Dr. Mark Smutny – Conflict Catalyst and Founder of Civic Reinventions, Inc.   

Conflict beckons me like a bee to pollen or a fish to water. When many flee, I dive in. Unusual? Not in my view. Conflict is an inherent aspect of all human organizations, arising from the amalgamation of diverse individuals with varying ideas, life experiences, and values. When approached with respect, conflict becomes a catalyst for improved thinking and superior outcomes. The challenge arises when conflict takes a toxic turn. No one welcomes conflict that inflicts harm or exhibits cruelty. The solution lies in effectively harnessing conflict – a process that begins with calming nerves, taking a deep breath, and collaboratively addressing the issues at hand.

Throughout my professional career, I have devoted myself to assisting nonprofits in resolving unproductive conflicts and leveraging healthy conflicts for enhanced mission success. Whether serving as a faith leader, nonprofit executive, board member, or consultant, I have guided numerous nonprofits through the tumultuous waters of conflict, steering them toward mission success as the winds filled their sails.

In addition, my award-winning book, “Thrive: The Facilitator’s Guide to Radically Inclusive Meetings, 2nd ed.,” has empowered thousands of nonprofit leaders to recognize the potency of meetings that embrace differences and foster cohesion.

I am confident I can assist you with a listening ear. If conflict within your nonprofit troubles you, then I invite you to rediscover the joy and fulfillment that initially drew you to your organization’s mission. Consider Civic Reinventions, Inc.  Reach out to me via email at mark.smutny@civicreinventions.com. Share the challenges your nonprofit or work team is facing, and I will personally respond. We can then schedule a time to discuss further and assess whether I can be helpful. Maybe together we can mend what is broken and make your nonprofit whole again.

Client Testimonials

“At the heart of Mark’s book Thrive: The Facilitator’s Guide to Radically Inclusive Meetings are tools that allow you to run meetings that truly provide space and voice to every meeting participant. It sets aside notions of who has ideas that matter and opens the floor for the talents, gifts, skills, and imagination of every person to rise in service to your organization or initiative. We have used the strategies in this book in meetings with parties that have a long history of contentious relationships and seen the magic unfold–everyone contributing, having fun, sharing pressure points and strengths. We also use these strategies in like-minded work groups and there is a level of creativity that unfolds that I have rarely seen achieved. Thrive is written in an engaging style, with stories and real examples that you can apply to adjacent industries or social movements. If you’ve read this far you are taking too long….Buy Now, friend. Buy Now.” Jodilyn Owen, Ranier Valley Midwives, Seattle

“I highly recommend Mark Smutny as an organizer, consultant and strategist for community development work. Mark was instrumental in engaging community stakeholders through retreats, World Cafés, and other tools to empower citizens to make Pasadena’s downtown a safer, more walkable and prosperous destination. Mark was tireless in putting Pasadena’s downtown before city leaders, both staff and elected officials, to achieve the downtown’s objectives.” Marsha V. Rood, FAICP, Vice-President, Downtown Pasadena Neighborhood Association

“Mark Smutny is experienced in assisting faith-based groups, nonprofits and community organizations with recapturing their vision and creating a dynamic and engaging plan for the future. He is easy to work with, thoughtful and creative. He is talented at including key stakeholders in the strategic development and planning process. He possesses the ability to assist organizations develop a clear vision for the future. I would recommend Mark for any organization that is seeking to clarify its vision and re-energize its constituents.” Nancy Davidson, Executive Director, The Foundation for Living Beauty, Pasadena, CA

“If you are tired of lame meetings with lip service solutions, Thrive: The Facilitator’s Guide to Radically Inclusive Meetings is the guide you have been waiting for. In wrestling with the demons of racism, privilege and marginalization of women firsthand, Mark Smutny has developed enviable self-awareness muscles. He reinforces his learnings with how-to scripts to get you into the inclusive facilitation ring yourself. Everyone in the ring comes out winners, having built a better world in the process. If you facilitate difficult meetings, this is the only guidebook you need. If your meetings are easy, you need this book to find out why you aren’t getting results.” Marie Gervais, PhD, CEO of Shift Management Inc.

