Sustainability: Acting for Social and Ecological Justice

In March, Fielding celebrates its 49th Anniversary.   

Keeping in mind the life-long learners that all Fielding community members are, we have designed a dynamic program for you this year. The theme for this year’s Call is Sustainability: Acting for Social and Ecological Justice. Join us on Thursday, Mar. 9 at 4 p.m. PST.  

Our annual Call across the Globe has become a tradition since Fielding’s 45th Anniversary. It is an opportunity for the Fielding community, friends, and partners, to celebrate our university’s Anniversary and come together for a learning opportunity. To commemorate our 49th Anniversary, the President’s Sustainability Advisory Council has designated 2023 as the Fielding Global Ecological and Social Justice Service Year throughout the world.    

Special thanks to the National Diversity Collaborative for serving as the Informational Sponsor. 





Marjorie Florestal, JD 

Marjorie Florestal, JD

Marjorie Florestal, JD

Marjorie is an HOD student at Fielding. She began her career as an international trade lawyer in the Clinton White House where she negotiated trade treaties and litigated disputes before the World Trade Organization. Subsequently, Marjorie became a tenured full professor at McGeorge Law School in Sacramento, educating the next generation of lawyers to assist clients in doing business across the globe.  

In recent years, Marjorie has shifted focus to explore the psychological implications of human behavior. She obtained a Masters in Jungian Psychology from Sonoma State University, and in her work at Fielding she explores themes of trauma and resilience in graduate students. Marjorie works with colleges, universities, and major corporations to adopt trauma-informed practices in classrooms and boardrooms around the world.

As a result of her unique expertise in trade and trauma, Marjorie was recently invited to join the board of Caribbean Women in International Trade (CWIT), a non-profit organization that works to empower women in the Caribbean by adopting initiatives to increase their participation in international trade. At CWIT, Marjorie will conduct research on the psychological impact of climate change on Caribbean women business leaders.  

In her spare time, Marjorie writes legal thrillers and travels the world. 

Alum John Ruffin, PhD 

John Ruffin, Ph.D.

John Ruffin, Ph.D.

John R. Ruffin, Ph.D., has been an organization development consultant for more than 40 years, advising senior executives and their teams, from a wide range of federal government agencies to Fortune 100 corporations, in strategic planning, culture dynamics and change, and performance systems development. John has been acknowledged by his clients for his ability to identify at all levels within organizations and his dexterity in facilitating large organizational gatherings and conferences. In recent years, John has given particular attention to the development of Bohm-inspired Dialogue as a powerful communications alternative to the often debate-laden discussions that we face in a continually polarized society. He is a co-founder of The Climate Dialogue Group, John is a graduate of the School of Leadership Studies doctoral program with a degree in Organization Development and Change at Fielding Graduate University. He has written extensively during his doctoral research on the challenge of organizational founders for working in collaboration with their boards of directors, and the phenomena of “Founder’s Syndrome.” John hails from Virginia and lives in Santa Barbara, CA. 

Linda Ellinor, PhD 

Linda Ellinor, Ph.D.

Linda Ellinor, Ph.D.

Dr. Linda Ellinor is best known for her pioneering work in developing a form of Dialogue grounded in the work of David Bohm.  She co-authored the book with Glenna: Dialogue: The Transforming Power of Conversation (1998, Wiley & Sons). 

Her business experience includes having worked for AT&T, International Paper Company, Exxon Office Systems, and a start-up company, called Mnemos.  In these companies she held marketing positions translating customer needs into new products and services.  She has a decade of experience as an out-placement consultant for Drake, Beam, Morin and as an executive coach in the Center for Creative Leadership’s Leadership Develop Program.  She developed a wellness center modeled on sustainable business practices outside Tucson, AZ from the mid 2000s to 2015 and served in a variety of pro-bono climate change organizations including Sustainable Tucson and the Tucson Climate Change Committee reporting to the City of Tucson. 

Linda has sat on the US Board of the Academy of Professional Dialogue as Vice President (A0fPD) from 2017 – 2021. She holds video-recoded interviews with seasoned professionals within the Bohm-inspired Dialogue community and runs monthly global dialogues through A0fPD. She holds an MBA from Columbia University, a BS from New York University, and has completed a PhD program in Jungian psychology with Pacifica Graduate Institute. 

Julie Smendzuik-O’Brien, PhD 

Julie Smendzuik-O’Brien, Ph.D.

Julie Smendzuik-O’Brien, Ph.D.

Dr. Julie Smendzuik-O’Brien is a scholar-practitioner who served for over 25 years in professional, mid-level, and senior-level management positions in the agriculture, natural resources, and higher education agencies of Minnesota state government. An innovator, she created two internal organization development and change consulting programs in these agencies, and directed many other change efforts in policy development, organizational improvement, organization behavior, and strategic planning. She served shorter terms as an external consultant to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC, and with the state of Michigan. 

Smendzuik-O’Brien mixes passion for organizational improvement with a commitment to sustainability and social justice. She was a founding member of a nonprofit association focused on sustainability of the U.S. food and farm system that has continued for more than 30 years. In addition to past service on several non-profit boards and church councils, she is a current board member of the North Woods and Waters of the St. Croix Heritage Area, an effort to gain Congressional designation for the 8,000 square mile region spanning eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin as one of national significance to the history of the United States. 

Frederick Steier, Ph.D. 

Frederick Steier, Ph.D.Dr. Frederick Steier is a member of the doctoral faculty in the School of Leadership Studies. Frederick Steier is also on the faculty of the Department of Communication at the University of South Florida. He is the editor of Gregory Bateson: Essays for an Ecology of Ideas (Imprint Academic, 2005) and a scientist-in-residence at the Center for Learning at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa, Florida, USA, where he is involved in participatory action research oriented studies of collaborative learning and play. 

He received his doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania in Social Systems Sciences in 1983. In 1985-86 he had the honor being a King Olav V Fellow at the University of Oslo through the American-Scandinavian Foundation. 

Also, we invite everyone to join the call of President Katrina S. Rogers, PhD, to share about your volunteer service in your community. Send a paragraph and a high-resolution photo to about your experience. As we plan for Fielding’s 50th, Anniversary, we hope to collect 50 Actions for Social and Ecological Justice by December 31, 2023. 



About the Author: Fielding News

Stories about people, issues, research, and innovation across the Fielding global community as reported by the Fielding News Team.

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