Ansuz Action is Helen Wallis-Dowling and Ruth Parkinson. Helen and Ruth are long time colleagues and friends. We each have over 25 years experience of working with people, teams, communities and organisations. We enjoy working together and we’re an effective, creative and knowledgeable team.
And fun to work with!
I am an experienced trainer, facilitator, mentor, project manager, youth worker and community organiser. Through the development of training opportunities, hosting large and small group conversations and supporting individuals, my work over the last 20 years has involved encouraging people to critically reflect on their experiences and explore possibilities for actions to shape and change their world as individuals, organisations or communities.
I have been fortunate to be able to work in areas that fit with my values and passions and which have enabled me to grow in skills, knowledge and experience. My career has moved from front line work in local government and education to project management in the civil society sector; from community organising practitioner to leading training and learning in government funded programmes. Since 2010 I have been developing quality assured training and qualifications as well as overseeing the learning and professional development of practitioners and trainers in the community organising arena on a national scale. I am a consultant and mentor for a large financial institution who have been using a community organising approach in an innovative housing development project. I have also been involved in setting up a number of social enterprises in my own community.
I hold a BSc in Social Economics; a PG Dip in Community Education and I am a professionally qualified youth and community worker. I am also qualified in Training, Assessment and Quality Assurance as well as Information, Advice and Guidance. I am an ILM Accredited Action Learning Facilitator. I have been trained in numerous facilitation and training methods such as Narrative Therapy, Art of Hosting, Master Facilitator and NLP.
My interests are local politics (I am a Town Councillor), cooking, walking and lifting heavy weights.
I am an experienced change facilitator, coach and project manager. My practice takes a people-based whole systems approach as I believe the outcomes of systemic thinking can be revolutionary in creating organisations, projects and societies that are radical in the best kind of ways, sustainable, happy, equal and fair.
My career experience seems to stretch away into the distance, and has been very rich in terms of my passion, experience, learning and achievement. After university I worked for 5 years in the private sector in FTSE 100 companies, followed by 14 years in higher education, lecturing in organisational behaviour and leading executive education programmes in change management. The last 16 years have been spent project managing in civil society organisations and partnerships including the New Economics Foundation, Locality and the Centre for Thriving Places. During this time I’ve been involved in community-led economic development, community organising on a grand scale and the development of new measures of prosperity to replace GDP. Much of my work has been in the fertile space of innovative new ways of thinking and doing.
I hold a BA in English and American Literature, an MA in Communications Studies and an MSc in Responsibility and Business Practice. I’m trained in numerous facilitation and development methods, including Art of Hosting, Narrative Therapy, action learning and systemic facilitation. I’m also a trained finance coach.
I love football, cycling, being outdoors, gardening, style, culture and the North.
Having known Helen and worked with her for nearly ten years, I can highly recommend the range of services she offers. Her background in youth work and community organising makes Helen a perfect ‘fit’ for working with a range of people and organisations around organisational change and action learning.
She possesses many talents which are backed up by reflection and learning from her own personal as well as professional experience. She is a skilled mentor, facilitator and trainer from the development and design stages through delivery to the accreditation and supervision of learning. Helen is adept at helping people to realise their own talents as well as supporting them to challenge accepted but often discriminatory wisdom.
— Mandy Wilson
Community Development, Research and Facilitation
Working with Ruth and Helen completely changed the way I look at public engagement – for the better. So often, large scale housing development projects fail to engender meaningful connections with local communities but Ruth and Helen upended our processes and put local residents and issues firmly at the centre of all of our thinking. I would love to see Community Organising reach much further into the world of real estate and I would use or recommend Ruth and Helen’s services again without hesitation.
— Claire Bennie
Founder, Municipal Agency Ltd
You might be wondering what on earth ‘Ansuz’ (pronounced ann-suhz) is all about. Well, we were casting around for a name and at a risk of being a bit up ourselves, decided to go with an Icelandic rune. Runes are an early simple writing and meaning system and, it is said, also act as magic charms. The rune Ansuz is associated with ‘reason, analysis and advice, connecting and networking, inspiration and listening to oneself and one’s own particular inner voice’. So there we are.
For more see http://runesecrets.com/rune-meanings/ansuz