle.

It’s not an easy time to have a vision of the future because we are in great flux all around the world. Even the world with it’s once predictable rhythms is in great flux . Near the end of 2018, Inclusive Leadership Co-operative had a vision for the following two years, and we have seen its manifestation in beautiful ways. So here we are approaching the end of 2020, in a changing world, with members who care about influencing this change toward Justice with Integrity, Peace and Respect.

We often see, when a team has a sound and practiced plan, they form a huddle just before putting that plan into action. It’s a way of affirming connection, ensuring cohesion and raising energy so the plan unfolds smoothly and enjoyably.

Some of us might be in a position to rise high above our lives within the workings of the Co-op, as an eagle with it’s acute vision, scanning the field below to identify which direction to fly. Some of us would rather bring the tools and resources we know so well, and huddle to affirm one another in the ways each is living, learning and leading inclusively in each one’s community. Either way, you’re invited to come and share what you see in ILC, what you hope to offer, or what you request, and perhaps together we will formulate some next steps for the ILC community.

Saturday, November 14th, 9:30 – 12:00 noon Pacific Standard Time, on Zoom.

What to do to participate:

  • Register right away with this link: ILC Visioning Huddle
  • When you get an email confirmation with the meeting link, add the event to your calendar.
  • Bring paper and a marker or two to jot down notes, or to enhance compassionate listening.
  • Arrive 5 minutes early to “hang up your coat” and smile at others.
  • Let others know if you cannot stay for the whole time.

IL Co-op Members in Action

Announcing the inclusive and allied programs that Inclusive Leadership Co-op Members are offering in their communities.

Saying Good-bye to ILC Co-founder, John Scull

May 10, 1943 – July 24, 2020
Born a 4th generation Californian and growing up in Beverly Hills, John used to jokingly describe himself as consistently downwardly mobile but no less happy for it. Read the obituary.

Many Inclusive Leaders crossed paths with John first in other fields, such as Eco-psychology / Deep Ecology, Behavioural Psychology, Quakers, Cowichan Valley concerns for social and environmental justice including the Cowichan Land Trust. The common thread of John’s work has been building a future and being in the moment. In 2015 he wrote in the Cowichan Valley Citezen “We support schools, save money for our grandchildren’s education, plant trees, recycle, donate to charity, protect land, volunteer, build churches, write letters to the editor, and do other things that offer a very poor payback or no payback at all. We do them because we care about the future, even if we are not likely to be here to enjoy it.” In John’s building, he interwove circles, places, beings, explaining how the structures will be sturdy, resilient and meaningful if built this way. From Cowichan Tribes, a Coast Salish First Nation John learned about The Great Deeds. “It wasn’t about building things, achieving success, or having adventures”, John wrote, “instead, Great Deeds take place in the life of every family: The birth of a child, the growth of a child into adulthood, the transition from adult to Elder, the birth of a grandchild. These were the Great Deeds of life: the actions we take to care for the people around us. It’s such a different definition of great deeds than I was used to.” And yet, build is what John did – for future generations by being in the moment.

As an Inclusive Leader, John introduced many of us to a simple and profoundly impactful exercise — Connecting with Nature. He shared his learning from mentors such as Joanna Macy and Joseph Cornell, and he shared his learning from nature itself. (See video). John helped many of us understand how we can learn from nature, ways to relax, ways to listen, ways to be creative, to be connected, to be filled with grace…because Nature is made up of beautiful beings that we can come to know a little if we take the time to be with them.

Co-founder, Sarah Matheson now in Guelph recalls sitting on John’s and Linda’s deck, looking across the Cowichan Valley to Mt. Prevost, “Every night since John died, I’ve felt drawn to go out on my balcony. All the animal spirits and the sky keep me company in such a live way, and connect me to John and Linda.” ILC Board member, Susan Norris recalls a trust exercise John facilitated during one of the Inclusive Leadership Gatherings. Susan’s exercise partner led her with her eyes closed in a wooded area. When she opened her eyes on cue, her whole visual field was living tree bark – she was that close. Susan says, “I find myself reproducing that experience, going up close to a tree…being in the moment in nature. This is a gift I received from John.” The stories of John introducing us to ways of connecting with nature could fill a book. More importantly, the stories continue to live in us.

John & Linda, beacons of community

Community Builders above all else, John and his partner of 40 years, Linda Hill demonstrated day in and day out how to say “yes” to making a connection. Hosting travelers in their home, choosing and welcoming new family members, and sharing stories, food and music are ways this dynamic duo fostered love and caring in the Cowichan Valley and beyond. Janice Milnerwood in Montreal says, “The most powerful memory is when John and Linda invited us to Thanksgiving dinner — there were so many people, from all walks of life. That really stayed with me. It’s what Thanksgiving is about.”

When we look closely at John’s work, play, love and teachings we can see how it all fits together with great integrity. John was a proponent of The Earth Charter and he clearly lived in accordance with its four pillars: Integrity, Peace, Justice and Respect. He practiced and acted upon these qualities for his children, his grandchildren, his community of people and nature’s beings and he did so by reminding us to live simply, in the moment.


