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Leadership for positive impact

Sustainability Activators and Changemakers Skills Development Workshop

Thu 15th September 2022 - Fri 16th September 2022

At ESA Crete we have been leading practice and learning on sustainability for 10 years. To celebrate this achievement, we are launching a NEW PROGRAMME! We are inviting international sustainability enthusiasts to join us for FREE to experience our pilot programme and to help us refine our content and delivery.
This action learning, peer group exchange, 2-day skills development workshop has been designed for both ‘aspirational’ sustainability Activators and also accomplished, experienced Changemakers looking for new ideas, with a top up of resilience and nourishment.

To help us refine this pilot programme, we are inviting you to join us for FREE. All that we ask is that you give us your feedback about any final adjustments that you would like to see in the end product.

 For Further Information or to Book Your Place

Key Aim of this programme

The overall aim of this workshop, is to support and equip sustainability change makers with the skills, confidence and resilience to deliver ambitious commitments.

This programme has been designed to break through the current inertia of rhetoric, ‘greenwash’ and non- activated good intentions that is preventing sufficient change towards a sustainable planet.

  • You will learn how to be an activator for sustainability and operationalise sustainability in your own community.
  • You will learn new knowledge, skills and behaviours for developing collaborative partnerships for leading sustainability action with impact.
  • You will learn why 20C leadership competencies are not fit for activating 21C sustainability imperatives.

As global performance against the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) indicators is now going backwards, it has become glaringly obvious that there is a massive deficit in the competencies that are necessary to shift good intentions into implementing practical meaningful action. This programme addresses that gap between espoused commitments to sustainability and practical implementation. This applies to leaders, managers, and people in every level of business and society, at local and national levels across the globe.

ESA offers two-days immersion in learning, exploration and troubleshooting on the challenges of implementation and learning how to be an effective activator for sustainability in your workplace and community. The programme is structured around:

  • Action learning from genuine local business sustainability challenges. Projects include transport, tourism, food and agriculture
  • Knowledge, Skills and behavioural development in critical areas of communications, strategy, self-management and purposeful collaboration
  • Facilitated learning and feedback sessions
  • Informal social/outdoor activities grounded in sustainability values

It is anticipated that this pilot programme will be a rich blend of, international, accomplished, and aspirational activators working to make sustainability happen and succeed. You may be working in a business from any sector, already active in an NGO, tasked with responsibility in government, or linking research and practice from inside a university. Or you may simply want to equip yourself to better respond to the call for action on sustainability and help secure our future that that of generations to come after us.

Participation in the pilot is non-fee paying. You simply cover your own travel to Crete and accommodation costs and make a small contribution to catering costs. Information sheets on flights, accommodation and local transport will be provided to assist your bookings.

This is a FACE TO FACE, immersive learning experience and therefore a hybrid or online option is not offered at this stage.

The two-day programme is scheduled for the 15th and 16th. As our gift to thank you for your input, we are inviting you to join us at the celebration of ESA’s 10th anniversary, Gala Dinner and party on Saturday 17th September.

This is what the participants said about the programme:

At the end of this workshop, you will be able to:

  • Have a clearer understanding of your values and competences as a sustainability activator 
  • Use new resources and communication tools to leverage greater influence and change 
  • Present yourself and your plans, give and receive feedback, with confidence 
  • Zoom in and out from the strategic context to your own community and individual project plans in activating sustainability 
  • Build in resilience across collaborations through enhanced knowledge, skills and behaviours.


Day 1: 15th September 2022    What are the sustainability goals? What does that mean to me?

  • An introduction to the elements of sustainability and global drivers
  • Horizon scanning the sustainability global challenges of the next decade through the lens of my reality




Welcome, coffee, tea and pastries.



Welcome to ESA.




What does ‘Activation’ mean.

First level introduction to the projects for ‘Action Learning’. 

Focus : Individual



Making sense of sustainability.

What has gone well/ not well in the past 10 years.

Introduction to Knowledge Skills and Attitudes/Behaviours frameworks.

Focus : The world and individual view of the world                  


Making sense of the macro challenges at a local level. How change works on the ground.

Focus : Me and my community




Setting up ‘Action Learning’ projects.

Preparing the project teams for success.

Focus : Individual - enhancing my competencies


Start working on the ‘Activator Canvas’ as a team.

Understanding the ‘Action Learning’ problem from the next level.

Focus : My team and project


Understanding, how my sensemaking of sustainability impacts on other people.

