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Leadership Summit Workshop: Engaging in Complex Discussions & Expanding Your Influence

By The Policy Circle Team

On Friday, November 15, engaged community members, Circle leaders, and influencers from across the country convened in Chicago for the 4th Policy Circle Leadership Summit. More than 350 women and men participated in conversations and workshops that encouraged  them to think about the broad implications of living and leading in a connected world while honing their leadership and engagement skills. The following is a recap from the Engaging in Complex Discussions Workshop presented at the Summit. 


  • Kimberly Walz, Walgreens
  • Karen Wells, The AIW Group
  • Greg Hart, DuPage County Board
  • Sylvie Légère, The Policy Circle 

A stakeholder is someone with an interest or concern in an issue. The following question tracks can bring stakeholders into complex conversations.

  1. Goals and Visions: What lens of care are stakeholders wearing? Are all voices directly present?
  2. Values and Roles: What values are at play? Are there contradictions? What are the opportunities for individual community members to be directly involved?
  3. Innovation: Are we embracing technology? What could future impacts be?
  4. Key Measures: How do we define and measure success and failure of an initiative?
  5. Costs and Benefits: Who will pay costs or take part in the benefits? Is the initiative viable in the long term? 

Inviting key stakeholders to participate in discussions is the first step to facilitating complex conversations, and in turn can help you expand your influence with civil discourse.


  • People want to be heard. Everyone has a story to tell and a unique perspective to share.
  • Changing minds takes time. Use dialogue to impact change. 

The Policy Circle is a 501(c)(3), nonpartisan organization that provides pathways for women to become courageous, knowledgeable and active citizens who identify and take ownership of local solutions to the issues facing their communities.  Please consider supporting our mission and developing your own leadership skills by becoming a financial supporter

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