About Facilitating Change
I am Tasha Harmon, the creator of Facilitating Change. I am a facilitator, a catalyst for conversations and processes that invite and support the emergence of what needs to be understood in order to move forward. My goal is to create containers that nurture curiosity, courageous risk-taking, and authentic belonging, and deepen communication and understanding, in service to transformative change.
My work takes a variety of shapes -
Facilitation of meetings, retreats, processes and dialogues
Capacity building for individuals, teams and organizations
Coaching of groups, relationships and individuals - inside and outside of work environments
Thought-partner work with other facilitators and consultants
Work on deconstructing and healing from racism and other aspects of dominance culture (You’ll find some specifics in the section on Affinity Group work, though this is a part of all of my work.)
You’ll find more details about my work in the individual sections (see home page or menu above).
My practice is -
Grounded in 30+ years of work with people and organizations, and a deep and ongoing learning process that includes my own work to address my socialization as a "white" person
Deeply practical; focused on helping people (individually and in relationships and groups) identify and understand the challenges they are encountering, learn new tools, and build their capacity to make desired changes
Committed to cultivating equity, inclusion, justice and belonging
Somatically-rooted, because transformation happens in the body (and ready to meet you where you are in terms of how, and to what degree, we do this work in a given situation)
Aware of the need to identify and address trauma as part of the work -- I am committed to healing and building resilience and shame resistance so we can do the work, and know that I will make mistakes that will require repair
Rooted in a belief in the value of emergent strategies (thank you, adreinne maree brown)
Queer and poly welcoming
I recognize that I am living and working as a settler on lands stolen from the people of the Clackamas, Chinook, Multnomah and many other tribes. Descendants of those killed, and those forced off their lands and relocated to the Grand Ronde reservation in the 1800s are living and working in these communities today, many as part of the Grand Ronde Tribe. I am deeply grateful for their historical and current stewardship of this beautiful land, and committed to the work of addressing the injustices of their displacement.
Below you will find more about my background and training, a list of organizations I've worked with, and links to listen to a few Library Lunch and Learn workshops I've taught.
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Ladder of Inference graphic
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About Tasha Harmon
Founder and Principal
Background and Experience
I grew up on the south side of Chicago, and in Brooklyn, child of a gently rebellious Montessori preschool teacher and a community organizer. I absorbed early the values of social justice, discernment, and being in service. The contrast between my “alternative,” mixed-age elementary school classrooms and my giant Brooklyn public high school taught me many of the ways environments can nurture learning and growth, and many ways they can not. I went to Hampshire College in the late 1980s, where I learned that I can learn anything I need to, and to keep following my curiosity. Early on, I worked as a teaching assistant in a Montessori pre-school and then at a daycare center, as an office assistant, an energy auditor, a census worker, an intake worker and receptionist at a fuel assistance program, and a housecleaner. My first resume-relevant job was as the director of the Center for Popular Economics (CPE), a position I held for 7 years, including the two years I was doing my MA in Regional Planning at UMass Amherst. At CPE, I was immersed in what good consensus decision-making could be, in the economics of gender, race and class, and in the power and delight of building containers where people could discover new things together. In the mid-90s, I spent 2 years in Austin, Texas, helping to create a statewide coalition of nonprofits doing community development work, and supporting my then-partner, and my step-daughters, while she went to grad school. We moved the family to Portland, OR in 1998, in part because my parents are here and we wanted to be together as they aged. After landing in Portland, I spent 7 years as the director of the Community Development Network, focusing on building the capacity of Portland-region nonprofits to create affordable housing, and changing public policy to address the critical challenge of building communities where everyone has a home. In that same period, I helped create three groups, eventually serving on the boards of two of them: the Coalition for a Livable Future, becoming a “nationally recognized expert in the connections between smart growth and affordable housing” in the process; Proud Ground (the Portland region’s Community Land Trust); and the Northwest Community Land Trust Coalition. In the mid-2000s, I had a health crisis, quit my job, did some healing, and shifted onto my current work-path as a facilitator, coach, trainer and supporter of organizational change. Since then, I’ve been continually learning how to integrate what I learn coaching individuals and relationships and what I learn working with organizations, strengthening my capacity and skills in both kinds of work. For the last decade, I’ve taught a few classes a year in Portland Community College’s Community Education program, in addition to offering workshops independently and presenting at conferences. My work has been focused, all my life, on creating inclusive processes and communities. My intersectional understanding of dominance culture norms and systems is rooted in the Combahee River Collective Statement, which I read in the mid–1980s and which has shaped my thinking ever since. In the last few years, I have done a deep dive into the construction and characteristics of whiteness and racism, and am committed to my own process of understanding and deconstructing the privileges and toxic norms that are embodied in whiteness, in my own body/experience and in the larger culture, without shaming white people for the role we are caste in by the systems we were born into. I am also clear that this is a lifetime project, that I will make mistakes, and that perfection is not required, but committed work is. Most of my professional work in this arena is about walking with and supporting other white folks in doing the work we need to do to heal and become effective co-conspirators with BIPOC in dismantling racism. I am also committed to addressing all other aspects of dominance culture, and to being an active part of moving us toward an equitable, inclusive and sustainable society where we can all belong. I identify as a cis-gender, queer (bisexual), white, woman. I’ve facilitated writing groups with Write Around Portland, volunteered in my step-daughters’ schools, and spent 10 years co-directing a nine-member fusion folk ensemble called Kendálin with my partner and now sing with a trio called Crow’s Feet. I am an auntie, a grandmother, a caregiver for my disabled partner, a writer, a bird-watcher, and a lover of cats, ivy-pulling and long walks in the woods. You will find more about my training in the last two decades, who I’ve worked with and where else I’ve taught, in other sections of this About page. You can also read testimonials, and listen to several short workshops I’ve taught. If you have other questions about my background or training, please reach out via the Contact form on the bottom of each page.
