Gordon White Consulting rests on a foundation that is built from my life experiences. Allow me to share with you how I came to working with people in challenging situations.
My childhood summers at my grandmother’s cottage gave me a window into mystical experiences of the natural world that continue to inform my life. As an undergraduate I studied biology, but my extra curricular interests and greater motivations became related to consciousness and human potential. Following graduation in 1975, I was surprised to discover innate teaching abilities that I employed to make my living by instructing sailing, skiing, and meditation.
When it arose, I took an opportunity to dive fully into meditation for six years, adopting at the same time a monastic reclusive lifestyle in a group setting. The positive elements of meditation were counterbalanced to some degree by the controlling dynamics of the group, which became a new fascination. Somewhat ironically, my interest in group dynamics grew out of my interest in personal development through meditation. My reclusive tendencies reversed and by 1990, I had completed an MBA and begun learning about managing people and developing organizations.
Through assisting former members of coercive groups, I became more broadly intrigued by working with people in challenging circumstances. Following three years of part-time education and training I began a mediation practice in 1996 in the rural community of Salt Spring Island where I lived. My practice spread from mediating divorces and facilitating community gatherings to working in government programs such as court mediation, and then into organizational settings and multi-institutional consensus building processes.
Currently, my practice includes coaching, mediating, facilitating, training and consulting. These are often clustered in ways that support the unique needs of particular clients. Mediating between two parties has expanded to team development, and working with whole organizations. I try to identify and transform causal factors that contribute to multiple problems. Periodically, I am asked to assist Canadian Indigenous groups in their efforts to regain their vitality through both Western and traditional means.
I enjoy becoming familiar with the culture of an organization or the interactional dynamics between large institutions. I think of myself as a catalyst that enters the human relationship system and facilitates a constructive transformation. I am deeply interested in the meaning of the conflict experience and what it has to offer individual, organizational, and political growth. My blog theconflictjourney.com offers depth perspectives and practical advice on effective conflict engagement and resolution.
As well as delivering my own courses, I teach experiential learning in conflict resolution at the Justice Institute of BC as well as a graduate course in Conflict Analysis and Management at Royal Roads University, both of which are located in the south coastal region of British Columbia, Canada. I reside with my partner artist Gail Sibley in our 100-year-old character home in the Victoria urban village of Fernwood. Our shared interests include dance, travel, and the natural world.