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Dear there,

At the risk of this message getting lost during a very full time of year, we still want to communicate as a way of staying in a practice of accountability. Since we shared our last message (in September), one of the things we have been unlearning is our tendency toward urgency, a characteristic of dominant culture, while we maintain our commitment to taking timely action that is considered and whole. As we apply our awareness and learning in real time, things are taking a cycle or two longer than we had previously thought at any given moment. More time and broader perspective allows us to be here now, with an update that feels grounded and whole, on all that we are learning, how that learning is informing our actions, and the things we have followed through on.

We knew from the beginning that we wanted to be deliberate with our actions and we knew we needed help. One of the first things we did in June was reach into our community to create an advisory group. This group is made up of people with marginalized identities who are further along the path of awareness, analysis, action, and accountability and who brought with them a depth of knowledge about CTI. 

Their co-leadership and commitment fueled an insistence that we lead through this moment even when we don’t have all the answers. This, along with our promise to be transformed by this conversation, has materialized into 4 actions we have taken in the second half of 2020.

Action 1: Decision-Maker Alignment

We understood that our intentions were not enough and that they would need to manifest into actions that were fully integrated into our strategic framework. We needed to create the stage for the Executive Team to be able to make vital decisions to ensure this work becomes a permanent part of how we run our business and deliver product experiences. We believed, and were advised, that having a consciously designed relationship between our Executive Team, CTI’s Board of Directors, and CTI’s Co-Founders was a necessary step towards action. Without an explicit alliance to see this work through, we felt our individual and systemic efforts would be unproductive.

We designed a two-part conversation that included the members of these parts of our business along with our advisory team. This process culminated in a ceremony to mark the alignment we were creating, to memorialize the moment in time, and to acknowledge our unique parts in our collective responsibility to this process. 

The result is that the individuals and systems with the greatest authority and power at CTI are lined up and committed in purpose and action (e.g., priorities and financial resources) to support this cultural and systemic transformation.

Action 2: Anti-Racism Work—For Executive Team

To deepen the work that we started with our equity, diversity, and inclusion advisory team and begin to take more ownership of our own awareness and stewardship, the Executive Team spent several months engaged in a facilitated process of beginning to examine and deconstruct white supremacy within ourselves, our interpersonal relationships, CTI, and the culture at large. As a predominantly white Executive Team, we became aware of our part in perpetuating the cultural norms and harms of white supremacy. For example, we now see how urgency, either/or thinking, and perfectionism have influenced our decisions in the past, and we are committed to not letting these characteristics of white supremacy drive decision-making cycles that lie ahead.

This process was just the beginning of an ongoing journey of learning and unlearning that has provided a much deeper awareness of the social context we live in and the biases we hold. It helped us identify personal stakes in this work, supported us in beginning to see what is needed to activate our intentions for equity and inclusion in all aspects of our business and community, and made it possible for us to engage in these conversations from a more informed place. This engagement also served us in being better positioned to choose the right consultant/external partner and be ready to step into that work more fully.

Action 3: Hired an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Consultant—The Dignitas Agency

One of the places we applied a lot of our learning was to the process and the selection of a long-term partner/consultant. Co-led by our initial equity, diversity, and inclusion advisory team, we spent several cycles in conversation with multiple organizations to discover that we need different kinds of support and experience to serve specific parts of this effort. Where we have decided to begin our work is in partnership with The Dignitas Agency. We’re thrilled to be working with Stacy Parson, Angela Taylor, and their remarkable team of partners.

The choice to enter into this relationship with The Dignitas Agency is rooted in CTI’s stance to have the training we offer to CTI’s staff and faculty in the domains of anti-oppression and anti-racism be fully supported contextually, strategically, and financially for the long term. 

We’ve begun our initial working sessions with the Dignitas team just this month (December) and will be engaging in two specific bodies of work starting in the new year:

  • Defining our vision and commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion along with a set of actions we will be taking across our business in support of that commitment.
  • Conducting an audit of all of our models, our curriculum, and our course room experiences to support us in how we will reshape and recontextualize our products and delivery to be more inclusive.

We look forward to expanding our investment with them in 2021 and beyond as long-term partners in this work.

Action 4: Intercultural Competency Training—Faculty and Staff

While we were arranging the infrastructure to approach this work strategically, we also knew that our staff and faculty needed some structures to build their competency in holding the conversation around equity, diversity, and inclusion more consciously across cultural contexts with each other and our customers.

In November and December, our staff and faculty engaged in a training on intercultural competency. It served the purpose of bringing this body of leaders together to begin the conversation and create some common language. In doing so, it revealed a wide range of experiences our faculty and staff are currently having. Because we are a company that includes leaders from all parts of the world, our orientations and entry points into the collective conversation on equity, diversity, and inclusion are as unique as its people. This further illuminated that we have a lot to learn in how we bring together a community of people who are in all different places in their learning process and how to be in conversation altogether without perpetuating marginalization and oppression.

In addition to these four actions, we continue to receive feedback from members of our community that is helping us see what we can’t, serving our ongoing learning process, and informing our actions. We are grateful for all of you who have invested the time to give us feedback, and we remain open to hearing more of your experiences and your insights. Currently the best way to do that is by submitting your feedback here. In the first half of 2021, we will also be creating other structures for more two-way conversations and will be announcing those as they become available.

When we listen into the larger system, we hear and are aware of the want for immediate change. We also know that there is a desire and expectation for CTI to do the “right” thing. We appreciate this wanting. As we’ve begun this process, we have become aware of how deep and nuanced this work is and must be and the kind of harm that can be created when we remain desensitized to it. To add to the complexity, our organization and the broader community are at various stages of learning and unlearning. So as we continue on this path, we want your engagement, feedback, and co-leadership as well as your patience as we continue to steward this evolutionary process for CTI and Co-Active. We are committed to keep living into the tension between what we can do now to make an immediate difference and investing our time in identifying what is needed to create a root-level shift in our culture around racism and other forms of oppression.

In the coming months, we will continue to share our progress in all aspects of this transformation, specifically the outcomes of the work we know we will be doing in the first quarter of next year with The Dignitas Agency.

Something that gives us hope and inspiration is that our Co-Active model has many of the antidotes to white supremacy culture built into it. This means that the more we live into the full potential of our beloved model, something we know our community has been longing for, the more resourced we will be to create this much needed cultural transformation together.


Carey Baker and Carlo Bos
Co-Presidents, CTI

Co-Active Training Institute

899 Northgate Drive Suite 304 San Rafael CA 94903 United States

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