Conflict Resolution Expert San Francisco - Shawn Dunning at Pollack PBS

Shawn Dunning, M.S.“I constantly find myself inspired by examples that prove we humans are capable of achieving a world that works for everyone; my purpose is to contribute to such a vision in every way I can.”

Shawn Dunning recently left his position as the COO of the organizational and leadership development company, Adventure Associates, Inc. (AAI), in order to pursue his passion for collaborative problem-solving more broadly. During his tenure with AAI, Shawn developed and facilitated leadership, team development, and conflict resolution programs for corporate, government, and non-profit groups throughout the United States. Prior to AAI, he founded and directed the Leadership & Training division for the international conflict transformation organization Search for Common Ground. Initially based in Washington DC, and eventually moving to Jerusalem, Shawn led projects throughout the world, including the United States, Middle East, Balkans, Africa, and Southeast Asia that developed the capacity of emerging and elite political and civil society leaders to lead from a basis of collaborative principles.

A seasoned trainer, facilitator, mediator, leadership coach, and public speaker, Shawn has served thousands of people around the world to develop their collaborative leadership skills. His clients have included gifted youth, young international scholars, senior government officials and leaders, senior executive leaders of fortune 500 companies, and business leaders from many industries. He is an expert in workshop design and experiential learning processes.

Some of Shawn’s work has included training for emerging leaders in West and East Africa, leadership training and coaching for Palestinian and Israeli social entrepreneurs, political, business, and religious leaders, crisis-management communication skills for political leaders in Lebanon, “common ground talk” skills for television journalists in Kenya, and racial reconciliation work with members of the United States Congress. Since 2015, Shawn has served as the Winterover Team Trainer for the United States Antarctic Program, where he facilitates cutting edge team and leadership development initiatives for the South Pole Team.

Shawn studied Speech Communication and Psychology at California Polytechnic State University and holds an M.S. in Conflict Analysis & Resolution from George Mason University, where he developed foundational theory and practice for “Adventure-Based Conflict Resolution.” He has presented at a variety of conferences across several disciplines on topics related to leadership, conflict resolution, and collaboration, and he has served on the roster of certified mediators for the Supreme Court of Virginia. Shawn is a qualified administrator of several leadership and personality assessment instruments including Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, DISC, and Emotional Intelligence. He lives with his wife and two daughters in the San Francisco Bay Area and travels frequently.

If you need help from a conflict resolution expert in San Francisco, contact Pollack Peacebuilding today.


“As the Winter Site Manager for the South Pole and organizer of a totally new Team Building experience for the Winterover crew, Shawn delivered exactly what we needed to give our personnel the necessary tools to prepare them for the challenges that lay ahead. Living in a small community of 50 or fewer strangers, in the harshest most extreme place on earth, with 8 1/2 months of total isolation, offers some of the most extreme interpersonal challenges one can imagine. Shawn and I spent months preparing what we thought felt would be the best curriculum to prepare the Winterover staff for such a unique situation, and in the end Shawn delivered exactly what was needed.”
– South Pole Research Station Winter Site Manager

“While at AssetWorks, we hired Shawn Dunning to be a part of our annual Users Conference, a continuing education event for our customers. He gave the keynote address and managed to get the whole audience involved in a very friendly, collaborative manner. People got really into his presentation and learned a lot. Shawn and his team also facilitated an afternoon workshop for the leaders of our biggest customers. The group was fairly large and diverse. Shawn structured the afternoon with small working groups and then brought everyone together for shared learning. He was very prepared and his genuine nature brought out the best in the group. It was an excellent session that presented complex ideas into easily understood activities. I recommend him to groups of any industry or size that could benefit from the guidance of a leader like Shawn.”
– Carey Picklesimer

“Shawn and I worked together in the leadership development and professional development field for five years, and I would have no reservations about recommending him. He’s motivational, innovative, organized, and thorough in approach to presenting collaborative problem-solving exercises for adults that emphasize teamwork and full participation. Shawn’s classes and leadership vignettes were always rated as the highlight of our training sessions.”
– Thomas Wilson

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