top of page

Group Relations International in collaboration with Group Relations Poland

Invites you to


Italy · Latvia · Poland · Switzerland · The Netherlands · United Kingdom · United States

MAY 11-15, 2021

Central European Time


Tuesday - Friday

5:00 pm - 9:00 pm


3:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Eastern Daylight Time


Tuesday - Friday

11:00 am - 3:00 pm


9:00 am - 1:00 pm

Pacific Daylight Time


Tuesday - Friday

8:00 am - 12:00 pm


6:00 am - 10:00 am


Welcome to Exploring Leadership and BART (Boundaries, Authority, Roles and Task) Across Shifting Realities. We look forward to our work together over the course of these five days.


More than ever are we confronted with and invited by the “New Now.” What ‘was’ is crumbling. Familiarity is gone. What was once normal can no longer be relied on. What ‘will be’ is unknown, more so than normal. Predictions are unreliable from our current situation. Our future is more uncertain than before.


We are in liminal space: in between what was and what will be. And although we are always in that space, the pandemic and world situation makes it more pronounced. We are in a process of transition, change, transformation. Family life is not what it used to be. Work life has shifted. Community and societal life is changing. For some people this produces uncertainty and anxiety, for others this is exciting and hopeful.


We are in the process of co-creating a new reality. We don’t know what it will look like, but we do know that it will be different than it was. We don’t really have a reference point. We have never experienced this before. What we do have is this moment, this “New Now.” Our individual and collective response to this moment is filled with opportunities and possibilities.


In Group Relations Conferences concepts of leadership, boundaries, authority, roles and task are familiar areas of study that we want to continue to practice in an online format and in the context of shifting realities.

In co-creating this new reality, our sense of leadership shifts. Who knows what is going on? Who is in charge? Who takes initiatives? Who is listened to?


Boundaries are redefined in Zoomland. We all have equal square boxes, but not always on the same page. These equal square boxes don’t necessarily give us equal authority. We appear on screen with some background, real or virtual. We can switch off camera and still participate, or switch on the camera and switch off internally. Off task behaviors manifest in different ways, sometimes, paradoxically, by multitasking. Roles are in part reconstituted through technology.


In Group Relations Conferences we study the behavior of the group (small group, large group and the whole system as a group) as it emerges in ‘here-and-now’ events. We make use of psychodynamic principles and we do this from a systems perspective. One of the principles is the use of the unconscious. During this time we are missing the familiarity of how the unconscious manifests as  we work to find new ways of ‘reading’ the unconscious. We are adjusting. Our systems theory is challenged by the shifting boundaries of engaging in a virtual world and we are invited to change and adapt.

Curved Lines

In the conferences, we take time to reflect on our experiences in ‘there-and-then’ events. We pause, take stock and reflect. Because of change in conference schedules we have added additional reflective opportunities and will invite people to share their written or other creative reflections on a conference wall.


In these five days together we will make lots of discoveries about leadership, boundaries, authority, role and task in the new now, this world that we are co-creating. The context is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (vuca) and provides profound opportunities for learning. Our task is to study and experience ourselves as an organization as it is developing. What will we co-create?

This Group Relations Conference: Exploring Leadership and BART (Boundaries, Authority, Roles and Task) across Shifting Realities has a

  • Primary task: to study and experience ourselves as an organization as it is developing

  • Aim: to provide opportunities to learn through experience about the rational and irrational ways that organizations and groups function

  • Purpose: to build capacity in a vuca world, to promote individual and collective transformation to create a better world - together.


Participants will spend most of their time in groups of various sizes, each with a specific task to serve the primary task, the aim and the purpose of the conference. The learning is experiential. Together we will pay attention to experiences, behaviors, thoughts and feelings, rational and irrational, conscious and unconscious, dynamics that are easily available for study and ones that are more underneath the surface. We will see what emerges as we try to be with what is.


Aim &


“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world.

Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

― Margaret Mead

Structure of the conference

The components described below are designed to further describe the conference experience. The fundamental purpose of each will assist in Exploring Leadership and BART (Boundaries, Authority, Roles and Task) Across Shifting Realities.

Group of Colored Pencils

Conference Opening

In the Conference Opening the staff and members meet together to begin working. The Director provides an overview of the conference, and outlines the structure of the events for the week.


Zen Stones

Small Study Groups

Each member is assigned to a Small Study Group consisting of about 8-10 members and a consultant. The task of each Small Study Group is to study the behavior and dynamics of the group as they unfold in the here-and-now with the assistance of a consultant. 

Colorful Notebooks

Large Study Group

The Large Study Group is comprised of all the members and designated consultants. The task of the Large Study Group is to study the group’s behavior as it occurs in the here-and-now with the assistance of a team of consultants. In contrast to the Small Study Group, the Large Study Group highlights dynamics that may occur in large organizations and gatherings, where personal interactions are limited.

Review and Application Groups

Members are assigned to a group of about six people with the task of reviewing their experience in the conference with the assistance of a consultant. The review includes considerations for  implications for members’ practice in other groups and organizations. In addition, members will have an opportunity to understand the relationship between the roles they are taking up in the conference with the roles they hold in the outside world. Review and Application groups are not “here-and-now” events and the consultants will take up their role differently than in the Small or Large Study Group.

Concrete Wall

Conference Wall

The Conference Wall is a place for both members and staff to share their reflections during the conference. Each participant is asked to share at least two reflections of one or two paragraphs each. These reflections should be added to the Conference Wall.

Dyad Meetings

These meetings serve as an opportunity to pair up with another attendee of the conference to have a casual exchange about your experience in the conference. One of the disadvantages of a virtual conference is that there are fewer opportunities for more casual contact with other members and this event is in lieu of that.

Chess Pieces Close-up
Assortment of Mugs

Emerging Possibilities Event

This event offers members and staff the opportunity to participate in and examine the entire institution of the conference as it evolves and unfolds in virtual space. Members form their own groups. The groups are asked to interact with other groups, including staff. Staff members are also available to provide consultation upon request. The task of this event is twofold: 1) to study the dynamics that develop between and among subgroups as they interact with one another and relate to management and trying to understand the institution as a whole, while 2) working on a task that results in a brief presentation at the end of this event. For additional details, a handout will be made available at the Emerging Possibilities Event Opening.

Social Sensing Matrix

The social sensing matrix event provides a space for all members and staff to share dreams, thoughts, connections, and associations that arise in the moment. This is based on the assumption that the group unconscious can manifest in the dreams of individuals and that exploring them together can help to better understand the group-as-a-whole. 

Wood and Brick Street Art

Conference Discussion

In this event members and staff have an opportunity to discuss and reflect upon their experiences in the conference as a whole. Throughout the conference, members may have taken up several roles and experienced many kinds of relationships with each other and the staff. This event is an opportunity for recognition and discussion of feelings, attitudes, and behaviors that emerged both from members and staff. This event also allows all members and staff to collaborate in reviewing and analyzing their experience of the entire conference, and perhaps to discover patterns of action or deeper levels of significance that may have implications for one’s behavior in other groups and organizations.


Staff administer and manage the conference as a whole and take up consulting roles during conference events. As administration, staff articulate the primary task, aim, and purpose, and design the conference to serve those goals. As management, staff manage the conditions of conference events, particularly in relation to time, task, and territory. Staff do not manage the participants or their behavior. Instead, participants are free to engage in the primary task, aim, and purpose as they choose and as they authorize themselves and each other to do. 


As consultants, staff link their own experiences to the activities of the conference and offer working hypotheses and reflections that explore the unconscious aspects of the organizational behavior that is emerging. In these roles, staff are actively involved in the life of the conference. Their interpretations focus on group level dynamics rather than on the individual and on unconscious as well as conscious dynamics.


The ways in which staff work are always open for examination. Staff for the conference will be drawn from the list below, and may include others not listed here. A final list of staff will be provided at registration.

