Dale Ainsworth, Organizational Systems

Photograph of ...

Dale Ainsworth

Organizational Systems Alumni/a 2010

Dale had been a leader in business and non-profits when he started working as a collaborative consultant and group facilitator. That took him off the beaten path and expanded his horizons: he even helped New Orleans’ residents develop rebuilding strategies in the wake of the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina.

When he wanted to take his work with groups and his understanding of collaborative processes to the next level, Dale found Saybrook.

“I got very interested in collective consciousness and how it appears in groups,” said Dale, who earned his Ph.D. in organizational systems at Saybrook in 2010. “I really was just drawn into looking in that topic and Saybrook felt like the right place for me to do what I was doing.”

Dale’s doctoral research focused on developing groups and teams to lead transitions in organizational and community settings. “The core faculty was outstanding,” Dale said. “My dissertation chair, Dennis Jaffe, was also my mentor and he was outstanding, responsive, and helpful, pushing me when I needed to be pushed.”

The pace of study at Saybrook also fit Dale’s life. “I’m a father of three and I couldn’t stop the world to do a Ph.D.,” he said. At Saybrook, “you learn at your own pace and you’re offered an enormous amount of freedom concerning what you want to study.”

Today, Dale is a managing partner at Valley Vision, a California-based nonprofit that works to secure the social, environmental, and economic health of the Sacramento area. He continues to conduct research and lead efforts to develop capacity within collaborative structures, where multiple organizations work together to accomplish a common, large-scale goal.

Much of his work includes the research approaches he learned at Saybrook. At Valley Vision, “we do a lot of action research, which is meant to catalyze and stimulate action, and raise an awareness of the issues at hand,” Dale said. “I think Saybrook really helped me take my research competence to another level.”

Today, Dale also serves as an adjunct faculty member at Pepperdine University's masters degree program in organization development, and serves as a part-time instructor for California State University, Sacramento. He is a published author and frequently holds presentations on the topic of collaboration as a means to address large-scale issues and intractable problems.

As for the organizational systems program at Saybrook, “I always highly recommend it,”