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Race Relations in America: Leadership,

Organizational Dynamics, and ______

March 25-27, 2022

8:30 a.m. - 6 p.m. EST


The New York Center for the Study of Groups, Organizations, and Social Systems, Russell Sage College

Education Department and the Capital Area School Development Association (CASDA) are excited to announce a virtual group relations event that foregrounds Race Relations in America. On March 25-27, 2022, from 8:30 am – 6 pm, all are invited to join this virtual group relations conference, Race Relations in America: Leadership, Organizational Dynamics, and 


This three-day event is designed to support educational leaders of varying backgrounds to engage in a dialogue on race relations using group relations methodology that is informed by experiential learning. Leaders will have the opportunity to explore their organizational experiences with race relations in America, while forming a temporary learning organization. Participants will develop a group relations lens that will prepare them to respond to the following questions: How might race-relations manifest within organizations?; Why should we monitor race-relations in organizational systems?; What organizational supports are needed to engage in dialogues related to race-relations?; How do we prepare ourselves to manage critical race theory conversations?; How do we build our capacity to engage stakeholders who come to board meetings upset because they don’t like your mask policy?; How do we prepare to lead a mostly homogenous staff to teach a very diverse student body?; How do we prepare to engage in conversations about race when both staff and student body are homogenous?; How do you lead both a diverse staff and student body to leverage differences?; How do you prepare yourself to ensure equity for all and not get caught up in the politics?

Conference Events
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Conference Director

Patrick Jean-Pierre, PsyD; BA/MPS (Stony Brook University) Psychology/Human Resources, MA (CUNY

Brooklyn College) I/O Psychology, MA (NYU) Education, PsyD (Rutgers University) Organizational Psychology. Range of professional experiences in the field of education includes teaching, counseling and leadership development, as well as, organizational consulting that fosters systemic change. Currently, District Director for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Schenectady City School District; Former Deputy Assistant Director, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, University at Albany; Former Director of Technical Assistance Center on Disproportionality at Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools, New York University; Former leadership consultant at the Wharton School of Executive Education; Small group instructor at University of Pennsylvania; Adjunct at Clarkson University and Sage College; Consultant, A.K. Rice Institute (AKRI) for the Study of Social Systems; Member: New York Center, AKRI.

Associate Director

Flora Taylor, A Licensed Counseling Psychologist by training, Dr. Taylor runs an independent practice, located in West Orange, NJ, that includes three domains: Organization Development Consultation, Psychotherapy, and Teaching. She provides OD Consultation (executive coaching, organizational diagnosis, role consultation, team development, and applied research) to retail, educational, NGO, and healthcare institutions. She offers psychotherapy to individual adults and couples, and supervises interns. In the educational and group work arena, Dr. Taylor teaches Group Dynamics at Teachers College, Columbia University, The School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania, and at Ashoka University in Haryana, India. Dr. Taylor directs Group Relations Conferences and other experiential events for academic and executive populations. Dr. Taylor is a Fellow of the A.K. Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems, and she has published related research in the A.K. Rice Group Relations Reader 3. She is a wife of one, a mother of 3, a social tennis player, and a person who strives to meditate daily. Email:

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Director of Administration

Joanne Bowman, (she/her); Organizational Development and HR Thought-leader; Leadership Coach and Consultant; Group and Interpersonal Dynamics Facilitator; Member of New York Center for the Study of Groups, Organizations and Social Systems, and member of Social Dreaming Matrix; AKRI Member; Group Relations International Co-Creator; Functional Fitness Athlete and Health/Wellness Enthusiast. MA in Change Management and Org Psych, Teachers College, Columbia University.