Focus : ‘Me’ as an individual – collaborating with others


WALK to LUNCH at a Drapanos village taverna

Day 1:  Part 2. Becoming a Sustainability Activator, through impeccable communication skills

  • Understanding the impact of personal style on interpersonal relationships
  • Learning new techniques for engaging people and nudging change




Welcome back and reflection on learning so far



Relationship management and influencing others, from all levels, to make change happen.

Stakeholder mapping with purpose.

Focus : ‘Me’ as an individual (influencing others).





Power and Influencing in reality

How to manage relationships and influence people with impact and authenticity.

Focus : ‘Me’ as an individual (influencing others).



Planning into action.

Problem definition and approach.

Focus : My project



Relating new KSB learning to the ‘Action Learning’ Project. Revising the ‘Activator Canvas’.

Focus : ‘us’ together as a team to solve the sustainability problem.


CLOSE : Drinks and canapes

Day 2: 16th September 2022   Walking My Talk as a Sustainability Activator

  • Navigating my way (inside and outside of the organizations, policy makers) as a positive influencer.
  • Elevating my own self- awareness, of my own impact as a sustainability changemaker




Welcome, coffee and pastries.  



Welcome, check-in.

Shinrin Yoku: Connecting with nature and ‘noticing’ at a deeper level.


Tea Ceremony and Journalling opportunity



Tracking and Sustaining Change

Gathering evidence to promote the case for change.

Focus : The project. Monitoring and evaluation.



Matching own wants and needs with stakeholder wants and needs.

Objection Handling and Negotiating.

Focus : Me finding collaboration with project stakeholders



Engaging people, as an activator with positive influence through ‘connection’.

Using sustainabilitycommunication anchors’ that make sense to stakeholders.

Focus : Me in concert with key stakeholders


WALK to LUNCH at a Drapanos village taverna



Welcome back.

Check- in around the room and reflection.




Understanding and cutting through ‘Greenwash’.

Am I a subconcious Greenwasher?

Focus : Me



Pulling together all newly learned  competencies

Completing, the ‘Activator Canvas’ solution for the ‘Action Learning’ project and presenting to the Project Owners.

Focus : Me, my team and my project



Reflection and Call to Action

Focus : Me




Sharon Jackson

Sharon is founder and leader of The European Sustainability Academy. She has been a voice and educator for sustainability leadership and business for over 2 decades across the globe. Previously she spent 15 years serving at Board level in the global electronics sector.
Her core area of expertise, and ongoing field of research, is about using sensemaking communication as an anchor for converting good intentions into action with impact. She has published several chapters and articles on Sustainability Leadership, and more recently with a focus on the built environment and the positive impact of ‘green buildings’ on human health and wellbeing.

Christina Garidi

Christina is a Purpose, Career and Business Coach and TEDx Speaker. She has 10 years of business consulting experience in strategy, customer services, change management, organisational development and IT digital transformations. As founder of Eudaimonia Coaching UK, she empowers people to realise their full potential, through bespoke career development programmes and workshops that have a lasting impact. She has touched more than 15,000 people through her work, including weeklong intensive entrepreneurship courses in Greece, in partnership with the American College ALBA Postgraduate Business School

Dr. Eleanor O’Gorman

Eleanor is a Senior Associate at the University of Cambridge, an expert on international development and published author.
She has many years’ experience, working on strategy, evaluation and organisational learning of funding, conflict, gender and peacebuilding in a range of countries with the UN, EU, governments and NGOs.
Her core expertise is in supporting new forms of multi-stakeholder alliance (public, private, community, social enterprise) at local and regional level, to address present and emerging challenges of community cohesion and sustainability.

Host your event at ESA     

Powered only by Cretan sunshine, ESA is a beautiful building rooted in the earth amongst ancient rocks and olive trees, surrounded by nature. Its construction is a leading example of sustainability in practice. ESA is an experiential and creative place where people feel enlivened, uplifted and creative. Great living and great learning happen at ESA. A perfect setting for:

Leading sustainable enterprise

Our passion is contributing towards co-created sustainable enterprise for positive impact on communities and the natural environment on a global scale. Leadership and entrepreneur issues of adaptation, resilience, authenticity, sustainable-self, values connected sense-making and the continued emancipation of women (WISE) to take up more leadership roles in the world are at the core of the ESA sustainability experience.

Make sense of sustainability

Crete is the sustainable destination of the past and of the future.

Home of the Minoans, one of the earliest civilisations on earth, nestled between Europe, Africa and the Middle East, Crete is rich with mythology, gastronomy, music, art and agriculture. You can have your own authentic experience of a sustainable lifestyle and feel first-hand the strong connection between nature and community.