Yarrow DurbinI have been teaching and leading learning experiences for adults and youth for over 30 years in a wide variety of settings. I work with individuals, small and large groups who are committed to making a positive difference for children, families and our community, whether it be in education, human services, not-for-profits, government or socially oriented businesses.

I have a Masters Degree from the University of Washington in Curriculum and Instruction, as well as certification as a Courage & Renewal® facilitator, Integral® Coach, Certified Polarity Management® trainer, Immunity to Change® consultant and coach and many others.

After teaching high school mathematics and science for 15 years, I coordinated the Teacher Development Center in Shoreline Schools, founded Washington Courage & Renewal (a non-profit working as part of a national network that leads retreats inspired by Dr. Parker Palmer), and developed a slate of organizational learning workshops across the state. In 2005 I launched CourageWork to offer leadership coaching, retreat and workshop facilitation, and change consulting for school districts, non-profits, and government agencies. My focus has been on transformational learning for leaders and groups facing conflicts or rapid change.

Most recently, I helped design and lead the Superintendent’s Initiative for Leadership Development (SILD) in the Seattle Public Schools.

Courageous Communication

The longer I’ve worked in education, coaching, and organizational change, the more I believe it is critical for everyone to learn to listen deeply to each other – and themselves. It is only when we manage the polarity of listening with an open heart/mind AND finding the courage to speak important truths that we can come together across differences to create the changes our world most needs.

Authenticity and Awareness

Parker Palmer and many great Buddhist (and other spiritual tradition) teachers have strongly influenced my understanding of the importance of joining “soul and role” – living in mindful alignment from the inside out. When people show up fully as themselves, the results are often astonishingly encouraging. There is an inner teacher in each of us offering wisdom we need only slow down to hear.


Powerful thinkers like Bob Kegan, Lisa Lahey, Barry Johnson, and others have helped me see, and experience, the power of shifting mindsets. Individuals and groups are able to take huge developmental leaps in their ability to work together with “hearts and smarts”.

Social Justice

Ever since my high school activist days, I’ve been a passionate advocate for social justice, human rights and peace in many forms. Currently I volunteer with Rainier Scholars as a tutor, and The Freedom Project as a mindfulness/ Non-Violent Communication facilitator inside the prisons.

Yarrow is an expert facilitator, known for her insight, humor, breadth of knowledge, warmth, and responsiveness to individual and group needs.

She is able to quickly create a sense of safety
 and yet challenge people to grow beyond their current limits.

She is courageous in working with groups experiencing great tension and helps everyone feel valuable and included. She helps people name the elephants in the room, but keeps the poop off people’s heads.

She has an extraordinary 
ability to articulate and clarify complex issues to a wide range of groups and individuals with different styles.

She is able to listen deeply to what’s going on below the surface as well as “on top” and articulate it so others
 understand. She has a laser-like ability to get to the heart of the matter.

She blends a fierce honesty with great kindness and sensitivity. Yarrow creates work that goes very deep, helping people align their most dearly held inner truths with their actions in the world. She is encouraging and inspiring.

She integrates cutting edge knowledge about organizational development and leadership in ways that are interactive and highly engaging for participants.

She is excellent at connecting with people of all styles and at all levels in the workplace – from the superintendent or high level manager to front line service workers. She creates an environment where insights that come from cultural, ethnic, racial, gender, class, and other differences are invited and respected.

She is fun, funny, and vibrantly energetic, and yet can also be calm and calming.

Yarrow is an unusual combination of both idealistic and practical, deeply committed to client success with just the right blend of attention to outcomes and process.

Schools and Schools Districts

Auburn, Edmonds, Highline, Lake Washington, Lakewood, Northshore, Prosser, Puyallup, Renton, Seattle, Shoreline, Tacoma

Independent Schools

Annie Wright, The Attic, Giddens School, Salmonberry School, Westside School

Colleges and Universities

Cascadia Community College, Everett Community College, Seattle Central Community College, Gonzaga University, University of Washington

Educational Service Districts (ESD’s) and other Educational Organizations

Olympic ESD, Puget Sound ESD, Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA), Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP), Washington Education Association (WEA), Shoreline Education Association (SEA), Edmonds Education Association EEA), Center for Educational Leadership (CEL), Early Learning Consortium, Snohomish County ECEAP, PSESD Head Start, Project REACH

Government Agencies

Seattle Housing Authority, Snohomish County Human Services, Statewide Mental Health Advisory Team, Childcare Resource & Referral Network

Non-profits and community organizations

Social Venture Partners, Healthy Congregations (Unitarians), IslandWood, Association for Supervision and Training, Childcare Resources, King County Legal Services, Campfire USA, Center for Courage & Renewal