Courses Overview >> Short courses >> Following Nature's Path Towards Authentic Leadership 2019

Following Nature's Path Towards Authentic Leadership 2019

Key Info: 
  • Be inspired - by storytellers and community builders from very different backgrounds and discover how your gifts and creativity can support a more positive future.
  • Be supported - develop your own nature-connection practices and join a global community of creative, collaborative change-makers.
  • Become your best self - learn powerful techniques to access your own style of authentic leadership and to help others find theirs.

With Mac Macartney, Dr Deborah Benham and Jon Young (via video link)

£ 795.00
Course fees include a four-night stay in basic private accommodation from the first lunchtime you arrive through until the lunchtime before your departure as well as all vegetarian meals, field trips, materials and teaching sessions. If you wou
ld like to take this course as a non-residential participant, please call us on Tel: +44 (0) 1803 847237

As we navigate these turbulent times and the challenges of a disconnected society, we can struggle to connect with a sense of how to meaningfully contribute or step into authentic healthy modes of leadership. Yet there is an elegant and simple map, based on the wisdom of nature and cultures that are strongly connected to nature, which can help us do this  and also help empower others.

Join Mac Macartney, Deborah Benham and Jon Young (via video link) to restore these lost connections, bring all your gifts alive and help you become part of a global community of creative and engaged change-makers.

This course draws on the wisdom of some of the most inspirational figures in leadership and regenerative community building. It acknowledges that we are all creative beings with unique gifts and qualities that are needed by our communities.

Neurological research shows that when we are deeply in a relationship with other people, the natural world and our inner dimensions, we flourish in a multitude of ways. Our path to a meaningful and joyful life is to seek out and express our gifts, and to help others do the same.

That path may be challenging; we may be plagued by self-doubt or fear, which keeps us small or stuck. However, we can learn to connect to our potential and become empowered co-creators of a positive future.

In this course you will be offered an elegant yet simple map by which you can restore lost connections. These have been used by thousands of people to create deeply nature-connected and creative individuals, organisations and communities around the world.

Mac Macartney was mentored for over 20 years by Native American spiritual teachers, including the Lakota. It is their wisdom, resilience and understanding of the natural world that prompted him to research the ancient indigenous storyline of the British Isles, and rediscover pathways that may bring us back into relationship with our human and more-than-human family. In this course Mac will help participants explore how we can develop resilience, access our gifts, find courage, and support one another in the times ahead

Jon Young has spent over 35 years learning with indigenous people such as the San Bushmen of the Kalahari and Haudenosaunee/6 Nations people of North America and also with modern neurologists and occupational therapists. They share a common understanding that we are hardwired for connection. And yet many of the symptoms of our struggling society are caused by deep disconnections in the ecological, social-economic and spiritual-cultural realms. Jon has created an elegant map of principles to help us reconnect with nature and ourselves and to rebuild connective communities and cultures. He is founder of the 8 Shields Institute which shares these principles through global training and mentoring.

Deborah Benham has been working closely with Jon Young as coordinator for the 8 Shields leadership training programme Village Builders' and Director of 8 Shields activities in the UK. She brings her deep nature connection practice, wide experience of community building and her personal leadership journey as a woman and a conservationist, to encourage others who may not see themselves as leaders to recognise and step into their own unique gifts in service to the living world.

Mac, Jon and Deborah, share their knowledge, personal stories and hopes for a regenerative future, and show us how to reconnect, empower ourselves and each other as change-makers and authentic leaders at this time of global challenge.

What will you gain from taking part in this course?

  • Starting with core routines of deep nature connection, we will reclaim our sense of inter-being and belonging within the natural world.
  • We will learn how to bring our senses alive in nature as one of the most effective and nourishing ways to connect with a sense of the sacred, a ‘quiet’ mind and with our inspiration.
  • We will explore bird language and principles of holistic tracking as routes into a deeper awareness of the living ecology to which we belong.
  • From this place of increased awareness we will support our connection to the universal flow of creativity, our ability to discern and lean into whispers of the future is heightened, and we are empowered to co-create with each other.
  • There will be guided time in nature plus opportunities for solo time, providing space for reflection and integration.
  • You will be supported to develop a personal nature connection practice, which will assist you in building connection ‘muscles’ and exploring your gifts.

The journey starts with re-connecting ourselves as an integral part of the natural world, however, it can only go so far unless we also have a supportive human community around us.

