Engage diverse perspectives, build social capital, and take wise action.

People have their own beliefs and perspectives based on their own life experiences, backgrounds and cultures.  Often it is difficult for people to relate well to those who are different from themselves.  Yet, these different perspectives and knowledge are tremendously valuable when combined and mutually explored honestly and openly between people.  Communication and mutual learning lead to mutual respect and understanding.  

We build your capacity to design and host conversations that engage diverse perspectives, build social capital, deliberate difficult topics, and tell a graphic story that changes the narrative.   We are experts in bringing in the voices traditionally over-looked when gathering information, collaborating, creating policy and making decisions.  

Host inclusive engagement across audiences 

Our focus is on helping organizations and communities to discuss difficult issues, learn from each other, and move forward in productive ways. Conflict often goes unresolved and simmers beneath the surface of meetings or group interactions, because people are afraid to address it directly, or simply don’t know how to address it without making things worse.  Athena Group has decades of experience working with diverse groups of stakeholders that come together to navigate even the most complex problems. We take groups through processes to identify stakeholders and then involve, facilitate, build consensus, and strengthen relationships for an effective engagement process and outcome.  We design and facilitate community engagement processes using a variety of different tools and methods including but not limited to:

Democracy Labs

Safe spaces to deliberate, build civic leadership skills and take action across existing divides.

It takes place in four phases carried out only after a few months in workshops and community check-ins. 

CoResolve

An adjunct of Deep Democracy, CoResolve offers a meeting facilitation methodology for people to address conflict and come into conversation around complex issues and divisive or stuck dynamics in order to generate personal insights and uncover innovative possibilities for moving forward.

Art of Hosting and Liberating Structures

There are many effective ways to have productive interactive conversations and meetings that give voice to those in the room and move to wise action. We utilize a variety of highly participative small and large group facilitated methodologies designed to increase the diversity of ideas and input and maximize creativity. 

Inclusive Public Meetings

Are the same people coming to your public meetings, and you want to have a more diverse and inclusive process?  Do you want to hear from people with disabilities, people with low incomes, seniors, youth, people who speak English as a 2nd language? We can help you design processes and partnerships that engage people wherever they are at in trusted environments.

ENGAGE YOUTH AUTHENTICALLY

For over one hundred years American youth have been leading the way forward on divisive issues – though their engagement has often been invisible or quickly forgotten.  We need their help if we're going to create healthier communities.  Young people thrive when given the opportunity to make decisions, create service projects, put plans into action, and reach out to other community members.  Youth benefit from mentors and guidance, evaluation of their progress, and coaching along the way. Our youth engagement team includes nationally recognized leaders. They provide innovative, collaborative strategies, tools and materials to bring youth engagement into schools, communities, cities, organizations and more. 

EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT

As organizations seek to evolve in order to face new challenges, one essential aspect is staying in touch with the experiences and insights of its team members.  The Athena Group designs and administers written surveys, electronic surveys, team member interviews and hosts team conversations to collect feedback and co-create safe to fail responses to further organizational goals.  

FACILITATE MEETINGS, SUMMITS, AND RETREATS

Sometimes more can get done when an outside consultant designs and facilitates your organizational gatherings.  Let us help you design the day that helps you accomplish what needs to get done.

One of the many powerful tools we use is that of graphic facilitation which captures your ideas as they are occurring real time. We listen for key themes, highlights in the story, organizing the information spatially, instinctually finding structure, giving visual emphasis and hierarchy to the story as it emerges on the paper. Visual maps live long after the meeting, guiding and directing the course of action, and can be shared with people who weren’t there.


The Athena Group helped us hold some of the most successful government outreach meetings I have ever been a part of. By removing barriers to participation, we were able to gain input from groups that have traditionally been very difficult for my agency to hear from. As a result, we can feel confident in our ability to communicate perspectives that more closely reflect the diversity of Washington state.

Perhaps more importantly, The Athena Group changed our perspective on what effective community engagement is. They pushed us to challenge administrative and bureaucratic norms that often get in the way of truly meaningful community input. While remaining flexible on the issues we were unable to resolve internally, The Athena Group encouraged us to make positive changes by advocating for an engagement process that is tailored to the needs of the community, not our organization. These changes resulted in a community engagement process that we are extremely satisfied with and excited to share our lessons learned with our partners.
— Gabe Phillips, WSDOT | Public Transportation Division

Are you ready to engage diverse perspectives, build social capital, deliberate difficult topics, and tell a graphic story that changes the narrative?