As politicians and other leaders join with ordinary people across Canada and around the world in condemning all forms of racism, discrimination, intolerance and bigotry there is growing hope for a world based on the Earth Charter values of integrity, respect, justice, and peace. And, at the same time, facilitators, mentors and participants in our “Discover Your Inclusive Leadership Potential” Online Course are realizing that Inclusive Leadership Online Education is a very timely gift for us to be sharing with the world.

You are invited to give this practical and hopeful course to yourself and gift this course filled with skills for embracing diversity to others you know who value equality, justice and inclusion as much as you do.

With ongoing enrollment, no-one left behind participatory learning, spirit of generosity pricing, and sponsorships for anyone who needs one, this is an accessible, welcoming all inclusive continuing education opportunity for champions of diversity and inclusion from all walks of life to sign up for anytime they are ready. Click here for a detailed course description and enrollment information.

“The world is addressing the question of bringing racism to an end by changing systems. We must all come to embrace diversity by building bridges to equality – beginning internally and extending to families and friends of friends till the systems are completely changed. Systems can be changed when our orientations are changed.” (Daniel Ojo, Teacher, Street to School Initiative, Nigeria).

We are thrilled that Daniel Ojo and 40 more new Inclusive Leaders from Cameroon, Canada, England, Fiji, Jamaica, Nigeria, and Uganda are in the midst of graduating from our Winter/Spring 2020 ‘Discover Your Inclusive Leadership Potential’ online course!

Something very wonderful about this group of grads is that most of these participants received this Inclusive Leadership course as a gift!  The ILC is challenging ourselves to welcome at least 30 new participants from 30 places on the planet during the next 30 days and so now would be a great time for you to gift this course to a champion of diversity and inclusion you know.

Relatives and friends are gifting Inclusive Leadership to each other. “My daughter signed me up for this course as a gift. She thought since I have always been interested in learning better ways to communicate and better ways to make the people I come into contact with feel appreciated and acknowledged I would love the content of this course. She was right.” (Alison Clarkson, Retired Professional in Canada).

School principals are gifting Inclusive Leadership to their staff: “I want to see the beautiful online program expand and become a major vehicle for teaching Inclusive Leadership around the world. What better gift can we give our children than to teach them what it means to be inclusive in regard to their fellow human beings and in regard to the world around them? As a first step, I am enrolling all the teachers in my school.” (Beat Odermatt, Founder, Owner and Operator of U-Can International School, Uganda).

Employers are gifting Inclusive Leadership to their employees: “Taking this course for work was to enhance my leadership skills to be a positive influence in our world. I discovered that I can be who I am, believe in myself and that I can make small positive changes. I will be applying these skills to my work environment. I have compiled an action plan to focus my energy.” (Lynn, Support Worker in Canada)

Professors are gifting Inclusive Leadership to their students: “Inclusive Leadership is one of the best initiatives to come along in a very long time. I am encouraging the human rights education volunteers at the University of Victoria to participate as part of their volunteer training.” (Moussa Magassa, Human Rights Education Advisor, University of Victoria, Canada)

Volunteer Co-ordinators are gifting Inclusive Leadership to their volunteers: “My main aim is to equip our young leaders and HIV Advocates to be inclusive in their activities, engagement and be catalysts for change in the area of Gender Equality and Social Inclusion. I am enrolling two volunteers now and more in the months to come.” (Temo Sasau, Advocate and Volunteer Co-ordinator, Fiji).

Individual champions of inclusion and diversity are gifting Inclusive Leadership to ourselves:

“I am grateful to everyone who is part of this great quest for inclusive learning. Thank you all for your commitment to always showing up and allowing me to tap from your wealth of knowledge and sharing your ideas with me.” (Peter Onuoha, Volunteer and Passionate Activist engaged in putting an end to Human Trafficking in Nigeria).

“As a nonviolent communication practitioner and facilitator, I wanted to find new skills and perspectives for working in environments where basic needs are not met or there are belief systems that prevent compassion. I really enjoyed how building communities that support each other is a medicine for discrimination and injustice. I opened my vision of what a leader is and what inclusive leadership can do to empower people and bring together differences.” Claudia Sanchez, Full Communication Practitioner and Facilitator, Colombia).

“Meeting with others on this course has given me strength, companionship and an optimistic feeling about the future of humanity on this planet.” (Arlene Nesbitt, Artist and Volunteer Community Builder, Canada).”

“I am so grateful for this top-notch course that the world needs more of. How about if each and every person in areas such as Uganda undertook a basic course in understanding inclusiveness? Would we learn not to be harsh while connecting with different people? Would this lead to a society where everyone is welcomed?” (Joanita Babirye, Founder and Director, Rainbow Smiles Foundation, Uganda).

For more information and to apply for sponsorships or group enrollments, email

This Time of Metamorphosis

Submitted by Linda Hill.

Here we are in this time of staying home. For me, I feel as if this is a time of retreating into our nests to prepare for a metamorphosis.

When I think about what the future holds, I imagine that our descendants are perhaps going to be curious about the Spring of 2020 when Mother Nature sent humanity to our rooms.

Where were you and what were you doing when it happened?

What did you do while you were stuck at home?

This is the beginning of the story I will tell:

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