Jodi Austin, MA; Consultant, USA

Jodi Austin, MA; Executive Leadership Coach, Coaches 4 Causes; Student, PhD Psychology (Consciousness, Spirituality, Integrated Health), Saybrook University; Administrator and Co-Creator, Group Relations International.

Pietro Catania, MBA, MSM; Consultant, Italy

Organization Development Practitioner, Social Scientist, Unorthodox Change Agent, Visionary, Entrepreneur, Investor, Stanford Graduate and past Fellow at Stanford, Founder and Executive Director Alef Consulting, Co-Founder and Chair of The Board Ayros Press, Co-founder Dialogic Effect, Co-founder and Director Palladia SA, Member Academy of Management, Member NTL Institute, Member International Organization Development Association, Member Organization Development Network, Tavistock Institute for Human Relations Alumnus, recipient of the NTL Institute “Edie Seashore Award” in acknowledgement of his commitment and contribution to Social Justice, Diversity and Inclusion

Annie Guanciale, MA; Administrator, USA

Director of the Pride Center, San Diego State University; Member, the A.K. Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems; Co-Creator, Group Relations International.

John Hinck, PhD; Administrator, USA

Assistant Professor of Leadership, Air University; Leadership Coach, ACC-ICF, BCC; Director, Leadership Horizons Program, Air War College; Co-Lead for Coaching Certification Program and Faculty Development Program, Leader Development Course; Invited Faculty, Hansen Summer Institute on Leadership and International Cooperation.

Laura Mikelsone, MIR, M.Ed.; Consultant, Latvia

Certified supervisor, Association of National Organisations for Supervision in Europe; Consultant for leadership and development, Rigas Associates; lecturer for “Organisation and Team supervision”, Riga Stradins University; Member, A.K. Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems; Co-creator, Group Relations International. 

René Molenkamp, MDiv, PhD; Director and Co-Inspirer, The Netherlands and USA

Leadership Consultant and Executive Coach, International Institute for Management Development, Switzerland and Judge Business School, Cambridge, UK; Adjunct Faculty, Department of Leadership Studies, University of San Diego; Fellow, the A.K. Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems; Co-founder and Executive Director, Group Relations International.

Alan Ruiz, MFA; Consultant, USA

Visiting Associate Professor, Pratt Institute; Lecturer, Visual Studies, the New School; Lecturer, School of Constructed Environments, Parsons; Executive Committee, the New York Center for the Study of Groups, Organizations & Social Systems; Member, A.K. Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems, Co-Creator, Group Relations International.

Suzanne Weeks, MSc; Consultant, UK and Switzerland

Visiting Leadership Development Specialist, Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, UK, Leadership Consultant and Executive Coach, INSEAD, France; Board Member, Group Relations International; Director Coaches4Causes; Affiliated with OPUS, ICF, Institute of Coaching and British Psychological Association.

Kamila Wujec, MA; Consultant and Co-Inspirer, Poland

Co-Founder Group Relations Poland; Freelance Coach and Trainer; Member, A.K. Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems. Member, International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations; Member, Organization for Promoting Understanding in Society. Co-Creator, Group Relations International.

Practical Matters

We will be using Zoom as a video platform, please make sure you have the latest version downloaded. We expect your camera to be on during conference sessions. We ask that you log in from a computer rather than phone or tablet. We will also use Google Docs. Zoom link and pertinent documents will be emailed to you a few days before the conference.


For possible inquiries please contact the conference administrators, Annie Guanciale at


Conference Fee is 275 US Dollars. If, for whatever reason, you are unable to afford this fee, please contact the administrators and we will work with you to adjust the fee. Alternatively, if you are able and willing to pay a bit more to give people access to this kind of learning, we would appreciate this. After your application is received and accepted, you will receive an invoice through Paypal.

To apply for membership in this conference please complete the application form as soon as possible as space is limited. Only apply if you can attend the conference in full.

bottom of page