Zimbabwe Uplift Conference 2023

Transforming Leaders, Businesses, and Zimbabwe's Future
A reimagined future where leadership, compassion, and innovation come together to shape a brighter world.
The Uplift Organizational Development Conference, hosted by the Vuka Collective and the Center for Organization and Leadership Development Institute, will take place in Harare, Zimbabwe, on October 19th & 20th, 2023.
This groundbreaking event is not just a conference. It is a catalyst for transformation on a grand scale.

We will:

Create a conference space that allows participants to learn and share knowledge and skills, develop solutions to some of their most pressing issues, network robustly with like-spirited change agents, and emerge with concrete next steps.

Support participants to reframe and rewire leadership paradigms to catalyze positive social, environmental, and economic impact.

Foster the development of human- and planetary-centered workspaces that affirm the human spirit and support the renewal and growth of communities, economies, nations, and ecosystems.

Connect with the annual Appreciative Inquiry Jam, a global virtual event where participants use a strength-based approach to achieve meaningful outcomes in today's world.

The Uplift Conference is more than just a bridge between conventional business models and social impact. It is a bridge to a reimagined future where leadership, compassion, and innovation come together to shape a brighter world.

Immediately below, you'll find a form for those of you interested in engaging with the Vuka Collective and our transformative work around the globe. Below that, you’ll find more details about the Uplift conference, including a flyer, an agenda and consultant bios.


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Conference Flyers

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Conference Agenda Overview

Complete agenda here
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Vuka Collective Speaker Bios


Chris Powell

CEO at Talmetrix
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CEO at Talmetrix. Chris has spent over 25 years as an executive and entrepreneur enabling human centered and inclusive organizations to align their purpose and mission via people. Talmetrix captures and humanizes data to enable individuals, organizations, and communities to transform, grow, and thrive. Based in Chicago.

Elin Perttu

Management consultant
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Management consultant with a master’s degree in behavioral science and extensive experience in the field of organizational development, change management and leadership development. For nearly 10 years, Elin worked in IKEA enabling change and supporting leaders across Europe, Asia and North America. She uses simple and constructive tools such as the Four Rooms of Change for guiding global companies and small start-ups through their transformational journeys. Elin is based in Sweden.

Everett Darby

Partner and Senior Consultant at Growth River
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Partner and Senior Consultant at Growth River. Everett centers on developing business leaders and teams. He spent 30 years in various executive leadership roles with The Coca-Cola Company, NutraSweet and Monsanto. Everett specializes in Innovation and Change Leadership. He holds a Foresight Certification as a Futurist from the Institute for the Future and focuses on helping organizations imagine the future. He is based in Atlanta, GA. 

Lawrence Ellis

Founder of One Thriving Planet
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Founder of One Thriving Planet, accelerating solutions for a sustainable & regenerative, equitable & just & disruptive, thriving world for all. Also Lead Sustainability Advisor for a)plan coaching, where he is Account Executive, Special Projects Coordinator, or Executive Coach on all sustainability accounts. He served as Co-Lead of Thought Leadership for Health Equity across 750,000 people at Accenture, the world’s largest digital and tech consulting company. Based in Northern California, USA.

Mercedes Martin

Founder & CEO of Mercedes Martin & Co.
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Founder & CEO of Mercedes Martin & Co. an evidenced-based firm. Mercedes has over three  decades of experience with Global Strategic organizational consulting, Leadership Development, DEI & Sustainability. She is based in West Palm Beach, Florida & Northern California.

Richard Hawkes

Founder and CEO of Growth River
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Founder and CEO of Growth River and author of Navigate the Swirl. Growth River is an international consultancy with offices and partners in the US and in Germany and specializes in leading major transformational change initiatives that impact organizational culture and business models at the same time. Richard is based in New York.

Stephen Read

Senior Associate at Spaciousness Works
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Senior Associate at Spaciousness Works. Stephen has over 30 years’ experience as an entrepreneur in various industries and supports high-impact founders. and Stephen has extensive experience in developing inclusive, intercultural strategies in multiple countries. He is a certified Positive Intelligence Coach and convener of Appreciative Inquiry Summits. Stephen is based in South Africa.

Tanya Cruz Teller

Founder of Spaciousness Works
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Founder of Spaciousness Works. Tanya has over 20 years of global organization development experience with a master’s degree in International and Intercultural Management. She is an expert panelist for the Global Diversity Equity and Inclusion Benchmarks and is a certified Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Trainer (CAI), on the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Appreciative Inquiry. Tanya is based in South Africa.

Conference Agenda


Pre-conference – October 18, 2023, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM (12pm - 2pm ET)

5:00 – 5:30

Guests Arrival

Admin Registration Desk

5:30 – 6:00 

Welcome & Introductions

OLDN Zimbabwe Team

6:00 – 6:30

Reflections on OD Journey: Taking a Courageous Lead into OD

Musa Gumede

6:30 – 7:00

The Growing Passion for OD: The Why & How of My Practice

Dr. Vuyiwe Tsako

7:00 – 7:30

Pre-conference Dinner Chat

7:40 – 8:30

Closing Remarks

Conference Committee

Day One: October 19, 2023 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM (2 am to 2pm ET)

