Paula Downey

In a nutshell…

this is what i do

I’m a process designer and strategist, a conversation host and curator, an author and speaker.

 What I do

in a bit more detail

I help people address issues of organisation, culture and change

with the principles of life and living systems as my touchstone and guide. These are not just a few new ideas. This is a Big Idea whose time has come. A new common sense.

I design and host large scale conversations and processes

that help people build relationships, deepen their understanding, find common ground, work together on issues that matter, and move their organisations and culture forward.

I’m passionate about bringing living systems principles to life

by making them meaningful, accessible and practical. I’m deeply committed to cultivating my own system-leadership capacities and supporting others to do the same.

What I bring

to people, organisations and initiatives.

My whole self

First and foremost, I bring my whole self to my work. I’ve worked hard to close the gap between who I am and what I do and to make my work an expression of my values, my convictions and my hope. I believe that to transform the culture and values of our organisations, and use our work to make the world a better place, we’ve got to bring our whole selves to the work we do.

Learn more about our professional journey

A unique blend of mindset and skillset

An eclectic mix of experiences and skills that people find valuable: a systemic perspective, a deep knowledge of process design, in-depth training in multiple cutting-edge conversational methodologies, an understanding of human and organisational development, and a track record for award-winning communication that comes in really useful.

See my full CV here

A balanced approach

I play at the crossroads of freedom and control. I combine creativity and pragmatism. I work with intention while facilitating emergence.

Discover more about CultureWork

A participative way of working

I bring a way of working that is relaxed and egalitarian, energetic and enlivening, questioning and provocative. I walk-the-talk of living systems.

See what people say about working this way

I stand for...

Responsible freedom.
Authentic encounter.
Cultivating relationships.
Building trust by speaking the truth.
Creating a positive disturbance.
Meeting renewal with boldness and courage.

Learn about the new work of leadership

I believe...

Nature is our primary teacher.
The intelligence is in the whole system.
Structure is the secret sauce.
Human beings can do great things, given a chance.
It’s time to change the story – and change the game.
The movement for change is growing. And it needs everyone.

Learn about the living systems revolution


What People Say

You cared about us

“I found working with you really inspiring. I loved your use of story and image. I loved how everything was ‘out there’ for all of us. I always had a sense that you cared a lot about us and our future. You were very structured and had great attention to detail. You and David gave a lot of care to your work and I had a sense that you worked sincerely and carefully on our material away from the scene…”

Enthralled & Excited

“Your enthusiasm – I can still see you jumping around as you talked – and your conviction, were catching. I was enthralled and excited and eager to learn. …”

It felt ‘right’

“When I first heard Paula speak about systemic thinking and cultural change, it was as if many of the bits of my thinking just slotted into place! I found it very exciting and absolutely affirming. Paula was saying what I had been thinking for a long time, but hadn’t heard voiced before. What she said felt ‘right’ and I felt encouraged to explore it further. …”

Wisdom of the group

“You brought really good negotiable boundaries. You listened extremely well to every detail and had the ability to ensure that nothing was lost. At times I would have thought nothing was said but you had a great capacity to reflect back to us in such a way that we could hear what we were saying underneath and behind our words… You also made real the idea that the wisdom and the answers are in the group and that everyone’s contribution is valuable…”

Do you have a project in mind? Let’s talk.


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What worked in the physical world can work online too. Sometimes, even better!


And what really matters hasn’t changed.


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