The Browne Center

Workshop: Professional Renewal

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Professional and Personal Renewal in a Circle of Trust [PDF]

Based on the work of Parker Palmer*, this retreat offers a unique opportunity to
“Reconnect Who We Are with What We Do”. 


This retreat will provide:

  • The opportunity to rediscover our own values and integrity, and explore ways to bring this deeper self into our work.
  • A focus on the art of open and honest questioning, developing receptive listening, and practicing empathy as keys to understanding others and controlling our habitual tendency to try to “fix” people and give advice.
  • Whole group, small group, and solitary settings where we will use our own stories, as well as insights from poets and storytellers from various traditions, to develop our intuition and guiding inner wisdom.
  • The opportunity to use these new resources to explore challenging professional and personal situations.

*Parker Palmer is the author of A Hidden Wholeness, Let Your Life Speak, and Courage to Teach. He is also an educator who is having a profound national and international impact.


Date: Saturday, June 21, 2014
Price: $125.00
Location: The Browne Center

 Click Here to Register Online


Retreat Facilitators:

David Leo-Nyquist is a school-based consultant and former humanities teacher-educator.  He has designed and facilitated Courage & Renewal retreats since 2000, and lives in Shelburne, Vermont.

Jim Varn is Assistant Provost and Director of the Master of Public Administration Program at UNH.  He has consulted, facilitated, and taught for a variety of organizations in leadership, organizational development, conflict management, and strategic planning.  Jim, a Kellogg National Fellow, received BA and CAGS degrees from UNH, and an MPA from Harvard University.

Chair Circle

What happens in a Circle of Trust?

“So what do we do in a circle of trust?…We speak our own truth; we listen receptively to the truth of others; we ask each other honest, open questions instead of giving counsel; and we offer each other the healing and empowering gifts of silence and laughter.

This way of being together is so countercultural that it requires clear explanation, steady practice, and gentle but firm enforcement by a facilitator…But once we have experienced it, we want to take this way of being into other relationships, from friendship and the family to the workplace and civic life.”

 –Parker Palmer, A Hidden Wholeness

A message from the facilitators:

The complicated personal and professional lives we live these days present many challenges. We are worn down by the ongoing stress we accumulate from juggling multiple responsibilities, and we often neglect to create adequate support systems for ourselves.  Our sense of self can suffer.  We need the opportunity to re-center ourselves, to get our bearings again, to rediscover our own integrity and wholeness.

This retreat is based on the work of Parker Palmer, a remarkable teacher and author (A Hidden Wholeness, Let Your Life Speak, Courage to Teach) who is having an extraordinary national and international impact, not only through his writings, but also through the retreat processes he designed. 

Using Parker’s approach, we will focus on developing receptive listening, practicing empathy as the key to understanding others, and controlling our habitual—and often unhelpful—tendency to try to “fix” people and give advice.   In whole group, small groups, and solitary settings, we will “reconnect who we are with what we do”, making use of stories from our own journeys, reflections on practice, “clearness committee” approaches, and insights from poets and storytellers from various traditions. 

We welcome a diverse mix of participants:  teachers, faculty, administrators, facilitators, consultants, experiential educators, health care professionals, lawyers, spiritual practitioners, therapists, higher education professionals, leaders in the non-profit and for-profit worlds, students, non-professional individuals, and those who have retired from professional life.

We look forward to hearing from you, and please feel free to spread the word about this exciting renewal opportunity. 

For more information contact:

David Leo-Nyquist, Facilitator,, (802) 233-5565
Jim Varn, Co-Facilitator,, (603) 682-3267

The Browne Center has been providing innovative experiential learning programs since the early 1980s. We provide a wide range of programming from comprehensive trainings to shorter one-day sessions. Our learning programs evolve to meet the needs of our clients and our diverse client base allows us to draw upon best practices from a variety of disciplines and remain sensitive to specific needs and outcomes.

Creating a dynamic program based on your group's specific goals is our approach with every single client. We can provide an action-packed program to meet your needs – whether you are coming together as a new group, integrating new members, building positive group relationships, addressing specific behaviors, or striving for performance excellence.