Women in Systems Thinking Speaker Series image

(Men and gender fluid individuals welcome and encouraged to attend!)

A Discussion Series

This series of events celebrates and acknowledges the important contribution of women in systems thinking. It is formulated in the spirit of facilitating a greater level of coordination among systems thinkers, as well as recognizing the crucial contributions of those whose work is more about “being” and “doing” as of equal value to “thinking.”

2023 Series

A Decolonial Approach to Systems/Complexity

PAST – Tuesday, November 28th, 8:00 – 9:30 AM Pacific

About this Event

What does it mean for the systems/complexity field to confront its complicity in modern/colonial process and institutions, and to dis-invest in violent and unsustainable ways of thinking, imagining, relating and being? Join us for this cross-generational mother and daughter conversation that will highlight the challenges and possibilities for palliative care for dystopian systems that are dying and prenatal care to what is emerging in their place.

Photo of Vanessa Andreotti
Vanessa de Oliveira Andreotti

Vanessa is the Dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of Victoria. She is a former Canada Research Chair in Race, Inequalities and Global Change and a former David Lam Chair in Critical Multicultural Education.

Vanessa has worked extensively across sectors internationally in areas of education related to global justice, global citizenship, critical literacies, Indigenous knowledge systems and the climate and nature emergency. Vanessa is the author of Hospicing Modernity: Facing humanity’s wrongs and the implications for social activism and one of the founders of the Gesturing Towards Decolonial Futures Arts/Research Collective.

Photo of Giovanna Andreotti
Giovanna de Oliveira Andreotti

Giovanna is a recent graduate in psychology, a dancer and a dedicated dance instructor. Giovanna’s insights on the practice of hospicing modernity stem from her upbringing and deep immersion in the zeitgeist of GenZ.

As a representative of this generation, she critically embodies their collective aspirations, concerns, frustrations and resilience in the face of a future that feels compromised and stolen.

Systems Thinking in Action – Laying the Foundations

PAST – Tuesday, September 26th, 10:00 AM PDT

About this Event

Sociologist Zeynep Tufekci and other scientists have pointed to “asystemic thinking” — or the inability to think about complex systems and their dynamics — as one of the reasons America experienced costly delays that allowed the COVID virus to spread uncurbed for weeks. Why don’t we see more systems thinking? What are some practical ideas making systems thinking actionable for a greater number of people?

In this session, Linda and Soma will explore these questions, and also:
  • Surface the forces that inhibit widespread systems thinking
  • Discuss practical, research-based ways to lay a foundation for systems thinking in early childhood and beyond
  • Celebrate the fusion of cultural wisdom and inclusivity in advancing systems understanding
  • Get a sneak peek into Linda’s upcoming children’s book, Apart, Together (Balzer & Bray, October 2023)
Linda Booth Sweeney photo cropped
Linda Booth Sweeney

As an education innovator, author and strategist for healthy socio-ecological systems change, Dr. Linda Booth Sweeney is internationally recognized for her efforts to make systems thinking actionable by a wide range of audiences.

In her Systems Leadership Labs, Linda creates experiences for leaders  — educators, policymakers, foundations heads, social entrepreneurs, business leaders and youth – to think differently, and to experiment with language, inner stance, visualization tools and knowledge architecture that better mirrors the complexity they are navigating.

She has made significant contributions to promoting the use of metaphors like the bathtub model to enhance public comprehension of critical issues such as climate change. She is co-author of The Systems Thinking PlaybookThe Climate Change Playbook, and numerous other books and journal articles. Linda is currently developing Curious about Connections Conversations (CCC), a research-based facilitation method for use by families, teachers and professionals in a variety of settings. CCC’s fosters collaborative, inclusive dialogue while promoting systems thinking, critical thinking, communication skills and empathy.

