#FutureReadinesswithZa Presents: Connecting The Dots & Changing Society with Colleen Magner
Play • 54 min

Colleen is a co-founder of Reos Partners and leads the Southern Africa team. Throughout her working life, she has remained passionate about bringing together committed and diverse leaders to reduce the many divides of inequality.

Colleen’s experience includes convening, organizing, and facilitating short- and long-term relationships across sectors that address their most pressing challenges—from violence against women to climate change adaptation in vulnerable parts of the African continent. A scenario-planning expert and has led a number of transformative scenario-planning processes around the world. In this capacity, she has worked primarily in the areas of climate change, food systems, land reform, healthcare, education, ocean sustainability, and the insurance sector.

She is also a writer and co-author of Mapping Dialogue: Essential Tools for Social Change, which outlines a variety of transformative dialogue tools and change processes.
Prior to co-founding Reos, Colleen set up the Centre for Leadership and Dialogue at the University of Pretoria’s Business School, GIBS. She’s currently a faculty member at GIBS and teaches courses in systems thinking for organizations, transformative scenarios, participative practices for social change, and dialogue for solving tough problems. She has supervised a number of teaching case studies and edited the book Dust to Diamonds: Stories of South African Social Entrepreneurs. (https://reospartners.com/publications/from-dust-to-diamonds-stories-of-south-african-social-entrepreneurs/)

I had the joy and honour of deepening my engagement with Colleen during the Covid-19 lockdown. This (I am glad to say)has evolved from ‘an awareness of Colleen’ to deep admiration for another same-spirited, smart being who wants to advance humanity through her gifts and skills.

Friends and supporters of our work, you are in for a treat! In this podcast, Colleen shares with us what drives delights and anchors her. She speaks about how the spine of her being is connecting head, heart and hands. She lets us in on her alter-ego whose main drive is connection – musing at lost opportunities as a potential match-maker. This super-power (in my view) is one of her many gifts and it fuels her behaviour and transcends both personal and professional realms.

In this episode, Colleen drops plenty of wisdom and rich insights that will place humans (in society, work and leadership) in good stead. She speaks convincingly about the power of seeing what connects in environments where a trust deficit exists, she invites leaders to zoom out of what is present – so they might explore and create new possibilities. She encourages us to seek out hope ignitors even when pessimism threatens to cloud our every day. Referencing Collaborating with the Enemy (https://www.amazon.com/Collaborating-Enemy-People-Agree-Trust/dp/1626568227) a book written by her colleague Adam Kahane – she invites leaders and decision-makers to trust that balancing conflict and collaboration (though super difficult) when done right, enables new possibilities and healing to manifest.

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