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Schedule & Session Descriptions

Session descriptions will be posted here as they are available.


Join us for opening remarks from the Cohousing Association staff and board, including instructions for using technology for this online conference.

Shilpa Jain, Keynote With Shilpa Jain

As West African elder, Malidoma Somé says, “Conflict is the spirit of the relationship asking itself to deepen.” Join YES! Executive Director Shilpa Jain for a heart-opening and thought-provoking conversation on building bridges and working with conflicts. She’ll offer a look at what stands in our way as well as share a few practices to bring more awareness and better equip ourselves to transform breakdowns into breakthroughs — to bring forth connection, wholeness, and healing, for ourselves, each other and our world.


Session 1
Tricks and Tools for Creating Effective Egalitarian Culture in Community
CJ O'Reilly

How can a community help develop and maintain a culture of equitable and empowered membership? How can we make decisions effectively as a group? No matter your governance system, from Sociocracy, to majority vote or consensus, or whatever hybrid, there are many tools and which can be applied to help empower and balance voices, participation and decision making.
This presentation is an introduction to some basic principles of effective egalitarian governance and ways to inject or build that culture in community settings. The presentation will include a balance of group participation and presentation.

How Conflict Leads to Consensus
Martie Weatherly

Welcome Conflict! How do we do that?
• Listen with honor and respect
• Don’t shy away from people who are ‘different’.
• Discover common values.
• Be curious about finding common ground.
• Interactive with Q&A along the way

Relational Accessibility in Cohousing Communities
Jen Ham

This talk explores how cohousing communities activate a sense of interdependence which cultivates a way of living where disabled and non-disabled individuals alike co-create a system of accessibility which organically and reciprocally meets the needs of community members.

Facilitated Discussion on Conflict
Joe Cole

A conversation about reconnecting and restoring relationships after a difficult conflict or fracture in the community. Conflict occurs in every community, and some of those conflicts have lasting impacts across the community. Everyone is welcome to come and share their experience, learning and thinking about how to navigate the grief, loss, and disappointment that can remain after the primary conflict is resolved.

Session 2
Sociocracy from the Start in Cohousing
Wendy Pearle

Creating a cohousing community? What about a dynamic and effective system of decision making which is also a form of self governance that allows everyone’s voice to be heard and creates solutions that are within everyone’s preference or at least range of tolerance. Sociocracy in action from a forming community.

Conflict Resolution – everyone needs to be accountable
Alan O’Hashi

We will learn how to hold moving targets accountable for their roles in a conflict. The target becomes a bystander, the instigator becomes the victim, the ally becomes a bully. Run of the mill disagreements in a community is not like the criminal justice system where there is a bad guy who must pay for their actions.

Strategies and Perspectives for Anti-oppression in Cohousing
Crystal Byrd Farmer, Sky Blue, Elliot Cisneros, moderated by Mathilde Berthe of Studio Co+Hab

At this point, many people want to be taking concrete steps to dismantle systemic racism and white supremacy in cohousing, but many, especially white allies, struggle to know where and how to start. This session convenes a panel and invites participants to suggest specific steps that cohousing groups can take.

Facilitated Discussion on Covid Differences
Mukunda Das

A conversation about co-existing with our differences as society opens up after covid and vaccines are available. Everyone is invited to participate and share their experience, learning, and thinking about what it takes to co-exist peacefully and lovingly while holding different perspectives on health, safety and community.

Session 3
Decision Bingo
Karen Gimnig

There is a good bit of complexity in collaborative decision-making. This session will review many elements to consider when deciding who will make decisions and how those decisions will be made using a tool Karen calls “Decision Bingo”. Before you watch this session you might want to print this bingo card and bring your dry beans or paperclips for markers. This is going to be fun!

Care and Counsel in Cohousing
Gina Simm

A Menu of Offerings to Keep Ourselves Connected: I will present a comprehensive view of how connection in community can be sustained through a formalized system of social/emotional offerings. Attendees will gain a sense of how the community is being cared for from both the point of view of individuals in distress and of the community at large. This presentation is for anyone interested in how we attend to the emotional pulse of the community.

Eldering in Community
Laird Schaub

Many people aspire to make the lessons they’ve collected over the course of their lifetime available to others, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be asked, or will be able to find a suitable venue to share it. Ouch! In this workshop we unpack the dimensions of Eldering through these subtopics: Dearth of Ritual, No Broom to Jump, It’s a State of Mind, It Takes Patience, Don’t Wait for the Phone to Ring, Turning Over Your Work to Others, Downshifting, Know What You Don’t Know, Low Threshold of Delight, The Dynamics of Social Capital, Intergenerational Challenges

Create or Refresh your Community through Structured Conversations
Sarah Arthurs

The attendees will participate in structured sharing in groups of three and in the large group as a way to deepen relationships. We will explore different kinds of questions and structures, based on the work of Peter Block, Community: the Structure of Belonging,
that enable people to experience closeness with each other.


