Designing Discussions that make a Difference

Howick Associates

With more than 30 years of experience in the field, Drew focuses on designing and facilitating group discussions that enable the participants to solve a problem or advance an issue. He works with groups of all sizes to see that the conversation that needs to happen does happen, thereby releasing the potential of the group.

Drew is the author of the book, The New Compleat Facilitator: A Handbook for Facilitators.


What do our clients say?

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Glenn SchlenderLuxemburg – Casco Superintendent

Drew helped the Luxemburg – Casco School District rekindle a relationship with our community that has been so well received that there is a palpable sense of optimism and enthusiasm by the community about the district moving in a positive direction. With over 125 community members in attendance, Drew and the Future Search process have engaged the L-C community in the development of a vision for the future of the district and the community that will transform both for the better for years to come.

On a more personal note, Drew’s expertise in working with a planning team of district and community members to customize the Future Search process for L-C and his expertise in facilitating the Future Search event made both the planning of the event and its execution a pleasurable and energizing experience as evidenced by the multitude of positive comments received by me and my school board.

Jamie BensonSuperintendent, School District of River Fall

Drew brought a great deal of experience and expertise to our school district strategic planning process. His unique approach to create a process that best fit our local needs brought authenticity, autonomy, and ownership into the final strategic plan outcomes. Drew does not bring a "canned" facilitation approach to this strategic process. Rather, he curtails the process and designs a specific agenda for each phase of strategic plan development that fit our local needs but does so in a manner that is guided by his career experience. He brainstorms meeting agenda options and provides recommendations while also listening to local interests and desires for how to best gather stakeholder input to create a meaningful and productive final product.

Drew knows how to create agendas and facilitate meetings in a highly professional and collaborative process. At Drew's suggestion, our process included an initial planning session between he, I, and our Board President. We then gathered a small advisory committee of various stakeholders to form an agenda for a large scale community summit which ultimately included seventy-five participants. Other follow-up sessions followed and within a few short months our district developed a strategic vision for the next five years-to include broad goals and specific action strategies.

Annette DeumanSuperintendent, Columbus School District

The Future Search Method, facilitated by Drew Howick was the right first step for Columbus School District.  Drew skillfully and personably led a community-wide group of over 110 participants in one conversation focused on a common purpose – the future of education in Columbus.  The three day conversation, while productive, energetic, and inspiring, produced common themes or priorities to guide the District’s work toward student success.

Jeff WaltersSuperintendent, Hartford union High School District

Drew is perfect for facilitating workshops for new superintendents and their school boards.  His focus on building the foundation for the work they will do together is essential to moving districts forward.  With a focus on collective commitments, roles and responsibilities, and guiding principles, leaders in any field could benefit from Drew's ability to bring people together for a common cause.

Patrick RauSuperintendent, Peshtigo School District

Drew Howick delivered for the Peshtigo Community.  We asked Drew to help us create an event that would actively engage our community and build trust through its process.  After the first night the feedback from participants included the words; exciting, engaging, thought-provoking, transparency, and I never knew.  In the end, we were able to connect with our community and develop a shared vision of the future.

Tom RheinheimerSuperintendent, Wautoma Area School District

In the Spring of 2016, the Wautoma Area School District Leadership Team worked with Drew Howick on holding Community Conversations to drive the development of our ten year strategic plan - The Wautoma Area School District FOCUS 2025 Plan.  Drew used his knowledge and expertise in strategic planning to lead us in this viable and critical direction, which has positively impacted our school district's decision making and community connections for the foreseeable future.  With Drew's support and leadership, we are now on target to achieve not only our school district goals and directives, but also our community partnership goals.

Mike CarowPresident and CEO, Wind River Financial

Drew brings a great deal of experience in strategic planning, facilitation, and helping team development.  His wisdom and practical approaches to getting to the heart of key discussions add great value to the process. 

If you are looking for someone that can help simplify the complex and help your teams work on what counts most, I would recommend working with Drew.

Dean GorrellSuperintendent, Verona School District

Our School Board recently went through the process of changing elementary and middle school attendance area boundaries. That activity typically creates a lot of angst and discord among some parents. We hired Drew Howick to facilitate a large committee comprised of parents, staff and Board members and lead us to a decision. Over the course of several months and numerous meetings, the committee reached consensus on recommendations to the Board. Because of the expert, sensitive and wise architecture of the meeting agendas and deft facilitation by Mr. Howick, the process was thorough and satisfying to all committee members and lead to good decisions by the Board. I give Drew Howick my highest recommendation if you are looking for a skilled, customer service oriented facilitator for any endeavor.