Administrative Staff 

Heidi Moser has been supporting the A.K. Rice Institute in her role as part-time Administrator since

February of 2015. She completed an MSEd in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Youngstown State

University in December 2021 and is currently working as a counselor in an outpatient substance use disorder

treatment facility. Heidi holds a B.A. in literature from Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame, and an Associate of

Applied Science in Veterinary Technology from Cuyahoga Community College. She lives in NE Ohio and

enjoys spending time outdoors with her two dogs

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Anais Fifer is a McKinsey consultant who focuses on leadership and management capability building for

clients across the globe. She is currently in a Certification in Supervision program offered by The Tavistock

Institute. Anais holds a B.A. in Art History & Mathematics from McGill University and an M.A. in Organizational

Psychology from Columbia University's Teachers College. She is a native New Yorker, Japanese-American,

and enjoys delicious food and spending time with her dog, Billie.

Iyanna Harris, Morgan State University, BS, Strategic Communication; Junior Associate at Weber Shandwick;

Content Creator; Web Designer

Consulting Staff 

Jodi Austin is a creative who supports both people and organizations thru the transformative process. Jodi

is a Doctoral Candidate; an Executive Leadership Coach; currently the administrator for Group Relations

International. Additionally, Jodi has co-facilitated programs for those new to group relations and has served

on staff of numerous group relations conferences.

Diana Castañeda, LCPC (she/her), Director of Youth and Family Services, Community Counseling Centers of

Chicago; Member, Chicago Center for the Study of Groups and Organizations; Member, Chicago Center for


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Lauren Levy is a mental health professional currently based in Philadelphia. She has been involved in Group

Relations work for five years and has served on staff for a number of conferences and workshops. She is an

active member of GRI through which she spearheads a variety of projects. She is also a member of AKRI.

Joshua DeSilva, Psy.D., CGP (he, they), Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Private Practice; Member and

Consultant in Training, AKRI; Vice-Chair, Virginia Latino Advisory Board; Member, Diversity Committee,

Virginia Academy of Clinical Psychologists.

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Todd Murphy, Financial advisor, serial entrepreneur, retired sheep farmer; active facilitator in the Yale School of Management's Interpersonal & Group Dynamics and Global Leadership courses; Todd has been involved in group relations work for three years, helped design and lead group programs that incorporate many group relations practices and principles.

Allison Pinto, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical child psychologist, place-based practitioner, policy consultant, and

public health research faculty based in St. Petersburg, Florida. She directed group relations conferences in

Los Angeles and served on the Grex Board in the 2000s. Over the past three years, she has reconnected

with group relations networks including AKRI to explore new and renewed applications of the group

relations orientation.

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Minnie Tao, MA, LCPC (she/her) works as a psychotherapist in a group private practice. She is a co-creator

of Group Relations International and a member of the A.K. Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems.

Amber Williams, House Director and Pre-Major Advisor, The University of Pennsylvania; Trained facilitator

in Intergroup Dialogue and Restorative Justice; Co-creator, Podcaster, and Blog Curator, Group Relations

International; Member and former Internal Director, A.K. Rice Institute.


Conference Fees


Regular Rates

Early Registration by February 15: $300.00

Full Registration: $375.00

*Student Rates

Early Registration by February 15: $225.00

Full Registration: $250.00


*Students will need to provide current student ID

Fees & More

To learn more about this year's NYC Group Relations Conference, download the brochure below. 

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The Tavistock Model of Group Relations, developed in London, England in the 1950s, is the model upon which this event is based. In 1965, Margaret Rioch and A. Kenneth Rice, for whom the A.K. Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems (AKRI) was named, imported the model to the United States. This time-honored method offersa dynamic lens for exploring conscious and unconscious behavior within groups, organizations, and social systems. More specifically, group relations thinking offers insight into our experiences of group life across the different contexts that make up our daily lives, such as at home, the workplace, and within society at large. 


Through group relations, members and staff are invited to explore in more depth the interplay between their identity and organizational group memberships, in relation to leadership/followership, boundaries, authority and roles to better understand individual and collective behavior in groups and how the person in the role is taken up at this particular moment in service of the task.


