Deanna Rolffs, Senior Design Partner
Deanna Rolffs (she/they) is a strategist, facilitator, coach, systems thinker, and consultant that has worked with executive leaders and teams for more than twenty years, the last ten focused on the intersection of organizational theory, leadership development, justice, and equity. Their process consulting approach focuses on organizational transformation via thriving teams, brave leadership, equitable systems, and inclusive communities. With a personal and professional dedication to justice and equity, Deanna supports leadership and teams of all sizes, in all sectors. Deanna served as a Senior Consultant with Design Group International since 2018 and became a Senior Design Partner in 2021.
Deanna has facilitated at dozens of conferences nationally and locally. An avid adult learning specialist, they have engaged hundreds of groups on topics including Leading for Equity, Anti-Racism, White Consciousness, Anti White Supremacy, Systemic Oppression, Implicit Bias, Strategic and Operational Planning, and much more. Deanna has facilitated and served on leadership boards and teams to guide strategic direction, service delivery, staff development, and stakeholder engagement.
Deanna is dedicated to supporting teams, especially those with privilege, to do personal and collective work to develop, implement and evaluate cultural, social justice, and racial equity commitments to grow and ensure a deeply inclusive environment.
Deanna serves on multiple leadership boards including the Grand Rapids Public Schools' Montessori Advisory Council, the Advisory Council of Calvin University's Center for Social Research. the Alumni Community Advisory Board at Partners in School Innovation and as co-chair of the anti-racism committee in her faith community. Deanna is the recipient of the Pi Alpha Alpha Award for outstanding academic achievement & volunteer service upon her completion of a Master of Public Administration from Grand Valley State University, and she holds a bachelor’s degree from Calvin University. Deanna holds the following additional credentials:
As Process Consultants, we utilize three primary values in order to effectively walk alongside you and other leaders in your organization. Recognizing the critical role of listening to you in order to design solutions that move your organization forward, we value the learning required to make sustainable, organizational change . The shared values of listening, helping and learning may function in sequence, and they are often iterative and constantly working together throughout our relationship.
We start by asking you deeper questions to clarify the outcome desired and uncover adaptive challenges you want to address which will foster transformation. We co-create a process that aligns with your most important goals to move your organization forward.
Equipped with the right purpose and a co-created process, we walk alongside you and your organization through planned activities that advance your goals and objectives. Through iterative steps along the way, we will shift and pivot to achieve your desired results.
We work collaboratively to constantly learn together. In the end, you are equipped to lead the process you have created for your organization. Through developing the knowledge and skills necessary to lead, the process becomes sustainable.
The world is complex, dynamic and changing. It is crucial to understand the unique social, emotional, and cultural context of your organization. Complexity is best addressed through adaptive solutions designed through co-creating a process.
The posture of listening and humble inquiry allows us to dig deeper and move beyond surface issues. An iterative process that begins with listening uncovers the essential purpose of a process.
As the client, you are the expert. As an expert, your perspectives and insights are essential and valuable. A process approach honors the creativity and resourcefulness you have as a leader and the unique strengths of your key stakeholder groups.
You will learn new knowledge and skills through the process. This leads to your personal transformation, experiential learning, and grows your capacity to lead in the future.
A process consulting approach builds trust, transparency, and collaboration, and leads to deepened relationships both inside and outside of the organization. We custom design an approach around your stakeholders that helps broaden engagement and creates an inclusive environment.
I had the pleasure of working with Deanna at Partners in School Innovation. She is wonderful to work with, forward-thinking; and has a great deal of expertise with stakeholder engagement, team building, and organizational leadership and change. Always had a very positive attitude towards work and an inspiring team player. I was impressed with her ability to drive leadership development in areas of anti-white supremacy and anti-racism. Deanna would be an asset to any company.
I cannot say enough about Deanna's work with my team during a very challenging process exploration period. She facilitated several listening sessions and supported my team through some difficult conversations. Her personal and professional experiences and her focus on equity as foundational make her an excellent facilitator. She does not shy away from hard topics and is willing to stand up to injustice. I would recommend Deanna without hesitation and look forward to working with her again.
Over the last two years, I've had the privilege to work alongside Deanna on several committees and in each setting she has demonstrated a great ability to guide open and inclusive conversations, ensuring that everyone is heard. She truly has the heart to advocate for all of our neighbors so that they have equal opportunities to thrive. Deanna has lead several workgroups I've been a part of through strategic and evaluative thinking to reach the best outcome for the people we serve. I would highly recommend Deanna with her strong skillset in strategic planning, program development, and diversity and inclusion.
I had the privilege to work alongside Deanna for three years as she provided remarkable senior-level leadership to ICCF's talented and diverse program team. During her tenure, the team successfully navigated a season marked by unprecedented growth and change. Her expertise in management and group facilitation, paired with her commitment to advancing justice have set her apart as a trusted leader in the social sector. Whether you are developing new strategies or need help overcoming a leadership challenge, Deanna can help. She is adept at coming alongside others to help them move forward. I can't recommend her highly enough to anyone looking for help with process consulting or strategic planning!
I had the pleasure of being Deanna's colleague at Partners in School Innovation. I was very impressed by Deanna's ability to listen and to problem solve. Whether it is with subordinates or supervisors, Deanna listens and made you feel heard. Her ability to do this has stuck with me to this day. It's one of the skills she uses as a master problem solver. She is able to identify an issue and offer up effective and feasible solutions, providing support and encouragement all along the way.
Deanna is a strategic and thoughtful process facilitator. Her ability to think through problems and develop comprehensive, inclusive solutions in a collaborative manner is uncanny. I have been incredibly grateful to work with her on various projects in our community as she brings forth a perspective that is capable of viewing problems and solutions from multiple angles from a trauma-informed and equity-based lens.
Among her many skills and areas of expertise, Deanna Rolffs provides excellent leadership in working with groups to effect change within their organizations. My team benefited greatly from a strategic and operational planning process she led as we were seeking to strengthen our work in the areas of curriculum development and professional development for teachers. As we concluded our sessions, we understood our work more deeply and had developed a plan with specific actions that would better help us achieve our vision and goals. I especially appreciated Deanna's expertise, her calm demeanor, her careful listening, and her ability to take what she heard and apply the process to our particular situation. I recommend her without reservation.
I had the opportunity to work with Deanna on a number of projects during our tenure at Kent ISD. Deanna is a skilled facilitator and does an excellent job of leading groups through strategic planning, ensuring that all voices and viewpoints are heard. I especially appreciate her warm, patient approach, and I highly recommend her to any individual or organization looking to improve their programs and practices.
Deanna is an empowering thought leader who values individual’s strengths as opportunities to grow and make profound impacts on other leaders, groups, and organizations. She has supported me in my coaching roles and has made a lasting impression on my career and personal goals, aspirations, and life-long work.
Deanna is a great leader and thought partner. I had the pleasure of working with her for several years at Partners in School Innovation. I would describe her as passionate, thoughtful, and hard-working. I'm impressed with her ability to create systems, build capacity and lead inclusive teams.
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