Shared Purpose Quest with Sander Tideman



Confronting the challenges of global climate crisis and disruptive change, leaders can be most effective by drawing upon a deeper purpose. Grounding oneself in purpose helps one to more consistently navigate and harness the swirling emotions that we increasingly see in front line sustainability and climate champions. Working together and with clarity of vision and purpose, we can better create our path towards a resilient, sustainable future, while motivating others to do the same.

Leaders with a deep sense of purpose and commitment are key to turning the tide.

A partnership between Sander Tideman – executive director of Garrison Institute International – and Edie Farwell – executive director of Sustainability Leaders Network – welcomed a dozen sustainability leaders from around the United States for a three and a half-day Shared Purpose Quest at the height of the foliage season in Norwich, Vermont. We were called to action by our concerns for the climate, current societal challenges, and a shared desire to forge social, economic and environmental sustainability for all.

The Purpose Quest was such a transformative opening for me. I feel connected to the natural world in new and powerful ways. I emerged with a stronger foundation; a more direct connection to the Earth; and clarity about where I will get energy for the work ahead. I am perfectly on my path. It’s just what I needed. — Kristi Kimball, Bend, OR, Education, Climate, Consultant; former Executive Director of the Schwab Foundation

Centering our work together in systems thinking theory from Donella Meadows, Tideman’s Triple Value Leadership and the SPQ methodology, and Farwell’s rigorous and empathic analysis of the systems we seek to change, the group strengthened leadership identity with a “systems being” approach for positive change. This was done through exploration of three levels of awareness – thinking, feeling, being.


“The Purpose Quest is an inner and outer job. Amazing people working together for evolution on both fronts.” — Anders Ferguson, Shelburne Falls, MA, Co-founder of Veris Wealth Partners & The Dalai Lama Fellows

Using a transformative process, immersions in nature, discussions, meditation, haiku, dance self-reflection, and small group dialog, the shared purpose quest journey amplified the resources of the participants as we collectively address the challenge of creating solutions to successfully address climate change.

Purpose-based leadership transcends our innate ego-body to support leadership vision and action through a balance of self and surrounding. This is a powerful way we can choreograph a response to the greatest human challenges we have ever known.

“I gained valuable insights about interconnectedness and collective spirit. I also learned a lot about finding joy.” Nathaniel McCoy, Berkeley, CA. Gap year volunteer at COVER Home Repair.

At the conclusion of the workshop, participants began to envision future impact by creating a community of practice for continued inquiry as part of a global network of change leaders. Their connection will continue the shared work that began in the workshop in respective fields, specialties, and impact around the world.


I left this workshop with a new gratitude for my work. — Sally McGee, Climate Director, Global Aquaculture Team, Nature Conservancy.

To book a Shared Purpose Quest for your own group, contact Edie Farwell at