8:00 – 8:30

Guests Arrival Admin Registration Desk
8:30 – 8:45 Welcome Remarks Formal leaders
OLDN Executives
The Vuka Collective (5 mins)
Mercedes Martin
Richard Hawkes
8:45 – 9:30 Building Bridges: Cultivating Connections for Organizational Transformation Stephen Read
VuKa Online:
Lawrence Ellis
Elin Perttu
9:30 – 09:50 Living on a Hyphen: Bridging the gap between business, personal, social and planetary impact Mercedes Martin
Chris Powell
Lawrence Ellis
9:50 – 10:20 Asia OD Network Virtual Presentation – The Whole Brain Literacy (WBL) Research and its Implications for OD Practice Perla Sunga Intia
Ronell Victor Samudia
10:20 – 10:35 Community Reflections & Dialogue Chris Powell
Stephen Read
10:35 – 10:50 Participants visit the Exhibition booths for corporate talks while having TEA BREAK
10:50 – 12:00 Concurrent Sessions - (40 mins Talk plus 20 mins plenary)
Whole System Transformation Maxims – Rewiring Leadership Practices for Change & Transformation Lucy Marowa, CEO: National Blood Service Zimbabwe
Building Leadership Resilience for Business Profitability and Growth Dr. Phil Chitagu, Director: Human Resources, Schweppes Zimbabwe
Governance: Values-based Organizational Culture – myth or reality? Tsitsi L. Maradze
12:05 – 12:40 Conference Opening OLDN Executive
Honorable Minister
His Worship, the Mayor of Harare
12:40 – 1:00 Community Reflections & Dialogue Chris Powell
Stephen Read
1:00 – 2:00 Lunch & Networking
2:00 – 2:45 A Call to Prioritize and Manifest Human Flourishing: What, Why, How Dr. Avilla D. Goba
2:45 – 3:15 Adaptive Management for Success: Exploring the Contingency Theory in Organization Development Dr. Tosin Ekundayo
3:15 – 3:45 First Mutual Holdings Presentation Hillary Dzavanhu
3:45 – 3:55 Closing Keynote: Humanizing Workplaces: Leading Transformation through Humane Workspaces & Leadership Dr. Preethi Keerthi Dsouza
3:55 Movie Night: Global OD with the Appreciative Inquiry (AI) JAM 2023 – Cultivating Connections: Global Inspiration. Local Activation. The Appreciative Inquiry Jam is an annual global gathering where AI practitioners can come to revitalize their practice, meet and learn from their peers, and create opportunities for generative connections. Participants will hear from and connect with people who are using a strength-based approach to achieve meaningful outcomes in today's world. Stephen Read
Mercedes Martin
4:00 - 5:30 Thought Catalyst: David Cooperrider - Our Earthshot Moment: Fueling the Creation of a World of Full Spectrum Flourishing through Appreciative Inquiry David Cooperrider
5:30 - 6:30 Integrating OD Earthshot and Zimbabwe Social Impact Brief Introduction with Dinner Break Stephen Read
Mercedes Martin
6:30 - 8:00 Thought Catalyst: Tanya and Marlene - Nurturing a Tapestry of Intercultural Equity & Belonging: Illuminating Global Processes that Magnify the Impact of Local Actions! Tanya Cruz Teller
Marlene Ogawa

Day Two: October 20, 2023 8:00 - 4:30 pm (2 am to - 10:30 am ET)

8:00 – 8:30

Guests Arrival Admin Desk
8:30 – 8:45 Welcome Remarks Mr. Paul Nyausaru
8:45 – 9:15 Building Bridges: Connecting Local and Global OD Reflections Stephen Read
Chris Powell
Vuka Online: Lawrence Ellis
9:15 – 9:45 High-Performing Teams: Practical Steps to Unlocking Change Richard Hawkes
Mercedes Martin
(AI Jam Regional Hosts: Stephen Read
Marlene Ogawa)
9:45 – 10:15 The Zimworx Transformation Journey Tonderai Nyakuhwa
10:15 – 10:45 Participants visit the Exhibition booths for corporate talks while having tea
10:45 – 12:00 Amplifying all Voices: Creating Truly Inclusive Organizations and Communities Nonhlanhla Dlamini
12:00 – 12:30 Integrated Women Framework as a mediator: A preliminary analysis of professional women’s job satisfaction in China Dr. Phylis Lan Lin
Amber Han
Hui Zhang
12:30 – 1:00 Virtual AODN Presentation: In Pursuit of Authentic Learning: Creation of Organization Development Program Vijayakumar Parameswaran Unnithan
Kamaljit Grewal Maitra
1:00 – 2:00 Lunch & Networking
2:00 – 3:00 Whole System Mindset Change: Interventions in Botswana Salini Bafaneli
3:00 – 3:30 Leveraging Emotional Intelligence in Driving Organizational Transformation Givas Goteka
3:30 – 4:15 The Conference is Over, Now What? Designing Your Preferred Future Action Plan Mercedes Martin
Chris Powell
(AI Jam Regional Hosts: Stephen Read, Marlene Ogawa)
4:15 – 4:30 Closing Remarks OLDN Executive

Special Executive Session– October 21, 2023 (2 am to 8 am ET)

This is an invitation-only seminar for high-level executives across sectors.

8:00 – 8:30

Arrival of Delegates

Admin Desk

8:30 – 8:45

Opening the Executive Development Seminar

Dr. Justine Chinoperekweyi

8:45 – 10:00

EDP Introduction

Rose Nhamo

10:00 – 10:30

Tea Break

10:30 – 1:00

Executive Development Session

Mercedes Martin

Richard Hawkes

1:00 – 2:00

Lunch & Closing

3:00 – 5:00

Outdoor Event at Lake Chivero

4:30 - 6:00

Museum Visits