Improve your experience. We are very sorry but this website does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend using a different browser that is supported such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

National Network of ToP Trainers

Our national network of skilled and experienced ToP® Trainers train over 4,000 people each year on ToP Facilitation Methods.

If you would like to connect with a particular trainer, or if you are interested in learning more about the journey to become a ToP Trainer, submit an inquiry through the Contact Us button.

Trainers appear alphabetically by first name. Use your browser's search function to find a particular trainer.

Caitlin Sarro

Certified ToP Facilitator (CTF) and Apprentice Trainer - Chicago, IL

Caitlin Sarro is a Program Manager at the Institute of Cultural Affairs, working to expand the capacity of, and foster collaboration between, community residents and organizations across (primarily) the Chicagoland area. Caitlin's current work as a facilitator of the Chicago Sustainability Leaders Network focuses on using a holistic sustainability and equity lens in order to showcase grassroots resources, build a stronger collective voice, and nurture equitable and impactful relationships with policy makers.




Carla Roberts

Certified ToP Facilitator (CTF) and Trainer – Fremont, MI

Carla Roberts, President & CEO of the Fremont Area Community Foundation has reinvented herself through three waves of professional experience:  the early formative years of administrative support roles in education, a decade of leading arts institutions and two decades in philanthropy.  One of the touchstones of her professional experience has been the Technology of Participation methodologies which she first learned in the early 90’s.   Roberts became a practitioner and later a trainer of these simple but powerful ways of working with others to achieve genuine consensus and momentum towards social change.  She has used them to negotiate tough conversations, to resolve conflicts, to create strategic frameworks, to develop fundraising campaigns, and to enhance learning through reflection on group achievements and progress.  Carla is delighted to have the opportunity to share these methods with others.

Carole Rylander

Qualified Trainer - Dallas, TX

Carole Rylander inspires and engages nonprofit leadership to maximize mission impact by strengthening fund development, governance and planning practices. She has expertise in feasibility studies, capital campaigns, major gift campaigns, case for support development and development audits. Carole has in-depth experience with governance best practices and assists with enhancing board culture, recruitment, engagement and meeting practices as well as committee structures. A trained facilitator, she customizes strategic and fund development planning processes to meet each organization’s unique needs. As a frequent speaker, she draws on more than 30 years of service in the nonprofit sector to benefit board and staff members with highly rated workshops. (For more information visit Carole is a BoardSource Certified Governance Trainer, was named 2006 Outstanding Fundraising Executive by the Dallas Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, has held the Certified Fundraising Executive credential since 1990 and is a CoreClarity Certified Facilitator.

Deb Burnight

Certified ToP Facilitator (CTF) and Mentor Trainer - Sioux City, IA

Deb is a certified professional facilitator with more than twenty-five years of experience in facilitation, board and corporate training, and community collaboration. A graduate of the University of Iowa and a former elementary and middle school teacher, Deb blends a rich background from her work with educational, private, government and not-for-profit sectors with solid facilitation skills to help groups communicate and work together effectively. Deb’s expertise in facilitation, training and consulting covers a wide range of arenas, including strategic planning, project design and evaluation, team building, process design, executive coaching and leadership development. She is also an experienced facilitation skills trainer, coach and mentor. Deb is professionally affiliated with the International Association of Facilitators and the ToP® (Technology of Participation) Trainers Network, has served on its national Board of Directors, is principal of Prairie River Partners training consortium, and is a founding partner of Great Plains ToP Facilitators. Deb and her husband Randy live on a small acreage in the Loess Hills outside Sioux City, Iowa, where they enjoy their native prairie restoration project and a rather noisy family of productive chickens.

Dennis Jennings

Certified ToP Facilitator (CTF) and Mentor Trainer - Chicago, IL

Dennis Jennings is a professional facilitator who assists individuals and organizations seeking to successfully navigate the challenges and the opportunities of a continually changing environment. He is particularly skilled at designing processes to meet the situation and needs of the organizations’ he serves. As a facilitator Dennis creates a safe environment for individuals to share differences and to find common ground. As a trainer he seeks to demonstrate that facilitation skills are accessible and can be applied by those open to learning them. Dennis designs and delivers programs in Strategic Planning and Implementation, Mission Development, Public Participation and Team Development.

