Thank you for visiting.
My name is Trina Isakson and my ancestors are settlers mostly from Norway. I was born and raised on Secwépemc territory, specifically what is now known as Salmon Arm. I now live on ɬəʔamɛn (Tla’amin) territory, specifically near ʔahʔǰumɩχʷ (Ah joo miexw, “good clear ground”), an area of what is now known as Powell River.
I help nonprofit leaders with bold and future-oriented projects. Through coaching, process design, online facilitation, and research, I can help you answer important questions and move forward in changing times.
Most of my work is with the core nonprofit sector and organizations that support the sector (funders, capacity builders, volunteer centres, umbrella organizations, government, educational institutions).
How can I help you?
Types of support
Someone asked me if my coaching is intended for people to be better at their jobs. It’s more like I help people find peace and purpose in their work, in alignment with a future where people are valued for their full humanity. I especially enjoy working with leaders who identify as introverted or quiet, and who want to embed equity and liberation in their approach to work.
Emergent strategy and process design
Emergent strategy is a philosophy and book by adrienne maree brown. It’s the best phrase I’ve found to describe how I work with groups to design processes and conversations. We start at the beginning, dig in, and adjust as we go.
In-person facilitation has benefits, and so does online facilitation. Meaningful engagement is possible! Lower travel budgets, lower carbon footprints, increased accessibility.
I help groups figure out where they are at, whether through interviews and focus groups, surveys, or stories. I reflect back to you what I’m learning, and help you use that as a starting point for change.
Focus of support
If you want to figure out better ways of decision-making, engagement, and authority given your group’s unique purpose. Much of governance is “they way we’ve always done things” and is not based in any legal requirements.
Purpose and alignment
If you feel that feel like your group is spinning their wheels a bit on moving important work forward, and you want to get to the heart of the matter so you can move forward.
Early equity work
If you want to figure out what it might look like to move away from being a predominantly white institution (in involvement, or in culture).
If you’re curious if I can do something, just ask. If I can’t I may refer you to another person, or collaborate with someone with specific experience or expertise.
Are we a fit?
I find it’s best to start off with a short conversation to find out if we are a fit. Sometimes I refer work to others, sometimes I might suggest an alternative approach after I listen to your goals and your situation. A first call to explore fit is always free.
When we’ve decided to work together, I usually start by us getting to know one another–what values, skills and theories we bring to our work. I then take us through an exercise that gets us focused on what’s most important in our work together, and what you want me to help you achieve. Through this exercise, we make our visions of success explicit, so that I don’t assume what’s important to you, and we make sure all team members are on the same page.
Learning experiences and people who have influenced me
- Emergent Strategy Ideation Institute (adrienne maree brown)
- Liberatory coaching (Sarah Jawaid + Damon Azali-Rojas)
- Art of Transformational Consulting (Robert Gass/Social Transformation Project)
- Deep Democracy (Aftab Erfan + Sera Thompson)
- Online training and facilitation (Training for Change)
- MBA in community economic development (Cape Breton University)
- Certificate in Dialogue and Civic Engagement (Simon Fraser University)
I also frequently draw from the learning from the following resources
- Sitting in the Fire: Large Group Transformation Using Conflict and Diversity by Arnold Mindell
- My Grandmothers Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem
- The Characteristics of White Supremacy Culture, from Dismantling Racism: A Workbook for Social Change Groups, by Kenneth Jones and Tema Okun
- Framing Research Questions that Reflect Who is Expected to Change by Heather Krause
- Polarity Management: Identifying and Managing Unsolvable Problems by Barry Johnson
These values are not only how I approach work, they are how I approach all areas of my life.
- Simplicity: Quiet. Peace. Nature. Solitude. Reflection. Lack of clutter. Starting small.
- Curiosity: Learning. Openness to change. Both/and thinking. Deep listening.
- Connection: Ideas. Relationships. Networks. Systems.
- Liberation: Compassion. Equity. Joy. Bringing our full selves. Welcoming each others’ full selves.
- New possibilities models: Unorthodoxy. Questioning status quo. Another way is possible.
What people say about me
Trina – a very sincere note of thank you. I am astounded by how well that went, whether success is measured by depth and innovation in thinking; a collective vision and stronger sense of team; cohesion of the day and team energy— wow! You are a phenomenal facilitator and I will strongly recommend you for future gatherings, and to colleagues.
You gave us the space to love each other.
Trina is smart, dedicated, articulate and has a high sense of integrity.
She is action orientated, an inspired leader, a conscientious collaborator and a natural educator.
Trina delivered the session by demonstrating the tools and delivering content through the process. She was forthright and held the room in such a way that the participants could own the process rather than having the facilitator or the process owning the participants. I have been involved in facilitation practice for many years and this was just the inspiration and practice that I needed. Please bring Trina back again next year!
The board and I truly appreciated the work that you did on our strategic plan. If you are ok with this, I would like to forward your information to the CFC [Community Foundations of Canada] people as a resource person who would be available to assist community foundations. You did a great job for us and we will move forward with great clarity about our future.
Groups I’ve worked with
Funders and capacity builders
- Vancouver Foundation
- Vantage Point
- Social Venture Partners Vancouver
- Community Volunteer Connections
- Volunteer Canada
- Shuswap Community Foundation
- Charity Village
Nonprofit organizations and member-based associations
- BC Civil Liberties Association
- Reconciliation Canada
- BC Libraries Co-operative
- Potluck Café Society
- Gordon Neighbourhood House
- Nature on the Hill
- Green Budget Coalition
- Equal Voice
- Pacific Association of First Nations Women
- Strathcona Business Improvement Association
- BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre
- BC Pediatric Society
- Community Energy Association
- Depression & Bipolar Support Alliance
- Embedding Project
- Simon Fraser University, Vice President, External Relations
- Simon Fraser University, Vice President, Academic
- Simon Fraser University, Office for Aboriginal Peoples
- Simon Fraser University, Work Integrated Learning
- Simon Fraser University, Vancity Office of Community Engagement
- Simon Fraser University, Sustainability Office
- Simon Fraser University Galleries
- University of British Columbia, Community Learning Initiative
- University of British Columbia, Student Involvement and Careers
- Vancouver Community College, Vice President, Community
- Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Associate VP, Research
- Employment and Social Development Canada, Community Development and Partnerships Directorate, Policy Division
- Employment and Social Development Canada, Investment Readiness Program
- Employment and Social Development Canada, Community Development and Partnerships Directorate, Social Partnerships Policy Unit
- Employment and Social Development Canada, Workplace Partnerships Directorate, Office of Literacy and Essential Skills
- Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Integration / FCRO Branch, Social Innovation Unit
- City of Surrey
- City of Vancouver, Corporate Communications
- City of Vancouver, Parks Planning
- Southern Interior Local Government Association
Publications and resources
- Unraveling: Nonprofits, COVID-19, and the Fabric of BC Communities (full report, executive summary, infographic, data portal)
- No Immunity: BC Nonprofits and the Impact of COVID-19 (full report, infographic)
- Beyond Giving and Volunteering (report in English, report in French)
- 2015 Metro Vancouver Nonprofit Sector Salary Survey
- Quiet Changemaker webinar for Charity Village (recording, slide deck)
- MacMillan Matrix as a Decision Tree
- (will add as I create more accessible, non-PDF versions of personal work)