A Brief History of Systemic Constellations Conferences 2005-2016
North American Systemic Constellations (NASC) was founded to ensure the creation of future conferences and to be a foundation for the growth of constellations work in North America. NASC is being built on the work and vision of past directors and other contributors to the biennial conference, which began in 2005. These committed volunteers contributed extraordinary time, energy and passion, and many gave financial and other resources to developing these conferences.
2005. Portland, OR. Jane Peterson organized and produced the first U.S. Systemic Constellations Conference almost single-handedly. The conference featured a roster of senior European trainers. This well-attended and well-organized conference was focused on building community. U.S. facilitators were also featured. The keynote speakers were Joy DeGruy speaking on Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome and Lee Brown discussing the history of Indian schools in Canada and the emergence of medical clinics based on Native healing principles.
2007. Asheville, NC. Sheila Saunders took over the organizer role from Jane Peterson. The theme for the second conference was “Wisdom Unfolding: Dialogues From Beyond the Self.” The goal for 2007 was to increase the depth of knowledge in the American field. It featured a strong presence of European trainers in a relaxed atmosphere in a pastoral mountain setting. There were a large number of panel sessions as well as post-conference workshops. Sheila was assisted by Dee Yoh and Ed Lynch in the planning of this conference.
2009-10. Dee Yoh took over the role to organize the subsequent conference in 2009, eventually pushed to 2010 and later cancelled. Unfortunately, Dee received a traumatic brain injury in a car accident and then was diagnosed with cancer, which eventually took her life.
2011. San Francisco, CA. Dan Booth Cohen stepped into the vacuum created by the dissolution of the 2010 conference to organize a 2011 conference. He recruited a team of co-organizers, Carolyn Zahner, Barbara Eggenberger and Gary Stuart. Prior to the conference, Carolyn became a co-director. The theme for the third conference was “Claiming Our Roots - Embracing New Growth.” The conference featured Friday all-day training courses, and it de-emphasized senior European trainers, instead focusing on presentations by U.S. facilitators. Hunter Beaumont and Francesca Mason Boring were headline presenters. Keynote speakers were Malidoma Somé, Gordon Wheeler, Marita Fridjhon and Faith Fuller.
2013. Seattle, WA. Dan Booth Cohen created a new entity for the next U.S. Systemic Constellations Conference called ConstellateUS. A new steering committee of eight organizers was assembled including Dan Booth Cohen, Mark Johnson and Leah Green as co-directors, Alison Fornes, Barry Krost, Kathleen Rauch, Heidi Morford and Kirsten Love Lauzon. The committee chose to highlight indigenous wisdom and invited two sets of indigenous presenters, from Guatemala and New Zealand. The theme was “Courage at the Edge - Love at the Center.” Ursula Franke and Belvie Rooks gave keynote addresses. The committee created three tiers of presentations: Short TED-style talks, mid-length and full-length breakout workshops that also featured U.S. facilitators.
2015. San Diego, CA. A transition team formed in early 2014 with Dan Booth Cohen, Leslie Nipps, Alison Fornes and Barry Krost to select co-directors and develop a new steering team for a 2015 conference. The thirteen team members included Leslie Nipps and James Woeber as conference co-directors, Jack Blackwell, Karen Carnabucci, Alison Fornes, Barry Krost, Susana Witte, Nancy Kehr and Rosina Wellmann as Chairs and Laura Ghedina, Meta Lackland, Lisa Woeber, and Eily Aurora as assistant chairs. The co-directors came to a unique agreement with ConstellateUS that allowed use of its website, financial system and the conference mailing list as the team moved in the direction of developing a new community-based conference organization of volunteers. Jane Peterson, Dan Booth Cohen and Francesca Mason Boring were chosen as honorary chairs to advise and pass along leadership to the co-directors and the steering team.
The theme for the 2015 conference was “Embracing Our Roots, Standing in Our Strength.” Early in the process it was decided to move toward expanding the conference to all of North America. The conference was renamed as the “North American Systemic Constellations Conference.” Keynote addresses were given by Sneh Victoria Schnabel, Edward Tick., Ingala Robl and Francesca Mason Boring.
2016. Immediately after the 2015 conference a new transition team was created to initiate a search for co-directors, ensure continuity to the next conference, develop marketing, begin to search for a venue and create a non-profit organization that would be transparent and representative of the community. The transition team consisted of members from the 2015 Steering Team along with new volunteers. The team included: Leslie Nipps, James Woeber, Barry Krost, Deborah Frangquist, Denise Guerringue, Gabriela Klein, Jade Barclay, Joshua Alexander, Karen Carnabucci, Michaelene Ruhl, Ming Huey Chang and Peter Touchard.
In May 2016. North American Systemic Constellations (NASC) was incorporated as a non-profit corporation in Illinois with James Woeber, Deborah Frangquist, Leslie Nipps and Barry Krost, as the first four of an eventual nine-person board of directors. In July 2016, the transition team selected Melody Allen and Betsy Hostetler as co-directors for the 2017 conference following an extensive search that included input from many leaders in the North American constellations community. In October 2016, the board and transition team added five new directors including Elmar Dornberger, Jamy Faust, Rani George, Ema Oropez and Rosalba Stocco.
Going forward. The 2017 conference will feature a Steering Team of volunteers from the constellation community that is primarily responsible for creating a Systemic Constellations Conference supported by a Board of Directors that will have the legal and fiduciary responsibility for the conference.
2017 Conference Vision - “Bridging the Divide; unifying the fractures in our personal and collective soul”
The goals of NASC are to organize educational conferences and other learning experiences that support the growth and development of Systemic Constellations as a healing modality, help create community and connections, and provide quality learning experience for participants in the art of Systemic Constellations so that the far-reaching benefits of Systemic Constellations can be shared with the public.
[Special thanks to Dan Booth Cohen for his help in creating this brief history of systemic constellation conferences in the U.S..]
For more information on the history of systemic constellations: