What are Multi-Stakeholder Dialogues?

Everyone involved comes together in one room in Dialogue to find a common understanding…

It is very challenging to change how things will work when multiple stakeholders are affected. It may be too complex for anyone to predict the consequences for everyone involved, and Dialogue may be the only realistic way forward. This is where Professional Dialogue plays an essential role. Everyone involved (or their direct representatives) comes together in one room in Dialogue to find a common understanding. Skilled Dialogue Practitioners, using Dialogue skills and a structured sequence of steps, can lead unaligned sub-cultural stakeholder groupings into a spirit of collaboration and informal partnership where new possibilities emerge and become attainable.


Within an organization there are departments and divisions that are interdependent and need to talk, think, and work together to be successful. Also, an organization is part of a larger system where collaboration with other stakeholder organizations helps everyone to do better.

Our Day Five panelists are all key players from two multi-stakeholder Reentry Councils in Virginia, USA. A Reentry Council is a local, district-level, collaboration of community members, resource providers, and law enforcement agencies who work with justice-involved people. They build good working relationships with each other, and as a result are more effective reducing recidivism and helping former inmates settle in their communities.

In 2010 the Virginia Dept of Corrections established Reentry Councils in every district across the state. The result? The lowest rate of recidivism in the USA for four of the last seven years, and the second lowest rate for the other three years. They have good reason to believe that the dialogic multi-stakeholder Reentry Councils are helping to create lasting public safety in Virginia.

Karen Wilson, Chief Probation Officer, Richmond Probation and Parole provides leadership for this Community Corrections, ensuring staff works cohesively together, and with community stakeholders and agency colleagues.

Sara Dimick, Executive Director, OAR Richmond, Inc (Opportunity, Alliance and Reentry) is responsible for day-to-day operations of this nonprofit, providing support to over 5,000 returning citizens each year.

Antoinette Bennet, Senior Reentry Probation Officer is an expert offender management and supervision practitioner and coach (in SOARING and EPICS II) and an agency Dialogue Practitioner.

Kathryn Clark Hall, Chief Probation Officer, Norfolk Probation and Parole leads staff in the supervision & investigation of people on probation, parole or post-release supervision.

Diedre Bailey, Family Engagement Service ensures families of returning citizens have the resources they need, by providing access to a range of job readiness services and employment.

Alan Dorrough, Workforce Development Specialist prepares individuals for successful transition from incarceration to the community. He collaborates extensively state-wide and nationally to grow Reentry Employment Network opportunities.

Participatory Dialogues announced so far

During the conference you have the opportunity to engage in over 50 Participatory Dialogues. These sessions expand on the theme for the day in small groups of 15 to 25 people and are co-facilitated by Accredited Professional Dialogue Practitioners and other carefully selected individuals. Here are a handful to whet your appetite…

  • Troy Adams (USA) and Eric Fling (USA)
    How Dialogue can build relationships
  • Susan Williams (USA) and Carroll Macey (UK)
    What are the hopes and concerns of your stakeholders?

"Sometimes we just become complacent in the way that we do things. So to be able to be with such a fantastic group of individuals where we can actually talk about dialogue is inspirational to me."

Alfreda Shinns, participant at The World Needs Dialogue 2022

Further details announced each week

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