Meet Our Trainers

Our trainings are led by two or more of the following trainers.

Adam Davis has been the executive director of Oregon Humanities since 2013. Prior to joining Oregon Humanities, Davis directed the Center for Civic Reflection and edited Taking Action, Hearing the Call across Traditions, and The Civically Engaged Reader. Davis has led hundreds of community conversations and trained thousands of discussion leaders across the country in partnership with social service, educational, nonprofit, and medical organizations. He has taught philosophy and literature for many years in the Clemente Course in the Humanities, a college program for adults living on low incomes. He earned his PhD from the University of Chicago and used to lead wilderness trail crews in the Pacific Northwest.

Since 2013 April Slabosheski has been facilitating and designing workshops, tours, and experiential programs for youth and adults in the fields of science, history, and public art. She's helped train and support community volunteers, museum docents, and public speakers to engage with large groups, and loves working with other facilitators to observe and work with group dynamics. In 2018 she began working as Oregon Humanities' Program Manager. She also facilitates the Conversation Project program “What We Owe: Living With Debt.” She loves seeing people find common ground by working through tension and conflict.

Brittany Wake is the chief executive officer of The Wake, LLC, where she assists individuals and organizations in advancing sociopolitical equity initiatives through the exploration of critical thought and process. Wake holds a master's degree in multicultural clinical mental health counseling from the University of Colorado-Denver and is a trained group facilitator. In addition to leading groups to explicate the relationship between systemic forces and interpersonal dynamics in her role as a counselor, Wake inspires the same reflection with civic-minded professionals and community members in partnership with Oregon Humanities and other organizations.

claire barrera is an artist, educator, activist, and mother based in Portland. She has spent much of her adult life working at the intersection of the arts and social justice. For the past 17 years, she has worked in movements to end interpersonal violence and heal trauma. Her teaching and facilitation credentials include workshops to social service providers, community conversations on care and trauma, art and literature classes to youth, and Latinx leadership development through Oregon Humanities. She was a 2016–17 artist-in-residence with Performance Works Northwest and is the coeditor and author of the zine When Language Runs Dry with Meredith Butner.

Jennifer (Jenny) Sasser is an educational gerontologist, transdisciplinary scholar, and community activist. She has worked in the field of gerontology for more than half her life, beginning as a nursing assistant and aging advocate before focusing on research, writing, and teaching. After completing her doctorate from Oregon State University, she joined the Marylhurst faculty in 1997. Jenny is the author of Aging: Concepts and Controversies and of the forthcoming book Gerontology: The Basics. She convenes the Gero-Punk Project and offers consulting and presentations throughout North America. Currently, she works as an educational gerontologist doing program evaluation and consulting around the country and is on the part-time gerontology faculty at Portland Community College.

Manuel Padilla is executive director of Portland Meet Portland and a teacher and consultant in the areas of dialogue, conflict transformation, social change, and international aid and development. He has a BA in philosophy from Portland State University; an MA in peace, conflict, and development studies from the UNESCO Chair for the Philosophy of Peace; and has done peace building and human rights work both domestically and internationally. His professional interest is rooted in his deep spiritual desire to use group processes to foster cultures of encounter and vulnerability, transform conflict, and build civil society.

Rachel Bernstein joined Oregon Humanities in 2015 as the organization’s first partnership and training manager. In her current role she builds and strengthens partnerships across the state and recruits, trains, and supports discussion facilitators. For the past decade, her work has focused on building the civic capacity and engagement of coalitions, organizations, groups, and individuals through the creation and facilitation of workshops and trainings. Her workshops and trainings have focused on creating space for participants to learn about and advance issues of equity, social justice, and intersectionality.

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Meet Our Trainers