Linda is also an award-winning children’s book author.  Her next book, Apart Togetheris a gentle introduction to systems thinking for children and will be published by Balzer & Bray in October 2023.  Linda holds her doctorate from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education and lives outside of Boston where she enjoys swimming in Walden Pond and amateur farming.

For more information, see

(systems), www.lindaboothsweeney.net

(children’s) www.lindaboothsweeney.com

(metaverse) https://togglelab.com

Somava Saha photo
Somava Saha

Somava Saha, MD, MS (aka Soma Stout) has dedicated her career to improving health, wellbeing and equity through the development of thriving people, organizations and communities. She has worked as a primary care internist and pediatrician in the safety net and a global public health practitioner for over 20 years. She has witnessed and demonstrated sustainable transformation in human and community flourishing around the world.

Currently, Soma serves as President and CEO of Well-being and Equity in the World (WE in the World), as well as Executive Lead of the Well Being In the Nation (WIN) Network, which work together to advance inter-generational well-being and equity. Over the last five years, as Vice President at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Dr. Saha founded and led the 100 Million Healthier Lives (100MLives) initiative, which brought together 1850+ partners in 30+ countries reaching more than 500 million people to improve health, wellbeing and equity. She and her team at WE in the World continue to advance and scale the frameworks, tools, and outcomes from this initiative as a core implementation partner in 100MLives.

Previously, Dr. Saha served as Vice President of Patient Centered Medical Home Development at Cambridge Health Alliance, where she co-led a transformation that improved health outcomes for a safety net population above the national 90 th percentile, improved joy and meaning of work for the workforce, and reduced medical expense by 10%. She served as the founding Medical Director of the CHA Revere Family Health Center and the Whidden Hospitalist Service, leading to substantial improvements in access, experience, quality and cost for safety net patients.

In 2012, Dr. Saha was recognized as one of ten inaugural Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Young Leaders for her contributions to improving the health of the nation. She has consulted with leaders from across the world, including Guyana, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Australia, Tunisia, Denmark and Brazil. She has appeared on a panel with the Dalai Lama, keynoted conferences around the world, and had her work featured on Sanjay Gupta, the Katie Couric Show, PBS and CNN. In 2016 she was elected as a Leading Causes of Life Global Fellow.

PAST – Tuesday, July 25th, 10:00 AM PDT

Riane Eisler: Caring Economics

Photo of Riane Eisler
Riane Eisler

Riane Eisler, JD, PhD(h), is the recipient of many honors, such as the Distinguished Peace Leadership Award earlier given to the Dalai Lama, and internationally known for her groundbreaking contributions as a systems scientist, futurist, and cultural historian. She is author of many books, including The Chalice and the Blade.

The Chalice and the Blade is now in its 57 th US printing and 27 foreign
editions. She is also author of The Real Wealth of Nations, hailed by Nobel Peace Laureate Desmond Tutu as “a
template for the better world we have been so urgently seeking”, and Nurturing Our Humanity,
Oxford University Press, 2019, co-authored with Douglas P. Fry.

Eisler’s innovative whole-systems research offers new perspectives and practical tools for
constructing a less violent, more egalitarian, gender-balanced, and sustainable future. Eisler is
President of the Center for Partnership Systems, which provides practical applications of her
work, and Editor in Chief of the online Interdisciplinary Journal of Partnership Studies
published at the University of Minnesota. She keynotes conferences worldwide, has taught at
many universities, has written hundreds of articles and contributions to both scholarly and
popular books, pioneered the application of human rights standards to women and children, has
addressed the UN General Assembly, and consults to businesses and governments on the
partnership model introduced by her work. For more information, see www.rianeeisler.com and

Eli Ingraham headshot
Eli Ingraham

Eli is currently CEO of the Center for Partnership Systems, an organization founded by Riane Eisler to accelerate the shift to Partnerism, a socio-economic model that values caring, nature, and shared prosperity.

