About

Headshot of Susan Partnow
Susan Partnow enjoys being a catalyst for individuals and groups seeking positive changes through retreats, training and private coaching. Her passion is to expand the collective capacity of groups through developing skills and practices to open up communication, collaboration, and creativity. She designs and facilitates experiences for organizations to work through conflict and release that energy to serve what they are trying to create. She is co-founder of Seattle Restorative Justice, Conversation Cafe and Let’s Talk America, and founded Global Citizen Journey. She is a founding Board member of Compassionate Seattle and has served as an adviser to NCDD (National Coalition on Dialogue and Deliberation).

Susan founded Partnow Communications over thirty years ago and has provided organizational development, leadership, community building and training services to thousands of individuals and hundreds of organizations in the public and non-profit as well as private sectors. She is especially dedicated to conflict resolution: to helping people transform the energy locked in conflict to foster creative change, wise outcomes, and enhanced relationships. Susan specializes in the use of cutting edge approaches such as Appreciative Inquiry, Spiral Dynamics, Dynamic Facilitation, and Open Space Technology as well as Restorative Circles and Compassionate Listening, to help large, diverse groups facing complex issues and organizational change.

Susan’s roots in communication began as high school teacher and speech pathologist. She received an M. A. in Communication Disorders from Northwestern University where she was a Rearwin Fellow, and a B.A. with honors from the University of California at Berkeley. Her management expertise grew out of many years of service as the director of a clinic for speech, language and counseling services and then as chief of a grant project to develop a bilingual language test at the University of Arizona, along eight years as a Sr. Organizational Development Consultant at Swedish/Providence Health Systems.

Susan’s passion for collective leadership and peace making are expressed in her generous sharing of professional skills to build community and deepen capacity for democracy and dialogue. For the past 30 years, Susan has helped create grassroots networks that work collaboratively, inclusively and with a commitment to nonviolence, justice and sustainability, from the founding of Families for Peace to and Conversation Cafes and the development of Seattle Restorative Justice. She has participated in delegations of the Middle East Citizen Diplomacy Project (now Compassionate Listening) and Peace Trees Vietnam and is founder and Executive Director of Global Citizen Journey, which has led journeys to the Niger Delta (2005), Ghana (2006), Liberia (2008-9) and India (2017) plus projects in Cuba, Burundi and Guatemala. She served as Board President of Kadima Community School and the Earth Stewards, brought dialogue to the African American Jewish Coalition for Justice and helped create the curriculum for The Compassionate Listening Project. Susan participated in the Whidbey Institute’s Spirited Work seasonal learning community, dedicated to the sustainable evolution of the earth, spirit, and human future.

Susan speaks Spanish and French and is the author of Everyday Speaking for All Occasions and co-author of Practicing the Art of Compassionate Listening. She lives in Seattle with her husband, two faithful dogs and is the proud mom of an amazing son and daughter.