The 2019 Manitoba Gathering

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Thank you for joining us in this journey to explore collaboration! It's an honour to learn with, and from, Manitoba's passionate community builders.

We hope you carry the lessons and learning of this day forward in your work and life. We do. 


 2019 Video & Report Statement | Schedule | Opening & Closing PlenaryWorkshopsMovement Weaving | Collaborations | Accessibility & ValuesSponsorships 2018 Highlights 

A Bright Spot: Remembering the 2019 Gathering

It seems so long ago that we were able to gather (in a large group) on a sunny October day to build our collaborative skills and practices, and to attempt to weave our work closer together.

The intention that sparked our theme, “Movement Weaving: Building Collaborative Capacity,” feels particularly poignant when facing our current challenges. Now, we are being called to practice what we know: deeper cross-sector collaboration and community leadership are necessary to bring the vision of a better world forward. 


Thank you for joining us on this experiment in emergent planning and learning! This year represented a departure and an opportunity for our planning committee and staff team. 

Much of that was captured in our annual report, along with your feedback. ​To read the 2019 Gathering report, click here. 

We are shifting the intention and structure of the Gathering. 

For 18 years, Manitoba community builders have gathered every October to connect over a shared meal, to learn from one another’s work, and to celebrate the challenging but necessary practice of building stronger communities. 

It has been a privilege to host this container, and to hold the stories and history of our community sector. Thank you to every single person who has participated, volunteered, coordinated, presented, worked, sponsored, provided feedback or contributed energy to this event. It continues to exist because of you. 

We know, as a network, that we have a responsibility to grow with, and adapt alongside, our members. With that in mind, we’ve been asking ourselves: does the Gathering, in its current form, still respond to the most pressing issues facing our sector? Does our learning model address the skills and practices most relevant to our work? 

We’ve also been listening. In community work, we are called to collaborate: with our colleagues, stakeholders, funders, community members, or across movements. We hear how challenging it can be to work together in collaborative arrangements or across issues, even though most people believe that solidarity and joint action would benefit us, particularly in the current political environment. 

As we consider how to work more deeply, we realize The Gathering is one logical thing we can offer to this challenge. For this reason, we are embarking on a new vision for The 2019 Gathering: an entire day focussed on building skills around collaboration across issues to explore how various movements could work together better. 

It will be an experiment and a risk, as all worthwhile work requires. Above all, we are excited to explore something new together, in hopes of weaving our movements towards stronger collective power.



 8:00-8:45am      Registration, Networking, Coffee 

 8:45-10:00am    Opening Plenary: The Future is Collaborative 

 10:00-10:30am  Networking Break/Rest

 10:30-12:00pm  Workshops: Collaboration Focus (see below for details)

 12:00-1:30pm    Lunch catered by local social enterprises

  • Optional: Investment Readiness Program Information Session (description below Workshops)

 1:30-3:30pm     Movement Weaving Sessions

 3:30-3:45pm     Networking Break/Rest

 3:45-4:15pm    Closing Plenary: Weaving It All Together, featuring                                      Synonym Art Consultation 

Opening & Closing Plenary 

8:45-10:00am    Opening Plenary: The Future is Collaborative 


Melissa Chung, United Way Winnipeg, Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council 

Sadie-Phoenix Lavoie, Wa Ni Ska Tan: An Alliance of Hydro-Impacted Communities 

Annetta Armstrong, Indigenous Women's Healing Centre

Achieving our collective vision of sustainable, inclusive communities directing our own economic, social, and environmental futures requires deep collaboration. We are called to collaborate with colleagues, community members, stakeholders, funders, friends, and even those we’ve faced conflict with in the past. We are called to collaborate within organizations and movements, but also across sectors and communities. 

Despite its value, sometimes we struggle to collaborate.  We struggle because of a lack of coordination, time, conflicts, challenges integrating new people, or lack of capacity. Luckily, collaboration is a practice that can be learned, deepened, practiced, and taught. 

