Kathy Germann and associates offer trainings and consultations that support the creation of inclusive organizations, where multiple perspectives are welcomed, conflict is used creatively, and people are honored with dignity and respect so they are able to contribute their best work. We work primarily with educational, human service, healthcare, governmental and business organizations.

Through years of experience, we have developed very successful training programs using innovative, process-oriented, interactive teaching methods. We can adapt these trainings and/or individually tailor them to meet the specific needs of your organization. Our trainings can take the form of a series, full day workshops (1-3 days) or institutes (5-10 days). Our consultations are a partnership process where we collaborate with you in designing and implementing interventions that will sustain organizational improvements.

Our specialties include:

In addition to our on-site services, we also offer workshops through the University of Wisconsin - Madison Division of Continuing Studies. See their web site for course descriptions, our current calendar, and registration information.

Conflict Transformation

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  • Are workplace conflicts getting in the way of your organization's productivity?
  • Is there distrust between employees based on current or past conflicts?
  • Are your supervisors spending so much time dealing with conflict that it interferes with other job responsibilities?

Conflict is something most people want to avoid and yet it is a natural part of life. Most of us have grown to see conflict as “bad”; as an either/or experience — we flee or fight, we win or lose. When handled with integrity, curiosity and compassion, conflict can open us to new possibilities and can deepen our relationships with ourselves and with others. Once we discover how to use the energy of conflict creatively, there can be many positive outcomes.

  • more innovative solutions to problems
  • greater investment in solutions that are mutually acceptable
  • less time dealing with problems that have gotten out of hand
  • increased productivity
  • greater trust leading to enhanced work relationships

Would you like the members of your organization to have the skills to resolve conflicts with respect and dignity rather than letting conflicts fester and grow? Please read further to learn about our conflict transformation workshops.

We choose to use the word transformation versus resolution because our experience shows that not all conflicts have a nice, neat, easy resolution. The term resolution implies that a problem needs to be solved and if we were just smart enough, persuasive enough, or if the other person would just “see it our way”, everything would be fine. Transformation implies a different approach. It begins first with our relationship to conflict — how we think and feel about it, and then what actions we take. The beginning step in transformation is internal — in how we think about the experience and the other person with whom we have a difference. Rather than perceiving them as an “enemy” and the conflict as a problem to be solved, we teach people how to identify needs and the common ground that exists between them. This approach supports the maintenance of healthy relationships and more creative ways of finding mutually acceptable solutions.

Our approach is not a recipe, but rather, our participants learn skills to be present in the moment, so they are able to listen deeply to the other and have the courage to speak their truth. A unique aspect of our workshops is the introduction of the skill of centering. Being centered means finding an inner place of calm alertness, which then increases our ability to access our best thinking. Centering can be contagious; when one person is centered, others are often calmed by their presence, helping to de-escalate the intensity of the situation, so that all parties can work together.

Our conflict transformation workshops can be custom-designed to meet your groups’ particular needs (e.g. through case studies and examples related to your group’s focus). We also offer consultation and facilitation services with groups who are working through a conflict. Our approach differs from standard mediation practice, where a neutral third party intervenes and mediates the dispute. Our focus is on teaching people the skills necessary to work through conflict themselves, so they are then equipped to work through future conflicts that may arise.

© 2002 Kathy Germann, Vida Groman, and Denise Jess.

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Diversity Issues & Anti-Oppression Work

Training Services

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Over the last several decades, people have experienced many kinds of diversity training that have not always generated the desired outcomes. Have you ever attended diversity training that:

  • was so confrontational that participants became defensive and “shut down”?
  • focused exclusively on race and gender without addressing other dimensions of diversity?
  • offered a generalized “laundry list” of characteristics of groups of people that were not necessarily accurate for all members of the group?
  • seemed to focus entirely on recruitment rather than the organization's climate and practices?
  • emphasized rules and regulations to prevent litigation without teaching skills for fostering healthy work relationships or confronting inappropriate behavior?
  • professed an “I’m ok — you’re ok” philosophy without giving concrete information about how to bridge differences?

If you answered yes, and if these approaches are not satisfactory to you, please consider our approach. We are committed to helping people create workplaces that are inclusive, that value multiple perspectives and treat people with dignity so they can do their best work. Not only do your employees benefit, your organization as a whole does too.

