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JULY 26-30, 2023

A.K. Rice Institute National Group Relations Conference
In-person / Residential

All is well, all is well. Though everything is a mess, all is well.

Anthony DeMello

Are we ready to nurture what the next of now most

Are we open to experience an exploration beyond known narratives?

Are we all ready to embrace the authority to lead?


The Authority, Leadership, and Legacy: Nurturing the Now and the Next (ALL) is a conference in the group relations tradition.

How nimble, agile, resilient, and responsive will we be to the emerging possibilities? What is learned as we enter this now—together?

ALL honors the group relations tradition and embraces a responsibility to nurture the renewal and legacy of the A.K. Rice Institute National Conference. As such, our focus will be on the exercise of authority, the emergence of leadership, and the unconscious dynamics inherent in the study of groups and social systems.

Our central inquiry is on how we, individually and collectively, influence the exercise of authority and leadership as we forge legacies that are meaningful and lasting for us ALL.

ALL is offered in the context of the volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity of these times. While we appear to be entering a “new now,” the contours of this emerging moment are not yet known. How we once more relate to one another in-person after a three-year plus hiatus is part of what we will study. Recognizing this nebulous reality, ALL is an opportunity to study how we may set the intention to be reflective, nimble, agile, and responsive to the legacies that we are creating and leaving.

ALL acknowledges the continued presence of political polarity, racial inequity, and economic disparity in the United States and beyond our borders. There is an urgent climate crisis for which few solutions have been yet found. There are wars and international tensions that threaten the world with the potential of greater conflagration. There is a relentless virus that continues to transmute and becomes increasingly endemic. ALL offers a space where exploration of such matters beyond the chatter of sound bites, social media posts, and echo chambers can be more richly and fully explored. Quoting the Talmud...

"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly now, love mercy now, walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it."


You are invited
Let us ALL greet this new NOW and learn...together.

This conference is scheduled and planned as a residential, in-person, face-to-face event on the Bryn Mawr College campus. At present, there is no virtual option offered or planned. The intention is for the conference staff and members to ALL be in-residence.

Primary Task

The primary task of ALL is to study the diverse ways conscious and unconscious processes arise in our exercise of authority, practice of leadership and exploration of legacy. We will study group-level dynamics as they are happening.

Our aim is to learn how behavior emerges in the “here-and-now” as well as how the roles we occupy in this temporary social ecosystem may inform our choices to live with more intention.


The purpose of ALL is to create opportunities for all participants, members, and staff, to gain a better understanding of factors that influence our choices and behaviors in groups—especially related to the reality and uncertainty of a polydemic “now.”

While our focal purpose is on creating opportunities for learning, the potential for experiences that increase our readiness and capacity for personal, organizational, and societal transformation may also be available for study.

Primary Task & Purpose


Small Study Groups
Each participant is to be in a Small Study Group consisting of about 8-10 participants and 1-2 consultants. The task of the Small Study Group is to explore the emergence of leadership and exercise authority as it unfolds in the here-and-now as related to intention in the “new now.” The Small Study Group is a setting that allows face-to-face interchange.

Large Study Group

The Large Study Group is composed of all conference participants and 2-4 staff consultants. The task of the Large Study Group is the same as that of the Small Study Group in a setting that does not permit face-to-face interactions. As such, The Large Study Group highlights dynamics that may occur in communities and large organizations or gatherings where direct personal interactions are limited.

ALL is designed to be experienced as a whole, in its entirety. What follows are brief descriptions of the component events that make up this whole:


Review and Application Groups/
NOW--Narratives of Ongoing Work

Participants are assigned to a group of 4-7 people and a consultant. The NOW provides members with the opportunity to review their experiences and the roles they have taken in the conference-as-a-whole. Particular attention is given to what and how individual members are learning. Participants will also have an opportunity to explore parallels between roles taken up in the ALL and those played out in groups, communities, and organizations in everyday life.


Conference Reflection Discussion

Participants and staff have an opportunity to collaborate in reflecting, reviewing, and analyzing their learning in across the ALL conference. The Reflection Discussion centers the opportunity to recognize and discuss feelings, attitudes, and behaviors that have emerged and discover patterns of meaning and potential action. An invitation. to consider collectively the deeper levels of significance with implications for legacy in our outside communities and organizations may be explored.


Legacy Event
(Institutional Event)

The task of this event is to study and give meaning to the conference as an emerging social ecosystem. Conference members form their own groups in the Legacy Event (LE). The focus of this event is to study issues of group formation, membership, and representation. Particular attention will be given to the boundary interactions and exchanges within and between the member-formed groups and the staff management group.

