Susan Kaplan

Courage & Renewal Facilitator
Speaks English

Susan Kaplan, M.S.W., M.P.A., R.Y.T., has a practice, Leading & Leading From Within LLC. 

She is a Facilitator, Coach, Trainer, Mentor and Wellness Practitioner.

All of my work involves listening – to self, others, and the collective.  This can be a challenge in these current times that feel chaotic, unpredictable, and there is such polarization and reactivity in the air.  Even the more reason to sit in circle, quiet the chatter, and be present.  Courage work brings me a settling into myself and in community with others during these times of great joy and devastating changes.  A time for us to listen more deeply to our own inner teacher and to glean our collective wisdom.

Courage & Renewal approach and Circles of Trust  include many of our specialized CR programs as well as leading Circles of Trust® retreats.  Here is an overview of my work:

Circle of Trust® retreats: Cross professional retreats, Congregational and Clergy Retreats, Nonprofit organizations retreats, and Seasonal Retreat Reflection series.

Leading Together: building capacity in Courage & Renewal principles and practices in various settings, including congregations, nonprofits, human services organizations and community groups

Healing the Heart of Democracy with a Side of Empathy – retreats and series for congregations, community groups, nonprofits and college campus groups. Nonviolent Communication is integrated into the series. Engaging and Healing Differences is an extension of Healing the Heart of Democracy work for youth, college students, congregations.

Soul of Aging series and retreats

Diversity and Social Justice: The Highest Calling of Your Heart Retreat, based on the vision of John Lewis. This CR circle invites rest, reflection, and cross-racial presence and dialogue. Holding questions in racial and social justice work is challenging.  This retreat creates space and time to just be with your own questions and experiences and to hear the questions of others. Living into Beloved Community, we slow our pace and build community across different types of change work.   Supports DEI engagement.

Walking with Grief and Loss: Circle of Trust® retreats, series, and reflection circles that help support moving through grief and loss in both personal and collective grief.

Women’s retreats: for growth and building community

Coaching for leadership development, grief and loss, circle work, etc.


Additional bodies of work I can bring to CR work;

Forest Bathing Guide and Forest Therapy Practitioner: leading Walks and creating Well Beingness Plans for individuals and/or part of CR circles.  This direct engagement with the natural environment through a sequence of activities, supports a sense of interconnectedness with nature.

Storyteller and Story Listener®: using the wisdom and collective knowing of stories as third things.

Nonviolent Communication: a Certified NVC Trainer with the Center for Nonviolent Communication, bringing  a consciousness for a higher quality of connection and communication patterns, empathetic listening and speaking and shifting our communication to more life giving patterns.

Hatha Yoga teacher: a wellness practice that adds to retreats and series.

Art of Hosting: bringing generative questions into community discernment with World Cafe, Pro-action Cafe, the Circle Way, The Chaordic Stepping Stones Planning Process, and other communal practices

Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) and Intercultural Conflict Style Inventory (ICS): tools that support increases intercultural development competence  and more choices in moving with differences.  Support Diveristy, Belonging, Inclusion, Equity and Social and Racial Justice work.

Favorite quote

A shift in consciousness to “heal all of life, not just those who are ill. [This] affirmed Kabbalah’s deeply optimistic view that however broken and fragmented things may seem, all of life is in fact evolving toward a state of wholeness and that we humans have an active role and responsibility in furthering this evolutionary healing process. We do this with acts of tikkun olam - healing & fixing the planet and tikkun ha’nefesh healing and perfecting our own individual soul.”

Estelle Frankel, Sacred Therapy – Jewish Spiritual Teachings on Emotional Healing and Inner Wholeness, p. 4.

Book Recommendation

Riverwalking: Reflections on Moving water Activating The Common Good: Reclaiming Control of Our Collective Well-Being Storycatcher: Making sense of our lives through the power and practice of story

Kathleen Dean Moore Peter Block Christina Baldwin

Where I'm Finding Inspiration

These days I find inspiration in dependable places of being outside in the natural environment, mountains, parks, etc. I have several colleagues and friends that I have meaningful conversations that help me make sense and the collective wisdom and mostly questions that arise. Many many fields are now talking about the power of listening and story, which brings me joy, with more and more embracing the importance of CR practices and Principles. And many leaders who are asking the right questions, of course Parker Palmer, Margaret Wheatley, Peter Block and many more! And you - because you found this website and are searching for something that is important to you. Trust in that we can move through these times by working in community and bringing this work as a way of being with each other.

What I Do For Fun, Rest, and Renewal

Walking year round is the best! Being in the forest or city park brings me joy. My grandson brings me joy when he digs in my garden especially when we are planting early in spring. Drawing, especially in my nature journal, brings me calm and delight. I take the same hike for over 30 years, in Rocky Mountain National park and it never fails to help me repair and renew! Being with dogs is fun and renewing too! Rest... that is laying in my hammock with a good book and a small blanket when I fall asleep.

Organizations I've Worked With

Naropa, Psychology Dept - mini retreat United Methodist Mountain Sky Conference - retreats for clergy, congregational support to reconnect with their physical community surround their congregation and DEI work Kavod Senior Living Residence - Soul of Aging series Hillel Campus Center, University of Denver - Healing the Heart of Democracy National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation Conference Presentation