Across our province, we have great examples of collaborative initiatives with lessons to share that can build all of our capacity. Our Opening Plenary will ground our day of movement weaving by exploring cornerstones of collaborative practice, with teachings from leaders collaborating in different ways throughout our communities.

3:45 - 4:30pm   Closing Plenary: Weaving it all Together

After a full day spent exploring skills, practices, behaviours, examples, and the current realities of collaboration for more sustainable and inclusive communities, we will come together for a final moment of reflection. We hope this day will provide a solid grounding for future work, building on an already strong culture of working together and growing collaborative capacity for our important work.


  • Welcome back
  • Sharing our learning
  • Synonym Art Consultation
  • Closing


Workshops continue to be finalized. Please keep checking this space for new offerings! 

Power, Leadership, Collective Influence  Garry Loewen 

The workshop will explore power issues as they exist in society, and also as they exist within the collaborations attempting to achieve social transformation. It will examine common approaches to shifting societal power, and will take a “collective wisdom” perspective in examining which approaches are most likely to work in a collaborative context.

It will provide an opportunity for participants to examine their own biases in addressing power issues, and the implications of that for providing collaborative leadership. It will offer some principles for organizing power relationships within multi-sector collaborations.

The Power of Story for Movement Building

Cate Friesen, The Story Source 

Our own stories and the stories we share with each other are central to grounding our relationships in values, building a shared identity and calling others to join us in action. According to veteran organizer Marshall Ganz, “Storytelling is how we learn to exercise agency to deal with new challenges, mindful of the past, yet conscious of alternative futures.”

This workshop offers a primer in Ganz’s Public Narrative approach, and hands-on skills in discovering and telling the stories you need in leading change: Story of Self (who you are and why you lead); Story of Us (collective identity); and Story of Now (calling others to hopeful action). 

Evaluating Complexity Erika Wiebe, United Way Winnipeg, Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council

Tackling underlying, complex issues related to poverty, requires us to work differently, think differently and evaluate differently than when providing programming to alleviate the effects of poverty. This workshop looks at what is meant by ‘complex problems’ and ways to evaluate the work in this complex environment. It will touch on "Developmental Evaluation" and expand on the latest approach to evaluation: "Principle-focused Evaluation." Collaboration is integral to all of these approaches.

To illustrate the ideas presented in the workshop, the presenter will refer to local examples mostly from the experience of ‘TRC92: Youth Employment’, an initiative of the Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council, which is guided by the 92nd Call to Action in the Truth and Reconciliation of Canada Report. Workshop material is gleaned from training provided by the Tamarack Institute (Waterloo Ontario) in particular, the work of Mark Cabaj and Michael Quinn Patton.

Building Welcoming Communities: A CED Approach to Newcomer Settlement 

Mandela M. Kuet, ACOMI; 

Anne-Lydie Bolay, CMWI;

Steve Reynolds, Regional Connections;

Nicole Jowett,  MANSO

Settlement is a multilayered and multi-sectoral experience. This workshop will consider how organizations and communities can collaborate, using a CED approach, to supporting newcomers.

Language and employment supports are vital for many newcomers to access meaningful work and integrate into new communities. Broader community and organizational  supports are also key for overall well-being. MANSO and member organizations will discuss individual and collective approaches, drawing out principles that participants can incorporate into their own CED work. We offer practice-oriented ideas for developing partnerships and making effective referrals to holistically support newcomers. 

Collaboration and Democracy Between Elections

Marianne Cerilli 

How can community development principles expand our notions of democracy? Can it offer us a way to work collaboratively across sectors and with governments?

In this workshop, you will be introduced to tools, including: a theory of change continuum to understand a full range of social change options (high confrontation to high collaboration) and how they link together; decision making methods for community meetings beyond voting (which can polarize a group into camps); a new tool called “Trauma Informed Politics/Activism” based on Anne Bishop’s work Becoming An Ally. There will be hands-on time spent digging deeper into the tools, based on the interest of the group. 

Collaborative Decision Making: Steps to Build Consensus Sue Hemphill, Healthy Hive

Consensus decision making is a model that attempts to find a solution that everyone can get behind.

