Session 1: Master the Courage to Drive Fierce Conversations

This first session sets the stage for the entire 2017 NW Diversity Learning Series: Seizing the Courage to Have Disruptive Conversations—An Imperative for Inclusion! At a time when public and private discourse has become increasingly divisive, it takes significant courage to respectfully and honestly express our views and appreciate those of others. In this session, we will explore the role that direct and authentic conversations have in our ability to engage with others in ways that enrich relationships and achieve personal and business results. Incorporating a clear process for having fierce conversations is paramount to long-term success. Participants will discuss specific barriers to clarity and understanding, and will practice engaging in conversations that draw out multiple perspectives across teams and create inclusive environments.

Learning Objectives: As a result of this interactive workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the impact their context has on their conversations, their relationships and the results they can achieve 

  • Enrich relationships by remaining curious, interrogating reality and tackling tough conversations 

  • Deepen their understanding of, and appreciation for, differing, often competing views of reality 

  • Engage teams in decision making through tools that include all perspectives and create inclusive environments across teams

Date: January 17, 2017

Time:  8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (continental breakfast served at 7:45 am)

Location: Nordstrom Flagship Store, Seattle

                  1617 6th Avenue

                  5th Floor, J.W. Nordstrom Meeting Room

Presenter: Clark Witten, VP of Learning at Fierce, Inc. 

With nearly 25 years of experience serving a range of mid-sized to large multinational companies, Clark brings to Fierce a background in leadership, change, diversity & inclusion, and team & organizational development that spans several industries—including consulting, financial services, hospitality, telecom and food & beverage. He has consulted within the for-profit and non-profit sectors. As well, Clark is bilingual in English and Spanish and has facilitated large and small group programs around the world to help drive growth for leaders, teams and organizations. His global experience includes work throughout EMEA, Asia-Pacific, and all the Americas.


Though the business models may differ in the wide-ranging industries that he has served, Clark has noticed one thing that prevails among them all- the success of our businesses relies on the success of our relationships. With that perspective, Clark can often be heard noting one key principle: You are the company you behave yourselves to be. To that end, Clark has dedicated his work toward helping his clients align individual and group behaviors with their vision, mission and goals.

Clark’s comfortable, easygoing approach helps individuals and groups fully engage in conversation that is fun, reflective and practical; learning that meets the participants where they are and pushes them just beyond their comfort zone to drive yet greater insights and learning.

Whether he’s coaching a senior leader, facilitating a large group session, or delivering a keynote presentation, Clark has a clear focus—to provoke learning and enrich relationships through conversation; because the conversation is the relationship. ©

Some organizations for whom Clark has developed executives, senior leaders and front line employees include: Towers Watson (formerly Towers Perrin), TIAA-CREF, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., Save the Children, T-Mobile USA, Inc., and Starbucks Corporation.

NWDLS is Managed by:  The Institute for Sustainable Diversity and Inclusion (ISDI)


ISDI is a non-profit organization established for the purpose of educating, supporting and collaborating with key stakeholders on ways to leverage differences and practice inclusion to enhance individual and organizational success.  


ISDI was founded in 2015 and assumed the management of the Northwest Diversity Learning Series in 2016, formerly managed by Archbright. Barbara Deane, the original NW Series co-founder, and Effenus Henderson, retired Chief Diversity Officer, Weyerhaeuser are the co-founders and directors of the Institute.  This is the 19th year of the NWDLS!


Upcoming Sessions in 2017:


(Please note: the order of topics and titles may shift slightly as we work with presenters.)


Session 2:  Seize the Courage to Address Gender Bias at Work. Tuesday, March 7

Session 3:  Seize the Courage to Deconstruct White Male Privilege. Tuesday, May 9

Session 4:  Seize the Courage to TRANSform Our Ideas of Gender Identities in the Workplace. Tuesday, June 20


Session 5:  Seize the Courage: Move from Assumptions to Understanding in A Multi-Generational Workplace. Tuesday, September 19

Session 6:  Seize the Courage to Respond to the Context of Racial Inequality. Monday, October 30