Breakout Session


August 10th at 3:30PM CST in Assembly Room

Co-Founder and Co-Director at

Collective Wellbeing -Reframing the Purpose of Organizations (and Society)

by Dr. Stephan Gilchrist (He/Him)

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Presentation Description

Organizations often view social equity, ecological sustainability, and human development as separate initiatives. However, collective wellbeing is a way to frame efforts in these three areas that surface their interconnected goals: wellbeing of people, wellbeing of nature, wellbeing of communities, wellbeing of organizations. By reframing our work around collective wellbeing and identifying it as the ultimate goal of social equity, ecological sustainability, and human development (the ability to engage our fullest potential), we begin to change systems, cultures, and mindsets in a way that hasn’t been possible. When we explicitly say that the purpose of our organization is to co-create wellbeing for employees and those the organization serves, that shifts how we see each other, what is valued, what is measured, and how decisions are made. 


The presentation will share conditions, and the leadership skills, knowledge, and mindset needed for collective wellbeing to be practiced and supported in organizations.  We will also share case studies of organizations who have undertaken organizational change for collective wellbeing.

Three Takeaways:

  1. How collective wellbeing creates an integrated approach to social equity, ecological sustainability, and human development and gets at the root goals.

  2. What leadership skills, knowledge, and mindset are needed to begin to transform organizations.

  3. Specific examples of organizations and initial actions steps and processes that individuals can take back to their organizations and communities.


Speaker Bio:

Stephan Hiroshi Gilchrist’s professional career spans international business, cross-sector sustainability initiatives, conflict resolution, community engagement, leadership development, organizational change, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. He is currently the co-founder and co-director of the Institute for Collective Wellbeing where they are working at the intersection of social equity, ecological sustainability, and human development. He was most recently the director and faculty in the Social Innovation and Sustainability Leadership Graduate Program at Edgewood College. Prior to his time at Edgewood, Stephan was at the University of Wisconsin Colleges and University of Wisconsin-Extension where he served as Assistant Vice Chancellor and Chief Diversity Officer, and founded the Center for Inclusive and Engaged Leadership and the Leadership for a Better World Global Summit. He has taught courses at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon and at Wells College in Aurora, New York. He holds a B.A. in international business, M.S. in environmental education, M.A. in conflict resolution, and an Ed.D. in educational leadership with a focus on interethnic conflict transformation and adult learning. He has been practicing taichi for over 20 years and is a volunteer instructor.