This is especially important in community groups or in collaborative work, where there might be diverse perspectives, polarized opinions or a history of competition, conflict or antagonism. When consensus is not easy or obvious it requires a mutli step process of engagement over a period of time, led by the Facilitator/s of the process. This multi-stage process for building consensus is rooted in conflict resolution foundational theories and concepts, combined with community empowerment and development practices and ethics.

This workshop takes participants through the steps in the process of seeking and forming consensus. Key to the process is identifying both shared and not shared interests, while highlighting common ground to build trust and foster mutual understanding and respect. After surfacing interests it is then a challenge to, considering all known interests, form a proposal for parties in the collaborative to vote which has potential to achieve consensus. Then, evaluating consensus to determine if it is strong consensus or weak consensus. Finally if consensus (weak or strong is achieved) and the group go ahead (GA) or proceeds, monitoring to maintain consensus, engagement and alignment.

Creating our  Tool Box: Facilitation For Social Change Laurie Ringaert, Change Weavers

As we are facing the complexity of social change, facilitation of diverse people and groups to move to collaboration is critical. As facilitators, we are constantly learning about ourselves as facilitators and looking for new tools. Facilitation helps us to understand each other’s perspectives, to share and generate new ideas and most importantly to build relationships.

This session will first help the participants to explore “who am I as a facilitator?” viewing the facilitator as a “tool” and then provide the participants with a few facilitation tools/techniques that will assist in engaging small and larger groups in critical discussions for making social change (example: 6 Thinking Hats Exercise). Participants will learn through hands on-experience and will be provided with resources to continue to build capacity as a facilitator.

Beyond Business As Usual: Participatory Governance Models in Social Enterprise Kalen Taylor, AKI Energy; Darcy Wood, AKI Energy 

Social enterprise may be innovative in our business practices, but are we also innovative in our governance models? To what extend do our governance models reflect and reinforce our mission, or are we sticking to 'business as usual'? 

This workshop will profile Aki Energy, an Indigenous social enterprise that has worked to incorporate Indigenous knowledge into the core of their business practice, developing a governance model re-defines that traditional relationship between a company and its clients. We will use this model as a starting point in a discussion of a range of participatory governance models in use in the social enterprise sector today, and a discussion of the challenges and benefits of incorporating these models into our business practices. 

Community Collaboration for Education  Rhonda Klippenstein, Ka Ni Kanichihk The Indigenous led organization Ka Ni Kanichihk has partnered with Neeginan College to offer the post-secondary certificate program, Community Development/Community Economic Development accredited by Red River College. As a community based, not for profit organization, Ka Ni Kanichihk identifies the importance of Indigenous representation in the community development sector. Ka Ni Kanichihk understands the challenges and barriers that Indigenous women encounter when pursuing education and is proud to offer this program. This presentation will discuss how collaboration within the community can benefit Indigenous students achieve their educational goal while maintaining culture based learning and implementing personal development into the curriculum.

Indigenous Social Innovation

Diane Roussin, The Winnipeg Boldness Project  Indigenous ways of knowing, being, doing, and feeling have existed for millennia, and provide the fundamental values that contribute to community-centred work. Learn how these Indigenous knowledges and community wisdom can be partnered with the processes and tools of social innovation practice in order to create community-led systems change.

The Winnipeg Boldness Project is a research and development project using social innovation to find solutions to effect large-scale systems change for children and families in the North End. The project’s director, Diane Roussin, will share the experience and knowledge she has gained throughout the past 5 years of running a social lab, and 20+ years of leading several non-profit organizations in the North End.

Investment Readiness Program: Lunchtime Information Session

The Government of Canada recently approved the first part of a Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy - the Investment Readiness Program. This $46 million program will happen over 2 years and aims to support growth and investment readiness in social purpose organizations as well as the ecosystem that supports them across Canada. Come to this information session to get caught up on this development and hear from three of the program partners about their role and the structure of the program. Community Foundations of Canada is one of the Readiness Support Partners, the Social Enterprise Ecosystem Project (S4ES) which includes Buy Social Canada, Social Enterprise Institute, Social Value Lab, and Akcelos is an Expert Service Provider, and Canadian CED Network is serving as an Ecosystem Mobilizer. 

