Here’s what some of Suzanne’s clients say about her work…
Michael Anhorn, Canadian Mental Health Association, Vancouver-Fraser Branch: Suzanne facilitated our strategic planning process in such a masterful way. The variety of exercises she used allowed everyone to participate, activated many of our ways of knowing/making meaning and provided safe and effective ways for us to identify and talk through some of our key areas of disagreement. She did all of this while keeping us on track to reach our goals for the process and doing so on time.
Nicole Lischka, Simon Fraser University-Woodward’s: Suzanne’s “super power” is her genuine ability to connect deeply with a room full of strangers in a very short amount of time. She has an uncanny ability to draw people from their insides out with great respect and accommodation for individual differences in processing and sharing. Suzanne provided pathways for our collective voice to be heard, tools for us to take back to the office to enhance the work we do, and a renewed sense of collegiality for our fellow team members.
Molly Wallace, The Nature Conservancy: Within a very short time span, Suzanne was able to identify the core needs of my team, relate to my leadership style, and develop an effective agenda to maximize benefit from the team. I got nothing but positive feedback from my team on Suzanne’s facilitation and artful crafting of an agenda that struck a necessary balance between learning and rolling up sleeves and working through some tough issues. The energy was positive, constructive, and obviously safe. There were a few “breakthrough” discussions between team members that would not have happened if they didn’t feel the space was created for them to have critical conversations. Overall, several team members commented that this was the best team retreat they’d been to, and that speaks volumes to Suzanne’s facilitation style and skill.
Julie Besaha, Rockwood Leadership Institute: Suzanne is one of the most skilled facilitators I’ve ever experienced. She’s clearly very knowledgeable in the content and she delivers it effortlessly. But what really makes Suzanne stand out is her compassionate and empathetic qualities, and her willingness to be publicly vulnerable (she demo’d the lies/truth-telling section and … WOW!). If someone told me they were planning to attend AoL, I would secretly hope that they get Suzanne as their facilitator because I can’t imagine anyone doing it better.
Iris Brilliant, Family Philanthropy Organizer, Resource Generation: Suzanne is a brilliant facilitator – bold, compassionate, warm and truly cares about others. I loved being with her and hope to work with her in the future.
Wilburforce Foundation staff member: I was very hopeful, but feeling a bit cynical, about our staff retreat, unsure of what progress we could make in a relatively short period of time compared to the weighty issues we needed to wade into. Suzanne got my buy-in and participation quickly, calling out the real issues, making staff feel supported when they stepped out, and giving us tools to continue moving forward without her.
Rockwood Leadership Institute participant: Suzanne is everything that embodies an effective and talented facilitator. She was clear, direct, honest, real, thoughtful, reflective, and funny. I felt her passion for her work at all times which deepened my learning experience. And I really appreciated hearing all of Suzanne’s personal stories, which anchored many of the lessons, concepts, and ideas of the training.
Kristi Chester Vance, Deputy Director, STAND: Suzanne worked with many people at ForestEthics [now “STAND”] as she helped us plan different sessions of our retreat. Over and over, I heard people tell me that working with her got them excited and made them feel empowered. She’s incredibly smart, and incredibly uninterested in making others realize how smart she is. Instead, she’s clearly totally dedicated to the service of bringing out the best in ideas, people, and experiences.
Cathy Stonehouse, Faculty, Kwantlen Polytechnic University: Suzanne was very grounded and present which was invaluable. She modeled being comfortable with conflict and being able to roll with things and be flexible in terms of making best use of time. It was as much a quality of presence as the knowledge and information she shared which helped our group the most.
Monique Fouquet Ph.D., VP Academic + Provost, Emily Carr University of Art + Design: Suzanne’s style and approach to the process of developing a strategic plan was most useful and productive. Her method did not feel formulaic at all since Suzanne clearly strived to be responsive to the specific circumstances of our institution. Having worked with other consultants before, I found her approach most refreshing and I hope to have the opportunity to work with her again in the future.
Participant, Inner Activist: Suzanne was able to understand our challenges and provides feedback and guidance that helped us create a planning session that addressed our most critical needs. Her graceful attention to time boundaries ensured we completed what we set out to accomplish within the tight time-frame we had established. She facilitated our content and our energy levels so we could collective bring our best to the session.
