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Die Hard Dreamers: Leadership and Authority in an Era of Disruption

The 54th Annual A.K. Rice International Group Relations Conference

Friday 20th July 2018 - Wednesday 25th July 2018

Tulane University, New Orleans, USA

A K Rice Institute
Tavistock Institute of Human Relations

Role of Staff
Info & Fees
Web Sites


In our third conference in a series we continue to explore how our uncertain and complex world confronts us with both challenges and opportunities.

In this intense leadership development experience, a living laboratory if you like, we learn by doing. Participants have opportunities to study how they impact and how they are impacted by the many groups and organizations in their lives.

​The staff provide a structured and reflective environment where aspects of leadership, followership, membership, personal authority, identity, difference, conflict, collaboration, competition, surprise and understanding can emerge over the six days.

New Orleans and the historic Tulane University campus (fully air-conditioned) provide a context rich with history and a gumbo of language, culture, politics, tragedy and triumph. This background fertilizes the conference as a microcosm of the world.

The Theme
Images in popular culture and the emergence of multiple interest groups seeking validation, political and civil rights have created a global drama. In response we require new skills and perceptual capacities to not only cope but also to act effectively as leaders and citizens. In this new (dis)order can we dream of something different? What happens to ‘old’ and ‘repetitive’ dreams? How do we support or make change with or without heroic effort? Can we mobilize our unique individual qualities within the powerful vortex of group forces?

​A Group Relations conference offers opportunities to bring in the real world for study. This requires courage, openness and ability to look within ourselves, and offer opportunities to learn to see outside ourselves, to comprehend the systemic patterns and forces at play in our shared world. In this conference we will find many differences as well as commonalities, in a deeply felt and challenging experience that offers no easy answers but a safe space to experiment and experience.

Join a diverse membership from the US and abroad as we gather together in curiosity, new awareness and creativity.

Outcomes reported by conference participants:

- Developed new leadership capacities to work in turbulent environments.
- Improved strategic thinking through a deeper understanding of how organizations reflect their social, cultural, economic and political environments.
- Understanding how leadership style affects the group by experimenting with how you respond to the conference's developing organizational culture.
- Learning about "under the surface" forces that impact individuals, groups and organizations.
- Recognizing the impact of differences (age, race, gender, sexual orientation, class, political orientation) on group collaboration through your work with the diverse membership.
- Increased effectiveness by recognizing the impact of the group, the culture, the organization, and the outside world on people's work.

Applying these insights to the ways to manage work roles and professional development.

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In the words of past participants:

"I see and think about groups, organizations, and the participation in them in a different way now than I did prior to the conference."
Arts Administrator

"The conference placed the learning within the context of an interdependent microcosm of social relations, groups, and various expressions of power and authority. Thank you to the A.K. Rice Institute for putting together such a powerful and challenging event.”

"Of any of the 7 workshops/conferences I’ve attended this year this was by a long shot the most intersectional/multi-identified… the conference is the kind of experience that took me to another level in my interests of addressing the matters of white privilege head on."
City Government Executive

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A Group Relations conference is an educational event which is based on learning through experience – the design has been developed by pioneers from the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations starting in the 1940’s and introduced to the United States in the mid 1960’s by Margaret Rioch and AK Rice after whom the US Institute is named.

We believe that strategic and structural dynamics of organizations can be studied and understood by working through the conscious and unconscious dynamics of leadership and management. Once acquired these insights can be applied with positive effect. This conference methodology promotes the integration of intellectual capacity and emotional intelligence producing leaders who have creative visionary potential, enabling them to work more effectively at helping their employees/colleagues/clients and themselves to adapt to and take on future roles.

The conference is an accelerated learning experience. It is designed to enable participants to understand, in greater depth, the factors behind the exercise of effective leadership and followership and to develop further their own leadership capacities and the leadership potential of others.

