Gary Forbes

6555 West Banded Gecko Way
Tucson, Arizona 85745
Phone/Fax: (520) 743-8056

Over thirty years of experience as a professional facilitator and organizational consultant. Specialty skill arenas are developing methods of active participation, participatory planning events, multi-sectoral planning sessions, organizational development, training of process facilitators in international development projects, quality service improvement programs, and developing shared-responsibility teams.

Work Held senior human resource development positions at corporate headquarters of

Best Western International and the City of Phoenix, Arizona.  Coordinated the City’s Management Development program and a nationally-recognized system-wide Quality Service Program. Spent ten years in leadership training and community development as Regional Director in New Haven, Montreal, Kansas City, and Denver for the Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA), an international non-governmental organization. Directed Pisinemo Human Development Project on Tohono O'odham Indian Reservation in Arizona; received awards for innovative socio-economic development activities

Graduated from the Thunderbird Graduate School of International Management (Arizona), with Masters’ degree in international management. Received BA degree in Latin American Studies and History Honors from Macalester College in St. PaulMinnesota.  Also attended the Universidad de las Americas in Mexico. 

Activities Charter member and past Chair of the International Association of Facilitators (IAF), a professional association to support and advance the practice of facilitation. Presented at several IAF and Organization Development National (ODN) conferences on organizational change efforts. Published articles on quality customer service, group facilitation methods, and organizational development. 

Language Native English speaker. Spanish proficiency.

Current Practice 
Consulting with a diverse clientele, mostly in the public sector and civil society, both in the United States and internationally. In US clients include state and local government agencies, non-profits, public health organizations, law enforcement agencies, business organizations, and community-based organizations. In past twenty years consulted, facilitated, and/or trained local facilitators in over twenty nations on five continents. Known for fast-paced, participative and results-driven sessions. 

Consulted with international development projects since 1994. Since 1997, Senior Participation Specialist with ARD TetraTech. Consulted with Mercy Corps and CARE in their USAID-supported community mobilization projects. Also consulted with UNDP, Management Systems for Development (MSD), Management Sciences for Health (MSH), Save the Children US, IFPRI, AED, Chemonics, Management Systems International (MSI). Representative consultancies since 2000 are listed below.


Involved in project development, participatory work plan development, team building activities, training staff and partners in participatory methods, facilitating stakeholder conferences, and designing project planning workshops within local government units. 

Governance and Local Democracy (GOLD) Project: Designed and facilitated ARD’s GOLD project strategy planning workshops for 11 sites in the Philippines.  Workshops were attended by the Provincial Governor and department heads, Mayors, and non-governmental leaders. Workshops created a shared practical vision, identified obstacles to improved governance, and developed short-term strategies for strengthening democracy and the delivery of public services.

Local Governance Development Program (LGDP), Jordan:  Designed and facilitated workshops and train the trainer sessions for local consultants to deliver Municipal Strategic Planning Workshops, Management and Supervisory Training for municipal leaders, and a Quality Service Improvement Program in three Jordanian municipalities.  2008 – 2010.

Bangladesh Local Government Initiative: Participation consultant to USAID-funded local government project.  Trained consultants in participation methods. Developed and piloted model for regional dialogue session of key stakeholders.  Led strategic planning process for two local government associations in 2012.

Senegal Decentralization and Local Governance: Regular consultant to ARD project in designing participatory activities, facilitating workshops and seminars, and training staff and partner organizations in participatory methods.  Facilitated strategic planning workshops in thirteen communities (3 regions). 

Human Rights Program in Colombia: Providing ongoing consulting, training, and facilitating workshops for MSD’s pilot human rights program.  Facilitated workshops in Cartagena, Bogota and Cali with municipal and departmental planners to incorporate human rights into local development plans.

Iraq Governance Strengthening Project (Chemonics):  Facilitated team building and project start-up activity work planning for USAID-funded project.  2011.

Decentralization and Democratic Local Governance Projects in Ecuador, Colombia and Peru (2001 – current): ARD Senior Participation consultant to USAID-funded projects.  Provided advanced participation methods training for project staff and partners (over 250 trained in three day seminars), designed citizen participation component activities, developed and piloted municipal project planning and prioritization workshop, and facilitated staff team building and action planning workshops.  Also provided focused training for Afro-Colombian, Youth, and Women civil society leaders.

Sri Lanka Anti-Corruption Program:   Designed and facilitated strategic planning activity for the senior management team of the Auditor General’s Department.  Also designed and delivered a five day intensive management skills development seminar for “rising managers” in the department.



