Active Engagement: The Practice of Mindful Leadership Practicum

Developing higher level Personal Mastery

Cohort 1 began December 2011

Cohort 2 began January 30, 2012

Cohort 3 begins October 22, 2012

“In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not.” — Lawrence Peter ‘Yogi’ Berra

On a regular basis we get new theory that describes how the world works and how we should.  Putting beautiful theory into practice isn’t as easy as it sounds.  This practicum provides the Personal Mastery and process training necessary to embody higher level organizational theory.

  • Preparing and developing the skills, awareness and knowledge needed to personally integrate, effectively facilitate and/or train others in the practice of Active Engagement
  • Participants will work and practice in their local organizational,  community and relational settings, bringing immediate benefit to those groups
  • Participants will receive ongoing mentoring, learning partnership, and a course of development through a rich blend of group gatherings and multimodal opportunities for learning, reflection and engagement


Authors, theoreticians and business professors provide rich visions of the ways in which leadership, organizational learning and transformation take place.  Yet most often students and participants walk away without the necessary Personal Mastery experiences and integration needed to translate these visions into real life settings.  This practicum provides the kind of experiential learning and opportunity no classroom or conference centre can offer.  It takes your real world experience and supports you in discovering what it looks like, feels like, and speaks like, when you’re actually engaging in ways that create transformative possibilities.   You will find the level of depth and learning that supports you in carrying your leadership practice outward, translating it and making it available in increasingly diverse organizational settings and walks of life.

This practicum approach has a proven method that will support you with ongoing mentoring, continually evolving resources and ongoing learning opportunities which help you sustain high level personal mastery and leadership standards.

We invite you to become a part of this adventure, and to discover why past participants describe this as ‘transformative’ and ‘finally a way of putting the best of what I’ve heard into practice.’

Structure of the Practicum

This two year practicum will involve participants in active practice, skill development, and reflective learning in community. To date participants have been from Canada, Jamaica and the United States, and included leaders from the national Senate, to Deputy Ministers and CEOs.  Distance participants in Australia are working in the developmental phases of the practicum.

Joining this group

  • Three previous practicum groups have been formed.  The first completed its formal two year training in January of 2008.  The second began in October of 2007.

Practicum Sessions

  • Opening Training Session. This 4 day workshop will actively engage the group in the practicum work and begin to create the learning community.
  • Midterm Training  Session, 4 day workshop at the end of year one at a site convenient to participants.
  • Closing Training Session, 4 day workshop at the close of the second year.
  • Monthly group conversation – This 90 minute teleconference will take place 2nd (cohort 1) or 3rd (cohort 2) Wednesday morning of each month, at 9:00 am Mountain Time.  It will blend input with reflection and conversation in both large and small group formats.

Practicum Elements

  • Mentoring /coaching – Each participant will be engaged in monthly mentoring, a one hour telephone or in person session that focuses on the individual’s practice.  Mentoring will support participants in reflectively planning, engaging and learning from their work.
  • Online learning journal – Participants and facilitation team members contribute to a group online learning journal.  This practice encourages shared learning and reflection, and group accountability for the discipline of the work.
  • Learning Partner Contacts – Participants will be involved in learning partnerships by supporting and maintaining monthly phone calls. In practice, these became active support relationships with greater frequency chosen by group members.
  • Learning materials – Streaming media of monthly session materials will be available online.  Various books will be used to support and encourage learning depth.
  • Time requirements – We anticipate an average time commitment of 2 hours per week to do the necessary group work, reflection, practice, and reading.  We assume that participants will draw on any variety of current and everyday involvements as rich opportunities for real life practice and development.  This real time use of the skills and awareness is not included in the time estimate.


Annual tuition for the practicum is $1,500 and is supplemented in this initial offering by a development grant from Alberta Energy.  Tuition covers lunch during residential sessions, monthly teleconference and mentoring sessions, distributed materials, etc.  Participants are responsible for their own transportation, lodging arrangements and meals at residential sessions.


The practicum will be team led by three experienced Active Engagement trainers. Interested participants are invited to speak with past team members.  The team is:

Jean Holsten is a licensed attorney who discovered a preference for and a power in dialogue over debate. She has extensive experience as a trainer, consultant and facilitator. She resides in West Sacramento, California, and has been on the team for 3 previous practicum groups. Her own practice of developing Personal Mastery and growing organizational awareness has been enriched by her practice in various communal and organizational settings across the North America.

Steven Wirth is Executive Director of The Centre for Contemplative Dialogue. Since 1989 he has been practicing and developing an understanding of this work and its application with diverse organizations, communities and individuals. Steve worked effectively with the SREM collaborative efforts and has worked with leaders and executive teams from 12 GOA Ministries.  His outside practice has spread from Australia to Jamaica and Nobel Prize winners to Canadian and U.S. Senators.

Jules LeBoeuf is a registered forestry practitioner and a senior manager at the Provincial Forest Fire Centre in Edmonton, and is currently on special assignment with Alberta Energy. Jules has broad experience using this practice to create greater organizational effectiveness within the GOA, and has translated it to creating greater safety and operational effectiveness for teams in a variety of GOA departments. Jules’ use of Active Engagement approaches has successfully allowed him to help groups break through logjams and limitations that have stymied their best efforts.


For further info or to explore participating, please call Steven Wirth at 780-669-1256 / Email Steve . Jules LeBoeuf at 780-427-6807/cell 780-919-4452 / email Email Jules,  or Phyllis Woolley at Email Phyllis 780-265-3305

After an initial phone conversation, we will arrange an interview with the full team to explore your involvement in this rich learning endeavor.  We seek participants who bring a desire to live this practice with integrity, are willing to take risks in the service of their learning, and who will offer the fruits of their learning to others.

Conversation with current and past practicum participants is welcome.  We’ll provide you with their names and contact information.  You’ll find them rich resources who welcome conversation with you.