I have not been in a space like this, ever, in that it is completely worth taking the time to invest in ourselves because rarely do we do that. And the fact the the folks that are leading it are folks that I admire, and I think other people who do this kind of work also admire, just makes the experience more powerful.

It was a very powerful class for me. This training... it was awesome... The words that were used put it into a context that I can use in my daily life.

Everything knocked my socks off... To understand the way Ego plays out in how I respond and react gets to a deeper level.

Going through the process today really opened up some of the things that aren't working... I feel like there was a tremendous amount of shifting and deep clarity that came about. It was beautiful. It was powerful.

The Ego and Soul. It's an amazing, eye-opening conversation about Ego being about fighting, Soul being about transformation and building. That was fantastic.

The Gatekeepers Academy

Office Of child welfare programs - state of oregon

Melissa Sampson-Grier


As we continue to build on our equity efforts here in Oregon I am continuously trying to identify learning opportunities to best support our child welfare staff, Tribal representatives and community partners. This summer we brought in The Soul Focused Group to guide our staff through The Gatekeepers Academy.  The Soul Focused Group have not only assisted us with strategic planning and leadership development but most importantly, staff retention. I look forward to our continued work together! This was one of the most amazing experiences I have been a part of and exactly what our staff needed. 

They were all happy to share about their experience:

I thought the Gatekeepers Academy was fantastic and very motivational. It was deep and spiritual and it was a lot in a good way! This could be a lifetime course that I wish I would have started when I was a young adult.

It was such a great experience! I look forward to attending any follow up sessions. I think about the academy and techniques I can use on a daily basis. I have found that I am closer to being my authentic self everyday!

The Soul Focus Group truly is doing inspiring and important work on ego reduction and authentic self-expression.

I think the Gatekeeper’s Academy provided an opportunity for us to dig deep and peel back our own personal layers.  Moving forward it will allow me to reflect and recognize in others the potential missing pieces that cause difficulty in communication.

It is great to be part of such an amazing group, and I greatly appreciated the wisdom that was shared in the conference.  I really loved the spiritual focus of the Soul Focus Group and how things such as staying in the moment, breathing, connecting, etc. were presented in a way that was well received and pertinent to the work we are doing.

Ego reduction, Gatekeepers Academy and opportunities of that nature where we are able to meet and engage in courageous conversations are critical to breaking down personal barriers and building deep awareness – please keep giving us these types of professional development – they are like a lifeline for my SOUL!!!

I loved the Gatekeepers Academy and wish we could spend more time in safe, courageous space like this. There really aren’t words to describe the impact of an experience like this, but I will say I walked away feeling transformed, supported, inspired and committed to being more aware (in the moment) and courageous in my daily interactions. The facilitators were fantastic and I hope you are able to bring them back on a regular basis to continue to expand the foundation that I believe was created in that space.

Enterrupting Racism Now

Office Of child welfare programs - state of oregon

This was a great training. This gave me an understanding of racism which I had not experienced before. It brought a new meaning to how I looked at how my own culture was influenced by my ancestors who brought racist comparisons as well which are deeply rooted. This allowed me to bring skills to bring out and call out racism in my community and professional life which will only empower those around me.

The training was amazing, absolutely transformative. I would love for everyone to go through it.

I LOVED the Enterrupting Racism Now training and experience. There was so much information that I have already started to incorporate into my work. I also loved the gatekeeper one we recently attended. That one was honestly life changing for me, on both a professional and personal level. As for the last question, I think you are already doing what you can to be of support to us, you keep bringing us opportunities to grow and learn new tools and language to do this work.

I love this training! Very impactful, insightful and I could go on and on?

Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity, Melissa. It was definitely life changing and impactful.

I am so appreciative of you inviting Shantika, Jose and I to attend this workshop. We all talked about how emotional, hard and also healing and educational. I am very impressed at how Dustin, Madhi and Nicole could keep a group so focused for such a lengthy period of time. They present information in a compelling and compassionate way. I loved the activity where we were asked to look up events in history; loved seeing the video, "Race the Power of an Illusion" .  We have shown clips from that in training, but I had never seen that much of the video. I would love to purchase it and share it with our group. I loved how they involve everyone and build community and really facilitated me and all of us in looking at our beliefs and where they come from....Great...Great...Great...I really hope I can send all of our staff to this workshop at some  point.