Experiential Methodology

CSL’s philosophy of empowerment and facilitation can be summarized by the following quote from Anthony Silard, CSL’s Founder and President:

In any decision-making process, it’s the person or people who participate in making the decision who gain power from the process. For participants to get anything at all out of a workshop, they have to share their own expertise, make decisions with respect to what they want to learn, and engage each other in dialogue and other interactive exercises around issues they consider to be important. This is particularly important in the case of leaders, who don’t like to be led.

CSL has developed the leadership conference model using an experiential, participatory methodology. The primary goal is for the nonprofit directors to actively participate and share their expertise with other directors in order to distill Best Practices in the field which they can take back to their organizations after the conference. All skills and leaderships workshops facilitated by CSL and local affiliate consultants are participatory and include less than 50% presentation/lecture time and more than 50% time for experiential, interactive exercises including presentations, dialogue, Q&A, dramatizations, 1-on-1 interviews and group projects.

Note: In the United States, public benefit or social change organizations are referred to as nonprofit organizations. In most developing countries, the more common term is non-governmental organization (NGO). CSL will use the term ‘nonprofit organization’ in this website to refer to either a nonprofit organization or an NGO. For international conferences, we will use the term NGO.

Note: CSL hires and trains local consultants in its experiential methodology from the city/country in which the conference is taking place to facilitate some of its nonprofit skill-building workshops.

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  • Testimonials

    Tony has a way of being that is authentic and welcoming. His passion and commitment was evident. The approach was powerfully and passionately delivered…The retreat absolutely exceeded my expectations. PASSION and TRUTH are contagious! Tony is an example of a confident, compassionate, gentle person who has made a difference in this world. He is very special and a treasure.

    — Sharon Gallagher, Board Member, American Red Cross

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    Tony's use of examples and stories always help clarify/illustrate his points – and keep the discussion interesting. What I find most important, is that Tony includes stories from his personal experiences and feelings. To me, that adds a level of authenticity and vulnerability that I see as a commitment to teaching and generosity that is unique.

    — J. Kevin Jones, Jr., Deputy Director, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates

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    Tony’s sessions were practical, relevant, thought-provoking and clear. I would have enjoyed more time with him.

    — Shaheen Mistri, Executive Director, Akanksha, Bombay, India

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    The workshop has really helped me to identify my blind spots. After this conference I will have an inclusive decision-making style. I will avoid the ‘I know it all’ attitude.

    — Emmanuel Malubila, Executive Director, Zambia Ex-Prisoners Rehabilitation and Counseling

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    Thank you Tony for helping me find my passion! Forty years of not knowing and to finally have an “ah ha” moment!

    — Pam Smartt, Connections for Life

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    The conference affected my philosophy of leadership. It taught me not to be a dictator, but to have vision and be a listener.

    — Linah Nkhonjela, Executive Director, Girls Brigade of Zambia

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    This conference has dramatically broadened and encouraged my plans for my nonprofit enterprise... Thank you. A life-changing experience.

    — Art Shields, Lifesavers World Inc.

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    I believe that many of us learned a lot more than we anticipated we would. Tony’s workshops fueled conversations that continued through dinners, evening walks on the beach, and late night groups who gathered around wine and intense conversation....Tony helped us regain our focus and renew our passion and vision!

    — Janna Genovese, Executive Director, Womenspace Unlimited

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    Tony was the perfect facilitator as he had walked the path I am on…I need more time for myself, I need to find balance and hone skills for my staff. I can learn a lot from Tony’s calmness and integrity.

    — Suzanne McKechnie Klahr, Executive Director, YouthBuild

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    I think Tony’s approach was good because we had the chance to discuss the different characteristics of a leader….He made us realize that we all have characteristics of leaders in us.

    — Patty Santucci, Outreach Worker, Youth Developer, The Latin American Youth Center

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    I have worked with 5 national organizations and have had the opportunity to participate in several leadership development programs, all valuable, but none of which compared to the quality and depth of ECPNL...The quality of the presenters was second to none...I highly recommend this Program for nonprofit leaders at any stage of their career.

    — Joe Elmore, CAWA Director,
 Strategic Development National Outreach – MS Gulf, Coast
Hurricane Katrina Recovery

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    CSL's nonprofit leadership training helped me fully appreciate my inner voice. It has allowed my philosophy of leadership to bloom!

    — Holly M. Gartmayer-DeYoung, Healthcare Executive on Sabbatical, Addison, ME

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    Tony Silard and the Center for Social Leadership are indeed transforming the way nonprofit leaders lead.

    — Clark Byron, D.Min., Coalition for Independence (CFI)

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    The retreat surpassed my expectations! I want more training from Tony, and I’ll even drive for hours to it!

    — Andra Christensen, Board Member, The Discovery Center

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    I love Tony’s passion for his topic! I also am very inspired by how he merges many cultural philosophies….I like how he makes leadership a ‘concrete’ idea…I wish the retreat had been longer.

    — Michelle Chun-Tuck, The Fresno Regional Foundation’s Nonprofit Advancement Center

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    This was a 100% well-prepared, well-carried out, and well-received conference. I felt like the speakers knew exactly what our group's struggles were in maintaining and growing a nonprofit.

    — Sara Ortega, Mira Scholars Foundation, San Francisco, CA

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    I see myself continuing as an NGO leader because of my skills that I now have after this conference. Tony’s 15 Principles will help me in leading my organization to achieve its vision, mission and goals…This conference was really helpful and it should be organized again for other NGO Directors.

    — Brian Kayongo, Director, Adolescent Reproductive Health Advocates, Zambia

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