Involved in the design, facilitation and/or coaching of different types of large-scale conferences and workshops, including international meetings, multiple stakeholder workshops, leadership conferences, partnering workshops, etc.

International Workshop on Land Use Change and BioEnergy:  Facilitated workshop sponsored by Oak Ridge National Lab’s Center for  BioEnergy Sustainability with support from the Department of Energy.  Fifty leaders and experts attended from many research-based institutions and government agencies which are involved in global land-use change modeling and land cover and land-use data sets.

Sustainable Water and Sanitation in Africa ((SUWASA):  Designed and facilitated stakeholder workshop for water sector officials in Mozambique, along with private water providers;  to begin the process of integrating the private providers into the legal and regulatory framework related to the urban water system.

World Conference on Governance: UNDP lead facilitator for the stream on Building Capacities for Governance, part of the World Conference on Governance, with the overall theme of “Government to Governance”.  700 leaders from throughout the globe attended the Conference in Manila in June 1999. 

International Conference on Shared – Paired Drylands:  Workshop facilitator for University of Arizona and National University of Mexico (UNAM) consortium of natural resource researchers, held in Mexico City.

South Sudan Property Rights Program (ARD TetraTech): Facilitated conference of Ministry of Land officials, and local district land commissioners to prepare framework for national land policy. 2010.

Civil Society Strengthening for Conflict Prevention in West Africa: Designed and facilitated a USAID regional conference of Civil Society Organization (CSO) leaders from 14 nations to assess CSO capacity and develop regional and national strategies for strengthening the role of CSOs in conflict resolution.

Mercy Corps International Leadership Conferences: Facilitated bi-annual global leadership conference with key Mercy Corps headquarters and world-wide regional staff in both 2002 (Oregon) and 2004 (Beijing).  Facilitated Balkans’ and Middle East regional conferences.

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)Designed and facilitated three team building and strategic planning staff retreats at IFPRI headquarters in Washington as well as African sites (2009-2011). Units include the Environment and Production Technology Division, the Bio-Safety Program, HarvestPlus (an international bio-fortification program). 

USAID Jordan Mission:  Designed and facilitated three day staff retreat that included staff attitude survey and participatory strategic planning sessions among five offices; over seventy-five participants. 2008.

University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences:  Facilitated the “CALS 21” visioning and planning process for largest college within the University.  Facilitated Executive Council situational assessment and strategic visioning sessions.

African and Latin American Resilience to Climate Change: ARCC Project (ARD TetraTech):  Designed and facilitated project planning session that brought together multiple partners and sub-contractors. Also facilitated two Resilience to Climate Change training sessions for USAID environmental and food security staff, one in Ethiopia and another in Ecuador.

GOLD Strategic Directions Conference (Philippines): Facilitated mid-term Project Conference. An innovative forum for local leadership to share breakthroughs in project implementation and assess new initiatives of local government units.

Federation of Earth Sciences Information partners (ESIP):  Facilitated the organization’s strategic planning process for improving earth science data use. 2011

Okavango Integrated River Basin Management Project: Consultant to three-nation institutional and community management capacity development project in Southern Africa. 2006 – 2010.

Supportive Environments for Health Project Partners KICK-OFF Meeting:  Worked with AED Project Manager to design and facilitate gathering that brought 18 international partner institutions together to jointly plan implementation of USAID flagship environmental health project.

SADC Workshop: Designed and facilitated conference involving representatives from ten Southern Africa ministries and regional and international conservation organizations.  Theme was “achieving compatibility between the Trans-frontier Conservation Area (TFCA) concept and international standards for the management of Trans-boundary Animal Diseases (TADs). Conference held in 2008.


Involved in the strategic design of community mobilization approaches for donor projects in several countries.   Most of the work is with Mercy Corps projects that seek to develop community initiative and leadership in developing and implementing small-scale infrastructure projects.

Palestine Save The Children Foundation: Trained SCF and Palestinian NGO leadership in participation methods. Designed innovative local project planning and prioritization event for used in USAID-funded Community Services Project.

Community Revitalization Through Democratic Action (Mercy Corps - Serbia):  Piloted community action planning workshops that use strategic planning and consensus building techniques to empower local leadership to prioritize, plan, and implement grant projects.

Jamaica CWIP project: Developed new community-based action planning workshop, trained fifty Jamaican government staff in how to facilitate workshops in local communities throughout Jamaica.

Peaceful Communities Initiative and Community Action Investment Program (Mercy Corps):   Trained over 75 staff and local partners in community mobilization for USAID-funded projects in Central Asia.



Involved in the design and facilitation of work planning sessions. Participants include international, national and field staff as well as partners, government officials, and donors.  Designed format initially for ARD, but recently using it with other clients as well.

