Facilitation Matters – Festival of Learning

Facilitation Matters Festival is back for 2024 and it’s shaping up to be another 2 days of fun, connection, learning and laughter. Once again the room will be packed with people who run meetings, workshops or community conversations and there will be 17 sessions packed with new ideas and fresh inspiration.

The theme for this year’s festival is ‘Pushing Boundaries’ and every session will be designed to help you take the next step both personally and professionally. We have three streams of workshops running, so you’ll have a chance to delve into personal development, as well as developing your facilitation, and developing your facilitation business. We’ll also have an Open Space session so you can focus on the topics that are important to you.

Facilitation Matters is much more than a conference. It’s a chance to connect with other facilitators, watch great facilitators in action, gather tools and techniques from people in different places and spaces and leave with new ideas and new friends. The final programme is almost complete. Check out who is guiding sessions so far:


July 23, 2024 9:00 am to 5:00 pm NZST
July 24, 2024 9:00 am to 4:30 pm NZST


Mercury Arena Suites, Baypark, Truman Lane, Tauranga


Members: $595.00 +GST
Non Members: $695.00 +GST

Building Connection Through Play, MC Extraordinaire – Rachael Dubois

Rachael was a crowd favourite at last year’s festival, so we thought we’d bring her back – this time to the main stage. Rachael is facilitating a session on how to Build Connections Using Play AND she will be sprinkling her magic through the entire event as MC. Look out for some playful ways to reflect on what’s happening!

Rachael is a facilitator and theatre maker from Tāmaki Makaurau and has a Bachelor of Performing Arts from UNITEC. Rachael was a senior facilitator and Artistic Director of Melbourne Playback Theatre, Facilitator with Polykala and Batley Evans (Australia) and Inclusive Aotearoa Collective Tāhono (Aotearoa). She is a playful, gentle facilitator who is skilled at helping teams to improve their ‘team-ness’ and storytelling as well as 1:1 coaching for engaging presentations. Find out more here.

Using Storytelling and Humour in Your Sessions – Korrin Barrett

In 2012 Korrin faced her greatest challenge with the partial loss of all four limbs. She now shares her story around the world and tells it with honesty, humour and heart.

Korrin will be leading two sessions at this year’s festival, as she brings her expert storytelling and sense of humour to the fore. Her breakout workshop on Using Storytelling and Humour in Your Sessions will give you practical tools for telling your own stories well, and her final keynote will help you get out of your own way so you can ‘Live Life Unlimited’.

Through Korrin’s stories you will learn what motivates her and you’ll discover tools for finding your own why. Be prepared to come away with renewed appreciation for life and the drive to move forward with a positive mindset. You can read more about Korrin here.

Natasya Jones
Working with Neuro Diverse Participants – Natasya Jones

Natasya is the Co-Founder of DivergenThinking, and has 25 years experience in learning and development. She has a personal diagnosis of ADHD and dyslexia and is passionate about creating opportunities for the neurodiverse to live fulfilling lives. She is on a mission to help people understand that we are all neurodiverse, and that by maximizing our strengths, we can improve mental wellbeing and create high-performing individuals and teams.

Natasya will be sharing her tools and strategies for making sure your workshop is designed and delivered with neurodiversity in mind. By understanding who might be in the room, you can ensure you create a workshop that works for everyone. Read more about Natasya and her work here.

Derek Toner
Keep On Swimming… I Mean Singing! – Derek Toner

This year’s festival is all about Pushing Boundaries and Derek is going to do just that. During Derek’s session you will join a cast of fellow facilitators to write and produce a song in less than an hour. There will be singing, beats, harmonies and of course a little bit of dancing. Through it all you’ll be able to explore a range of facilitation techniques that make it easy for people to step out of their comfort zone.

Hailing from Ireland, Derek has been a part of the NZ Learning and Development industry since 2016. He focuses on training solutions that go way beyond conventional box ticking norms and has a mantra that ‘No learner gets left behind’.

