By Bryan Bowen, Principal Architect at Caddis PC, Cohousing expert, City of Boulder Planning Board member, and resident of Wild Sage Cohousing
As an architect, I have worked with many cohousing facilitators and fully appreciate the unique challenges of cohousing. Annie Russell stands out as a workshop leader, facilitator and coach who has a better sense of the playing field because she has expertise in both marketing and community development. She has an intuitive understanding of how the whole system works and integrates with all stakeholders from members to builders to local community.
As a coach, Annie helps groups unearth their mission and sense of personality. If you are getting the coaching and facilitation right, the marketing becomes a lot cleaner. Forming communities want to attract future neighbors by accurately putting forth what it is that they’re all about. It is easier to express who you are, when you know who you are.
She is an insightful facilitator who is open to questioning. Willing to check in with herself and the community, Annie makes sure that the work that she is doing is the most effective it can be. She makes the process easier and more fluid, with an eye to outcomes. She’s unafraid to lead the group’s process with a firmer hand when appropriate, and also knows how to do this elegantly without ruffling feathers.
She artfully guides the group to make things go well. When you haven’t experienced that, you don’t know you are lacking it. This is true of forming and ongoing communities alike.
Annie was a founding member of Wild Sage and the Community Builder and Sales Representative for Silver Sage before becoming a community member. We were neighbors at Wild Sage where she was an effective community and team member. Her son Chris and his family live in Wild Sage, so cohousing is a family affair.
I’ve known her for more than 15 years as a wonderful friend, neighbor and colleague, and can recommend her without reservation.
Annie’s qualifications include a Master’s Degree in Organization Development. She advanced and honed those skills in corporate America before applying the best of what she’d learned to her cohousing work. Like most cohousers, she is creative and interested in social causes. Among other things, Annie is a collage artist and a volunteer facilitator for Restorative Justice.