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We are navigating the adventure of becoming.

We cultivate powerful learning environments to






The Innovative Learning and Living Institute (ILALI) supports the resilience and transformation of communities and their regions through programs where we learn to embody knowledge, bridge cultural worldviews, and promote collective healing in service of our future.

The gift of this moment in human history is that our existential challenges are inspiring many of us to reconsider what matters most in our lives

- as well as what matters most for Life.

We have the subtle, social, and digital technologies to bloom the future we want and need, together.

Right now.

How do we align different perspectives, traditions and ways of knowing? How do we connect and bridge as we create? How do we navigate disruption and polarization?

We are learning to live in new ways.

In 2022-2023 ILALI will pilot its regional program, an immersive residency that supports young adults, their communities, and the lands they inhabit to create regenerative relationships.

Young people from the same region but of different economic, ideological, and cultural backgrounds will reside at a retreat center for several months to live, learn, serve, and grow together.

Participants will come to know themselves as the continuation of a historical legacy of creative and passionate young adults – instrumental to the energy and innovation of civic life.

ILALI’s curriculum supports integrative development. The program is designed to improve physical and emotional well-being, expand one’s worldview, cultivate inner wisdom and the moral imagination, and deepen relationships with others and nature.

Integrated into these residencies are opportunities for mentorship, community service, creative expression, working with digital and virtual technologies, and learning practical skills for community-building and entrepreneurial endeavors.

ILALI’s “transpartisan” program design is integral to bridging people and communities who inhabit seemingly opposing worldviews. Participants will grow in their ability to engage complexity, including their capacity to consider more perspectives, people, and environments in their decision-making.

The program aims to demonstrate the efficacy of immersive residential learning in addressing polarization, and in creating a regional network of inspired, skilled young adults who are oriented towards serving their communities and the regeneration of the common good.

Our Team

M. Rako Fabionar


M. Rako Fabionar has cultivated innovative learning environments for over two decades as a community educator, graduate school faculty member, and change consultant within the USA and abroad. Rako has created educational centers and designed transformative programs that support the insight of connection and well-being for young adults, social entrepreneurs, civic leaders, cultural workers, and spiritual teachers. Rako is passionate about serving the common good through integrative approaches for leadership development, cultural pluralism and social innovation. He is the co-founder and director of Kinship Blooms, and a founding member of Salmon Nation and the Guild of Future Architects.

Katie Harrigan

Operations Director

Katie serves as operations director for ILALI and has over 20 years of experience developing, growing and leading transformative nationwide and global youth development programs, gap year programs, and cultural exchange programs. Katie has worked with a broad range of youth development organizations to promote access, advance impact, and recruit and engage thousands of young adults from around the world for life-changing, immersive experiences.

Ben Scott-Brandt

Program Manager

As a network weaver and program manager for the Retreat Center Collaboration, Ben fosters collaboration across organizations and networks to creatively and strategically meet the complex challenges facing the retreat center sector. Ben’s creative approach draws on his background in interfaith community-building and education, hairstyling, songwriting and performing.

Oren Slozberg


Oren is the executive director of Commonweal and the program director of the Center for Creative Community at Commonweal. He was involved in the formation of the Retreat Center Collaboration as well as the early envisioning, conceptualization and formation of ILALI. Oren has been a senior program developer serving a broad range of populations and focus areas for more than 30 years.

Michelle Scheidt


Michelle serves as a senior program officer at the Fetzer Institute in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Her research interests include spiritual development, LGBTQ spirituality, field building, and the changing religious landscape. Michelle's background includes program development, strategic planning, nonprofit boards, pastoral ministry, and group facilitation. She worked closely with Oren Slozberg in the early development, fundraising, and founding of ILALI.

Shakiyla Smith


Shakiyla is Vice President of organizational culture at the Fetzer Institute. She has a master's degree in public health from Emory University and a doctorate in adult education with a focus on organizational development from the University of Georgia. Prior to joining Fetzer, she worked in the areas of violence prevention research, program development and evaluation, and research administration for more than 15 years both within academia and the federal government. Shakiyla’s work explores how we build our individual and collective capacity to meet the life and societal demands of the 21st century, which require new ways of being, knowing, and acting.

Uvinie Lubecki


Uvinie Lubecki is a thought leader, leadership development trainer, and coach focused on Compassionate Leadership. During her work with executives and teams at leading corporations and nonprofits, she discovered the need and calling to integrate mindfulness and compassion practically into leadership behaviors. She left the private sector to join Dalai Lama Fellows, where she learned how to translate values, such as compassion, and meditation practices into a secular leadership curriculum. Uvinie is the founder of Leading Through Connection, and holds a BA in Neurobiology and Behavior from Cornell University and a Masters in Public Health from Harvard University.

Sean Esbjörn-Hargens


Sean Esbjörn-Hargens, PhD is a leader in the application of integrative thinking to leader development and organizational design, and has made significant contributions to the fields of integral ecology, integral business, integral education, and integral research. Sean has been the leading global academic figure in Integral Studies for over a decade driving numerous academic initiatives including: founding international conferences and symposiums, designing campus based and online graduate certificates and programs at four universities, and publishing academic journals and text books. Sean founded MetaIntegral — a social impact network that supports change leaders around the world in applying integrative principles.

Mindy Nettifee


Mindy Nettifee, PhD is a poet, professional teaching artist, and somatic therapist specializing in trauma healing and expression. She is the author of three full-length collections of poems - Sleepyhead Assassins, Rise of the Trust Fall, and Open Your Mouth Like a Bell - and the how-to book on writing poetry Glitter In The Blood.  She is a three time nominee for the Pushcart Prize, a Powell's Books Indie Press Best Seller, and has been featured on The Moth podcast. She currently produces with Portland, Oregon’s Back Fence PDX, hosts for The Moth, provides writing and performance services as a principal at Free Delivery, and performs her work and facilitates creative workshops around the U.S.

Michael Brabant


Dr. Michael Brabant synthesizes, translates and shares the world’s potent wisdom traditions. Integrating both ancient and contemporary approaches to human evolution through a lens of fostering embodied wisdom, Michael supports people to realize and embody their essence, purpose and vision. He received his doctorate in Psychology and Interdisciplinary Inquiry at Saybrook University in 2015. He currently is developing meta-curricular frameworks to bring this synthesized wisdom, in a completely secular form that is simple to understand and apply, to both the business world as well as to the general public. Some of his other work includes executive coaching and consulting with leaders interested in leveraging business as one catalyst of societal and cultural evolution.

Andrew Nalani


Andrew Nalani is a Doctoral Candidate in Applied Psychology (Psychology and Social Intervention) at NYU Steinhardt. He takes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the design and impact of transformative programs that promote positive youth development across cultures and sectors, drawing particularly from theories and methods in community psychology and sociology. He works on the research teams of the Listening Project and SAFE Spaces: Systems Aligning for Equity at NYU, and is also engaged in innovation in the youth work field through a research-practice partnership with Partners for Youth Empowerment (PYE). He holds a Master’s in Education from Harvard University and an A.B. from Dartmouth College.

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