NCDD’s Leadership    

Many wonderful people have provided NCDD with direction, vision, and leadership over the years. Read about our Board of Directors and Steering Committee below. See who’s on staff at NCDD (and how to contact us) on The NCDD Team page. You can are also welcome to learn more about NCDD’s Director, Sandy Heierbacher, than you ever hoped to know.

NCDD Board of Directors

Paul Alexander

Paul Alexander is Director of the Institute on the Common Good at Regis University. The Institute seeks to facilitate effective social change in the community through the promotion of dialogue, deliberation, and communal discernment. The Institute was host to the 2004 NCDD Conference. Paul serves on the board of NCDD as well as several other nonprofits. He has a Ph.D. in community dialogue. Dr. Alexander has worked and traveled extensively in Latin America and elsewhere. In addition, he has facilitated a wide variety of diverse groups in both English and Spanish. He serves on several boards including Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning and the International Multicultural Institute.

Martha McCoy

Martha L. McCoy is executive director of Everyday Democracy (formerly the Study Circles Resource Center). She helped take EvDem from a start-up organization to its current strength, with 13 full-time staff, associates across the country, and a network of hundreds of communities. Under McCoy’s leadership, EvDem has become respected as a national organization that excels in helping local communities build their own capacity to organize large-scale, diverse dialogue for problem solving. Under her direction, EvDem is at the leading edge of connecting public dialogue to collective action and democratic governance, and of keeping race and inclusion at the forefront of practices to strengthen democracy.

Ambassador John McDonald

Ambassador John W. McDonald is a lawyer, diplomat, former international civil servant, development expert and peacebuilder, concerned about world social, economic and ethnic problems. He spent twenty years of his career in Western Europe and the Middle East and worked for sixteen years on United Nations economic and social affairs. He is currently Chairman and co-founder of the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy, in Washington D.C., which focuses on national and inter-national ethnic conflicts. In February, 1992, he was named Distinguished Visiting Professor at George Mason University’s Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, in Fairfax, Virginia.

Leanne Nurse

Leanne Nurse is a program analyst for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Center for Environmental Innovation. She staffs EPA’s public involvement policy and collaborative problem solving initiative, including the new Collaboration Practitioners Network. She served as a community involvement coordinator, a public affairs specialist for water and environmental justice programs, and as liaison to the US Green Group. She is an inaugural fellow of the University of Virginia’s Natural Resources Leadership Institute and is certified by IAP2, the International Association for Public Participation. Prior to government, Leanne worked as an award-winning public and commercial television producer, editor and reporter.

Najeeba Syeed-Miller

Najeeba is Executive Director of the Western Justice Center Foundation. Previously, Najeeba served as the Executive Director of the Asian Pacific American Dispute Resolution Center (APADRC), which has provided mediation and conciliation services for the diverse Los Angeles Asian and Pacific Islander community as well as youth based conflict resolution programs for schools. Najeeba has attended over 400 hours of conflict resolution training and mediated a large number of cases, including youth oriented disputes, inter-racial disputes and community based conflicts. She has trained hundreds of people in mediation skills ranging from prosecutors to community leaders. She currently teaches Intercultural Conflict Resolution, a master’s course at California State University, Dominguez Hills.

Taylor Willingham

Taylor Willingham is a public engagement and change management consultant, and founded Texas Forums. She teaches Change Management for the Graduate Library and Information Sciences distance education program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Texas Forums, a program of the LBJ Library and Museum, was launched in 2002 to help give citizens a voice in decisions that affect their lives. Using the National Issues Forums (NIF) model for community conversations, Texas Forums trains people how to engage others in their community in thoughtful conversations about important public issues – issues like health care, immigration and Americans’ Role in the World.

Former Members of NCDD’s Steering Committee

Before the Board of Directors was in full swing, we had a very active and incredibly helpful Steering Committee. NCDD deeply thanks all of the people listed below.

Tom Atlee
Founder, The Co-Intelligence Institute

Andy Fluke
Creative Director, NCDD

Nancy Glock-Grueneich
President, HIGHER Edge

Sandy Heierbacher
Director, NCDD

Leilani Rashida Henry
Founder, Being and Living Enterprises, LTD

Pam Korza
Co-Director, Animating Democracy Initiative of Americans for the Arts

Leah Lamb
Founder, The Performance Initiative

Amy Malick
Communications Director, Study Circles Resource Center

Diane Miller
Project Coordinator, Envision Central Texas

Priya Parker
Program Director of the Sustained Dialogue Campus Network, International Institute for Sustained Dialogue

Susan Partnow
Director of Conversations, Let’s Talk America

Barbara Schaeffer-Bacon
Co-Director, Animating Democracy Initiative of Americans for the Arts

David Schoem
Faculty Director, Michigan Community Scholars Program

John Spady
Director of Research, Forum Foundation

Lars Torres
Researcher, AmericaSpeaks

Taylor Willingham
Director of Texas Forums, a member of the LBJ Family of Organizations

Miriam Wyman
Co-Director, Canadian Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation

Sandra Zagon
Co-Director, Canadian Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation

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