It is a ‘real time’ learning laboratory in the form of a series of reflective spaces where participants can analyze their leadership styles as they emerge in the conference and experiment creatively in expanding their repertoire of leadership skills.

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The Group Relations conference uses experiential (learning through experience) on the grounds that learning is more substantial and lasts longer if all one’s senses and faculties are involved.

This learning is based on proven Tavistock and other contemporary learning theories. Hence the conference
emphasizes the emotional engagement that comes about through active participation in the events of the

​The learning method has several major elements:

* a primary task
* temporary organization
* experiential learning
* focus on the group or system

These elements are described below:

The primary task is to study the exercise of authority and leadership through the inter-personal, inter group, and communal relations as these unfold in the temporary organization of the conference, within its wider context.

The conference participants and staff will join together for six days to create a temporary organization
that while having a basic structure is primarily improvisational. As the organization emerges,
the primary task is to study this process while also being in it.

This experiential learning provides opportunities for self and group exploration and experimentation
unavailable by traditional means such as lectures or reading. It also offers an environment to try
new roles and behaviors that can be applied back at work.
While we are accustomed to thinking that a group is a collection of autonomous individuals, the conference
will provide an opportunity to notice an opposite phenomonon. That is, that the group has a powerful
impact on the individual often unacknowledged by us. To assist in cultivating this shifted perception,
the staff will focus on group and system dynamics rather than on individuals.

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Are you:

• wanting long-term inspiration, stimulation, motivation?
• a change agent needing a space to reflect and challenge yourself in a world-class learning environment?
• wondering which path to take?
• starting or looking for a new job?
• wanting,considering or taking a promotion?
• feeling constrained or lacklustre in your role?

For anyone who is interested in how they and their groups / teams / organizations can work better:

Participants are business professionals, entrepreneurs, managers, executives, CEOs, researchers,administrators, activists, academics, students, consultants,
facilitators, therapists, trainers, clinicians, service providers, decision-makers, etc.

From the worlds of business, government and local authorities, the arts, law, media, consultancy, armed forces, emergency services, education, finance, politics,
NGOs, co operatives, criminal justice, religious orders, community groups, lobby groups,trade unions, associations and environmental organizations,etc.

Participants come from all sectors, levels, career stages and backgrounds and from all over the world

Participants have come from:

Princeton University
Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
INSEAD, Fontainebleau France
ESAN, Lima Peru
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
City University, London
Harvard School of Education
Tisch School of the Arts, NYU
Columbia University
Women Studies Center, Brandeis University
FXB Center for Health and Human Rights -
Harvard School of Public Health
City Neighbors Charter School
Freire School, Philadelphia
College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy

Private Sector
Chase Manhattan Bank
CBS News
C & F Financials LLC
McKinsey Center for Asian Leadership
Price Waterhouse Coopers
New Technology Solutions, Inc.
PivotPoint Business Solutions
Capital One
Frito Lay
Nexus Consulting

Open Society Foundation
F.B. Heron Foundation
Anne E. Casey Foundation
Ford Foundation

Human Services
Goodwill Industries International
Harlem Children's Zone
Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre, Toronto
Community Resource Exchange, NY
Nebraska Families Collaborative
New York Urban League
United Way of Greater Los Angeles
Brandon School and Residential Treatment Center, Natick MA
Aids Housing
Generation On
Gay Men's Health Crisis, NY
American Jewish World Service
Hopeworks 'N Camden

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
University Hospitals, Cleveland
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston MA
Austen Riggs Center
Balfour Senior Care
Harvard Medical School
Hartford Hospital
Kaiser Permanente
Baton Rouge General Medical Center

City of Neward, Office of the Mayor
Kentucky Dept. of Juvenile Justice
Contra Costa County Employment and Human Services Dept.
San Francisco Dept. of Children and Youth
Poudre County Fire Dept., Colorado
City of Laramie, Wyoming
NYC Department of Environmental Protection
United States Postal Service
Veterans Administration Hospital, Los Angeles

St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church
Towson United Methodist Church
The Hillels of Illinois
Congregation Dorshei Tzedek

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Role of Staff

Staff members are actively involved in all aspects of the Conference in various roles. Collectively, they function as the conference management, with responsibility for maintaining the conditions that support learning, including managing the task, space and schedule. In addition, they take other specific roles, including Director, Administrator and Consultant. As consultants, staff members will offer observations and impressions about what is happening, based on their own experience and knowledge, with the goal of focusing attention on group processes and their impact on participants. Staff will be drawn from the following.