When he’s not facilitating, he’s busy singing and playing music. His band was the first band to play in the Baypark arena. They have also released albums and played alongside the Feeler and OPshop. You can find out more about Derek and Engaging Solutions here.

Clare Swallow
Design Thinking: Is there a product in you? – Clare Swallow

If you’re an independent facilitator who is designing your own IP, then chances are there is an opportunity to do even more. It might be a card deck, a game, a DIY resource – who knows? In this session, Clare will walk you through an express Design Thinking process, so you can start to imagine what’s possible and how you might shape up the next steps.

Clare is an experienced facilitator who helps businesses take a human-centered approach to the work they do in the world. Whether that’s around Purpose, Culture, Customer Experience or Innovation, Clare is skilled at taking clients on a human-centered journey. You can read more about Clare and her work here.

Darryn Gray
Decision Making with Groups – Darryn Gray

Have you ever been in a workshop where conversations go round and round, and it feels impossible to find consensus, alignment or clear path forward. In this session you’ll get to explore a range of decision making tools that you can easily use in a group setting. (Top Tip: There’s more to it than sticky dots.)

Darryn is a lifelong learner who is passionate about exploring ways to better engage learners of all ages in their learning. With a diverse background spanning primary education, public service, and Learning and Development/Organizational Development (LD/OD), Darryn continues to push boundaries in learning design and evaluation, in particular the integration of te ao Māori learning constructs in his mahi. You can connect with Darryn here.

Michelle Dalley
Shifting Your Inner Critic to Your Inner Coach: Busting Imposter Syndrome – Michelle Dalley

Do you sometimes get that pesky inner critic sabotaging your thoughts, making you feel like you can’t do that thing you want to/agreed to/even signed up to do? Do you fall into the trap of not feeling good enough in some way? If you’ve had these type of experiences, then Michelle’s session is for you. Learn what causes these reactions, powerful techniques to quickly down regulate and calm your system, how to bust unhelpful limiting thoughts and beliefs and focus on your inner coach.

Michelle has been a leadership and resilience coach and trainer for over 14 years.  She’s passionate about supporting people to succeed from a place of grounded self-leadership.  This involves understanding and mastering our internal experience so we can show up more resourcefully and create the results we want.  Michelle is an NLP Master Practitioner and Trainer, a Havening Techniques® Practitioner & Trainer, 6 Step Belief Change Practitioner and Trainer, Positive Neuroplasticity Trainer and more. Read more about Michelle and her work here.

Connect to Collaborate – Jacinta Cubis

Connect to Collaborate is a practical process that uses participants own photos to show what’s important, make connections and offer different perspectives. Once learned, the process can be used immediately and adapted to any strategic objective or group.  Pull on a pair of comfy shoes, bring your phone and join Jacinta in this innovative walkshop.

Based in Melbourne, Jacinta is a master facilitator (and facilitographer) who loves guiding groups to connect, make decisions, generate ideas and solve problems. With 28 years of experience, Jacinta is the go-to facilitator, trainer and mentor for clients in government, universities and community organisations, as well as consultants and facilitators. When Jacinta is not facilitating, or helping you learn how, you can find her on her yoga mat, in her art studio, on the tennis court or the tango dance floor. Check out Jacinta’s website, say ‘hi’ on Linked In and follow her on Instagram.

Workshop Design; Discover Your Facilitation Superpower; Old Tools in New Ways – Kerri Price

Throughout the festival, Kerri will be facilitating several sessions all designed to take your facilitation to the next level. Kerri’s sessions will be focused on Workshop Design, Discovering Your Facilitation Superpower and Exploring New Ways to Use Old Tools. Each of the sessions will give you practical tools and frameworks for making facilitation more engaging and more effective.

Kerri has been facilitating for 25+ years and has experience right across the facilitation spectrum. From small group trainings, Strategic Planning with Boards, Community Engagement workshops and everything in between. She is the founder of The Facilitators Network and is on a mission to ensure that no workshop is wasted. You can connect with Kerri here.