Anne–Marie McElrone, Vice President, Public Engagement, Community Foundations of Canada: Suzanne is a rare find because she excels in so many different arenas. She is an extraordinarily talented facilitator who can take a group from A to Z in an engaging and effortless way; as a coach she helped me build on my own experience to deepen my professional expertise; and she is a strategic communicator par excellence who has mentored many groups and individuals. I am always looking for ways to build her into my work since she adds such value.
Carol Davies, Director, National Communications, Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada: Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada (BGCC) has worked with Suzanne Hawkes on several significant communications, project facilitation and group training projects over the past six years. We have hired her time and again as a consultant due to her high intelligence, “can do” attitude and comprehensive skills and background in leadership training, facilitation and strategic communications. …. She is particularly good at bringing about genuine, progressive discussion and helping a group to reach the desired goal at the end of the day. I would not hesitate to recommend Suzanne to any company or organization looking for a consultant capable of doing high quality work in any of these areas.
Sarah Jane Cuff, Sports Nutritionist & Coach, Eat2Run: Suzanne is a warm, caring and knowledgable coach who knows how to move her clients to action! When Suzanne and I sat down in our first session, I didn’t even have the capacity to conjure up my life as it is today. She brought me from from a place of being unable to define what it was I wanted (I just knew something absolutely had to change) to helping me develop and articulate my purpose and vision. It was there all along, but Suzanne has a way of drawing it out of you. She asked challenging questions and gave me exercises to do that required dedication and work – but at the end of the day they were some of the best things I could possibly have done. I am now a budding entrepreneur on my way to amazing career success and living a life I previously didn’t even had the courage to dream up. Thanks to Suzanne I now possess a wealth of tools in my toolbox to effectively work through any fears or limiting beliefs as they might appear. Working with Suzanne was one of life’s blessings bestowed upon me that I’ll be eternally grateful for.
Catherine Stewart, Campaign Manager, Living Oceans Society: Suzanne is a skilled and creative facilitator. She brings a wealth of experience, knowledge and talent to our meetings and has helped our sometimes fractious coalition work our way through debate to consensus. Suzanne ensures every voice is heard, dips into her bag of creative facilitation tricks to move discussion forward when needed and keeps meetings on track and focused on objectives and outcomes. She is diligent in preparing for meetings, surveying participants in advance and constructing agendas that reflect the needs of the group.
Scott Baker, NextUp Leadership Program Alumni: Suzanne delivered a three-hour strategic planning workshop to my NextUP cohort of fifteen young leaders working in various professional capacities across the progressive movement. Suzanne has an ability to blend complex content with humour and enthusiasm to deliver a highly engaging and effective learning experience. It is evident that Suzanne does her homework, and for our workshop brought several helpful methodologies, examples and resources to help us understand several of the well developed theoretical constructs she was introducing to us. From this thorough preparation, Suzanne was able to give us room to veer off and explore the many ideas that emerged from our discussion, while still folding everything back into a cohesive lesson. The cohort described Suzanne as “energetic”, “funny”, “practical”, “engaging”, and “inclusive”. Consider taking a workshop with Suzanne if you’d like to learn a lot, and have a lot of fun while doing it.
Peter M. Paul, Project Leader, ALLIES, Maytree Foundation: Suzanne is a skilled facilitator and communications expert. She worked very effectively to help us focus on key messages, media relations and crafting a campaign strategy. She is committed and passionate about her work and it came through in our session with her.
Lisa Matthaus, Provincial Coordinator, Organizing for Change: I have to draw busy environmental leaders to one and two-day meetings, and they need to get significant value-added from that time or I won’t get them the next time. Suzanne is the catalyst that takes my disparate content pieces, shapes them into a cogent and dynamic agenda, then delivers it with a creative energy that keeps people focused, engaged and walking out of the room knowing it was time very productively spent. Her grasp of strategy and campaigning, combined with her political and communications expertise takes her facilitation to a different level; it is so much more than keeping conversations on track and on time. And her training skills ensure that capacity-building components of the agenda are effectively designed and delivered.
Olga Scherbina, BC Internationally Trained Professionals Network /Diversity CLUES Consulting Inc.: I met Suzanne when she was contracted by BCITP Net to develop a series of communication and team building sessions for our leadership roundtable members. She delivered workshops on media relations, message development, government relations and communication planning. It was a great experience for the whole group, as Suzanne developed highly engaging sessions and tailored them to our specific goals and needs. She also coached our Coordinator through a strategic planning process and later helped us design our own workshop for the 2nd Internationally Trained Professionals Conference in 2010. Throughout our work together, Suzanne showed incredible knowledge, and shared her expertise in a deeply caring and engaging manner.