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The conference will be comprised of two sub-conferences, an Emerging sub-conference, for those attending a group relations conference (GRC) for the first time and a Furthering sub-conference for those who have attended at least one GRC previously and would like to further their experience, understanding and sense making of the GRC model. You will be able to register for one or the other by specifying your previous experience on the registration form. The design of two sub-conferences provides opportunities to study and experience the dynamics between groups in an additional explicit dimension and to work more closely with people of shared GRC experience.

​Below are the basic elements of the conference:

The Conference Primary Task:
To study the exercise of authority and leadership through the inter-personal, inter group, and communal relations as these unfold in the temporary organization of the conference, within its wider context.

Conference Plenaries (Opening & Closing)
The Opening Plenary comprises the total conference membership and staff and is about crossing the boundaries from where we come from into this temporary conference institution.

The Plenary at the end of the conference, in addition to the above, provides further opportunities for reflective study of experiences and the process of endings without applying closure to learning.

The Mind Body Spirit Event
This Event is an opportunity to experience how mind / body / spirit are interwoven. This is an experiential ‘here and now’ event where members and staff, together in a collective space, can develop an awareness of internal states and feelings, allowing us to have greater access to embody their creative, intellectual and emotional selves.

Small Study Group
In small groups, each with one consultant, members will have opportunities to study the shifting patterns of relations in the group and their own part in what happens in the here-and-now.

Large Study Group
The LSG comprises the total membership with 2-3 consultants and provides opportunities to study the experience of the development of subgroups and the alliances and anti-alliances that form, through exploring the myths, beliefs, identities and dreams that emerge.

The Social Dreaming Matrix
The SDM comprises all members of the conference working together with two consultants convening it. The primary task of the SDM is to provide opportunities to discover the social meaning of dreams. This is done through members providing dreams to the matrix and free-associating to them. Making links among the dreams and associations will provide the systemic "unthought-known" meaning of the dreams. It is the dream, not the dreamer that is the focus of the work of the Social Dreaming Matrix.

Review and Application Group
In Review mode, members will have opportunities to review and reflect on the meaning of their experiences of the various roles they take or find themselves in within the conference. In Application mode, members will have opportunities to relate these experiences to the roles they will be resuming in their professional, organizational and personal lives outside the temporary conference institution. The members of the RAGs will work with a member of staff.

The Community Event
This event provides opportunities to study and experience the relationships and relatedness between the membership and the staff in this temporary conference institution as a fractal of our larger community. How inter-dependent are our beliefs and ideas about authority and leadership in our groups and organizations? How do we find the other and the other in ourselves?
Staff will manage the event, working in public. Consultancy will be offered. The Community Event will open and close in plenary.

Further information about conference design and rationale can be obtained on the Additional Readings


Eliat Aram  PhD
I am the CEO of the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations in London, UK. I have taken on the directorship of the A K Rice Institute’s annual residential conference for 2016-18 and have located it in New Orleans, an inspiring location for the learning possibilities of a GRC. Having worked in many places in the world, across cultural and geographical boundaries, I have been very fortunate to develop a capacity to understand the local context of where I work and to immerse in its vicissitudes. I have directed the Tavistock Institute’s flagship ‘Leicester’ conference for almost a decade and it is currently directed by a wonderful colleague who is leading it through the institute’s 70th anniversary. Issues of leadership and authority in a complex, often unknowable world are of daily concern, challenge and excitement for me.

