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Susan Beaumont, Senior Consultant, The Alban Institute

Background

Susan Beaumont has been involved in the development of leaders and organizations for more than twenty-five years. Prior to joining the Alban Institute, Susan spent ten years consulting with congregations, nonprofit organizations, and corporate clients. Her specialties include change management, leadership development, and conflict management. Susan has taught graduate and undergraduate classes in leadership, communication, and organizational behavior. She is an ordained minister in the American Baptist Churches,

Philosophy of Practice

I believe that every faith-based organization has a God-given mission that is a unique reflection of the community it serves and the giftedness of its membership. A ministry that is spiritually vital, relationally whole, and organizationally strong will naturally respond to the leading of God's spirit, discovering and engaging its mission. My approach is to support leaders as they seek to renew vision and revitalize ministry in their context. I focus on the strengths and resources my clients already possess, what they have already accomplished, and how they want to move forward. I provide models and ways of working that are tailored to congregational realities. I place emphasis on leadership vitality, relational wholeness, and organizational effectiveness.

Areas of Focus

Strategic Planning and Visioning

Planning and visioning in congregations is a "holy conversation" centered on three key questions: Who are we? What has God called us to do or be? and Who is our neighbor? I help planning teams design and manage a structured planning process that can take a year or more. This work involves laying the groundwork for planning, gathering data, making meaning from what is discovered, shaping a vision and priorities, getting ownership for the plan, and then implementing it. Throughout, my role is to facilitate communication, create accountability, hold the team to its objectives, share knowledge, offer insights, and provide an outside perspective.

Staff and Team Dynamics

I help midsized and larger congregations evaluate how their staffs and teams are configured. Are they the right size? Are the lines of power, authority, and accountability clear? Does the group communicate well and trust one another? Are work processes and decisions aligned with the mission? How are plans developed and performance measured? These are all questions I help leadership teams address to meet their adaptive challenges.

Health Assessments

An organizational health assessment empowers congregational leaders to focus their energy and to answer key questions to evaluate the leadership, relational and organizational strengths of the congregation. Such assessements are beneficial when preparing for a leadership transition, during size transitions, before or during major strategic planning efforts, or when conflict issues emerge. I custom develop health assessments depending on a client's situation and needs. Approaches range from facilitating a leadership retreat, to conducting an on-site assessment and reporting on my observations, to multiple on-site interventions and follow up.

Conflict Management

When conflict emerges as an issue in my work with congregations, I work to assess the level of conflict and its root causes. I gather information about the situation through inverviews, questionnaires, and small group meetings. I help facilitate dialogue about differences, make recommendations about ways to reduce tensions, and if possible help develop covenants among key parties. My holistic approach to conflict management is to try to understand the environment, the culture, and the context.

Education

  • B.S., Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois
  • M.B.A., Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois
  • M.Div., McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago, Illinois

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Tuesday, March 27, 2012.

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