Grab your lunch in the gym, and bring it up to the 3rd floor Theatre for 12:30pm to find out more!


  • Michèle Bridger, Manager, Investment Readiness Program for Community Foundations of Canada
  • Erin Mackie, Program Director, Social Enterprise Ecosystem Project
  • Mike Toye, Executive Director, Canadian CED Network
  • Sarah Leeson-Klym, Director of Regional Networks, Canadian CED Network

Movement Weaving Sessions 

Our collective voice is louder and more impactful when we collaborate well and when our movements support & uplift each other. Our movements hold great power to affect social, economic, and environmental change when coordinated. There is strength in numbers. 

Yet, we know that our movements, coalitions, organizations, and groups struggle with collaboration, both internally and across movements. A lack of coordination, conflicts, challenges integrating new organizers, and scarcity of resources & capacity all contribute to a lack of deep collaboration. In meetings, we often hear a need to “reach out to other groups”, acknowledging that we know our movements ought to weave together internally and externally in a deeper way. 

Following morning workshops that strengthen our collaborative skills - learned practices, behaviours, and techniques - attendees will self-select from 5 “Movement Weaving” sessions to dive deep & apply these skills directly to better collaboration in relevant areas of work in our communities. 

Sessions will be focused on three goals:

  • Build relationships between groups, organizations, and individuals to support, uplift, and cultivate collective leadership across movements
  • Develop concrete skills to collaborate within and across movements, sectors, and networks
  • Consider our shared, bold vision for change, the systems we’re resisting, the solutions we’re supporting, and some challenges (power, internal conflicts, etc) that stand as roadblocks to our vision

Stemming from the CCEDNet Manitoba Public Policy Road Map, the afternoon Movement Weaving sessions will be separated into five groups. While we acknowledge that groups and individuals act to achieve numerous social, economic, and environmental goals, the five groups are themed around the key policy resolution areas brought forward by our membership: Importantly, these movements exist together and depend on each other to succeed.

Ending Poverty

Molly McCracken, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives - Manitoba, Make Poverty History Manitoba

Michael Barkman, CCEDNet, Make Poverty History Manitoba

Desiree McIvor, Make Poverty History Manitoba

Facilitated by: Anny Chen

All Manitobans deserve the opportunity to pursue a fulfilled life, participating in our communities and economy. Far too many Manitobans continue to live with inadequate incomes impacting their health and wellbeing, and increasing the barriers they face to full participation in the community. Community members require access to safe and affordable housing, sufficient healthy food, adequate incomes, child care, education and training at all life stages, supports to attain good jobs, and health services. Without access to one or more of these, Manitobans are at risk of poverty, social exclusion and a lower quality of life. The movement to end poverty in Manitoba includes Indigenous organizations, coalitions, community groups, organizations, frontline services, funders, and individuals, working toward multiple goals.

Local and Fair Economies

Brendan Reimer, Assiniboine Credit Union

Sean Hogan, BUILD Inc.

Kalen Taylor, Purpose Construction

Facilitated by: Margerit Roger

Community Economic Development is an approach to create stronger, more equitable, and more sustainable communities and a social economy comprised of local ownership and economic development, equitably distributed profits, and jobs and services in communities where they are otherwise lacking. The CED framework is rooted in economic, social, and environmental outcomes and a diversity of enterprises and organizations that support local asset building and community ownership. Manitoba’s social economy movement includes social & community assets, social enterprises, co-operatives, revenue-generating initiatives of non-profits, credit unions, and social finance organizations, and more. Other related movements champion higher wages and protections for workers.