“When the residents of downtown Pasadena were organizing to create their own city council district and to improve and celebrate our walkable urban neighborhood, Mark lent us crucial support and advice. We wanted a community organization with the political power to get things accomplished in City Hall. We needed a true grass-roots movement to engage neighbors. Mark led us through a World Café visioning effort that tapped the best ideas of residents and focused our work for maximum impact. As a result, the City of Pasadena’s General Plan, which guides development for the next thirty years, strongly emphasizes the importance of walkability and urban vibrancy that Mark helped us design. Several important Complete Streets projects that will create a better city are underway as a result of Mark’s visioning leadership and on-going support. Mark has a passion for building community—connecting people and creating peace. We really benefited from his work and friendship.” Jonathan Edwards, President, Downtown Pasadena Residents’ Association

“Mark taught me to lead by listening, using just a few questions to provoke input and discussion among a team. He brings a wealth of knowledge and strategies on how organizations strengthen their presence in the community. Mark took the skills I brought to the table and built on them. The foundation he created remains a catalyst for my program’s success. I’m proud not only to call Mark a mentor, but a friend!” Robert Taylor, Program Manager, Compass Housing Alliance Shelter at First Presbyterian, Seattle

Consulting Resume for Dr. Mark Smutny





  • Washington State Administrative Office of the Courts, Transportation Work Group: Facilitate and manage a complex, multisector work team and project to research, design and fund solutions for parents in Yakima County who face transportation obstacles getting to appointments mandated by Dependency Courts and the Child Welfare system.
  • Northshore Senior Center, Design and teach “Diversity and the American Mosaic: Tools for Building Inclusive Organizations and Communities.”  An experiential, life-transforming workshop series to build respect, inclusion and belonging, recognize stereotypes, unconscious bias, power and privilege, and understand principles and cultivate skills for communicating across cultures.
  • 501 Commons, Seattle: Design and teach “Finding Calm in the Chaos: A Workshop for Nonprofit Leaders in Turbulent Times,” for nonprofit executives contending with burnout in themselves and their organizations.
  • Professional Independent Professionals of America: Facilitated annual membership meeting and strategy retreat, facilitated consultants “Liberating Structures” networking events.
  • 501 Commons, Seattle: Leading webinars for nonprofit leaders, “Principles and Practices for Facilitating Radically Inclusive Meetings.”
  • Sherwood Trust, Walla Walla, WA: Led retreat for community foundation and nonprofit leaders on building inclusive organizational practices.
  • Mercer Island Saddle Club: Facilitated multigeneration annual planning retreat.
  • Community Transportation Association of America: Spoke at the annual conference of transportation mobility managers in Louisville, KY focusing on the principles of human-centered design when reaching out to new immigrant groups.   
  • Sound Generations, Seattle: Facilitated program leaders’ annual goals setting and work plan retreat.  
  • World Relief Seattle: Co-facilitated strategic planning retreat for 50 international staff focused on building inclusive organizational practices.
  • Hanford Challenge: Facilitated board of directors strategic planning retreat focused on diversifying board, staff and membership for citizen’s advocacy nonprofit.
  • King County Mobility Coalition and Hopelink: Facilitated two World Café “Mobility for All Transportation Summits.”
  • First Hill Improvement Association, Seattle: Facilitated board of directors strategic planning retreat.
  • Compass Housing Alliance, Homeless Shelter at First Presbyterian Church: Facilitated planning retreat that engaged guests, staff, and community partners to strengthen community support for flagship homeless shelter.
  • San Gabriel Mission District, CA: Facilitated strategic planning retreat for downtown business association.
  • Pasadena Biking Coalition and Downtown Pasadena Neighborhood Association: Facilitated series of World Cafés to organize a coalition of biking and pedestrian advocates in Pasadena, CA.
  • Altadena, CA United Church of Christ: Facilitated respectful dialogue series on race, racism, and gun violence in the wake of police shootings in Altadena and Pasadena, CA. 


  • Doctor of Ministry, Dissertation: Leading Multicultural Change in a Tri-lingual Congregation, McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago, IL
  • Master of Divinity, Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, MA
  • Bachelors of Arts, Philosophy, Summa cum laude, The College of Idaho, Caldwell, ID
  • Non-Profit Management Certificate Program, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Program Associate Certification, Kaleidoscope Institute, Los Angeles, CA


  • Member, International Association of Facilitators
  • Ordained Minister, The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Member, Seattle Presbytery
  • Program Associate, Kaleidoscope Institute, Los Angeles, CA
  • Member, Professional Independent Consultants of America
  • Member, Congress for New Urbanism