Race Relations in America: Leadership, Organizational Dynamics, and ______ is sponsored by the New York Center for the Study of Groups, Organizations, and Social Systems, an affiliate partner of A.K. Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems, Russell Sage College Education Department, and CASDA. Familiarity with group relations methodology is not required to attend; those who are new to the ideas and concepts of group relations are highly encouraged to join. Reading and learning will be provided to all registrants. In addition, all participants will be invited to a small group 60-minute post-conference debrief session in April. This is voluntary for those who would like to examine their learning after the conference has ended.

In this conference, participants will begin to develop:

  • Leading by reflection and self- examination

  • Learning how to effectively use your authority to further the

  • learning of groups (i.e. teams, committees, etc.)

  • Experience how to study a team or any group in real time

  • (here and now)

  • Learning how to accept the experience of others in your

  • organization as valid as one’s own

  • Capacity to work collaboratively with the experiences of team

  • members from different backgrounds

  • Capacity to be vulnerable in service of one’s learning and the

  • Learning of your team, department or organization


Below you will find detailed descriptions of various conference events you will experience. 

Conference Opening: Introduce conference members to the conference and provide opportunities for

members to share their experience crossing the boundary into the conference. In the Conference

Opening the staff and members meet together to begin working. The Director provides an overview of

the conference theme, and outlines the structure of the events for the weekend.

Small Study Group (SSG): This event focuses on interpersonal and intergroup relations. The task of the group is to study behavior as it occurs in the here and now, that is with a focus on issues as they are

happening presently in the group. Each member is assigned to a Small Study Group consisting of about

7-10 members and a consultant. In addition, this setting provides opportunities for participants to explore

how they relate to the formal authority of the consultant and how they themselves take up personal, as

compared to formal and delegated, authority. This is similar to working in a small team or committee.

Large Study Group (LSG): This event focuses on all members of the forum meeting together with the task of studying their own behavior in the here and now. Consultants representing a diverse set of race groups will be assigned to consult. This is similar to working across departments. In contrast to the Small Study Group, the Large Study Group highlights dynamics that may occur in large organizations and gatherings, where personal interactions are limited.

Emerging Possibilities Event (EPE): This event offers members and staff the opportunity to participate in and examine the entire institution of the conference as it evolves and unfolds. Members form their own groups. The groups are asked to interact with other groups including staff. Staff members are also available to provide consultation upon request. The task of this event is twofold: 1) to study the dynamics that develop between and among subgroups as they interact with one another and relate to

management and trying to understand the institution as a whole, while 2) working on a task that results

in a brief presentation at the end of this event.

Review and Application Groups (RAG): Members are assigned to a group of about 6 people with the task of reviewing their experience in the conference with the assistance of a consultant. The review includes considerations for implications for members’ practice in other groups and organizations. In addition, members will have an opportunity to understand the relationship between the roles they are taking up in the conference with the roles they hold in the outside world. Review and Application groups are not “here-and-now” events and the consultants will take up their role differently than in the Small or Large Study Group.

Dyad Meetings: These meetings serve as an opportunity to pair up with another attendee to have a

supportive exchange about your experience in the conference.

Social Sensing Matrix (SSM): The social sensing mindfulness matrix event provides a space for all

members and staff to be fully present to share dreams, thoughts, connections, and associations that arise

in the moment. This is based on the assumption that the group unconscious can manifest in the dreams

of individuals and that exploring them together can help to better understand the group-as-a-whole.

Somatic Embodiment  and Presencing Activities (SEPA): The task of this event is to invite conference participants to engage in mindful and somatic practices to support embodiment, here-and-now presencing, and felt-sense awareness in the service of increased conference learning, given the need to consider the challenges of working virtually with others across seen and unseen geography, temporality, spatiality, culture, and physicality

Conference Discussion: In this event members and staff have an opportunity to discuss and reflect upon their experiences in the conference as a whole. This event also allows all members and staff to collaborate in reviewing and analyzing their experience of the entire conference, and perhaps to discover patterns of action or deeper levels of significance that may have implications for one’s behavior in other groups and organizations.

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