Experience & Passion You Can Count On

Tanya Cruz Teller is a passionate, creative leader of systemic change processes founded on principles of personal transformation, collaborative partnerships, whole systems thinking and appreciative inquiry. As an Organisation Development practitioner her work is committed to a diverse, equitable and inclusive world through building great organisations.

She has 20+ years of experience as an innovative learning & management professional in international, organizational, and community development. She champions assets-based design in strategic planning, leadership development, & stakeholder engagement. Tanya’s career in the international OD and DEI arena includes her role as an expert panelist of the Global Diversity & Inclusion Benchmarks.

Tanya enjoys engaging large audiences, in 2019 she co-keynoted at the World Appreciative Inquiry Conference in France on the theme of Thriving Women, Thriving World and presented at the Forum on Workplace Inclusion in the USA. Additionally in 2020 she was scheduled to speak at the Association of Talent Development annual conference in the USA which was cancelled due to Covid. She also enjoys designing, facilitating and moderating conferences such as the 2019 Voices of Change in Johannesburg, the Diversity Equity & Inclusion Futures Project conference in 2018 as MC and lead co-designer in Princeton and the 2017 International OD Association opening plenary interactive visioning session in Cape Town.

With the current Covid19 pandemic, Tanya has harnessed her many years of combining participatory convening, coaching and culture work with technology to engage and build inclusive processes for organizations and stakeholders online. Moving in-person conferences, workshops and programs to virtual platforms has proven her innovation skills invaluable & cost effective.

Tanya is familiar with leading organizations from within as well as operating in multiple sectors. In her previous role as SA Country Director for the Synergos Institute, her mandate was to bring together government, business & civil society in partnerships that create a more equitable society in SA and the region. This work included convening the cross-sectoral Leadership and Innovation Network for Collaboration in the Children’s Sector. She was also formerly with the SA government, directing a leading-edge center of excellence in youth development practice for adults and policy makers to create an enabling environment and realize the youth dividend in the country and continent. Tanya helped steer the Learning & Development Community of Practice in Johannesburg into an era of experiential learning events for which she was frequently the MC. In this role she introduced and facilitated the live engagement of a Twitter audience to expand the presence to include virtual delegates.

Prior to her work in SA, Tanya co-directed (with co-founder) the national learning center of YouthBuild, a U.S. national non-profit organization that supports a network of over 200 local youth development programs providing pathways to education, jobs, entrepreneurship, and other opportunities leading to productive livelihoods and community leadership.

Tanya has a Master of Intercultural & International Management and a Bachelor of Arts: Psychology & Sociology. She is a TAOS associate and an accredited trainer of trainers for the Center for Appreciative Inquiry.

Publications include:

D. Whitney, J. Cocciolone, C. A. Miller, H. Moon, K. Britton, A. Leon De La Barra, A. Koh, T. Cruz Teller, M. Ogawa (2019). Thriving Women, Thriving World: An Invitation to Dialogue, Healing and Inspired Actions. Ohio: Taos Institute Publications.

Cruz Teller, T. (2020). Inspiring Inclusion Using the Appreciative Leadership Lotus Model. In B. M. Ferdman, J. Prime, R. Riggio (Eds.), Inclusive Leadership: Transforming Diverse Lives, Organizations, and Societies. New York: Routledge.

Pronouns: she, her, hers

Our processes are designed to empower your team or gathered participants and outfit them with the tools they need to thrive. Talk to us today about how we can support your individual, team, event, organisation or community thriving.

Spaciousness Theory of Change

The Spaciousness Theory of Change states that when leaders and their teams experience a sense of spaciousness within, not outside of, the complexity and conflict of these times, they can make decisions that inspire inclusion, innovation, and action plans for results that are collectively owned. 

For organisations to be able to successfully navigate our volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous (VUCA) world, our theory of change invites an strengths-based approach: when we focus on the possibilities more than shortcomings, and do so in a manner that connects our curiosity with our compassion — firstly within ourselves and then to each other — we experience spaciousness.

When feeling spaciousness, people confirm feeling included and acting more inclusively with others, and able to generate exponential ideas leading to self-organizing, inspired action.

Teoría del Cambio Amplitud

La Teoría del Cambio Amplitud establece que cuando los líderes y sus equipos experimentan una sensación de amplitud dentro, no fuera de, la complejidad y el conflicto de estos tiempos, pueden tomar decisiones que inspiren inclusión, innovación y planes de acción para resultados de propiedad colectiva.

Para que las organizaciones puedan navegar con éxito nuestro mundo volátil, incierto, complejo y ambiguo (VUCA por sus siglas en inglés), nuestra teoría del cambio invita a un enfoque basado en las fortalezas: cuando nos concentramos en las posibilidades más que en las deficiencias, y lo hacemos de una manera que vincule la curiosidad con la compasión —en primer lugar, dentro de nosotros mismos, y luego entre nosotros — experimentamos amplitud.

Al sentir amplitud, las personas confirman sentirse incluidas y actuar de manera más inclusiva con los demás, y son capaces de generar ideas exponenciales que conduzcan a la acción autoorganizada e inspirada.

Appreciative Leadership Lotus Model

In reflecting on what central principles emerged from our practice, the lotus surfaced as a working metaphor and became our model of an appreciative leadership process that can create spaciousness.

The lotus model with its three key principles — a muddy birthplace representing the belief that there are strengths to be found in any current situation, inherent wisdom within a group of people, and emergence as a valued process of knowing and coming into being — underpin a process of four iterative steps: establish a positive relationship to self (Renew); deepen one’s compassion and connection to others (Relate); imagine a shared future by co-creating it (Co-Create); commit to inspired actions, together (Resolve).

Modelo de Liderazgo Apreciativo Flor de Loto

Al reflexionar sobre qué principios centrales surgieron de nuestra práctica, el loto surgió como una metáfora funcional y se convirtió en nuestro modelo de un proceso de liderazgo apreciativo que puede crear amplitud.

 El modelo de loto, con sus tres principios clave: un lugar de nacimiento fangoso representa la creencia de que se pueden encontrar fortalezas en cualquier situación actual, la sabiduría inherente dentro de un grupo de personas, y el surgimiento como un valioso proceso de conocer y nacer —sustentan un proceso de cuatro pasos iterativos: establecer una relación positiva con uno mismo (Renovar); profundizar la compasión y la conexión con los demás (Relacionarse); imaginar un futuro compartido co-creándolo (Co-Crear); comprometerse juntos a acciones inspiradas (Resolver).

Cruz Teller, T. (2020). Inspiring Inclusion Using the Appreciative Leadership Lotus Model. In B. M. Ferdman, J. Prime, R. Riggio (Eds.), Inclusive Leadership: Transforming Diverse Lives, Organizations, and Societies. New York: Routledge.