What It’s About

This international training and consulting initiative targets inspired leaders within mission-driven institutions positioned to catalyze community engagement and social transformation.

The Challenge

Today’s change leaders are confronting problems at an unprecedented scale of complexity, from social dispersion to wealth inequality to climate change. Yet they are also confronting struggles not only in social change, but in relational challenges that could unravel the collaborations that make that change possible. Despite the intention to embody democratic values, many change leaders drift into attitudes and habits that reflect the dominant culture of competition and isolation. We need change, yet our stories of how to get things done undermine us. Such stories can derail efforts, break apart relationships, and fracture organizations and movements.

The Solution

We believe it is time for a new paradigm of leadership, one grounded in humanizing, relational values. The Relational Center’s Leadership Institute provides training, coaching and capacity building to change leaders. It focuses on generating shifts in culture, an essential and often elusive arena of social transformation. Bringing together community organizers, scholars, educators, students, caregivers, and healers from diverse fields, we work toward strategies that ensure we can depend on one another, without shying away from the challenges of diversity, power, and trauma. We explore how to embody values of support, empathy, interdependency, inclusion, and shared leadership.

How It Works

Some leadership initiatives originate within the institute. Others are developed in partnership with organizational and community leaders who invite support to design trainings and consultations that catalyze more collaboration and mutual support among change makers in their local contexts.

What We’ve Done

Project History

The Leadership Institute has incubated initiatives, programs, and organizations committed to evolving innovative institutional systems and structures. In addition to its own programs, the institute has offered capacity building services to dozens of clients, including public agencies, nonprofit organizations, coalitions, foundations, communities, and schools. Our training and consulting activities focus on leadership development, visioning, diversity and inclusion planning, community engagement, conflict resolution, and public dialogue.

Our Allies

The Relational Center’s Leadership Institute stands as an ally to the work of other organizations with which we share values and commitments.

Relational Change is an organization that promotes a relational approach in all walks of life. Together with their associates and affiliates in the UK and Europe, they are delivering value to people, groups and communities in the areas of Organisational Development, Community Building, Coaching and Psychotherapy.



Relational Uprising supports inspired social movements and community leaders who catalyze social transformation and radical engagement to foster a healthy, interdependent, relational culture of complex connection. Their work presents a nuanced approach to issues of identity, intersectionality, and power using an embodied, relational practice of narrative and somatic movement.

“Mark Fairfield has provided TRIA with leadership training and consultation. We have seen his approach inspire and encourage individuals to think more systemically and collectively. His focus on a shared leadership model has resulted in students taking initiative to design and foster activities such as a student clinic and a student-mentoring program. TRIA now has a very mature and inclusive culture, something that is not usual in a Higher Education accredited Institute. I believe it is this dynamic culture that supports our sustainability in the face of the ever-changing field of Higher Education.”

Ashleigh Power

Director, The Relational Institute Australia (TRIA)

“Mark Fairfield is a ‘hidden gem’. His work on creating a Culture for Radical Engagement has brought a perspective and  practices to the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland that many of us have been seeking for years. Gestalt in its founding was positioned as an ’emancipatory psychology’ and many of us have felt Gestalt has not fully lived into this vision. This work and training with Mark feels like, for the first time, we have begun to shape a vision and some practices with the potential to support social justice and social activism as an integral part of Gestalt practice.”

MaryAnn Kraus

Faculty, Gestalt Institute of Cleveland

“For the past 2 years the Radical Aliveness Institute has been working with Mark Fairfield and The Relational Center to help vision, build and grow the Radical Aliveness Institute, community and movement. Mark is beyond exceptional. He is a mover. He is committed. And he will help you manifest your best and most powerful vision. He is one of those unique finds – a visionary, an ally, and a man who truly cares. If he works with you, it means he believes in you and if he believes in you, count yourself exceptionally blessed.”

Ann Bradney

Executive Director, Radical Aliveness Institute

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