Eli is a graduate of Wellesley College and Cambridge University’s executive program in Sustainability Business Management. She also studied Circular Economics at BARD University, Systems Theory with Fritjof Capra, Awareness-based Systems Change at Meridien University, Regenerative Leadership and Regenerative Economics at the Capital Institute. Other courses include Designing Regenerative Communities, and Decolonizing Sustainability. She is deeply committed to systems change efforts that connect capital to collective action at scale.

Eli was formerly CEO of the Sager Foundation managing their Science for Monks & Nuns project in partnership with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and Sager Ganza’s microfinance project in Rwanda Rwanda serving over 10,000 woman-owned businesses after the genocide. Prior to that role, Eli led TIE Global Artisans, an initiative of PYXERA Global focused on alleviating poverty and elevating cultural entrepreneurship among African textile weavers by providing vital access to quality raw materials, modern techniques, and global markets.

Previously, Eli led YPO’s global business and social impact divisions as their Chief Networks Officer. Her team supported 30,000+ CEOs across 142 countries in sustainable business, social entrepreneurship and innovation, economic development, global diplomacy and peace action, community resiliency, among other business sectors.

Eli led the Global Advisory Council of the Knowledge Impact Network, a unique advisory company founded by YPOers and dedicated to accelerating progress on the world’s most pressing issues by connecting global experts with high potential social ventures to share knowledge, co-create solutions, and scale impact.

Eli is an impact investor and advisor of Astia Global, Portfolia, and SHEeo, three women and minority-focused investor groups engaging thousands of “radically generous” women on the World’s To Do List and providing greater access to investment capital to underserved entrepreneurs.

She is deeply committed to advancing systems change and creating models of shared prosperity. She serves as a Human Rights Commissioner in Newton, MA where she lives with her wife and daughter, whom they adopted from Kazakhstan.


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Lyla June Johnston

Dr. Lyla June Johnston (aka Lyla June) is an Indigenous musician, author, and community organizer of Diné (Navajo), Tsétsêhéstâhese (Cheyenne) and European lineages. Her multi-genre presentation style has engaged audiences across the globe towards personal, collective, and ecological healing.

She blends her study of Human Ecology at Stanford, graduate work in Indigenous Pedagogy, and the traditional worldview she grew up with to inform her music, perspectives and solutions. Her doctoral research focused on the ways in which pre-colonial Indigenous Nations shaped large regions of Turtle Island (aka the Americas) to produce abundant food systems for humans and non-humans.

2022 Series

Systems Thinking

Marta Ceroni photo

Marta Ceroni is the co-director of the Academy for Systems Change, a nonprofit that supports organization- and community leaders in their capacity to shape more equitable and sustainable futures through peer learning and a focus on awareness-based systems change.

With a doctorate in forest ecology, over the years Marta has become interested in economies that prioritize communities and nature. Before her current position, Marta worked as a Research Professor for 10 years at the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics at the University of Vermont. She is also a writer, a dancer, and a community cultivator. Her ancestral home is in the Po River Valley, in northern Italy, her current home is on the New Hampshire side of the Connecticut (Kwnitekw) River, USA.

Dr. Donella H. Meadows, a Pew Scholar in Conservation and Environment and a MacArthur Fellow, was one of the most influential environmental thinkers of the twentieth century. After receiving a Ph.D in biophysics from Harvard, she joined a team at MIT applying the relatively new tools of system dynamics to global problems. She became principal author of The Limits to Growth (1972), which sold more than 9 million copies in 26 languages. She went on to author or co-author eight other books.

For more information visit the Donella Meadows Project and the Academy for Systems Change website.