Organizational Diagnosis: In December, 2014, I completed a five day Organizational Diagnosis training taught by Sam Kaner at Community at Work. This training focuses on practices for promoting organizational self-awareness, and co-designing and supporting intentional change processes. Addressing Trauma: In the summer of 2015, I completed a 4 day training series on Trauma-Informed Care. While this does not make me an expert on creating trauma-informed processes and places, it does mean that I understand that framework. I can connect the work I do with goals around reducing re-traumatizing events, and being useful and respectful responders to trauma-induced behaviors. I have recently been exploring, in response to the limitations of the Trauma-Informed Care framework, the Healing Centered Engagement, Healing Justice, and Restorative Justice frameworks. These approaches, co-active coaching and organizational diagnosis are complimentary, mutually supportive frameworks, and their tools work well together. Equity and Inclusion: In 2020 I took Resolutions Northwest's three day Artful Facilitation Grounded in Racial Equity course. In 2021 I took Inclusive Life's Embodying Antiracism 1 and 2 and participated in their Accelerator retreat. In 2022 I completed the Adaway Group's Whiteness at Work training, and completed Inclusive Life's DEI Coaching Certificate program. I am currently part of a self-organized affinity group of white women at work on dismantling white supremacy internally and externally, and the Embodying Antiracism community at Inclusive Life.
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Who I've Worked With
350PDX Abernethy Elementary School American Trails Artichoke Music Ceasefire Oregon Childswork Learning Center The City of Portland Office of Equity and Human Rights City Repair The Clackamas Community Land Trust Climate Trust The Coalition for a Livable Future The Community Alliance of Tenants Community and Parents for Public Schools The Community Development Network Daybreak Cohousing community Earthrise Law Center at Lewis and Clark College EcoFaith Recovery Edwards Elementary School The Fanconi Anemia Research Fund Free Geek Friends of Family Farmers Friends of William Stafford The Funeral Consumers Association of Oregon Here We Go Again Home Forward Human Solutions Immigration Counseling Services JOIN KCC Buddhist Community Kol Shalom Leaven (previously called the Leaven Project)/Salt and Light (formerly Redeemer) Lutheran Church MDC Research Multnomah County (Library, DCHS, DCS, MCAS, Talent Development, and other departments) The National Community Land Trust Network Neah Casa The Northwest Community Land Trust Coalition Orange Splot (work with two co-housing communities) The Oregon Child Development Coalition The Oregon Korean Foundation Orbis Cascade Alliance Oregon Tradeswomen Inc. The Oregon Master Gardener Association OSU Library and Press The Pangaea Project PDX Commons cohousing community Peninsula Children's Center Portland Chefs Collaborative Portland Community College Planning and Capital Construction Office Portland Community Land Trust Portland Opera to Go The Portland Waldorf School The Professional Trail Builders Association Rachel's Friends REACH Community Development Southwest Washington Community Land Trust Street Yoga Third Angle New Music Ensemble Tivnu: Building Justice Travertine Strategies See the recommendations section for testimonials. Reference names and contact information are, of course, available upon request.
