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Since our inception, Phronesis Network has been committed
to building healthier communities.

Deborah and Rachel built their first initiative together in 2017 and have been partnering ever since.

They strongly believe that the most resilient kind of leadership prioritizes shared governance. Through values-based talking and transformative listening, institutions will not only endure, they will lead their communities for generations to come.

Our name is inspired by the ancient Greek idea, popularized by Aristotle, of phrónēsis or practical wisdom. Such wisdom requires not just knowing what is right, but putting that "right" into action. In our increasingly connected world, such wisdom thrives through networks of people and institutions committed to leveraging conflict to build healthier communities. It's in maximizing conflict, rather than avoiding it, that we become stronger and more resilient.

Photo of principal, co-founder

Rachel Rains Winslow, Ph.D.

Principal, Co-Founder

Rachel is a U.S. historian specializing in public policy, political culture, and social change. She currently works as Director of Faculty Development at George Fox University. She also collaborates with the National Policy Consensus Center at Portland State University, the Biden School of Public Policy Ithaca Initiative at the University of Delaware, the Kettering Foundation, and the Gaede Center for the Liberal Arts at Westmont College. From 2012-2022, she was faculty at Westmont College, Founder and Director of the Center for Social Entrepreneurship and Co-Founder/Co-Director of the Center for Dialogue and Deliberation.

She earned her Ph.D. in history from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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Deborah Dunn, Ph.D.


Deborah is a professor of Communication Studies at Westmont College, and director of the Center for Dialogue and Deliberation. She studies grassroots peacemaking organizations and regularly takes students abroad to study conflict and reconciliation.

She earned her Ph.D. in communication from the University of Southern California. 

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Jordan Baldridge


Jordan is a dialogue and deliberation professional specializing in process design, stakeholder networking, and facilitation. He has worked alongside both national organizations and local grassroots initiatives to build deliberative forums addressing a wide variety of complex issues, including housing and homelessness, waste management and sustainability, and childcare accessibility. 


He earned his M.A. in History from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey - Newark, specializing in cities, culture, and change in the 20th century United States. He is especially interested in intercultural dialogue and exchange, a passion that most recently manifested in a year living and studying Spanish in Mexico City.

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Kayla Petersen


Kayla is a collaborative facilitator and multi-sector convener, specializing in the development and support of partnerships between public and private stakeholders. Her work has focused on the application of Stanford’s Collective Impact Model to reach solutions to shared, complex problems in a local context including homelessness and human trafficking in partnership with city and county agencies. She has also convened local deliberative forums on issues of homelessness, housing, transportation planning, gentrification, abortion, and California ballot propositions.


She earned her BA in Social Sciences with a concentration in social entrepreneurship from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA.

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Gabby Diaz Rodriguez

Marketing and Media Specialist

Gabby is a multi-faceted creative strategist who builds innovative marketing approaches for mission-led organizations. A skilled writer with sharp strategic acumen, Gabby finds joy in crafting messages that facilitate understanding across diverse communities. She has worked in both the public and private sector in areas such as supply chain inequality, gender discrimination, homelessness, and healthcare. 


A first-generation college graduate, Gabby earned her BA in English and Economics/Business from Westmont College. She is fluent in Spanish and passionate about advocacy work for Latine communities, particularly within her home city of Santa Barbara, California.

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Tom Knecht, Ph.D.

Affiliated Practitioner

Tom is a Professor of Political Science at Westmont College. He has published research on the role of public opinion and American foreign policy, how volunteering changes perceptions of the unhoused, and has examined the impact of gender differences in higher education. His expertise uses data analysis and quantitative methods to enhance consensus-based processes and reporting, including deliberative polling. Tom is active in faculty governance and has been a college football and golf coach. 

He earned his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara. 

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