PAST – March 15th, 2022 10:00 AM PDT

The work of Donella Meadows with Marta Ceroni, Co-Director of the Academy for Systems Change

Photo of Nora Bateson speaking

Nora Bateson, is an award-winning filmmaker, research designer, writer and educator, as well as President of the International Bateson Institute based in Sweden. Her work asks the question “How we can improve our perception of the complexity we live within, so we may improve our interaction with the world?” An international lecturer, researcher and writer, Nora wrote, directed and produced the award-winning documentary, An Ecology of Mind, a portrait of her father, Gregory Bateson. Her work brings the fields of biology, cognition, art, anthropology, psychology, and information technology together into a study of the patterns in ecology of living systems. Her book, Small Arcs of Larger Circles released by Triarchy Press, UK, 2016 is a revolutionary personal approach to the study of systems and complexity, and the core text of the Harvard University LILA program 2017-18. Her new book, Warm Data, was released in 2021 by Triarchy Press.

Nora was the recipient of the 2019 Neil Postman Award for Career Achievement in Public Intellectual Activity.

The IBI integrates the sciences, arts and professional knowledge to create a qualitative inquiry of the integration of life. Nora is the president of the International Bateson Institute, directing research projects that require multiple contexts of research. interdependent processes. Asking, “How we can create a context in which to study the contexts?” An impressive team of international thinkers, scientists and artists have been brought together by the IBI to generate an innovative form of inquiry, which Nora coined “Transcontextual Research” and the corresponding new form of information she dubbed: “Warm Data”. A group process created by Nora, called the ‘Warm Data Lab’ has been the public outreach model of this research. Over 1000 groups around the world, in over 40 countries have participated in Warm Data Labs held by more than 600 certified Warm Data hosts. Warm Data Labs assist in developing the ability to perceive complexity. In 2020 Bateson redesigned the Warm Data Lab for online use, called People Need People (online).

In addition Bateson is also credited with the innovation of the neologism “symmathesy,” and the corresponding theoretical essay bearing the same title. Bateson defines this neologism as “An entity composed by contextual mutual learning through interaction. This process of interaction and mutual learning takes place in living entities at larger or smaller scales of symmathesy.”

As an educator she has developed curricula for schools in Northern California, and produced and directed award winning multimedia projects on intercultural and ecological understanding. Her work, which has been presented at the world’s top universities, is described as “offering audiences a lens through which to see the world that effects not only the way we see, but also the way we think”. Nora’s work in facilitating cross-disciplinary discussions is part of her research into what she calls, “the ecology of the conversation.” Her speaking engagements include keynote addresses and lectures at international conferences and universities on a wide range of topics that span the fields of anti-fascism, ecology, education, the arts, family therapy, leadership and many more aspects of advocacy for living systems– she travels between conversations in different fields bringing multiple perspectives into view to reveal larger patterns.

PAST – May 17th, 2022 10:00 AM PDT

Nora Bateson, Founder & President, the International Bateson Institute

Systems Being

Melanie Goodchild photo

Melanie Goodchild is an Anishinaabe (Ojibway) complexity and systems thinking scholar. She is moose clan from Biigtigong Nishnaabeg and Ketegaunseebee First Nations. Melanie is currently a PHD candidate in Social & Ecological Sustainability at the University of Waterloo and is a Research Fellow with the Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation & Resilience. She is a proud member of the Iron Butt Association riding her Harley-Davidson motorcycle 1000 miles in 24 hours! Melanie is a faculty member with the Academy for Systems Change, the Wolf Willow Institute for Systems Learning and is a Scholar Practitioner Faculty member at the University of Vermont’s MS and PhD in Leadership for Sustainability. She is an Advisor to the new Systems Awareness Lab at MIT. Melanie is an alumna of the IWF Leadership Foundation’s Fellows Program (2015-16 class) sponsored by Harvard Business School and INSEAD.

