We are Groupaya, a San Francisco-based network consultancy. Individually, we are coaches, consultants, designers, and operational mavens. Together, we help leaders and teams, organizations and networks work together more skillfully to create their future.
Founder and President
Kristin Cobble is a co-founder and President of Groupaya. She has 20+ years helping C-level leaders, teams, organizations and multi-stakeholder groups realize their potential, through thinking bigger about what’s possible, and then making it a reality.
She is passionate about helping leaders learn how to create environments that tap into the knowledge, skills, talents and passions of their people, where everyone is smarter together than they could be alone. While most people see meetings as a waste of time, she loves helping leaders turn them into a place where real thinking, real decision making, and real relating happen. After all, if we are going to spend most of our time at work, shouldn’t we make our organizations, our jobs and our meetings something that renew us instead of drains us?
Recent coaching and consulting clients include: Two CEOs, an EVP of R&D, a Chief Commercial Officer, 1 Chief Financial Officer, 1 Chief Counsel, 1 Executive Directors, 1 head of Sales, and several heads of HR.
Prior to founding Groupaya, Kristin spent four years at Monitor and Global Business Network (GBN), helping clients to re-perceive and embrace uncertainty in order to achieve sustainable success through scenario thinking and planning. She also spent two years, as the Director of Strategic Change for Banana Republic, partnering with the president to create a high performing leadership team as well as a more innovative and collaborative organizational culture. In this role, for the first time in her professional life, she participated in leadership team meetings that she wasn’t facilitating, and developed a new level of appreciation for the challenges of being a C-level executive. Prior to that, she had her own coaching and consulting firm for seven years. Her organizational development career began as consultant at Innovation Associates, co-founded by Peter Senge, author of The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization. This work is foundational to how she sees the world – the importance of personal and collective vision, the need to think systemically, the value of slowing down to go fast, the power of learning to see and challenge our own and others’ assumptions.
Kristin is a Wellesley graduate, studied at the London School of Economics. She is a member of the faculty at New Ventures West, a globally respected coaching school. She has authored articles on organizational learning, systems thinking, conflict and coaching and has presented at multiple conferences. A recent article, How to Start a Meeting, was featured in TIME. She is also an emeritus board member of Global Footprint Network, an international environmental NGO.
Why I do this work
I believe the challenges we face as a species requires new ways of thinking, talking and working together – across disciplines, across values and across both visible and invisible walls.
Favorite moment(s) at Groupaya
Every time, at the end of an off-site, when a leader says something to the effect of, “Wow, I have a great team!” I love helping them to design a meeting in which their people pleasantly surprise them and blow them away.
Watching a group of 200 leaders and change agents of a multi-national company engage in conversations about the mindsets and behaviors that were going to be required to create their new, merged company. Shifting from distrust of one another to liking each other, before our very eyes.
Deep listening and illuminative questioning
Coaching, dance, family, Kansas basketball
Dave has 25+ years experience helping top teams understand, develop and implement new strategic directions, define new offerings and make hard organizational choices. He has advised organizations of all sizes, and worked for, led or founded multiple startups. More recently, he has also worked with non-profit, foundation and government sector clients. His approach is around building the leadership context and capacity to leverage the wisdom and power within the team.
Dave has been an international management consultant, strategy practice leader, business developer and entrepreneur, contributing a rich set of perspectives to Groupaya’s highly integrative approach. As a member of the Groupaya team, he helps clients weave process and content together to tap the strengths of a team and successfully deliver outcomes.
Prior to Groupaya, Dave founded and led Linkify, an enterprise collaboration services company, and drove business development for two prior high tech startups. Dave’s entrepreneurial phase provided many hard won lessons, including an appreciation for mastering team dynamics and an intuitive understanding of the business leader’s perspective.
Before his entrepreneurial career, Dave led the Business Strategy Practice in North America for PA Consulting Group, a 3000+ professional global consulting firm headquartered in London. In this and prior roles with PA, Dave worked with Global 100 companies in a range of strategy-related disciplines, including competitive strategy, new offering development, acquisition analysis, scenario-based planning, multi-stakeholder partnerships and planning process design.
Past and present clients include: IBM, AT&T, LG Electronics, Microsoft, Lucent, FMC, Barclays Bank, Pacific Telesis, Ssangyong, Southwestern Bell, Ciba Corning, T-Mobile, AMP, Bellcore, Comcast Cellular, a cleantech venture fund, a major outcomes-driven foundation, the Delta Conservancy, and environmental NGOs Global Footprint Network and Carpe Diem West.
Dave received his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in Applied Economics and is a voracious learner. He is currently pursuing certification in Organizational Relationship Systems Coaching and is on a lifelong journey of refining his facilitation and coaching skills.
Why I do this work
It's incredibly satisfying to see a team tackle a hard problem, or a big messy space, and emerge on the other side with momentum and excitement.
Favorite moment(s) at Groupaya
Debriefing meetings with our clients. The Groupaya meeting style is very emergent: we often allow the meeting to go places we didn’t plan. So often, we hear things the client values (or, sometimes, doesn’t!) from our meetings that we didn’t anticipate.
Listening for both the forest and the trees
Social dancing, intentional community, group campouts
Dana Reynolds is a Junior Associate at Groupaya. Dana has been delighted to get her feet wet in the world of organizational development, working on several projects related to building effective leadership teams, facilitating difficult conversations, and developing best practices for collaboration. Her most recent accomplishment was facilitating a two day Strategy focused staff retreat for a vibrant non profit working on civic engagement.
Dana has a passion for helping individuals find fulfillment both personally and professionally. She is particularly interested in leadership coaching and developing high performing teams. Dana has a keen eye for observing group dynamics and has a passion for helping groups harness their full potential.
