Change is not easy.

It forces us to think and behave differently. It can be disruptive, unfamiliar and unsettling. Change, though, offers possibility. Sometimes change is forced by external factors and other times, it is a condition of the natural ebb and flow of growth in an organization.

Keeping staff engaged and effective in their roles becomes a challenge in the face of ever-changing business practices and staff composition. Through a retreat or workshop, group coaching and strategic sessions for leaders and their teams, I broaden awareness and acceptance of generational and workstyle differences, build communication skills, and engage staff to solve problems and create opportunities. Based upon my background in industry, service and academics, I have worked with clients on talent and leadership development, as well as strategic initiative design through consulting, coaching, training and facilitation.

“Suzanne McFarlin was contracted to facilitate our annual retreat and provide support for our refinement of a strategic approach to affiliate development. She did an exceptional job of providing expert planning skills in preparation for the event, incorporating key ideas into the approach to organizing the day, and keeping us focused on topic during the process. In the end, as a result of Ms. McFarlin’s efforts, we had a highly productive experience which more than met our expectations.”
John Pedicone. President, Board of Directors, Komen for the Cure Southern Arizona

The Step Up Leaders Approach

The approach I take is to establish an open environment where creative thinking is valued and ideas can germinate, build group effectiveness by stressing diversity and collaboration, and create structure around ideas. I also encourage stepping into leadership, move groups to action, build in benchmarks and accountability, recognize when plans need revision and celebrate when goals have been achieved. My objective is to always leave a client equipped with new skills to manage change over time in a positive, fruitful and energized way.

Let me help you:

  • Customize A Staff Retreat
  • Navigate and Manage Change
  • Design and Execute Strategic Meetings
  • Set New Goals and Priorities
  • Move From Ideas to Action
  • Leverage Team Assets
  • Create Acceptance Across Generations
  • Increase Innovation
  • Clarify Roles and Responsibilities
  • Communicate Clearly
  • Improve Follow-up and Accountability
  • Enhance Organizational Energy and Spirit

How I’ve helped clients manage change: 

University of Arizona College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture retained me to create a fresh approach to implementation of  their strategic plan with clear roles and responsibilities, while clarifying and documenting policies and procedures. I engaged faculty, staff and students in an update of their mission and vision, consolidation of goals, assessment of roles and strategic tasks, measurement of achievement, and creation of an image of success five years out.

The Southern Arizona Leadership Council asked me if I could conceive of a “vision” for Tucson. The President and I designed and produced a town hall to address issues of regional concern in order to collectively design a vision for how we would like to move forward as a region. The Tucson Regional Town Hall is credited with having moved crucial conversations and progress forward in education, literacy, water resources, arts and culture, and regional land use.

Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, in response to the Tucson Regional Town Hall outcomes, contracted with me to tackle literacy issues in our community. Together, we conceptualized and formed the Literacy for Life Coalition, bringing together area organizations with the goal of 100% literacy for the Tucson region. Founded in 2008, it connects families, workplaces and neighborhoods with literacy resources to ensure a prosperous economy and improved quality of life.

Tucson Unified School District has faced numerous budget cuts and declining enrollment. The Superintendent engaged my services to craft methods for increasing cost-savings measures and revenue enhancement. This led to the formation of the Research Opportunities for Investment Task Force, which inspired the formation of the Bright Ideas Committee. These efforts built a community feedback mechanism and resulted in over $2.5M in savings and new revenue.

Click for a list of workshops and presentations as a speaker and educator