Associate Director
Patricia Kummel  JD, PhD
Psychologist and Organizational Consultant, New York City; Fellow and Chair of Training and Certification Committee, AK Rice Institute, Member of California, Washington DC and New York Bars. I discovered systems theories when I was seeking guidance to better manage a team of attorneys, all of whom had applied for my supervisory position. Since then, I have used these concepts daily in my professional work and my personal life. To my mind, group relations and systems theories, particularly the concepts of boundaries, authority, role and task, provide a clear road map to make sense of human interactions. I am especially interested in the ways one’s family experience impacts future organizational experiences.

Associate Director for Administration, Creative Director
Jack Lampl   
Organizational Consultant, Past President and Fellow, AK Rice Institute, Past President, Threshold Foundation, Credentialed Mediator and Visual Artist. My work and my passions have ranged from the arts to technology to community development to social justice. A common thread has been my experience of the power of collective forces that are not readily apparent or ignored as we try to create or do work together in groups. A number of years ago I experienced the impact of a group relations conference on an organization I worked for and was sufficiently impressed to then learn more about theory and practice and eventually re-view all my work through this powerful lens and commit myself to sharing it with others.

Associate Administrator
Bo Bae  
is currently a doctoral candidate in the Leadership Studies program at USD, specializing in Higher Education Leadership. She received her BA in Psychology from Wheaton College and her MA in Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education at Ball State University. Her research interests include the exploration of critical reflection in the stimulation of curiosity in the college classroom, development of student social identity, and examination of structural changes in colleges and universities. Bo feels most alive when she is connecting with people about their passions, interests and upbringing. She loves to travel and finds much joy in baking and finding local coffee shops that have excellent tea. Bo is also an instructor in the Leadership Studies Minor, facilitator in the Conscious Leadership Academy and a leadership coach.

Mika Awanohara   
I am a Clinical Psychologist at Columbia University, and I also maintain a private practice in NYC. I first became interested in the unconscious life of groups during my fellowship at the Austen Riggs Center, a private psychiatric residential hospital, where I began to appreciate the role of family and social dynamics on the etiology and maintenance of seemingly individual "mental illness." I have served on the staff of various Group Relations Conferences in the U.S. I am the former President of the Center for the study of Groups and Social Systems (CSGSS), the Boston Affiliate of the A.K. Rice Institute (AKRI), and an Associate of AKRI. I bring my group relations experience to my work with patients who, among a variety of issues, grapple with those surrounding the exercise of authority and leadership in various contexts of their lives.

Sheri-Ann Cowie  PhD
received a doctorate in Counseling Psychology from New York University (NYU), an undergraduate degree in International Business / French from SUNY, College at Plattsburgh, and a certificate from the University of Paris, La Sorbonne. She is a past Conference Administrator of “Embracing a World of Difference” sponsored by NYU and the A.K. Rice Institute. Currently, she is an adjunct professor in the Applied Psychology department at NYU. She is the director of Children’s Century, LLC, a private psychotherapy practice where she conducts research, offers psychodynamic psychotherapy to children, adolescents, adults, and families, and consultation to organizations and schools. She works part-time at the Therapy Center of Philadelphia.

Patrick Jean-Pierre  PsyD
Deputy Assistant Director for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the University at Albany. Former Director, Technical Assistance Center on Disproportionality at Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation od Schools, New York University Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development. Dr. Jean-Pierre has over 16 years of combined experience in educational settings, which includes public schools, charter schools and universities. Patrick’s range of professional experiences in the field of education includes teaching, counseling and leadership development, as well as, organizational consulting that fosters systemic change and reduce disproportionality in schools. In addition, Patrick has provided leadership development at the Wharton School of Executive Education. Moreover, he has provided therapy to Youth and Families at the Mental Health provider, Supreme Consultants and teaches group courses at Manhattan College. Patrick received his Doctorate of Psychology at Rutgers University in Organizational Psychology with concentrations in Community and Sport Psychology. Patrick's research interests include masculinity, leadership, inter-group relations, and systemic organizational change.