Prior to Groupaya Dana worked in the retail and sales industry for five plus years with companies that include Circuit City, GUESS Inc., Spartan Bookstore, and Apple Inc. She was consistently a top seller and was repeatedly promoted to train and evaluate other employees. For the past two years Dana has worked in the restaurant industry as both a host and server. Working in the fast pace service industry has taught Dana some critical organizational issues like the importance of structure and implementation, the difference between being a manager and being a leader, and how to deal with excessive turnover. In all of Dana’s previous work experiences she has always been consumed by the same questions: Why does the company make the decisions it makes? How can we make our workplaces better? And how do we make employees happier at work? These questions continue to be at the forefront of Dana’s mind and influence the changes she hopes to make in organizations she works with.
Dana obtained a Bachelors of Science in Psychology at San Jose State University, where she led a research team that focused on issues related to industrial organizational psychology including immigrants’ experiences in the work field and the effects of a speaker’s accent on prospective listeners’ comprehension and evaluation. Dana presented these findings at the Immigrant Research Conference and San Jose State’s Spartan Psychological Association Research Conference.
Why I do this work
I want to help human beings make their work meaningful and full of impact, and ultimately I want individuals to be happy at work.
Favorite moment(s) at Groupaya
Seeing a leader model the very thing he asks from his team. Learning something new from my colleagues at our Brown Bags. Singing off key together while Dave or someone plays the guitar
Logistics magic and insightful check-outs
Hula/ Tahitian dancing, Bay Area sports, martial arts films, fashion
Amy is a writer-editor-designer-illustrator with more than 15 years of experience working with words and design. She provides a full range of creative services, from writing and content development to design and production to real-time graphic recording and meeting support.
After graduating from UC Davis where she studied creative writing, literature, anthropology, geography, and geology, Amy made the somewhat surprising choice to begin her career copyediting technical magazines about database management and software design. It was a fateful turn that gave her the chance to do a little code and a lot more production and design. She built her first relational database and designed her first feature spread during those years in custom publishing.
Today, Amy is an independent creative consultant, using her acuity for story to help clients inspire people authentically. Her portfolio includes work for businesses, consultants, and foundations, large and small, as diverse as Aspen Pediatrics, Poetry Flash, 521 Communications, Blue Oxen, McGonagill Consulting, Amyris, eSilicon, IBM, Microsoft, Applied Materials, Genentech, Moore Foundation, Garfield Foundation, and the Delta Conservancy.
Authentic verbal and visual language
Sea and mountains
Rebecca is a core collaborator and colleague, and has enriched many Groupaya projects with both professional skill and personal charm. A self-proclaimed “collaboration ninja”, she focuses on bringing her deep training to support cutting-edge emergent processes for social impact. Her sharp design mind and ability to navigate complexity make her an outstanding consultant and facilitator, and her highly contagious enthusiasm makes her a total pleasure to work with. For us Rebecca is also a go to resource on collaborative technology, network-building, and virtual meeting space design.
Brooking has been a core colleague at Groupaya, working on the Health eHeart Alliance and other internal and client projects with Kristin, and loves being a thinking and learning partner in the Groupaya community. She has a rare combination of passion for both large systems change and micro level relational dynamics, and enjoys helping groups collaborate to increase their leverage for positive social change. She now works full time as a senior facilitator with Ag Innovations in Sebastopol, where she designs and facilitates roundtables and change initiatives focused on sustainable and collaborative approaches to addressing water and food system challenges around California.
Ahmad is one of our favorite large-scale change agents. He is a leadership strategist, educator and facilitator of large-scale change initiatives, and a self-coined “serial collaborator”. Ahmad helps leaders across sectors develop the global foresight and adaptive capacity to address complex system challenges in regions, cities and communities. He is a principal at FuturePoint Leadership, director at the Urban Economy Institute and a fellow with Aspen Institute and Zero Divide Foundation.
Our only former Muppet maker for Sesame Street, Gwen is a coach, producer, consultant, and pioneer in the field of adult transformative play. She has applied her insights about play to the design of programs for groups ranging from life coaches to TSA security officers, from corporations to prisons, and for popular films including “What the Bleep Do We Know?!,” “The Story of Stuff,” “THRIVE,” “SPLIT.” She is currently producing her own movie, “Seriously,” about the value of play. Gwen brings fun and delight to every project, not to mention a keen and fast mind. We love her range – from playfulness to absolute profundity!
Jeff is the President and Founder of CogNexus Group and the CogNexus Institute, and is a world renowned expert in wicked problems. We find Jeff endearing and deeply appreciate the eccentric brilliance he brings to every project. His understanding of how language impacts thinking, and how the way we frame questions and problems creates insight (or not) – can be quite profound. He is also a pioneer in collaborative technology, having developed early Compendium software as well as the Dialogue Mapping™ facilitation technique, a radically inclusive approach to knowledge management that allows groups to capture and make sense of unstructured knowledge.
Vanda is an executive and team coach, specializing in assisting C-level leaders and entrepreneurs. As a former CEO, she deeply understands the unique pressures and responsibilities of these senior positions. We love her for her keen insight, her compassion and her delightful sense of humor, all of which make the journey of transformation a bit easier.
Peggy Sebera, M.S. specializes in team effectiveness, leadership coaching & visioning. Her specialty lies in coaching from an integral model, assisting leaders to develop a strong sense of personal mastery and collaboration with others within their organizations.
She has worked extensively in high tech, as well as in the medical, hospitality and financial sectors. Peggy has a master’s degree in Psychology and is a certified professional coach. She knows the language and practices of small and large businesses, working with both for profit and non-profit organizations. She inspires individuals to act with greater clarity in their business practices. Peggy is a passionate artist, showing her landscape paintings in wineries and galleries in Sonoma County where she lives with her husband.