(916) 481-4488 [email protected]

Una McAlinden

CTF, LL.B (Hons)


A certified Technology of Participation (ToP) facilitator, Una McAlinden is a catalyst for consensus-based, action-oriented visioning and planning. She brings innate abilities to design and facilitate effective sessions that trust the collective wisdom. As a result, groups reach solutions faster and more easily than they would alone, addressing challenges with creative, feasible, and sustainable strategies.

Prior to launching her independent practice, Una served ten years as executive director of a statewide non-profit, and has a background in law. Taking a systems approach, Una developed programs and strategies that supported education leaders in building capacity and engaging the community in shared goals. Her creative approach produces powerful collaborations and lasting results.

Employment History

  • Facilitator, The Kolbe Company
  • Sole Proprietor, McAlinden Consulting & Facilitation: Seattle, WA
  • Arts Education Specialist (contracted), 4Culture: Seattle, WA
  • Executive Director, ArtsEd Washington: Seattle, WA
  • Litigation lawyer for top U.K. law firms with multinational insurance clients

Competency Areas

Facilitation & Process Design
Designs and facilitates effective process that guides a group in addressing a topic (issue, challenge, or other focused question) through carefully sequenced activities and discussions. Delivers large and small group sessions, organization and team retreats, and one-off or sequenced planning sessions.

Organizational Strategy & Capacity Development
Supports groups in crafting a vision for growth and the development of the strategy and action steps needed to get there. Provides follow-up support to track effective implementation.

Stakeholder & Community Engagement
Works with clients to enlist their stakeholders in providing insightful feedback and recommendations. Designs surveys and interview protocols clients can implement. Addresses all aspects of large-format community meetings to ensure broad participation.

Participatory Strategic Planning
Customizes the strategic planning process to each client’s needs and context to ensure a thoughtful and relevant plan that is embraced and implemented.

Data Analysis
Builds client capacity around participatory data gathering and analysis to deepen organization’s understanding of their information and build a stronger commitment to resulting actions.


  • Queen’s University of Belfast, Ireland — Bachelor of Law (Honors)
  • Queen’s University: Institute of Legal Studies — Certificate of Professional Legal Studies

Professional Associations

  • The Technology of Participation (ToP) National Network
  • Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA)
  • WA State School Directors Association, Consultant Cohort 2015-2019
  • Higher Education Working Group — Arts Education Partnership 2012-2018

Professional Certification

  • Certified ToP Facilitator – Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA)
  • Attorney in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and England & Wales

Publications & Presentations

  • Contributing author – Preparing Educators for Arts Integration: Placing Creativity at the Center of Learning; Diaz & McKenna, editors. Teachers College Press 2017
  • Washington Nonprofits Conference 2019 – facilitated a crowd-sourced history wall
  • Keynote speaker (invited) – WA City/County Management Association, August 2020


Selected Project List

City of Snoqualmie – Worked with the mayor and city council to develop and facilitate a town hall meeting format that gathered multi-faceted community input on a proposed community center expansion, made space for all perspectives, and helped participants weave the input into a set of recommendations to be considered.

City of Bothell – Worked with city staff and the appointed members of the Arts Commission to create a community 10-year vision encapsulating the potential impacts of arts and culture. A cross-community planning team then used the long-range vision as a north star for the development of a cultural strategic plan for the city.

WA State Arts Commission – Facilitated review and update of the strategic plan by the governor-appointed Board of Directors and subsequently guided whole staff development of an implementation plan for the year ahead.

KidsQuest – Facilitated Board of Directors and senior staff in creation of a 10-year vision for the museum and then guided a board subcommittee in creation of the strategic plan.

City of Issaquah – Worked with a cross-community stakeholder group, Arts Commission members, and city staff to develop a community cultural plan and returned on an annual basis to capture and compile the accomplishments attributed to the ongoing plan implementation.

Cultural Access WA – Worked with a large group representing regional arts and culture organizations to envision and articulate the public benefits that would attach to a proposed tax-funded program.

4Culture (King County Arts Agency) – In the capacity of contracted arts education specialist, managed the design and development of a county-wide arts education data dashboard.

ArtsEd Washington – Applied and customized Technology of Participation (ToP) processes to create a principal-led school planning model that engaged teachers, community partners, and families. Subsequently, as a consultant to Seattle Public Schools/Creative Advantage, created a comprehensive Program Guide and training model to support replication of the program districtwide to benefit over 50,000 students.

ArtsEd Washington – Concept designer and co-researcher for the King County Initiative, Cornerstones of Creative Capacity, identifying the current supports and key infrastructure for arts learning in every school district, countywide.

Recent & Current Clients

Strategic plan development, strategic plan review and update, documenting of accomplishments and implementation planning, board retreats, and data review sessions for non-profits and municipal clients including:

Local and State Government

  • City of Bothell
  • City of Snoqualmie
  • City of Bellevue
  • City of Newcastle
  • City of Issaquah
  • 4Culture (County arts agency)
  • ArtsWA (state arts agency)

Non-Profit Organizations

  • The National Nordic Museum
  • Encompass
  • The Henry Art Gallery
  • Youth Theatre Northwest
  • KidsQuest Children’s Museum
  • ACT A Contemporary Theatre
  • Seattle Symphony
  • Gage Academy of Art

School Districts

  • Highline Public Schools
  • Seattle Public Schools
  • San Juan Island Public Schools

Professional Associations & Advocacy Groups

  • WA State School Directors Association
  • Cultural Access Washington
  • WA Arts Alliance, now Inspire WA