All groups in the LE are charged with examining the intention they represent and bring to emerging ecosystem. Collectively the aim is to give meaning to the conscious and unconscious legacy implications for the unfolding shared learning. How what emerges in the LE relates to the overall ALL experiences and reflects the larger societal context may be explored. The staff management group works in public and provides consultation to the participant member groups upon request.

Your legacy is what you do every day.
Your legacy is every life you’ve touched.

Maya Angelou

Opportunities for Learning

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In this experience, the members and staff will have opportunities to:

  • Study authority, leadership, and intention in the emerging “new now”

  • Learn about covert and overt group processes in groups

  • Identify underlying patterns when we:

    • Form groups

    • Establish leadership structures

    • Create alignment with other groups

    • Engage the social ecosystem


  • Explore in “real-time” how we:

    • Take up roles

    • Negotiate authority

    • Accomplish tasks

    • Manage boundaries

    • Reflect on learning in “real-time”

  • Examine the fluidity of roles and identities in an emergent context

  • Work with competition, collaboration, conflict, coalition-building, envy, delegation, and love

  • Encounter isolation, autonomy, affiliation, collaboration, and coalition building

  • Deepen awareness of capacity to lead and advocate in home organizations

  • Apply what has been learned and experienced to life choices

Opportunities for Learning

Conference Staff

Staff manage the experience as a whole and take up consulting roles during its various parts. As managers, staff manage the boundary conditions of the experience, particularly in relation to time, task, and territory. As consultants, staff offer interpretations, and observations. working hypotheses and reflections that explore the conscious and unconscious aspects of organizational life in the system as it emerges.

The focus of the study is primarily on group-level dynamics rather than on the individual, except where an individual may represent a dynamic for the whole. Staff does not manage the participant members or their behavior except in cases where the safety of members or staff may be involved.

Members are free to engage in the primary task and purpose as they choose and as they authorize themselves and each other to do.

Conference Directors

Zachary Green, Ph.D

Professor of Practice, Leadership Studies, and Director, Leadership Development and Nonprofit Institute, University of San Diego; Co-Founder, IMAGO Global Grassroots; Senior Experience Curator, Horizon Equity and Adaptive Leadership Scholars (HEALS); Founding Lead Faculty, RISE Urban Leadership Fellows; Leadership Coach/Adjunct Faculty, Harvard Graduate School of Education; Founding Circle, Group Relations International; Associate and Dean of Wells School, Washington-Baltimore Center; Fellow, A.K. Rice Institute.


Evangeline Sarda, JD
Conference Associate Director

Associate Clinical Professor of Law, Boston College Law School; Director, Prosecution Clinic, Co-Director, Criminal Process Clinic; Treasurer, the Research and Education Collaborative with Al-Quds University; Member, International Forum for Social Innovation, France; Past Postgraduate Fellow, Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis; Board Member: Group Relations International, Centre for Social Dreaming; Member, Midwest Center, NY Center, CSGSS (former board member); Fellow, A. K. Rice Institute.

Conference Administrators


Jodi Austin, MA

International Executive Leadership Coach; Founder, Wisdom Wear; Administrator and Co-Creator, Group Relations International; Member, Center for the Study of Groups and Social Systems, A.K. Rice Institute.


Joe Lasley, Ph.D.
Founder & Game Master, Gamenamic Leadership; Assistant Professor of Leadership and Organizational Studies, University of Southern Maine; Board Member, Restorative Justice Institute of Maine; human being, planet Earth; Co-Creator, Group Relations International.



Mary Fullerton, EMBA, TIHR P3C, DBL

Co-Founder Caribbean Group Relations Consulting Ltd; Organisational Consultant/Accredited Leadership Coach; Partner, The Buzz Limited; Founder/Director, (Non-Profit) ADHD Foundation of Trinidad and Tobago.


Sarah Rosenbaum, Ph.D.

Clinical psychologist and consultant in private practice; Co-Founder, DBT Center of Greater Philadelphia; Member New York Center; Co-Creator, Group Relations International; Fellow and past president, A.K. Rice Institute.


Alan Ruiz, MFA

Faculty, Visual Studies, the New School, Parsons School of Constructed Environments, and Hunter College, MFA in Studio Art; Co-Creator, Group Relations International; President, New York Center for the Study of Groups, Organizations and Social Systems; member, A.K. Rice Institute.