Bob GreenPresident, Middleton Cross Plains Area School District

With continued growth in student population in The Middleton Cross Plains Area School District, new schools are being built, resulting in the need to redistrict school boundaries. Based on his experience and reputation in working with other districts, Drew Howick provided his expertise in the design and facilitation of a series of meetings of our Internal Attendance Boundary Committee, which consisted of approximately twenty-five parents and residents. Drew partnered with our staff to plan each session in detail and then skillfully led each committee meeting over a period of six months. Drew employed a variety of methods that enabled ALL committee members to actively engage in discussions and to explore many options that met criteria that was identified by the Board. Drew helped to create a “safe environment” where diverse perspectives where willingly shared, options were extensively reviewed, and ultimately where a consensus was achieved. The committee members gave high marks to Drew for his ability to keep the group on task while encouraging all members to express their perspective. The board and staff are very appreciative of Drew’s contribution to this challenging process and we look forward to working with him in the future.

Jan BergPresident, DeForest Area School District Board of Education

The Deforest Area School District has been using Drew Howick’s services since 1999 when the district used Drew’s expertise to facilitate a conversation with the community using a future-searching process, we called “Framework For Our Future”. Drew guided the district through the process which engaged the community so well that now, having facilitated conversations around difficult topics with a representative group of community members has become the way we do business. Drew has trained staff in facilitation skills. He has not only worked with the district on the major future-searching event that is done every 10 years, but on the mid-point check-ins as we true the compass with community stakeholders. Twice the district has used his skills to form a community advisory committee that looked at the condition of our buildings, population projections, and possible facilities to be built or improved. We have had successful referenda both times which I attribute to the process put together by Drew and our administration to engage the community and to frame the issues in an understandable way. He facilitated meetings with the parents and community of a small, rural school that was facing closure. While no solution came out of these meetings, the process help honor the feelings and concerns of those affected. Drew is a quick study who grasps the core of an issue and then has a wealth of facilitation solutions to offer to find consensus around that issue. He has a remarkable skill of focusing a diverse group with many agendas and getting the group to find some common ground. Our district has been able to engage the community and move things forward due in great part to the facilitation skills we have internalized from our long association with Drew Howick.

Heidi EliopoulosSuperintendent, Chippewa Falls School District

Drew's facilitation of active conversations among a wide variety of stakeholders led us to inputs that were not only valuable but actionable. Our Community Conversation will help our district serve our community at an even greater level in the future.

Jim LynchExecutive Director, AWSA

Drew Howick assisted in the design and facilitation of our organization's process to renew our goals. Drew's assistance with design and facilitation was key to the successful completion of this important work.

Kathleen Cooke, PhD.Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators

Drew, your support of the new superintendents is realized as you promote the development of new leaders through your coaching work. Your interactions are warm and engaging and you easily build productive, professional working relationships. Your open, approachable style puts new superintendents at ease and your probing questions promote reflection, insight and growth. Thank you for providing the first year superintendents with the engagement and process facilitation skills they need to succeed in their role as superintendent, for assisting the new leaders to put new concepts into practice, and for promoting growth and reflection through the coaching process. I am grateful for your exceptional support of the new superintendents and thankful you are part of the academy team! Thank you for all that you do for the new leaders!

Greg ArmstrongDirector of Land Management and Environmental Education Holy Wisdom Monastery

I have worked with Drew Howick in several different capacities. First, he was the chairman of the board of the Benedictine Life Foundation at Holy Wisdom Monastery where I was a member of that board. Drew was always extremely well prepared for the meetings and conducted the meeting in such a thoughtful and diplomatic way that this board was very productive and everyone felt that they had an opportunity to contribute to the consensus. It was very satisfying to serve with Drew as I believe we served Holy Wisdom Monastery Very well.

Drew was also a co-chair, with me, of a development committee for the new Monastery Building at Holy Wisdom Monastery in 2007 & 2008. The three co-chairs of this committee worked well together and we were able to raise over $1,000,000 under the difficult circumstances of the economic down turn of that period of time. He was always so professional in the way he went about his work.

This year, I was able to get Drew on the Friends of Wisdom Prairie Council at Holy Wisdom Monastery. I knew that he had been engaged in leading organizations in the development of their culture and clearly identifying their purpose. Drew is now leading the Friends of Wisdom Prairie Council in a strategic planning exercise. I am so impressed with Drew’s ability to get others to express their ideas and feeling about our organization and to get the group to come to a consensus over its future direction. It is a pleasure to work with him and the results are very good indeed.


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