Thank you, Lee Failing for being our keynote speaker at “The Taste: Celebrate 50 Years!”

A key tenant of the Alliance over the last 50 years has been to work together. That means across the communities, businesses and companies, and conservation groups who live, work, and play in the Chesapeake. No single restoration project, education effort, or advocacy campaign has ever been successful without the diverse voices that have a stake in the outcomes of our work. Known as one of the premier watershed restoration efforts, the Chesapeake has always known that together is better than separate – especially as we continue to advocate for, educate about, and restore, the incredible lands and waters of our watershed.

When we were looking for a speaker for our annual Taste: Celebrate 50 Years, we were looking for someone who can speak to building consensus across different stakeholder groups. One of the Alliance’s Board Members, Matt McGehrin, heard Lee Failing speak on the Alliance for Decision Education podcast, where Lee was sharing her life’s work on bringing communities from “Conflict to Collaboration.” Lee’s work and experience were speaking directly to our philosophy, and we knew she would be a perfect addition to the Taste. We are so pleased that she joined us on September 23rd.

Lee is a designer and facilitator of processes that bring people together to make complex and controversial decisions. A trusted leader and widely regarded expert in environmental management and decision-making, she has spent the past two decades working with communities, governments, industry and civil society leaders to better share land and water, manage environmental risks, design greener cities, and adapt to a changing climate. Today she is working with Indigenous leaders and Canadian governments to co-create new pathways to co-governance and reconciliation.

Lee believes in the power of engaging diverse people in learning and making decisions together. As a mentor, coach, speaker and author, she shares practical insights about the power of diversity and inclusivity in decision making, the importance of learning to talk to each other about values and trade-offs, and how a focus on shared choices can bridge divides.

Lee is a founding partner of Compass Resource Management, an innovative consultancy in Vancouver, Canada, with a mission to raise the bar for how we make decisions in civil society. She is an Adjunct Professor in the School of Resource and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University, and formerly at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia. She is co-author of the widely-cited book Structured Decision Making: A practical guide for environmental management choices, and her latest publication, The Decision Playbook, aims to bring collaborative decision making skills into school classrooms.

Change making is hard work, and the only way forward is through collaboration and working together. This means understanding our differences, and elevating our similarities. We hope you will join the Alliance at our Taste: Celebrate 50 Years event on September 23rd to learn how you can continue to be a good steward of our lands and waters through true collaboration – it’s not as hard as we think.