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Our NPO, the Life Righting Collective , invited one of our talented members, Dr. Leena Akhtar, to join us as a facilitator, which unfortunately for us she was not able to accept. However, she offered to run a course for our board and exco committees to help us sharpen our facilitation skills. I learnt from her approach how to better notice my assumptions and use of language that might cause someone to feel excluded; I learnt how to better identify and to support emotional responses, my own and others', so that they are helpful in the group process rather than disruptive and harmful. I was skillfully reminded that messing up is not the problem, it's what I do after I have made a mistake that is crucial. Leena is a living example of what she teaches - warm, attentive, inclusive, non-judgemental. The process she facilitates is reflective and insightful, with many areas of practical application. At the end of the day, we all reported that we felt safe and challenged, and had learnt new skills that we can take forward into our lives and into our organisation.

- Dr. Dawn Garisch, CEO, Life Righting Collective, Medical doctor & author

I have been working with Jessie (Justin) since January of 2022, they offered so much in this space in just a few short sessions. Their gentle connectedness, lived experience, vulnerability, and natural embodiment of true values-based equity work were awe-inspiring. It was because of Jessie that I decided to delve deeper into better understanding the importance of this work and I enrolled in additional programming.


Jessie introduced their partner, Dr. Leena Akhtar, to me and a group of my peers, dear friends who each wanted to continue our work together. Leena brought a fresh perspective, brilliant insights, and true authentic collaboration, holding a safe and educational container as we moved through our time together, working through the real challenges we each were facing in our daily lives. This partnership has changed how I view the world, and I know their experience working with individuals and organizations is just as impactful. What I most appreciate is their ability to meet a group where they are, making an impact without blame or shame but holding space for learning and building strength for self- accountability. Their offerings are connected, brave, robust, and also so very holistic.

- Melanie Sanford D'Orio, C.P.C., Founder, Quiocey

I participated in a Teaching for Equity workshop in the winter of 2017. Leena created a space where people with a wide range of comfort and experience could talk together about the sensitive issues of power, inclusion, and diversity. I was so impressed with the non-judgemental, compassionate, and deeply knowledgeable way she moderated the discussions!

- Emily Harrison PhD, Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University

NE GWiSE is an alliance between groups of graduate women in STEM from universities across New England. This year Leena gave the keynote address for the NEGWISE Spring to Action Workshop “Breaking the silence, building a collective: A forum on sexual harassment in higher education.” Leena gave a beautiful and engaging lecture on the history of Title IX. The material was eye-opening for our audience, who has thought deeply about Title IX today, but overall has less background on its origins in terms of sexual harassment.

- Tamara Pico, PhD Program, Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University

Leena Akhtar and Nicole le Roux led the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. event in Sharon in 2018, offering a formal presentation and facilitating a community discussion. In a town that prides itself on diversity and the celebration of differences, they took us to a deeper level of interaction including the understanding of how power functions in our relationships and organizations. I highly recommend their work.

- The Rev. Dr. William Kondrath, Lead Consultant VISIONS-Inc.

Experiencing Leena and Nicole’s method left a lasting impression on my mind. They are masters at creating a safe space in the truest sense. Their thoughtful and creative exercise was framed and executed with such care, and it was clear that participants felt comfortable and welcome. Because of this, the space became extraordinarily generative – students began sharing their stories; some of which were happy, some reflective, some gut-wrenchingly sad; all were deeply personal. It was a healing and empowering exercise for many in the room, and it was expertly guided by Nicole and Leena.

- Lisa Haushofer, MD, PhD, University of Toronto

The Greater Us - FINALS July 2018 edit l
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