Erima Fobbs

Certified ToP Facilitator (CTF) and Qualified Trainer - Richmond, VA

Erima Fobbs, MPH, CPH, is President of Collective Health Impact, LLC, a strategy consulting company, and a Strategic Doing (TM) Practitioner. She brings over 20 years of extensive cross-sector experience to her ToP consensus workshop, action planning, and strategic planning facilitation and training practice, and routinely infuses ToP methods and processes into strategy development, project management, and evaluation. She enthusiastically promotes ToP Methods and has encouraged numerous individuals to become trained and utilize the Methods for honest and respectful community engagement and inclusive planning and problem solving. Erima served as a member-at-large on the ToP Network Board in 2020.



Ester Mae Cox

Certified ToP Facilitator (CTF) and Mentor Trainer - Winterset, IA

Ester Mae Cox, MA is a “retired” educator from Iowa State University Extension. Besides training ToP courses, she is an independent consultant, trainer, and facilitator. In her encore retirement work, she worked as a trainer with Principal Financial Group in Des Moines, and assists World Learning groups create action plans they will implement when they return to their home countries. Since 2000, she has co-trained ToP courses including ToP Facilitation Methods, ToP Strategic Planning, ToP Secrets of Implementation, Approaches to Environmental Scanning. Mrs. Cox has served on several of the ToP Network teams, including Certification, Curriculum, and Virtual teams, and led team that updated the TFM participant manual in 2016. She co-leads a team of international ToP Trainers who train the Virtual Facilitation Online (VFO) course that is publically offered four times per year and in-house virtual training as requested. She co-authored the manual for VFO classes updated/refreshed/revised in 2018. She lives on an acreage near Winterset, IA, with her husband, numerous animals, an abundant garden, numerous quilting projects, and four grandchildren close by.

Eva Jensen

Certified ToP Facilitator (CTF) and Qualified Trainer - Twin Cities, MN

Eva Jensen is an organizational and community development consultant based in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. Ms. Jensen works as an independent consultant with clients from the public, private and nonprofit sector. She has specialized expertise and experience in work with religious communities, congregations, church denominations, and organizations. Eva has a Ph.D. in Development Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison; with a concentration in sociology. She is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Most recently Eva served as an Interim Pastor in two different ELCA congregations based in Minneapolis. Rev. Jensen has directed National Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) relationships in seven West African Countries and facilitated collaborative program capacity building for peace-making, education, health care, agriculture, and water resource development; managed a national ecumenical rural development, education and advocacy program; and brought leadership to urban ministry and community development in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.

Heidi Kolbe

Certified ToP Facilitator (CTF) and Mentor Trainer - Sacramento, CA

Heidi Kolbe is a highly skilled, nationally recognized Facilitator and Project Consultant specializing in public policy formation. She creates team alignment with multi-disciplinary and multi-sector stakeholders to enable them to accomplish great things together. She has served all levels of government for 28 years. Heidi holds professional certification from all three national entities certifying facilitators. She is author of a chapter on reshaping the California Judicial System in the book Government Works: Profiles of People Making a Difference.




Holly Hayes

Certified ToP Facilitator (CTF) and Apprentice Trainer - Chapin, SC

Holly Hayes is the President and founder of Iron Sharpens Iron.  She is unique in the facilitation and coaching community due to her more than ten years in academic and non-profit settings, coupled with extensive experience in local communities. Holly’s extensive training, compelling experience, enthusiasm and undeniable passion create a synergy that helps her bring organizations to new levels of understanding and action. Holly employs a unique approach to her work and braids diverse fields together in order to offer a richer, more comprehensive approach.  Once Holly discovered that her zone of genius integrated the fields of facilitation, improvement science, and community organizing, she was able to design more meaningful portfolios for her clients. 

Press enter to see more results