CORE TEAM

We’re a diverse group of practitioners who can help you explore the problems and opportunities you face! Our Core Team has decades of experience in designing and facilitating retreats, conferences, workshops and training programs. We are experienced in web design, graphic facilitation, social media campaigns, storytelling and the nuts and bolts of running nonprofit organizations.

Please reach out to us and we’ll explore what NewStories might offer to you.

Mari Shibuya is an artist, muralist and facilitator, passionate about the power of creativity to seed a fertile space for transformation. Coming from a background in psychology and philosophy, Mari fuses their passion for mental wellness with their deep belief in creative self expression as an avenue for individuals to gain authorship in their lives and in their communities by cultivating self confidence and leadership thru self expression. Mari has the honor of leading creative empowerment work for organizations such as Urban Artworks, Gage Academy, Partners for Youth Empowerment (PYE) and Young Women Empowered (Y-WE).
Susan Virnig has been working with organizations and communities since the mid-70s, helping them come together to tackle tough problems and to create new possibilities.  I help people use a variety of participatory processes – dialogue pairs, world café, structured work groups, circle practices and more – to listen deeply to each other and begin to set aside old stereotypes and barriers to collective action. I have worked with small groups overcoming conflicts around nonprofit low-income housing and large groups setting new directions for national forest policies – and everything in-between. I’m passionate about helping people learn how to listen well, find common purpose and move together into action. Susan has an MA in organizational development and leadership, an MFA in creative writing specializing in nonfiction, and a BA in Japanese language and culture.
Since the mid-seventies I have worked with people, communities and organizations to help them unlock hidden potential and to step into the new stories that are possible in their lives. I am a facilitator and dialog host and a strategic systems designer. I am a writer, a listener and a storyteller who has worked across North America and around the world. As a PhD researcher, I help people make sense and find meaning out of their own direct experiences of our chaotic times.
Charles Holmes is a cultural anthropologist by education. Over the past 25 years he has pursued projects where the need for understanding and shaping culture through dialogue and inclusion have been critical. Charles has skillfully facilitated dialogues with clients from health care to forestry and mining, software and pharmaceutical companies, educational institutions and utility firms, government and not-for-profits from around the world. Charles co-founded the Learning Strategies Group in the Faculty of Business at Simon Fraser University, helped in the founding of the Dalai Lama Centre for Peace and Education, led the creation of the Connecting for Change dialogues that brought together business and NGO leaders in a series of dialogues with the Dalai Lama. As well, he co-created the Connecting for Community dialogues in Cincinnati, in collaboration with Peter Block and co-founded the Academy for Systemic Change where as a faculty member works with cohorts of next generation leaders to address challenges in community development, marine ecosystem restoration, education, global food security, and reconciliation.
Yve is owner/principal of an independent research and evaluation consulting company, Praxis Associates LLC. She collaborates with nonprofits, community-based leaders and government agencies to use data and reflection to think critically about their work and their results in order to continually build effective strategies and programs for organizational and social transformation. Because social and environmental change agents work in complex and dynamic systems, Yve integrates tools and approaches to supporting and studying social innovation.
I am the principal and founder at Intrinsic Impact Consulting, a company that helps teams to increase engagement, wellbeing and effectiveness while they reach their shared goals. As an experience designer, facilitator, and researcher, I help teams make small, powerful changes at three related levels: the workplace context, interpersonal interactions and individual behaviors. These targeted shifts garner big returns in terms of employees’ intrinsic satisfaction and productivity. Drawing upon my background as a neuroscientist and my 25 years as a mindfulness practitioner, I teach people to stay relaxed and consistent as they build alignment between their daily actions and future goals— ever using the power of rituals and routines to bring new practices to life in teams and organizations. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience and Religious Studies, a Master’s in Teaching, and a doctoral degree from Stanford University’s transdisciplinary “Learning Science and Technology Design” program.
In addition to a vast experience in pedagogics, multimedia and design, Zulma is a passionate facilitator and designer of group dialogues, innovation, and change processes. She is a Colombian kaospilot, a mother, and a traveller who loves learning, leadership, and people. Zulma is constantly searching for new ways of utilizing her skills and knowledge to contribute to the generation positive changes in communities, groups, individuals, and herself. The areas that interest Zulma the most are: sustainability, social innovation and social entrepreneurship as well as multidisciplinary processes and processes of social change with stakeholders from diverse cultural or social backgrounds. Founding member of SOL (Society of Organisational Learning) and Impact HUB Colombia, Zulma is also the founder and director of www.pataleta.net, a graphic facilitation company where her creativity is often put on paper to help others understand complex information. Zulma holds an MSC in Strategic leadership towards sustainability, a MA in Multimedia, a BA in graphic design and a post graduate certificate in Education.
Simone Torrey is a certified conflict mediator and integral facilitator who supports organizations and communities through complex transitions. She holds an MA in Leadership with concentration Peace Building and Conflict Transformation from Saint Mary’s College of California and an MA in International Communication from the International University of Perugia in Italy. Simone’s facilitation is strongly influenced by her broad worldview, acquired through 15 years living and working in multicultural contexts in many different countries all over the world.
Rako is a process consultant, facilitator, and steward of regenerative communities. He is passionate about cultivating transformational spaces for people to experience deeper connection, insight, and well-being. Rako has worked in the fields of higher education, organizational and professional development, and equity. He has created diversity initiatives and leadership programs for universities, businesses, and community-based organizations, and has advised entrepreneurs, activists, spiritual teachers, and political leaders within the USA, Central America, UK, and Middle East. Rako has also taught undergraduate and graduate level courses in sustainable leadership, psychology, and ethnic studies through his affiliations with Presidio Graduate School, Esalen Institute, and the California State University. He has a graduate degree in interdisciplinary studies and a professional certificate in values based organizational design and leadership. Rako was identified as “one who carries medicine" by elders and lineage holders of three wisdom traditions (including Filipino and West African indigenous traditions) and invited to participate in many healings, trainings, and formal initiation ceremonies the last two decades.
Ben Browner is an “upstream” activist and facilitator working at the intersection of arts, ecology and awareness. As a producer of large conferences like the Imagine Convergence, Ben strives to bring diverse ideas and people together, stewarding networks of innovation and creativity. As a consultant, Ben helps events and organizations to evolve their culture by knowing and telling tell their story more effectively. As a community strategist, Ben helps groups to realize their needs, implement new systems and mediate old tensions to bring about deeper patterns of possibility. Ben’s past includes founding a turtle sanctuary in Malaysia, catalyzing intentional communities across the west coast, co-producing a 1200 person music & arts festival for 5 years, and holding space for thousands of people through presentations, panel moderation, and personal counseling.