Ecuador Decentralization and Local Development: Designed and facilitated series of team-based work plan sessions during 2003 and 2004.

West Bank/Gaza Health Flagship Project (Chemonics):  Designed and facilitated four participatory planning sessions during 2010 – 2011 that involved project staff, Ministry of Health officials, and USAID personnel.

Colombia Decentralized Local Governance: Designed and facilitated annual work plan sessions for project team and USAID staff; 2001 -- 2005.

BRIDGE Project in South Sudan (Mercy Corps):  Facilitated annual strategic planning and workplan development event for Mercy Corps staff and partner NGOs.

Local Governance and Development Project -- Jordan: Facilitated several sessions for Millenium Challenge Corporation/USAID project, including collaborative work planning, developing lessons learned and success stories, and participatory project evaluation.

Crime and Violence Prevention Project (CVPP) Mexico (ARD TetraTech):  Designed and facilitated team-building and project strategizing session for USAID-funded project working in key Mexican border cities.


Involved in individual and team-based consulting in special focus situations within projects, in which there is a need to incorporate authentic and empowering participatory approaches.  This generally involves designing participatory events with discrete needs and objectives.

Social Policy Initiative Group (Georgia-MSI): Designed and facilitated community information workshop and education reform workshop. Each brought various stakeholders together to analyze and strengthen system interfaces between local communities and government in the nation of Georgia. Designed and facilitated Social Policy Working Group strategic directions conference.

Bangladesh (UNDP):  Designed and facilitated District Council and Regional Council organizational assessment and strategic planning workshops in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, as part of a UNDP initiative for strengthening local governance institutions in post-conflict setting.

Lesotho (UNDP): Member of consulting team for a World Bank-led Post Conflict Needs Assessment in Lesotho. Facilitated workshop for members of the Interim Political Authority (IPA), representatives of ten political parties chartered with making changes in the electoral system to prevent recurring civil crises.

"Write-Shops": Designed collaborative writing workshops in two arenas -- local planning and budgeting, and environmental planning/management.  Involved technical field staff, local government staff, and professional researchers to write series of papers on selected topics and case studies.

Local Government Planning and Budgeting Workshops: Consulted in the design of an innovative participatory mechanism for broad-based citizen involvement in local planning and budgeting in the Philippines. Model was piloted in over 1000 local government units in five provinces.



Involved in training and coaching local staff and leadership groups in participatory methodologies.  Since 1994, over 3000 project staff, national trainers/consultants/facilitators,  and NGO leaders have attended the basic and Advanced Participatory Methods (APM) curriculum.

Public Participation and Group Facilitation Methods: Delivered training programs for local facilitators in Haiti, Palestine, Bulgaria, Mongolia, Jamaica, Serbia, Ecuador, Peru, Lebanon, Jordan, Tanzania, Colombia, Armenia, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Albania, Iraq, Bangladesh, Liberia, Indonesia, Georgia, Senegal, and Philippines.

Advanced Participation Methods: Developed Train the Trainer programs in several countries. In the Philippines, designed participatory methods training program that trained over 2,000 local leaders. In Senegal, the project trained over 500 local leaders and delivered participatory workshops and training seminars throughout the country.  In Jamaica, government program incorporated action planning method in community consultations.

Management Sciences for Health (MSH) Philippines Project:  Designed participatory strategic planning session for Provincial Health Departments involved in Family Planning and Child Survival(USAID). Trained Provincial Health Office senior staff to facilitate planning sessions in 85 Local Government Units.

Management Skills Development:  Designed and delivered management skills training for national staff in Mercy Corps programs in Iraq, Kosovo and Afghanistan.  Also for managers in the Auditor General’s Department of Sri Lanka.  Re-designed training and offered train the trainer for group of consultants to deliver it to municipal managers in Jordan.

Property Rights and Resource Governance (PRRGP):  Training seminar facilitator for USAID program to train USG foreign assistance practitioners in the field of land tenure and property rights.  2009 – 2011

Project Management Training:  Designed five day course and trained Mercy Corps’ managers in Afghanistan in theoretical concepts, practical skills, and best practices in project management.  Developed case studies and simulations as application exercises.

Bangsamoro Women Foundation for Peace and Development: Trained Muslim foundation leaders in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.

Quality Service Improvement Program (QSIP):  Facilitated QSIP for four Philippine Provinces and one city.  A five phase organization-wide program to implement service improvement changes and train staff in customer-oriented behaviors.  Replicated program in Jordan in 2008 for the Millenium Challenge Corporation/USAID LGDP in Jordan.