Katerina Kupenga
Facilitating through a Te Ao Maori Lens – Katerina Kupenga

Drawing on the traditional wānanga technique, Katerina will be facilitating a brave space to ask any burning questions you have in regards to te ao Māori in facilitation. She will draw on the wisdom, expertise, and experience of the group, including her own.  You can read more about Katerina and her work here.

Katerina will be facilitating two sessions, one of which will focus on pepehā. If you would like to participate in this session, please bring along pūrākau (short stories) about the significant landmarks related to the rohe (region) where you are living (or) a rohe (region) you feel a deep connection to.

Please note: This does not constitute cultural competency training or cultural guidance. It’s important to acknowledge that acquiring competency in these areas requires extensive training. 

Caryl Shorter
Below the Surface: More Than Icebreakers – Carly Shorter

If you were at last year’s festival you might have already experienced Below the Surface as an icebreaker or introduction activity, but is that all it’s good for? In this session you will dive into the power of questions and how to use Below the Surface in other ways.  This is an opportunity to explore Below the Surface  – the game, and learn from others about how else it could be used in the learning and development space.

Carly is an experienced facilitator who is on  a mission to support people to communicate powerfully, make meaningful connections and have conversations that matter. She travels the country working with amazing organisations to deliver effective communication skills training. In partnership with her brother, she launched the Below the Surface game in 2023. You can read more about Carly’s work here.

Vanessa Davey
Feedback Resilience: How to Thrive in the Face of Challenging Feedback – Vanessa Davey

As a facilitator, receiving challenging feedback can spark a loss of confidence and imposter thinking, but it doesn’t have to be that way. In this session, Vanessa will unpack the gift of challenging feedback and how you can shift your thinking so that you thrive, not hide, when it comes your way.

Vanessa is an experienced facilitator who is often referred to as the Queen of Questions. She has the unique ability to make people uncomfortable – in a comfortable way, and has her own stories to share about challenging feedback. Vanessa will expertly take you to the edge of your comfort zone, so you can take the next step with confidence. Get ready to see challenging feedback in a whole new light. You can connect with Vanessa here.

Leeann Bassett
LinkedIn for Lurkers – Leeann Bassett

LinkedIn is hot right now and over the last few years, it has seen a huge change in the way people are using it. There are endless opportunities to grow your facilitation network, meet incredible people, learn, share your experience AND grow your business. In this session, Leeann will share what’s working on LinkedIn; how it’s different to the other platforms; what makes a great profile for first impressions; and give you some simple ways to start sharing content confidently.

Leeann is a social media coach and facilitator who helps people gain the skills and confidence they need to grow their business, share their awesomeness, attract the right kinds of clients, and feel authentic as they do. She has been in education all her life and has the patience and skills to make the seemingly difficult aspects of social media accessible and understandable. You can find out more about Leeann here.

🙋 PLUS an OPEN SPACE session where you get to discuss the topics that are important to you. 💡

We know that some of the most valuable insights gained at conferences and events come from the connections and conversations we have with other participants between the planned presentations. The intention of open space is to create time and space for participants to engage with one-another, pose questions and share knowledge and experience around issues that are important to them.

The overarching focus of this year's festival is Pushing Boundaries: How might we push the boundaries of our facilitation to create bigger impact and better outcomes?

If you have a pressing question that could benefit from the input of others or you have something you would like to share in the interest of strengthening our collective facilitation practice, we encourage you to bring it to the open space session.

Check out a more detailed programme here.


This is the best 2 days I have had in years. Amazing PD and an opportunity to make new connections in my tribe.

Jennifer Wright

Springboard Trust

A ginormous THANK YOU Kerri and team for such an incredible couple of days! The festival has been the most enriching professional development experience I have had since going into business. The energy, ideas, inspiration and connections I gained are invaluable. I’m hoping this becomes an annual event!”

Sarah Cross


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