As the Executive Director for the Sustained Dialogue Institute (SDI), Rhonda Fitzgerald works to oversee the reach of the Sustained Dialogue model to campuses, workplaces, communities, and countries. Rhonda has been with SDI since 2008 and worked alongside SD founder Dr. Harold Saunders for 8 years until his passing. Under her leadership, she grew the Sustained Dialogue Campus Network’s reach from higher education sites by engaging and providing tools for alumni seeking to bring SD to their workplaces, home country governments, and local communities.
Rhonda is a trained mediator and facilitator of multiple processes of restorative justice and intergroup dialogue. She has led over 10,000 hours of difficult dialogues between groups in conflict, especially using the formal Sustained Dialogue 5-stage process about topics including race, hierarchy, ethnic mistrust, disability, religion, and resource and land conflicts. She now supports dialogue and conflict resolution with partners as diverse as technology companies, teaching hospitals, government agencies, foundations, prisons, nonprofits, and more; though she still loves when she gets to work closely with faculty, students, and staff on campuses. She co-built a partnership across Sudan, Sweden, Ethiopia, and Kenya, expanding the work of SD through partners at the Life and Peace Institute. Rhonda is interested in the intersections of cross-cultural trust-building, community organizing, conflict management, and justice.
Rhonda lives in Washington, DC with her partner, Aaron, and their dogs. In her spare time, Rhonda reads, enjoys theater, and does some pro bono personal finance mentoring, especially for young people. Rhonda is an alumna of Princeton University, where she was first introduced to dialogue and transformative deep listening as a first-year participant in an SD group on race, which was the first time she experienced conversations that led to collaboration.