"Relational Systems Thinking" is an invitation to inhabit a sacred space between different ways of knowing.

Melanie Goodchild

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Melanie Goodchild is an Anishinaabe (Ojibway) complexity and systems thinking scholar.  She is moose clan from Biigtigong Nishnaabeg and Ketegaunseebee First Nations. Melanie is currently a PHD candidate in Social & Ecological Sustainability at the University of Waterloo and is a Research Fellow with the Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation & Resilience.  She is a proud member of the Iron Butt Association riding her Harley-Davidson motorcycle 1000 miles in 24 hours! Melanie is a faculty member with the Academy for Systems Change, the Wolf Willow Institute for Systems Learning and is a Scholar Practitioner Faculty member at the University of Vermont's MS and PhD in Leadership for Sustainability.  She is an Advisor to the new Systems Awareness Lab at MIT.  Melanie is an alumna of the IWF Leadership Foundation's Fellows Program (2015-16 class) sponsored by Harvard Business School and INSEAD.  


Photo Credit: Joe McKay

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Melanie and her ink featured in Waterloo's Grand Magazine 

Photo Credit: Alisha Townsend


"Change is going to happen from people going inward within themselves and along with going back to having communion with their first mother, Mother Earth.  That’s how change is going to come, from our Earth Mother.  Because if this could happen to me it’s going to happen en masse … and many people who are spiritually grounded are going to know what’s happening but the ones who never connected to the earth will not know what’s going on." Mohawk faithkeeper Kevin Deer, Khanawake Mohawk Territory in Goodchild (2021, pp. 1-2) 

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NOW OPEN!  The first gallery of its kind in North America brings the DAWN OF LIFE to life.  Melanie is pleased to narrate part of this epic journey back - about 4 billion years - to the origins of life on our planet.  Enter ROM's exciting new gallery and explore, through an astounding fossil collection, the wondrous beginnings of life up to the age of dinosaurs. Listen for Melanie's share on Anishinaabe kinship systems in the Cambrian Explosion section of the exhibit.  Level 2/Peter F. Bronfman Hall.  See you at the ROM

My Services.

Speaking Engagements

In her current work, Melanie applies  Relational Systems Thinking methodologies to support transformational change projects across Turtle Island (North America) and around the world.  Melanie is a frequent Keynote Speaker on the topic of systems transformation from a uniquely Anishinaabe cultural perspective.   

Leading from Being Podcast, Episode 19: Braiding and Balancing Wisdom with Melanie Goodchild.

Workshops & Consulting

Melanie has developed a menu of workshop options to help communities and institutions explore Relational Systems Thinking as a dynamic interface theoretical living model for reasoning in the sacred space between ways of knowing. She is also offers consulting and coaching services. 


Movement Building and Collective Healing for Systems Transformation with Melanie Goodchild & Otto Scharmer 


Melanie was featured on Thomas Hübl's Collective Trauma Summit 2020


"I can now practice a way of reasoning that does not take sides but instead allows two opposites to dance together until the face of a third presence starts showing up."

Arkan Lushwala, Deer & Thunder: Indigenous Ways of Restoring the World