Lina creates environments and processes that engage all stakeholders in meaningful conversations to heal and strengthen community. As a facilitator, convener, and advocate, Lina works with groups to deepen their understanding, build relationships, address challenges, and explore partnerships and collaborations that lead to wise action. Lina’s work focuses primarily on community engagement and leadership, organizational development and community resilience. Lina has been instrumental in introducing participatory leadership approaches to Illinois practitioners and policymakers as a key strategy for strengthening communities so children, youth, and families thrive. She spearheaded the design and implementation of Parent Cafes – based on the World Café – which are conversations led by parents with parents to keep their children safe and their families strong.
Lina’s current focus is on expanding and deepening the conversation, understanding and capacity to respond to community violence and trauma with parents, policy makers, adult health and human service providers and community leaders. She works with the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago and the Community Policing (CAPS) Unit of the Chicago Police Department to enhance their ability to increase community safety, healing and resilience and build strong partnerships with community residents and organizations.
Lina has worked at the community, city, state and national levels with her primary focus on family support, parent leadership, child abuse prevention, and community strengthening. She was the Director of Jane Addams Center of Hull House for over 8 years. She is the co-author of several curricula and resources to enhance the capacity of human service providers to partner more effectively with families as they raise their children.
Lina and her husband, Dick Durning, live in Evanston Illinois. They are part of the hosting team for Giftival – a multi-year, global exploration of the gift culture. Giftival brings together people who are focusing on gift economy and gift culture as part of their core work – to learn from the local hosting community, share what is emerging in their own work and co-create new practices and approaches for cultivating the gift culture.
Lina holds a Masters in Social Work (MSW) from University of Michigan. She is a Steward of the Art of Hosting.