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Building Authentic Engagement

Leveraging the Wisdom of Content and Context Experts

April 27, 2018 | St. Catharines, Ontario

Join internationally recognized facilitator and community builder Sylvia Cheuy for a workshop exploring the authentic engagement of citizen leaders: how it is nurtured; and, why it is a strategy a growing number of organizations and municipalities are embracing.

Deepening the experience of community in our neighbourhoods and cities is THE opportunity of our time.  Learn how and why engaging and reconnecting residents to each other and facilitating processes that transform isolated individuals into a group of powerfully connected neighbours is an essential foundation that must be cultivated before citizens, organizations and municipalities can actively co-create a positive future together.  When local connections and relationships are nurtured, the community’s capacity to care for one another – its resilience – is restored.

Throughout the day, you will discover the key principles and practices needed to promote authentic engagement across sectors; cultivate citizen leadership; apply what you are learning; and, hear powerful stories that illustrate what is possible when citizens, organizations and municipalities, (both content AND context experts), discover how to work effectively together.  This is a workshop that will fill your brain, reawaken your heart, and engage your hands in activities that explore both the challenge and inspiration of this work.

"We can begin by doing small things at the local level, like planting community gardens or looking out for our neighbors. That is how change takes place in living systems, not from above but from within, from many local actions occurring simultaneously. "

-Grace Lee Boggs

What Will I Learn?

This day-long workshop will be filled with both content and practical tools and take-aways that participants will be able to use to develop effective engagement initiatives to strengthen their collaborative efforts. Some of the key ideas will include:

  • The simplicity and impact of hosting conversations between and amongst diverse groups to build consensus around an aspirational community-wide vision

  • The value and importance of fostering empathy and understanding across diverse perspectives as a foundation for implementing tangible projects to enhance neighbourhoods and communities 

  • The importance of intentionally facilitating effective dialogues across differences, cultivating a collective wisdom to spark new ways of thinking, and generating innovative solutions to complex community issues community
  • How the opportunity to work together on meaningful community projects provides opportunities for organizations, municipalities, and neighbours to build relationships of trust - reweaving the social fabric that is the hallmark of caring, resilient communities
  • Why a growing number of municipalities are investing in the development and implementation of neighbourhood-based strategies that engage and empower residents as leaders of positive change, and what lessons they can share

This Workshop is for those who:

  • Desire new ways to lead, engage, and transform their community

  • Recognize the power and impact of citizen leadership and multi-sector collaboration in the development of resilient and caring neighbourhoods and communities

  • Want to learn how municipalities and organizations can serve as catalysts for authentic engagement and fostering relationships of trust between neighbours
  • Want to discover why multi-sector engagement is essential to lasting systems change and the creation of effective solutions for addressing complex community issues such as: health and well-being, poverty reduction, overcoming loneliness and isolation, neighbourhood renewal, crime prevention, and youth development
  • Recognize why community engagement and collaboration are the foundation of inclusive leadership, including: NGOs, businesses, funders, people with lived experience, and national, provincial or local government







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"Thank you for doing a stellar stellar job!  I don't think you could have done a better job striking that delicate balance between conveying a depth of information in limited time. [Participants] seemed to really connect with your presentation style and appreciated your knowledge and experience.

Kimberly Bradley, Healthy Start EPIC Center,
Washington D.C


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Sylvia is a Consulting Director of the Tamarack Institute’s Collective Impact Idea Area and also supports Tamarack’s Community Engagement Idea Area. She is passionate about community change and what becomes possible when residents and various sector leaders share an aspirational vision for their future. Sylvia believes that when the assets of residents and community are recognized and connected they become powerful drivers of community change. Sylvia is an internationally recognized community-builder and trainer.  Over the past five years, much of Sylvia’s work has focused on building awareness and capacity in the areas of Collective Impact and Community Engagement throughout North America.

Prior to joining Tamarack, Sylvia was the founding Executive Director to Headwaters Communities in Action (HCIA), a grassroots citizen initiative that fosters collaborative leadership and action in support of a long-term vision of well-being for Ontario's Headwaters region. This experience gives Sylvia practical knowledge and first-hand experience of what it takes to engage and mobilize positive community change.  Her work with HCIA was published as a chapter entitled, A Citizen-Led Approach to Enhancing Community Well-Being in the newly published Handbook of Community Well-Being Research.

Sylvia completed her Masters Diploma in Social Innovation at the University of Waterloo in 2013 where she explored opportunities to create change within regional food systems.   An active volunteer in her community, Sylvia serves as a member of HCIA’s Leadership Council. She also served for nine years on the Board of Community Living Dufferin where she was instrumental in securing $2.8 million in funding for CLD's shared home with Theatre Orangeville, the community's professional theatre company. Sylvia lives in Caledon, Ontario with her husband John Graham and their three children: Gabriella, Garrett and Sean.


This event is being held in St. Catharines, Ontario. It will be hosted at the  FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, Robertson Theatre located at 250 St Paul St, St. Catharines, ON L2R 3M2.


Registration will open at 8:30am and a light breakfast will be served. The workshop begins at 9:00am and runs until 4:00pm, with lunch and snacks provided.



The registration rate (in Canadian dollars) is $259 per person.

The registration rate includes a full day workshop, practical exercises and a membership into Tamarack Institute's Learning community. Also enjoy a great lunch and fellowship with amazing community and civic leaders.


St. Catharines, ON - April 27

 Register for Building Authentic Engagement

This workshop is brought to you in partnership with:

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For questions regarding this event, reach out to Stephanie.
For questions regarding invoicing and payments, reach out to Jana.