Convening AS Capacity Building for the New Age

Trae Ashlie-Garen
6 min readDec 6, 2020

PART 4 of 6

This article, originally written in the spring of 2019; revised in the midst of Covid; and as a result of feedback; has now become a 6 Part Series. May this new breakdown of the information create yet more pleasant reading for everyone.

“If programming WITHIN the system is important, the meta-programming OF the system itself is even more important.”

(Don’t know who said this, but it has stuck with me for years… and thought it fitting to introduce this article here)


PART 4 — Change vs. Infrastructure Transformation

But aren’t we already doing this?…

Most of you who are reading this might say… Sure, okay, but we’re already doing that. There have been tons of initiatives around convening (gathering people together for conversation and discussion) across sectors in the name of creating something better or something more in the world…

If you are thinking this, please consider the following…


Generally speaking, we think about convening (gathering people together for conversation and discussion at one end, and for conferences at the other end) as an afterthought or an add-on on the back-end of our intentions for the most part, and to further ideations and agendas (often of fixed or forming models or organizations) in some way, not on the front-end before that agenda or that model has even been formulated.

And the challenge with that, is that the narrative, no matter how high we attempt to reach, because of the structures we are limiting the conversation to, rarely gets us beyond corporate “branding” interests.

We’re here to offer up a suggestion that the way we have been doing convening, which has been by embedding it into already established organizations, corporations, associations, causes or collective coalitions, or in general “agendas” is reactive and has restricted the efficacy of what it could really be.


How or why does this matter?…

We have an opportunity to lead a whole new charge, by (as Simon Sinek would say) “caring for those in our charge”, and that is by caring for humanity and the planet first…

Trae Ashlie-Garen

On a Quest | To Scale Empathy & Interdependence | Meaning for Humanity in Disruptive Times | Bold Conversations | Big Thoughts | New Narratives — Thrivably!