Your organization and it’s members will:

  • experience enhanced creativity and productivity leading to increased revenues and/or abilities to provide services
  • exhibit stronger problem-solving capacities and abilities to learn from and value multiple perspectives
  • attract the best and brightest workforce candidates with enhanced loyalty to the organization
  • have satisfied customers providing positive referrals
  • experience a welcoming climate where differences are ok and positive, healthy, work relationships are the norm

Our diversity training includes a broad brush approach which addresses the full range of diversity issues, (e.g., race, class, gender, sexual orientation, disability, etc.), as well as trainings to explore specific issues in a more in-depth fashion. The diversity trainings are available in formats ranging from one to five days and can be custom-designed to meet your specific organizational needs.

We begin our diversity trainings with developing an awareness and understanding of what it means to live in a society where oppression, the “isms”, are very much alive in our institutions. We want to create an understanding that our individual actions alone are not the only thing that needs to change. Our actions or lack of action take place in a larger context that influences the outcome of our behaviors. Rather than a “quick fix”, we strive to help people understand the root of oppression so the positive actions we take are aimed at making real and lasting change. Instead of attempting to learn a “laundry list” of “facts” about people who are different from us, we focus on learning about ourselves — on becoming aware of our own “filters” and assumptions, our power and privilege, and how those impact our attitude and actions.

Our work is not about blame or confrontation or about who is more politically correct. We strive to create a safe forum for dialogue about these issues so all those present can learn from and with one another. Everyone is hurt by oppression, we all have a stake in transforming the current paradigm, and we all need each other to make it happen. We explore how to become genuine allies with one another in creating truly inclusive organizations. Only when we are willing to go beyond stereotypes and labels, fear and old hurts, can we begin to learn the truth and make the authentic connections between people that support healthy and productive organizations and communities.

© 2002 Kathy Germann Consulting and Denise Jess Consulting.

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Consultation Services

Many organizations begin their work on diversity issues by offering awareness trainings. This can be a good start, and it is one of many steps in the larger work that can be done to create inclusive organizations. We offer consultation services that will support your efforts in doing a comprehensive diversity initiative that will facilitate a real transformation toward becoming an inclusive organization. A full diversity initiative includes not only awareness training, but also in-depth consideration of your organization's policies, practices and procedures. This process may involve such efforts as:

  • establishing a diversity council to provide leadership for your efforts
  • conducting an organizational assessment to review the strengths and areas of improvement
  • creating a vision for inclusivity that drives a long-range plan
  • establishing ongoing educational opportunities.

Let us help you foster an inclusive workplace based on dignity and respect.

© 2002 Kathy Germann Consulting and Denise Jess Consulting.


Team Development

Our ways of thinking not only affect our work relationships, but also can limit or expand our capacity to provide products and/or services. Strong, healthy work teams share a collective vision and have a vested interest in learning and growing together. Our team development work is focused on supporting groups’ abilities to use processes that foster innovative problem solving, continuous improvement and healthy, productive work relationships.

We tailor all of our team development workshops to meet the specific needs of the team. Initially, we conduct an assessment to determine what is working and what the desired areas of improvement are on the team. We then work in partnership with the team leaders to develop a plan of action that includes the workshop agenda as well as follow-up activities to support the learnings.

The following are possible learning objectives for a team development workshop. Participants will:

  1. Improve communication skills.
  2. Increase openness to and respect for other team members' ideas and perspectives.
  3. Learn decision-making skills.
  4. Learn effective skills to deal with conflict.
  5. Enhance collective capacity for creative problem solving.
  6. Learn effective meeting skills.
  7. Build healthy work relationships between new team members and current team members.
  8. Identify concrete ways to provide a supportive work environment.
  9. Identify a collective vision and develop action plans.

© 2002 Kathy Germann Consulting and Denise Jess Consulting.



Training Design

We believe people learn best when they are actively involved in the learning process. We offer a workshop on the fundamentals of adult education, with a focus on the design and facilitation of experiential education. This workshop is suited for beginners as well as practitioners who have been teaching for some time and who may simply desire some new ideas.

We are also available to consult with you on the design of one of your specific workshops. We use our expertise to help you clarify learning objectives and create activities that support you in successfully teaching your material.

© 2002 Kathy Germann Consulting and Denise Jess Consulting.

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