Mark Kiel  
is a clinical psychologist, group psychotherapist, and is board certified in Organizational and Business Psychology. He is active in Group Relations Conferences with particular interest in Large Study Groups, Institutional Systems Events and post conference application. He is an Organizational and Group consultant in private practice and is the President of the Chicago Center for the Study of Group and Organizations (CCSGO). Over the last decade, Dr. Kiel was a professor at a clinical psychology program where he coordinated a group-based Personal and Professional Development program as part of the curriculum as well as taught courses in group dynamics, psychoanalytic theory and practices and organizational consultation. In addition to organizational consultation, Dr. Kiel is the Director of a college counseling center, is a clinician in private practice and recently published a book wedding traditional Group Relations concepts with traditionally non-Tavistock concepts and social sciences, entitled The Tavistock Learning Group: Exploration Outside the Traditional Frame.

Rose McIntyre  LCSW, CGP
I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Group Psychotherapist, practicing in the Northern Virginia area. For over 20 years I have worked with individuals, families and groups, exploring covert and overt behaviors and processes. I have been on the board for Mid-Atlantic Group Psychotherapy Association (MAGPS) for over 9 years, and am currently President Elect. I have completed the NGPI Group Training Program, as well as the Fellow and Leadership Program at the Washington School of Psychiatry. In 2016 and 2017, I Co- Chaired 3 MAGPS Weekend Conferences. Prior to Co-Chairing, I actively worked on conference committees holding various roles, such as small group leader, administrator, and site coordinator. I am currently a member of the Center of Study of Groups and Social Systems (CSGSS), AK Rice Institute (AKRI), American Group Psychotherapy Association (AGPA), Greater Washington Society of Clinical Social Workers (GWSCSW), and the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). I have a passion for diversity and social justice work, and am currently pursuing interests and the establishment of programs pertaining to Large Group and Median Group work. In 2015, following the work of Patrick DeMare', I established an on-going Median Group at the Washington School of Psychiatry which continues to meet monthly. I have attended four AKRI Residential Group Relations Conferences, am pursuing certification in the AKRI Training Program, and am currently a Stage Two Consultant Candidate. I fully believe in group relations work and the power of the unknown, the importance of curiosity, reflection, awareness and resilience connected to leadership, authority, and accountability. I carry hope for the expansion of this work especially in turbulent times, and value the importance of increasing ones awareness to both conscious and unconscious processes at play.

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Info and Fees

​Begins: July 20 (Fri) at 2 pm Promptly
Ends: July 25 (Wed) at 12:30 pm

$3,500* early registration

Fee increases by $400 on June 16, 2018

​Registration - online, website below & Payment

Tuition, room and board - in air conditioned facilities - includes nights of July 20-24. Accommodation on July 19, if needed to arrive on time for the 2 pm opening can be requested.

​To optimize learning Conference is residential only
Accommodations in dormitory residences consisting of private bedrooms with attached common area and shared bathroom.

Application deadline: July 10, 2018
ContactJack Lampl:

It is important to note that, while experiential learning such as that available in this conference can be enriching, it can also be stressful at times. Therefore, individuals who are ill or experiencing a period of significant personal difficulty may wish to forego attendance at this time.

Overnight dormitory accommodations will be at Loyola University, a short walk from the Tulane university meeting spaces

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Reduced Fees

*$1,000 reduction for each member when two members attending from the same organization. ($1,250 reduction each for three or more)

*Registration discounts:
$1,500 reduction for full time students

*$1,000 reduction for current paid AKRI, AKRI Affiliate, Tavistock Institute or other International Group Relations Organization members.

Reduced fees may be available in addition to reductions listed above. Contact the Administrator Jack Lampl to apply.

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Web Sites

A K Rice Institute - conference: http://
Additional readings: http://
Online Registration: http://

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