Tackling Climate Change

Laura Tyler, Sustainable Buildings Manitoba, Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition

Mandalyn Unger, Manitoba Youth for Climate Action

Dennis Cunningham, Assiniboine Credit Union, 

Heather Mitchell, Green Action Centre

Facilitated by: Cate Friesen

Climate change is a defining issue of our time, imposing high and escalating costs on society over the coming decades and centuries. Manitoba is not reducing emissions (they are approximately 15% higher today than they were in 1990), and the 2018 IPCC report said global warming must be kept to a maximum of 1.5C by 2030, or earth will face worsened risk of drought, floods, extreme heat, and subsequent poverty and displacement for hundreds of millions of people. Achieving the changes and decisive action needed to reach this target will require a new economic framework. A CED Economy can regenerate human and natural well-being, while leading a just transition focused on local economies and enhanced quality of life in communities. Manitoba’s climate action movement includes frontline water and land protectors, resisters, advocacy & activist coalitions, NGOs, educational groups, networks, economic enterprises, and more.

Sustainable Community-Led Development 

Sarah Leeson-Klym, CCEDNet

Damon Johnston, Aboriginal Council of Winnipeg and Winnipeg Indigenous Executives Circle

Dawn Sands, North End Community Renewal Corporation

Jesse Gair, Daniel McIntyre / St. Matthews Community Association


Facilitated by:

Jill Andres

Complex community challenges like unemployment, urban and rural decline, poverty, social exclusion and environmental degradation require comprehensive responses. These responses are most effective and sustainable when they are community-led. The work of community-led development organizations is wide-ranging and challenging, helping support economic, social, and cultural development in communities facing multiple barriers. Community-led organizations are important economic drivers, contributing to directing investments into communities, creating jobs, and contributing to greater social inclusion that results in increased community and economic participation. There is no short-term solution for transforming social, economic and environmental conditions in struggling Manitoba communities. Community-led development approaches have proven results leading community renewal, with key organizations leading the way. In Manitoba, sustainable community-led development is led by community and neighbourhood-based groups, Neighbourhood Renewal Corporations, women’s centres, non-profits, funders, capacity builders, and more. 

Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, & Access

Margo Powell, Abilities Manitoba

Allen Mankewich

Sadie-Phoenix Lavoie, Wa Ni Ska Tan: An Alliance of Hydro-Impacted Communities

Nicole Jowett, Manitoba Association of Newcomer Serving Organizations (MANSO)

Hani Ataan, Abdi Ahmed, Immigration Partnership Winnipeg

Facilitated by: Jackie Hogue

Strong communities exist where inclusion, diversity, equity, and access are prioritized and at the foundation of social, economic, and environmental initiatives. While Indigenous peoples in Manitoba face disproportionately higher rates of poverty and social exclusion, Indigenous communities are leading their own community economic development work, often guided by the Neechi Principles. Other communities in Manitoba have historically and currently face oppression and marginalization, including people living with disabilities; women, trans, and non-binary people; two-spirit and other LGBTQ* individuals; racialized people; newcomers and refugees; religious minorities; and low-income people, yet hold a great deal of resilience and innovation, leading community-led initiatives, projects, and development throughout Manitoba. Power and privilege must be acknowledged within communities, organizations, policy, and government. Further, active efforts to build more horizontal and inclusive communities where diverse and traditionally marginalized voices lead are essential. Reflecting on how we identify with others, decolonization, and making choices that model what we think the world should look like is not only an individual act, but also should be a key part of creating public policy, movements, and organizations. Manitoba is home to many diverse movements for greater inclusion, diversity, equity, and access, bridging between coalitions, advocacy & activist groups, organizations, networks, and more.


    Synonym Art Consultation artists Mariana Muñoz Gomez + Jan Castillo were on site at the Gathering absorbing the learning and atmosphere of the day and translating thm into linocut impressions with the help of Gathering attendees. Those linocuts were then combined to create a digital illustration in response to our theme, "Movement Weaving: Building Collaborative Capacity." 

    The final image, which you can see above, was mailed to participants as a digital postcard to be saved, shared, or printed, in order to keep the spirit of the day alive in our hearts and our work. Thank you Synonym Art Consultation and artists!