9:0010:0011:0012:00Welcome and Introductions
10:2511:2512:251:25Session 1
11:3512:351:352:35Session 2
12:401:402:403:40Exhibit Hall
1:152:153:154:15Session 3
2:153:154:155:15Closing and Takeaways
2:303:304:305:30Open Discussion
4:005:006:007:00End of Event



Laird Schaub

Cooperative group process and facilitation trainer.

I offer assistance and training with any aspect of cooperative group dynamics. Over my 34-year career, I’ve worked 82 cohousing groups. Centered in the messy world of group living, I’ve learned both how groups get into trouble and the best remedies.

Currently Serving: Oak Creek Commons, Village Hearth, Raven’s Roost, Monterey Coho, Elderberry

Cohousing Coaches

Raines Cohen

Group Development, Cooperation Skills/Tools

We’ve visited over 120 US cohousing neighborhoods, lived in two, and coached many. We help groups regionally partner, using the Group Works card deck and EcoVillage design cards to find their own path for building community, living well together.

Currently Serving: East Bay Cohousing (and active subgroups), Greek Village Cohousing, Phoenix Commons, Fair Oaks EcoHousing, Culver Way Cohousing (Arizmendi EcoVIllage), Mid-Atlantic Cohousing, Cohousing New England, and forming groups.

Crystal Byrd Farmer

Author: The Token: Common Sense Ideas for Increasing Diversity in Your Organization

Diversity consultation and training, workshops, facilitation

I help communities understand the historical and social factors that make cohousing a predominately white and middle class movement. I work with groups on multiple areas of diversity including race, sexuality, and disability.

Currently Serving: Lost Valley Center, Rooted Northwest, Other Community Organizations

Joe Cole

Facilitation, Conflict Transformation

Supports communities and non-profit organizations in developing cooperative skills, nonviolent communication, collaborative governance, and conflict transformation as a trainer, speaker, and consultant.

Karen Gimnig

Co-author: The Cooperative Culture Handbook: A Social Change Manual to Dismantle Toxic Culture & Build Connection

Connection, Facilitation and Governance Consultant

Workshops and ongoing support grounded in Imago Relationship Theory includes facilitation and meeting planning, conflict support, process and governance guidance and connection skills for forming and established communities.

Currently Serving: Bay State Commons, Cohousing Houston, Heartwood Commons, Sunnyside Village, Wasatch Commons, Fair Oaks EcoHousing, Wolf Creek Lodge, Washington Commons, Middle Fork Cohousing, River Song Cohousing

Sociocracy For All

Jerry Koch-Gonzalez

Sociocracy (egalitarian self-governance) & NonViolent Communication trainer

Sociocracy for All provides a wide range of training and support for communities and individuals seeking to learn about and/or implement egalitarian self-governance that is, in our view, more effective than consensus or majority rule.

Currently Serving: Treehouse Village, Cohousing Hamilton, Kawartha Commons, Tree Cohousing, Port Townsend Ecovillage, Columbia Ecovillage, Rachel Carson Ecovillage, Adams Creek Cohousing, Berkshire Intentional Community and many more

Tools for Change

William Aal

Conflict Transformation, Process Consulting

I do workshops and process consulting in comunication, conflict resolution and building resilient and diverse communities looking at issues of power, trauma and and complexity.

Currently serving: PDX Commons, Haystack Heights, CHUC

We Can Work It Out, LLC

Sarah Ross and Mary King

Workshops and support for effective community-building and visioning, and support for developing effective community structures & processes.

We offer remote and in-person facilitations and training, customized for your needs. We believe that clear, transparent governance structures/processes, including agreements about handling conflict, are the foundation of functional communities.

Currently serving: our home community – Great Oak, our neighboring co-housing communities, Sunward and Touchstone, and other non-profit organizations.

Weatherly Coaching

Martie Weatherly

Process Consultant and Consensus Coach

I provide facilitation and coaching for collaborative communities to understand consensus, to choose how to use it, to clarify their Pathway to Consensus and to learn the pitfalls to expect so their decision making process can be Hassle Free.

Currently serving: Mid Atlantic Cohousing and my community Liberty Village

Yana Ludwig Training and Consulting

Co-author: The Cooperative Culture Handbook: A Social Change Manual to Dismantle Toxic Culture & Build Connection

Group Process and Cooperative Culture

I teach, write, facilitate and consult, supporting groups having more just and cooperative culture and systems, grounded in years of community living, nonprofit management, and anti-oppression work.


The Cohousing Association thanks our sponsors for the 2021 online conference series.

Caddis Collaborative

CoHousing Solutions

Fitch Architecture and Community Design

Jones Design Studio

Schemata Workshop 

The Cohousing Company


Wonderland Hill Development Co