  • Owner, Civic Reinventions, Inc. Seattle, WA – Nonprofit consultant, multisector project management, professional facilitation, nonprofit strategic plans, planning retreats, executive coaching, board development, training workshops and webinars in arts of inclusive meetings, “Finding Calm in the Chaos Workshops” ®, faith-based consulting, business association consulting.
  • Consultant and Webinar Instructor, 501 Commons. Seattle, WA Nonprofit consulting, training and networking agency serving the Pacific Northwest.
  • Director of Transportation, Sound Generations. Seattle, WA – Led nonprofit paratransit program for older adults and people with disabilities throughout King County, WA. Staff of 55, 200 Volunteers.
  • Program Director, Compass Housing Alliance Shelter at First Presbyterian Church—Led start-up of flagship 24/7 homeless shelter for 100 guests and 16 staff in Seattle, WA.
  • Interim Pastor, Redmond Presbyterian Church – Transitional ministry to suburban congregation in Redmond, WA.
  • Senior Pastor/Head of Staff, Pasadena Presbyterian Church—Lead pastor for thriving multilingual congregation (English, Korean, Spanish, Farsi, Japanese) of 900 members and 34 staff in Pasadena, CA.
  • Pastor of Congregations in Port Clinton, OH; Dayton, OH; Troy, NY; Pasadena, CA; and Redmond, CA.


  • DEI Council Member, Northshore Senior Center, Bothell, WA
  • Instructor, Top Issues of 2024 Elections and Respectful Dialogue, Northshore Senior Center, Bothell, WA
  • Instructor, Respectful Dialogue and America’s Historic Documents, Northshore Senior Center, Bothell, WA
  • Co-Facilitator, Diversity: The America Mosaic, Northshore Senior Center, Bothell, WA
  • Board Member and Treasurer, Kaleidoscope Institute, Los Angeles, CA.
  • President, Board of Trustees, San Gabriel Presbytery.
  • President of Board of Directors, Playhouse Business District, Pasadena, CA.; Chair, Property-Based Improvement District Formation Task Force; Chair, Property-Based Improvement District Renewal Taskforce.
  • Board of Trustees, McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago, IL.
  • Board of Directors, Union Station Foundation, a homeless services provider in Pasadena, CA.
  • Co-Founder, Troy Civic Partnership, an organization of public, private and non-profit leaders in Troy, NY that planned and implemented a city-wide economic revitalization strategy.
  • President of the Board, Troy Rehabilitation and Improvement Program, a nonprofit affordable housing corporation in Troy, NY.
  • Founder and President, Religious Coalition for Low-Income Housing, a faith-based advocacy group that raised $13 million for affordable housing in first year in Montgomery County, OH.
  • Chairperson, Homeless Shelter Policy Board in Dayton, OH, a partnership of service providers, local government and the philanthropic community.

AUTHOR of Thrive: The Facilitator’s Guide to Radically Inclusive Meetings, 2nd ed.

Learn to:

  • Bring one’s best self to meeting facilitation by practicing mindfulness, using listening skills, and strengthening emotional and cultural intelligence.
  • Use codes of conduct to build a culture of inclusion, belonging and engagement.
  • Design meeting agendas where issues are framed as questions that evoke imagination and creativity.
  • Design and lead strategic plans that engage all stakeholders and maximize ownership.
  • Learn to facilitate in polarized, conflicted settings.
  • Engage every voice through whole group planning methods including World Café, Liberating Structures and for faith-based groups, spiritual discernment exercises.
  • Facilitate whole systems change to eliminate silos, embrace inclusion, and build commitment to core values, mission, and vision.

“A must-read, so liberating, compelling, and engaging; a practical guide for effective facilitators.” Ernie Cathcart, Cultural Competency Specialist, Wellspring Family Services, Seattle.

“If you are tired of lame meetings with lip service solutions, Thrive: The Facilitator’s Guide to Radically Inclusive Meetings is the guide you have been waiting for. In wrestling with the demons of racism, privilege and marginalization of women firsthand, Mark Smutny has developed enviable self-awareness muscles. He reinforces his learnings with how-to scripts to get you into the inclusive facilitation ring yourself. True to its title, everyone in the ring comes out winners, having built a better world in the process. If you facilitate difficult meetings, this is the only guidebook you need. If your meetings are easy, you need this book to find out why you aren’t getting results.” Marie Gervais, Ph.D., CEO of Shift Management Inc.