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Nina Narelle

Ph.D, 2012, Managing Organizational Systems

"Saybrook showed me I could do organizational change work in any kind of organization and find it rewarding. That was a great thing to discover."

Team Builder

“There are a lot of smart people in the world who can solve technical problems, but there are not a lot of people in the world who can solve complex humanistic problems. My hunch was that Saybrook would help me develop that capacity, and I was correct.”

Nina Narelle built a nonprofit career in organizational change the old-fashioned way. But a “hunch” that the Seattle-based LIOS Graduate College of Saybrook University could give her work a humanistic edge pushed Narelle out of her comfort zone and into one of the most transformative experiences of her life.

“I had to break through my own mental models of how the world works,” explains Narelle, adding that her time at LIOS inspired her love of self-expression through doodles and blogging. “LIOS showed me I could do organizational change work in any kind of organization and find it rewarding. That was a great thing to discover. Now I work at a consulting firm where we work with Global 2000 for-profit companies, big complex corporate systems, and I love it.”

Using principles of co-creation, visual thinking, and people-centered design, Narelle’s work at the XPLANE strategic design consultancy firm reflects the humanistic values she learned at Saybrook. The challenges within the organizations she works with are complex, often revolving around organizational alignment or strategy activation. Her expert solutions focus on bringing people together—the human touch.

“A big part of our philosophy is that we don’t solve the problem for you. We help you solve the problem,” she says. “We design experiences for them so they can figure out the solution. We are very sensitive to the idea of facilitating a human-centered, co-creative process that enables people solve really complex problems from inside their organization.”

Narelle is grateful to LIOS and Saybrook for opening her mind to a more human approach in her life’s work.

“This is real-time learning. You apply your skills directly, not just in theory,” she adds. “You cannot get through the program without having some kind of evolution in your behavior—both in how you move through the world and in how you can impact change within that world.”