PAST – June 28, 2022 10:00 AM PDT

Melanie Goodchild

Joanna Macy photo

Joanna Macy PhD, teacher and author, is a scholar of Buddhism, systems thinking and deep ecology. As the root teacher of the Work That Reconnects, Macy has created a ground-breaking framework for personal and social change that brings a new way of seeing the world as our larger body. Her many books include: Mutual Causality in Buddhism and General Systems Theory: The Dharma of Living Systems, World as Lover, World as Self; Widening Circles, A Memoir; Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in with Unexpected Resilience and Creative Power (Spring 2022); and Coming Back to Life: The Updated Guide to the Work That Reconnects. Macy is retired and lives in Berkeley, California. To learn more, visit www.joannamacy.net.

PAST – Sept. 20th, 2022 10:00 AM PDT

Joanna Macy, Ph.D., Buddhist Scholar and Systems Thinker

Systems Doing

Lydia Neilsen and Anne Friewald

Vital Cycles is an education and design partnership between Lydia Neilsen and Anne Friewald in Santa Cruz, CA, focused on engaging with and understanding ourselves as nature and how we can enact practices and functional systems towards planetary and personal regeneration. They bring together extensive backgrounds in community health and permaculture education and activism. Their deep curiosity about the interconnectivity of the planet and her people inspires an integration of the health of the land and the health of the individual through their teaching. Anne and Lydia bring a positive action-based perspective that highlights skills, practices and resources necessary for growth, creativity, and vitality in person and place.

They have co-created and teach their signature course Vital Cycles, a PINA recognized Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course with an additional focus on Human Ecology. They give numerous talks and short workshops throughout the Bay Area and also collaborate with Regenerative Economist Della Duncan for seasonal workshops called HUM: A Weekend of Song, Connection and Regeneration: combining singing, Permaculture, Human Ecology and Joanna Macy’s Work that Reconnects.

PAST – Nov. 22nd, 2022 10:00 AM PDT

Lydia Neilsen and Anne Freiwald, Vital Cycles

Monique Aiken

Monique Aiken is Managing Director of The Investment Integration Project (TIIP), a consulting services and applied research firm that provides advice, thought leadership and a turnkey solution, the Systems Aware Investing Launchpad (SAIL) to help investors manage systemic risks and opportunities. She is also a Contributing Editor at ImpactAlpha, a digital news magazine for the impact investing sector, where she hosted “The Reconstruction”, a podcast about moving capital towards justice. Monique is also a co-founder of Make Justice Normal, a collective that seeks to open space for people that are working toward a world in which capital, a proxy for structural power, embodies justice, with the ultimate goal of narrative change, and co-founder of the ReStarter Fund, which aims to be an economic justice and climate justice focused initiative for small business owners in these unique times.

PAST – January 17th, 2023 10:00 AM PDT

Monique Aiken

Sponsor Partners

Systems Thinking Marin


Zebras Unite
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Bridgeway Partners
Megan Fraser Coaching
Academy for Systems Change

Can Systems Thinkers Work Together?

On December 07, 2020, Felicia published a blog by the above title. This gave rise to many helpful conversations. Some of the findings flowing from those conversations — including efforts to get systems thinkers working together more — are documented on this page.

Systems Thinking Marin Models

Systems Thinkers - Examples of Who Focuses on What
System Thinkers - Who Works As What

Examples of systems thinkers: Who focuses on what areas of life and the cosmos?

Examples of systems thinkers: Whose work has taken one (or more) of three forms?

Networks of Systems Thinkers

ISSS One Letter Logo
Presencing Institute Logo

The Systems Thinker “Authors” page lists over 400 author contributors.

The International Society for the Systems Sciences is perhaps *the* organization for those involved in systems sciences (as opposed to systems at a non-academic level). Their business directory only lists one organization, and you have to be a member to view their members list. (We understand they have a diversity of special focus groups within ISSS.)

Theory U and Otto Scharmer (out of MIT) have an organization called the Presencing Institute. Check out their list of nearly 1,000 members to find other Theory U people in your area.

December 7, 2021 – GRC

A group gathered on the Global Regenerative Co-Lab platform for a Zoom chat about this “system of systems thinkers” topic. Contact us if you’d like to be informed of future gatherings.