During the course we will also:

  • Experience and learn first-hand how to create these communities, through introducing universal cultural elements which support a sense of belonging, meaning and value.
  • Explore the many different ways and styles in which leadership and leadership moments can emerge, and how to navigate an authentic leadership journey with grace, humility and courage.
  • Learn mentoring principles and techniques for supporting others to discover and step into their gifts and leadership qualities.
  • Share success stories from our global community and provide support on how to plug into nature connection and cultural mentoring groups and networks, to ensure you have an ongoing community of practice.
  • Join us to explore the gifts of connection, to bring alive your most authentic self and to become part of a global community of change-makers.
With Mac Macartney, Dr Deborah Benham and Jon Young (via video link)
Mac Macartney

Mac Macartney

Mac Macartney is an international speaker, writer and change-maker. He is also the founder of Embercombe, the centre for leadership and learning with a mission to catalyse the emergence of leaders and change-makers for a just, peaceful and sustainable future.

Over a period of twenty years Mac was mentored by a group of indigenous elders. During this training and ever since, he has attempted to bring two worlds together – an ancient world-view that emphasises relationship, interdependence, and reverence for life with the significant challenges and opportunities of the 21st Century.

Mac works with leaders across all walks of life – from business to education – inspiring them to put up their hand and join the chorus of people who are singing alive the world of our longing.  He was a faculty member of the WWF/IMD Business School ‘One Planet Leaders’ programme in Lausanne for three years and received an Honorary Doctorate in Education from Plymouth University for his work in service to community.

In 2016 Mac co-founded Liquid School, a network of experts helping organisations imagine a sustainable future. He sits on the Advisory Board for DanoneWave, the largest Public Benefit Corporation in the U.S. and is an Associate with Leaders’ Quest, collaborating on global issues with leaders across business, government and civil society.

Dr Deborah Benham

Dr Deborah Benham

Deborah began her nature connection journey through academic studies (MSc & PhD) and management and consultancy roles in wildlife biology, marine conservation, ecotourism, environmental education. After 15 years working in this field she discovered 8 Shields, Gaia Education and the communities movement, which led to a broader interest in deep nature connection, regenerative culture, design for sustainability and community building.

She founded and ran Wild at Heart, providing nature connection programmes and wildlife guide training and was managing director of the Newbold Trust ( a sustainable living centre affiliated with the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland. She now works for Transition Network based in Totnes, is a Trustee for 8 Shields in the UK and coordinates the 8 Shields Institute's Village Builders' online leadership programme. She also offers training, mentoring and workshop facilitation in nature connection, culture repair, PeaceAbility, sustainable communities and youth empowerment. She loves collaborating with global change-makers in programmes and projects which support regenerative communities and healthy ecosystems.

Jon Young

Jon Young has been a leader in the field of education and deep connection with nature, Permaculture, community building and cultural mentoring for more than 30 years.  His skills have greatly enhanced the understanding and enormous benefits of connecting people with the natural world. Throughout his work as a mentor, wildlife tracker, peacemaker, author, workshop leader, village builder, consultant, inspiring public speaker and storyteller he has travelled the world and appeared in numerous documentaries.

He has authored and co-authored several seminal works including: What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World (2013), and Coyote's Guide to Connecting to Nature (2007). As founder of the 8 Shields Institute (, Jon Young has established best-practices for cultural modelling and nature connection mentoring and works with a global network of contributors. He is dedicated to supporting every person in the world to have access to nature connection and a healthy community in which to thrive, for the benefit of current and future generations.

If you would like to book onto one of our short courses, you will need to create an account. This is a simple process of choosing a username, email address and password. Once you have created an account you will receive a verification email. Please click on the verification link within to have full access to the site and to make your booking. (You may need to  check your spam folder if you do not see this email.)  We will email you confirmation of your payment and any further communication about your course application.

Residential accommodation for "Changing the Frame"  is at Higher Close, a 20 minute walk from Schumacher College. All meals will be provided at the college.

A place can not be guaranteed unless we receive your deposit or payment on your chosen course. If you would like to apply for a bursary, please do this before making your course application.

Short Course Bursaries create an opportunity for an individual to experience the powerful transformative learning by joining a course that assists the participant to inspire their wider community and benefits from the participant’s own unique contribution. It is our hope that our bursaries support a wide cross section of participation on our short course programme. The number of bursaries available is limited, competition is strong and funding is not always available for every short course. Please be aware that most bursaries are in the region of 10% – 20% of the course fee so please be prepared to raise funding from other sources.  A bursary award is not intended to cover travel or incidental expenses.

Applications are viewed on a case-by-case basis and we are unable to enter into discussions on any decisions. We generally have many more applications for bursaries than we have funding available. We can only offer one bursary per person per year and priority is given to those who have not attended the college or received a bursary before. To help us support as many people as possible, please only apply if you would be unable to attend the course without a bursary.

How to apply for a bursary

Six weeks before the course is due to start all bursary applications will be considered and responded to.  If successful you will be required to accept our Bursary Terms and Conditions.

Please answer the following:

  1. What does a bursary mean to you?
  2. How will your attendance on this course benefit the wider community?
  3. If your financial situation justifies you applying for a bursary, how much are you able to contribute towards attending this course?

Please be prepared to supply an appropriate reference in support of your application.