Salina Villegas, MA, M.Ed

Program Manager, Department of Race & Equity, City of San Diego; Retreat Facilitator, The Posse Foundation; Former Director of Leadership Programs, RISE San Diego, Fellow, Lideramos Latinx Leadership Program; Fellow, RISE Urban Leadership Fellows Program; Community Scholars, Horizon Equity and Adaptive Leadership Scholars (HEALS), Nonprofit Institute, University of San Diego; Intellectual Contribution Award Recipient, Harvard Graduation School of Education; Co-Creator, Group Relations International.


Rodric Smith, Ph.D., Lt Col, (Retired)

Director of Leadership Development, Washington State Board Community and Technical Colleges; Board Member, Adaptive Leadership Network; Co-Creator, Group Relations International; Board Member, A.K. Rice Institute.

Special notes

Who’s the event for?

This conference is designed for those who seek to deepen their capacity to enter nuanced conversations beyond the basic and the binary on the issues of the day. ALL requires openness and willingness to enter and remain present to exploration of personal and systemic dynamics from a group perspective. While no particular background or experience is necessary to participate, personal and emotional resilience are important resources for this kind of learning.

This conference may be for you if you seek to:

  • Learn through immediate and direct experience

  • Study group dynamics and their influence on our overt and covert actions

  • Deepen competence in the encounter of identity and equity

  • See to go below the surface of learning - in ourselves and in others

  • Embrace an inclusive authority to lead

  • Greet the emerging “now” with greater intention

Conference members from a wide variety of fields, organizations, educational backgrounds, and vocations have gained valuable learning in group relations experiences. Members who have careers in the helping professions, community advocacy, organizational consultation, education, law, leadership, management, technology, and human resources have found the learning to be particularly applicable to their professions.

Attendance Policy

Members are committing to attend and participate in all components of the experience in person. As the conference is designed to be an integrated whole, with each component building on the previous, participants are expected to attend all sessions. Any member who misses a session of the conference is requested to inform the conference administrative team. Members who do not complete in-person registration may be administratively withdrawn from the conference without a refund.


Withdrawal Policy

Fees can only be refunded (less $100 administration charge) if a written notice of cancellation (via email) is received by 6 PM PST on June 15, 2023.

COVID Considerations

At present, Bryn Mawr requires proof of vaccination and booster for all students, faculty, staff, and guests. These requirements are under review by the College but are not expected to change in advance of the ALL conference. The conference management is committed to the larger national trend whereby ALL members can be admitted to participate irrespective of vaccination status and for this issue to be made available for conference study. Yet, out of an abundance of caution and in placing priority on health and safety, the ALL conference will adhere to the Bryn Mawr policy. If any member applies to the conference, has made payment, and wishes to decline to attend based on the Bryn Mawr vaccination status policy being extended, amended or rescinded, full refunds will be provided without question.


Staff will not report the behavior of any individual member to anyone outside the conference and the boards of the sponsoring organizations.


The conference is an educational endeavor and does not provide psychotherapy or counseling. Although the experiential learning available can be stimulating and enriching, it can also be emotionally stressful and confrontational. Thus, applicants who are ill, experiencing significant personal difficulties, or are intensely emotionally triggered by views different from their own should forgo participating at this time. Registration and conference membership may be refused or rescinded at the discretion of the conference staff.

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Special Notes

Conference Elder


Larry W. Penwell, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus in Management and Psychology, previous Executive Director, and Acting Dean of nascent College of Business, University of Mary Washington. Associate, Fellow, and Past Board Member of the A. K.Rice Institute. Past Dean of the Wells School of Group Relations. Previous Treasurer of the Washington Baltimore Center, and the Midwest Center, of the A.K. Rice Institute.


Times & Location

Bryn Mawr College Dalton Hall and New Dorms Bryn Mawr, PA

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Registration Opens: 12:00 pm
Conference Opens: 1:00 pm

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Conference Ends: 3:00 pm
Social (optional) Ends: 3:15 pm


ALL is a residential conference. Fees include dormitory housing beginning July 26th at registration and meals beginning at dinner on the first conference day. Dorm room access can be accommodated upon request up to 24 hours in advance of the conference opening. An additional fee is required. 

Fees EARLY BIRD (before: 15 June, 2023)


  • $2,200 (AKRI members/GRI co-creators)

  • $2,200 (group of 3 or more)

  • $1,900 (full-time students/)

REGULAR FEE (deadline: 17 July, 2023)


  • $2,750 (AKRI members/ GRI co-creators)

  • $2,750 (group of 3 or more)

  • $2,250 (full-time students)

​For more information please contact us at:

Time and Location
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