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December 2016
| Issue #6

Moving the boat: A retrospective from Kimberly Bain

By Kimberly Bain

'Where does facilitation stand now - and how has it changed in the years you've been at its helm?', I was asked by the Global Flipchart Editorial Team.  After seven years on the IAF Board of Directors, five of those on the Executive, I am pretty certain I was never “at the helm”.  More the boisterous cheerleader precariously perched on the stern of the boat, I focused on keeping everyone rowing in sync and making ever so subtle course adjustments to keep the boat moving straight down the river.  

The IAF and our profession has been expanding, flourishing and developing over the past decades thanks to hundreds of members rowing hard every day.  I am especially thankful for the founders of our association who had the courage and forethought to create standards of practices, competencies and a code of ethics that has kept us on firm footing as we grow.  I am encouraged by our many members, new and old, who are pushing the boundaries of the profession, challenging us and leaders from around the world to take conversation, dialogue, consensus and group processes into new spaces, about new ideas and to create new and deeper understanding.

Our association’s tagline is promoting the power of facilitation worldwide and I see that as our collective purpose, responsibility and privilege.  We know that facilitation leads to better, more sustainable decisions, less conflict and deeper understanding.  Promoting the power of facilitation is more than good business sense, it is good common sense.  Our job as members of IAF is to help our clients, our potential clients, leaders and decision-makers understand that too.  

As an association I believe we have made good progress in that regard.  International Facilitation Week, the Facilitation Impact Awards, the IAF Hall of Fame, our new brand, our expanded global presence, etc. have all helped in this regard.  But it is the quality of the work that our members do around the world that really makes the difference and telling and re-telling the multitude of success stories of the power of facilitation is still the best tool we have.  

I am often asked, what I will do with all the new free time I will have once I leave the IAF Board, but I don’t expect to actually stop working to promote the profession after December 31st.  Rather I see myself moving from the stern of the boat and taking up an oar to help row us forward along-side everyone else.  I am confident that the current and future leadership of the association will keep us moving in the right direction and can’t wait to see what wonders await us over the next decade.  

It has been my honour and my great privilege to help in moving the association forward these past seven years and I know that I have gained more from the experience than I have given.  The friendships I have made, the personal growth and development I have experienced and the satisfaction of celebrating our successes has truly been a highlight of my career.  Thank you everyone!


Kimberly Bain is Senior Partner in Bain Group Consulting, based in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Kimberly is an IAF Certified Professional Facilitator, is Past-Chair of the International Association of Facilitators and holds the appointments of Faculty Member at St. Lawrence College and visiting scholar in facilitation at Queen’s University.  Kimberly also holds certificates in strategy, mediation and dispute resolution, an Honours Degree from Queen’s University and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Carleton University.  

As a professional facilitator, Kimberly works with groups numbering 5 to 500, helping them reach consensus and achieve a sense of common purpose.  She has facilitated community groups, professionals, volunteers, academics, hospitals, medical professionals, government departments and stakeholder groups.  She is also a Certified Mediator and has completed over 250 commercial mediations in Canada and many workplace mediations around the world.  She is well known for her facilitative and consensus building style, her innovative approach to strategic planning and her expert conflict resolution techniques.  Kimberly has been a proud IAF Member for 10 years and a member of the Board of Directors for 7 years.  Kimberly is retiring from the Board on December 31, 2016.