Warren is an outstanding facilitator of strategy and OD processes, with an exceptional ability to stimulate and guide workshop processes and capture the essence of these, and in addition a very structured and organised planner who gets things done.
Warren contributed greatly to learning and thinking processes within our team and between the team and various partners. His ability to reflect and through that, articulate, generate, and further develop ideas, makes him an outstanding team member and “thinking partner”.
Carsten Norgaard, former regional Director of Oxfam Ibis and Royal Danish Consul to Namibia
Warren has been an invaluable associate of the Positive Vibes team and supported a number of multi-country projects, program practice and design, across East, West and Southern Africa.
Warren’s particular skillset in organisational accompaniment, writing, knowledge synthesis and facilitation is a significant asset to any organisation.
What I value most is his ability to both contribute to, and help teams to, make sense of complex ideas and evidence that supports new thinking in social innovation.
In more than five years with us, he is a part of our DNA and has become a substantial contributor to the success of our organisation’s cutting edge programming practice.
Flavian Rhode, Executive Director, Positive Vibes
I have worked with Warren in my role as trustee on the board of Positive Vibes.
I find Warren’s approach refreshingly practical and deceptively straightforward – working to the principle that simple does not equal easy. His ability to keep a large, diverse group of people engaged and focused over an extended period clearly illustrates his high professional standard and ability – and this is reflected in the excellent outcomes and concise documentation post-intervention.
I am looking forward to working with Warren again, and would not hesitate to recommend him highly!
Melanie Jackson, Director, Words That Count
In February 2018, Warren Banks worked with us to guide the development of a 5-year organisational strategy. Over six months, he skillfully and patiently allowed the LEGABIBO team to think about what we are going to do, how, and what needs to change for this to work.
I also realised that while doing this, he created a learning space where we learnt from our experiences and from each other, rather than focusing on theory.
Now when I read the final products, I identify with the experiences, the language, and the ideas. This speaks to Warren’s extensive experience and his desire to do the best for the client. I also see that our strategy and other accompanying documents are unique to LEGABIBO.
He is generous with his time, skills, knowledge and ideas – he gave, and still is giving, valuable suggestions on how we can communicate the strategy, and generously offered to be a sounding board every now and then.
This speaks volumes about his character and professional ethics that can be really hard to find these days. We are really lucky to have him in our corner.
Anna Mmolai-Chalmers, CEO, LEGABIBO, Botswana
Warren has been there with SaveAct from the early years, coaching and enabling us to think clearly about where we want to go and how we can get there. We have always experienced him as an exceptional facilitator, who provides the tools for our organisation to develop a strategic plan that is grounded and implementable. We have felt in safe and kind hands.
In all my years of NGO work I have seldom encountered someone who can sum up as brilliantly as Warren. Not only that, but he points you right into the path of the important decisions that have to be made. That is a special skill from which SaveAct has benefitted immeasurably.
Anton Krone, Founder & Executive Director, SaveAct
Warren Banks has provided organisation development support to the Gay and Lesbian Network since 2006. His work included strategic planning, organisational development and diagnosis and decision-making processes, facilitation, proposal writing and board training.
I have valued Warren’s knowledge, experience and expertise on all aspects of organisation development. He is committed and dedicated to his work and is very professional in facilitating processes and produces excellent reports of outcomes of his work.
He is passionate about development and sparks much needed change.
Anthony Waldhausen, Founder & Executive Director, Gay and Lesbian Network
Warren has added enormous value to our various strategic processes, programmatic designs and implementation, and partnerships, even beyond his direct programmatic influence, through the use of his innovative and often creative approaches, facilitation, deep insight, ethos and practice. Warren has an almost unparalleled ability to sculpt, through the processes he designs and facilitates, the often chaotic fuzziness of individual or group thinking into a comprehensible and digestible form that is easily understood and articulated and that one is then able to tangibly move forward on. He certainly has an aptitude for asking the right questions which move and energise people, groups and organisations from a state of stasis or “stuckness” to one of dynamism and “freshness”.
Lee Mondry, Deputy Director, Positive Vibes Trust
Working with Warren has made me so much more aware that facilitation and development are not occupations; they are practices. And in the art and discipline of facilitation, Warren is a consummate practitioner – observant; sensitive; diligent; conscientious.
He brings to his work with individuals and organisations the ability to marry vision and aspiration with pragmatism and efficiency – I have certainly learned from him the value of asking “what is enough?” – and a professional integrity that drives him to deliver quality service and content that have functional benefit to his clients. His creativity and professional curiosity are always sensibly tempered with considerations of utility and usefulness.
