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909 Uncomfortable & Safe: Become an Agent of Positive Change in Uncertain Times

8:00 AM - 9:00 AM ET
Thursday, December 7

Please note: This event spans two session blocks; while participants are free to leave at any time during the session, we ask that you be present at the beginning to participate.

As learning leaders, we are agents of change with everything we touch in our organizations and interactions. Deep, meaningful change requires embracing discomfort, places of dissonance, disequilibrium, and seemingly irreconcilable tensions.

Megan Torrance and Nathan Meidell will begin this highly participatory session by sharing their experience of navigating an uncomfortable difference of values and beliefs that interfered with a burgeoning working relationship. Next, you’ll be drawn into active conversations about how to talk about contentious issues, whether the issue is experiencing or witnessing micro-aggressions or racism at work; interacting with colleagues whose views are at odds on religious, social, or political issues—or any other area that could foster conflict.

The focus is on the process—not on discussion of any specific issue or topic. Through this discussion we will adopt tools and ground rules that equip all of us to move toward mutual understanding and respect—even where there is little agreement. Rather than confrontation or avoidance, learn and practice ways to engage with one another with respect, gentleness, and empathy. Learn to feel safe embracing dissonance rather than focusing on “winning” or “convincing” others.

You may leave the workshop with more questions and discomfort than when you entered. We will build in space at the end of this two-session workshop for personal processing before getting on with the day.  

In this session, you will learn:

  • How to lead and engage in conversations about difficult or uncomfortable topics
  • To understand that preferences, beliefs, and values exist on a spectrum—and recognize where your conversation partners are on that continuum
  • How to embrace dissonance around contentious issues rather than trying to “win” or convince others of your perspective
  • Tools for engaging on controversial issues respectfully and empathetically

Nathan Meidell

Areas & Outsourcing Creative Lead, Learning Experience Designer

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

In 13 years working for the Church, Nathan Meidell has been an educator, trainer, curriculum developer, and learning designer on projects ranging from vocational rehabilitation and workforce training to global integrated curricula for members and friends.

Nathan is also currently tasked with identifying vendor partners to assist where he sits at the hub of learning for the Church’s 25 departments. With varied products sometimes reaching millions of learners worldwide, Nathan has become keenly interested in deciphering the intricate patterns of influence operating on individuals within complex educational systems. He loves leveraging a range of perspectives in this effort of helping others find fulfilment and realize their potential, from L.S. Vygotsky and Michael W. Apple to Jesus Christ. Nathan had occasion to study this in depth when completing his MS in curriculum and instruction at Utah State University under the influential mentorship of Vygotsky expert LeAnn G. Putney and Suzanne Jones.

Megan Torrance



Megan Torrance is CEO and founder of TorranceLearning, which helps organizations connect learning strategy to design, development, data, and ultimately performance. She has more than 25 years of experience in learning design, deployment, and consulting . Megan and the TorranceLearning team are passionate about sharing what works in learning, so they devote considerable time to teaching and sharing about Agile project management for
learning experience design and the xAPI. She is the author of Agile for Instructional Designers, The Quick Guide to LLAMA, and Making Sense of xAPI. Megan is also an eCornell Facilitator in the Women’s Executive Leadership curriculum.