Events Where I've Taught
National CoHousing Conference Northwest Public Employees Diversity Conference Providence Health Center Annual Conference for Compensation Dept The Multnomah County Library Lunch and Learn series - several workshops over several years. The Oregon Master Gardener Association - a total of seven workshops as part of their Leadership Forum series and a keynote conference address The Center for Nonprofit Stewardship Annual Nonprofit Organization Board Trainings and regional workshops The Oregon Opportunity Network (Oregon ON) Industry Support Conferences The Oregon Zoo volunteer program (ZooFresher) The Willamette Development Officers (WVDO) Annual Conference The Nonprofit Association of Oregon's Portland training series (with Paula Manley) The Oregon Civic Engagement Conference The American Association of Women in Community College Fall Conference The Institute for Nonprofit Management's Nonprofit Leaders Boot Camp at Portland State University The American Society for Clinical Laboratory Sciences–Washington Spring Meeting (ASCLS-WA) Teaching Learning Center series at PCC Cascade (for faculty and staff) The Northwest Medical Laboratory Symposium Annual Meeting The Northwest Oregon Volunteer Administrators Association (NOVAA) Annual Conference (twice) The Northwest Community Land Trust Coalition Annual Gathering (several times) The National Community Land Trust Conference (several times) If you are interested in my doing a workshop at your conference or event, please contact me.
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Facilitation: Abernethy Elementary School "Tasha worked closely with us at Abernethy on two very important projects. The first project was highly successful due to all the interviewing of the stakeholders that Tasha did before we all sat down together. This research to gather insight and opinions helped Tasha to not only form the questions for the work but also to help us come to a mutual conclusion that was satisfactory for all. It was a difficult situation with many different players that came from several directions that made this situation a particular challenge. It was Tasha's ability to bring us together that made all feel included and heard. "The second project was one of no winners, prioritizing budget cuts. However, Tasha was able to turn this negative process around by having us first focus on what we value and reminded us all that those qualities would not be going away. Everyone understood the difficulty in the result but also felt valued due to the process. "I highly recommend Tasha." ~Tammy Barron, Principal, Abernethy Elementary School, Portland Public Schools Transition Management: National Community Land Trust Network "Tasha helped guide us through a difficult transition between Executive Directors. She was pragmatic and efficient at completing day-to-day tasks, while also visionary and holistic in posing strategic questions that enabled us to make the right choice for our next hire. Her skillful use of consensus decision-making was critical to her success with our organization." ~Lisa Byers, Board Chair, National Community Land Trust Network Team and Executive Coaching "My first experience as an interim executive director of a grassroots nonprofit organization was daunting. One of the best decisions I made during my first month was to hire Tasha as an executive coach. "Initially she supported the staff as a team coach and effectively helped us identify positive communication strategies and planning processes, always from a place of compassion and curiosity. Several months later Tasha and I continued working together in an individual coaching relationship. In this capacity, we engaged in conversations and exercises that empowered me to stay centered and grounded in the details of my role, while also maintaining big picture perspective. "I have had the opportunity to work with many effective coaches, consultants and facilitators over the course of my career, but Tasha's calm demeanor matched with her personal commitment to developing the individual as well as the team is unique and compelling." ~Rebecca Channer, independent contractor and consultant Facilitation and Process Support: Local Food, Gardening and Education "Tasha is great at bringing a community with various strengths and perspectives together to identify shared goals and pathways to success. She creates and maintains a productive environment for all partners to share their concerns and challenges, and is adept at holding a group together through conflict and into resolution. "I have worked with Tasha twice. The first time Tasha was hired to write a strategic plan and develop the values and mission statement for a school garden education project. Tasha was well organized and thorough in identifying numerous community perspectives and teasing out the core values and inherent community vision about the project. Her work laid a foundation that has continued to serve the program's expansion through the last five years. "The second time was to facilitate a complex community conversation between a diverse set of community partners with opposing positions and communication challenges. The situation required a quick historical assessment of the program and partners followed by a shepherding of partners through a productive discussion of identifying shared goals while maintaining the core programmatic values, all the while keeping clearly defined ground rules. "Tasha has a deft hand at group facilitation, which often leads to quick and thorough consensus." ~Linda Colwell, founder and consultant, eat.think.grow, school food and garden education Facilitation and Process Support: Kol Shalom "Tasha led our board through a day of strategic planning activities. Even the most skeptical (of spending time on process rather than action) members were very pleased with Tasha's ability to help us define our goals and set priorities in line with our values. She also kept us on task and was always clear about what she, and we, could accomplish. Tasha is extremely intuitive and we felt that in a very short time she understood our dynamics and concerns. With her guidance, and with tools she provided, we were able to craft a workable plan of action for the board. We enjoyed spending the day with her and left very impressed with her abilities." ~Roberta Hellman, Board Member, Kol Shalom, Portland, Oregon