Like many others who get to work with him, I’m a fan.
Ricardo Walters, Facilitation, Consulting and Support Services
I have known Warren Banks as a trusted friend and colleague since 2015. We have collaborated on several organisation development (OD) processes with local and regional clients based in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. The scope of our joint work included organizational culture change, board development, and review and strategy development work.
The quality I most appreciate in Warren is a high level of integrity and care for his fellow human beings. At this crucial juncture in South Africa, Warren has much to offer in helping individuals and organisations to understand the key issues we are facing, and to craft narratives of possibility. He has an inherent appreciation of how the personal, organisational and global levels work together to effect change when we free ourselves of constricting narratives.
He is a very skilled process facilitator. This is evident in his capacity for holding space, allowing delegates to hear themselves tell their stories, articulate their deepest visions and intentions, and then build a road to make those visions a reality. He recognizes the innate gifts in people and organisations and, through his care and commitment, helps them harness those gifts. Warren brings an understanding of the human condition, which is critical in helping people to explore themselves and take the next step in their development. I have been inspired by his gift for empowering empathy, and have witnessed how this supports individuals and organizations to find opportunities in adversity.
As a systems thinker and OD practitioner, Warren has an essential grasp of how the different aspects of an organization fit together. He knows how to create leverage for change by using the influencers and drivers in organisations. Through questioning the status quo and using systemic analysis, Warren helps organisations to uncover core dysfunctions and opportunities for creative breakthroughs.
The synergy of a brilliant strategic mind, insight into human beings and a pragmatic approach to development ensures that Warren makes a valuable contribution to every initiative he undertakes.
Berenice de La Croix, Director, Learning in Practice SA
I’ve known Warren for almost 20 years. He continues to impress me with his creativity and sharp mind. I know him best as editor and mentor of my first book, when he took me from being a novice to completing and producing a first book. I’m not sure that it was worthy of him — but two successful books on, I still bring to mind what he taught me.
Some of it was technical — about the voices that emerge within the writing — the craft of writing and how to frame what needs to be said. Some was linked to integrity, values and making meaning — what the writing was seeking to express — his special skill.
Trish Bartley, Mindfulness teacher trainer and author (Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Cancer, 2012; A Kindly Approach to Being with Cancer, 2017)
He works from his head and his heart in equal measure or as is called for.
He brings firmness and humour.
He supports and confronts with empathy when each is needed.
Davine Thaw, OD practitioner (and my mentor)
I’ve been working in the water sector for the past 20 years. It has been torn apart by conflict over the best means – public or private – to deliver water. As director of a complex, international project called The Water Dialogues, I needed assistance facilitating a process to build trust amongst stakeholders and to create a basis for them to grapple with and draw conclusions from complex research findings.
Warren engaged with me about my experience and thinking, and crafted a process that would meet our needs. It wasn’t just about facilitation on the day. He considered the process as a whole and what we wanted to achieve. While he came in with a structure, his understanding of people and ability to assess how things were unfolding, meant that he could adjust and change the process as needed.
It was amazing how he established rapport with stakeholders and guided the process without being over-bearing. In a room of senior experts, he was able to defer to their knowledge of the subject matter, but still guide the process.
And above all, it all worked because he’s a pleasure to have around – incisive and witty.
We achieved the outcome that we wanted, drawing together stakeholder perspectives and building mutual understanding, and because of this success we were able to take the process even further than anticipated, to the local level.
Mary Galvin, Associate Professor of Development Studies, University of Johannesburg
I have had the pleasure of working with Warren to deliver a complex multi-country project and it’s clear he has extensive experience in the fields of human rights, health, HIV, LGTBIQ+, community and organisational development.
Warren understands the complexity of organisations, but doesn’t forget or neglect the importance of the human beings within; this allows him to bring an efficiency and impact to his work beyond the theory of organisational development. His approach is truly person-centred and brings a richness to the work which goes beyond systems and processes and focuses on bringing real change.
I am in awe of his ability to work with the individual and the organisation in the same breath and to bring an inquisitive and helpful eye to a wide diversity of contexts.
His planning and conceptualisation skills are second to none and his approach to working with people is creative, inclusive and brave — under his skilful and supportive guidance, people bring forth the most amazing ideas and visions.
He has a seemingly innate ability to listen, analyse and present visually the ideas and concepts being discussed in ways that are vibrantly insightful.
Catherine Simmons, Lead: Programmes, Frontline AIDS (Brighton, UK)