    Synonym Art Consultation is a curatorial collective based in Winnipeg, Manitoba on the original lands of Anishinaabe, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples, and on the homeland of the Métis Nation and Treaty 1 Territory. Synonym is committed to providing meaningful employment and mentorship opportunities to artists and to facilitate the celebration of art and culture with unique, inclusive, community-minded events that serve as safer spaces for diverse populations. Through our mural and culture festival, Wall-to-Wall, we strive to cultivate a grassroots contemporary street-art movement in our city and to participate in hyperlocal and international dialogues around important issues, such as Indigenous rights, social responsibility, and innovative economic development, rooted in the arts

    Mariana Muñoz Gomez (@marianamnz) is an emerging artist, writer and curator based in Winnipeg, Manitoba on Treaty 1 Territory. Her lens-based practice is situated at the intersection of identity, language, place and representation. Mariana has exhibited in artist-run centres and alternative spaces throughout Winnipeg with recent solo shows at Parlour Coffee, PLATFORM and La Maison des artistes. She is a founding member of Carnation and co-curates window winnipeg. Mariana completed a BFA (Honours) degree at the University of Manitoba School of Art in 2016 and is currently a graduate student in the MA in Cultural Studies program at the University of Winnipeg.

    Jan Castillo (@mrjantheman) is a local designer, illustrator, and craftsman currently juggling his role as a graphic designer and owner of 'Red Herring Studio', a small business focussed on handmade leather goods. Through self discovery and the need to constantly be creating personal projects, his design sensibility and style has flourished and his love of anything and everything hands-on has transcended into his daily life. With this experience, he has further developed his keen sense of design and has honed his skills by working on diverse projects like illustration, chalkboard art, sign painting, and leather work.

    Accessibility & Values Commitment 

    Our vision of a future where there is “enough, for all, forever” really does mean for all. Increasing ease of access for people of every identity and ability and aligning our work with our values and vision of the future is at the heart of transforming our economy, systems, and practices. We acknowledge this is a practice we have to keep working at, so we might not get it all right, but at the Gathering, this is how we are working to support accessibility and align with our values: 

    • Offering a pay-what-you-can fee so financial access is less of a concern
    • Offering both Gender-neutral and gendered washrooms.
    • Childcare is available on site, with childminders provided by Happy Sprouts Childminding. 
    • A quiet room will be available for those needing a quiet place to reflect. 
    • The venue is wheelchair accessible, with an elevator and operators on site for ease of movement. 
    • In efforts to reduce our environmental impact, all dishware and cutlery on site are compostable. Please recycle or compost your waste correctly. Please use your own mug or water bottle if possible, or reuse your compostable cups. Signs are up to direct you to the correct place to dispose your waste. 
    • We’ve attempted to include food for a variety of dietary needs. Any leftover food will be donated to Siloam Mission or Main Street Project. 
    • There is reserved seating at the front of the main gymnasium for those who experience hearing or mobility issues. Please see a staff person or volunteer to direct you. 
    • The Gathering aims to be a scent-free event. Please refrain from using scented products, in recognition that some are sensitive to chemicals found in personal hygiene products and perfume.
    • In every decision possible, we purchase and contract with local suppliers, focusing on social enterprises and cooperatives creating job opportunities for local people. 

    We welcome your participation and feedback in making the Gathering a more welcoming space for everyone. Attendees can add their thoughts to the evaluation or send any comments to us directly at


    Thank you to all our funders and sponsors!

    Interested in sponsoring? Contact Sarah at sleesonklym (at)  

    Event Founder & Major Partner

    Event Funders

    Celebrating Sponsor ($5000)

    Still available!

    Learning Sponsors ($3000)

    Connecting Sponsors ($1000)

    Still available

    Supporting Sponsors ($500)

    Still available

    2018 Gathering Highlights

    Previous Gatherings:

    201820172016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007

    For more information on this year's Gathering, how to sponsor or get involved, contact gathering at

    The Gathering is an annual pay-what-you-can event where Manitoba’s community builders connect, learn, and celebrate success. It is open to all from staff of community organizations, to civil servants, funders, students, academics, or anyone interested in community development and community economic development.