Power and Equity Challenge

Power & Equity Challenge

June 21-28, 2024

Sign up below if you’re interested in joining us!

Please note that this is a small retreat and limited seats are available. 

Registration will open December 1st 2023.

Pre-requisite Course: RUP Core Training

The Power and Equity Challenge Retreat is a 7-day, in-person retreat located at the beautiful Charis Mandala Retreat Center near Des Moines, New Mexico (USA). 

This retreat is for those who have attended the Right Use of Power™ Core Training and want to develop their power-and-equity consciousness with a deep dive into status, collective, and systemic power. 

Power And Equity Challenge, PEC,

There will be space and intentional opportunities for both self-care and collective-care. You will have the opportunity to develop deep connections with other participants as well as have a renewed sense of your own power. 

What is Power-and-Equity Consciousness?

Power-and-Equity Consciousness (PEC) is a term that was developed by Dr. Amanda Aguilera to refer to the state of awareness of social power dynamics, like those in interpersonal power differentials as well as collective and systemic power, that influence equity in relationship.

Why do we need to develop our PEC?

Power is present in every relationship. As your PEC develops, you are more capable of seeing power dynamics as they occur, inequities that show up in those power dynamics, and deciphering your responsibilities and vulnerabilities within your relationships.

When you have a framework for understanding power dynamics, the language to talk about it, and the skills to navigate it, you are better resourced for creating and maintaining relationships across difference.

Create Communities of Belonging

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Our goal is to create a beloved community and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives.” This challenge is designed to help build Beloved Community where there is mutual belonging, collective care and active responsibility.

Know Your Power

Often we can feel powerless when it comes to navigating relationships with difference. After this training, you will not only know what power you do have, but also how to use that power in ways that can empower others. Knowing your power and the accompanying responsibilities and vulnerabilities that come with it is empowering for you, can minimize harm (misuses/abuses of power), and empowers others.

Understand Your Brain on Power

Neurobiology has a powerful influence on how we perceive the world and others. Understanding how the brain organizes around power in the power differential can help us navigate power dynamics with more integration and understanding.

Know Ourstory

From our ancestry, cultural past, and the systemic power that shapes us, you will be guided through how multi-level power works to create and maintain systems of oppression. You will get an introduction to systemic power so that you have the full picture of power dynamics.

Work with Emotion

From shame to rage, confusion and frustration, intense emotions can arise when we talk about power and difference. With PEC, you can recognize emotions as they arise and choose to respond from an anti-oppression lens. Learn what it means to self-regulate without “shoulding” others.

Collective Care

We know from our Right Use of Power training that self-care is an ethical imperative. This retreat will create space not only for us to care for ourselves but also the space and support for caring for each other. We will learn what it means to cultivate a practice of collective care.

Day 1

Friday, June 21st

Arrive & Settle

You will arrive between 1pm – 5pm to get checked in and settled into your room. We will have dinner together at 5:30pm and you will get an overview of our time together.

Day 2

Saturday, June 22nd


This day will be dedicated to  connection: to ourselves, one another and to the retreat space. We will share story, build our collective narrative and honor the land that holds us.

Day 3

Sunday, June 23rd

Psychology of Power

Based in research, this session explores our brain on power – how the biological, neurological and psychological intrapersonal experience influences our interpersonal relationships and how power differentials impact our internal experience. Understanding how the body, mind and emotions work in power dynamics gives us an advantage for successfully navigating our relationships.

Day 4

Monday, June 24th

Cultivating Personal Power

If you’ve ever wanted to feel more empowered and expand your inner capacity – this session will give you the opportunity to explore the power that is within you. Integration and the ability to relate to yourself in a compassionate way are key for inner growth. This session will give you the foundation for making the development of your Power-and-Equity Consciousness more sustainable. You’ll also discover how personal power is the key to navigating all the other types of power.

Day 5

Tuesday, June 25th

Exploring the Intersections of Power

With this framework of social power dynamics, you’ll come to understand that there are multiple types of power – and they are all operating at once. In this session, we’ll do a deeper dive into systemic power and how systemic lenses influence our personal, role and status power. We will also look at “Ourstory” – from ancestry to collective wounding (from past to present) and how we can address ongoing systems of oppression.

Day 6

Wednesday, June 26th

Navigating Power Differentials

With the understanding of systemic power, we move into the complex power dynamics present in every interpersonal relationship. We’ll look at the responsibilities and vulnerabilities in each part of the power differential and address the particular challenges in relationships across differences in power.

Day 7

Thursday, June 27th

Collective Power

Collective Power is the only type of power that can shift systemic power. This session explores the different types of collective power, how collective power forms, can be sustainable and ultimately shift systems. 

Day 8

Friday, June 28th

Closing & Depart

We will end our time together with intentional connection and commitments for going forward. Packing and Departure will happen between 11am – 1pm MST.

The Facilitators

We are excited to introduce our team of facilitators who are rooted in a Right Use of Power lens and have a great deal of wisdom, experience, skill and passion in the learning session topics.

Tohtori Amanda Aguilera

Longmont, CO, USA

Amanda (she/her/ella) is the Co-Exectuive Director of the Right Use of Power Institute and a consultant, teacher and strategist in the area of power-and-equity consciousness and conflict resolution. Driven by her core values of curiosity, courage, and connection, Amanda is adept at creating visuals that help make learning more accessible and communicating complex ideas in simple ways.

At the core of her academic and personal passion is the advancement in understanding social power dynamics and deepening the personal and collective uses of power in the world with wisdom and compassion. Her doctoral dissertation focused on the dynamics of shame and power in the justice system and she continues to develop theoretical models in the intrapersonal and interpersonal experiences of power dynamics, including the integration of neurobiology, contemplative practices and restorative practices as they relate to power differentials. 

Veronica Borgonovi

Seattle, WA, USA

Veronica (she/her) is a seasoned organizational and project leader, manager, mentor, and coach, with experience supporting over 40 client projects in management and social sector consulting across multiple countries. She continues to guide a multi-year effort to transform organizational culture around equity and inclusion across multiple geographies, and is experienced in strategy development, evaluation and learning, facilitation, and multi-stakeholder collaboration.

She is a certified coach through Leadership That Works, a graduate of Right Use of Power Institute’s teacher training, and a Qualified Administrator for the Intercultural Development Inventory. She is also an experienced meditator and currently studying the application of Buddhist contemplative psychology toward psychosocial change efforts.

Michelle Cottingham

Phoenix, AZ, USA

Michelle (she/her) is a multi-faceted entrepreneur, trained professional speaker, experienced teacher, presenter, and activist with an extensive professional background in the real estate industry.

Since 2015 she has created curricula and guided hundreds of professionals through coursework about personal identity, collective and community identity, intersectional feminism, and the complex topics of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, familial status, agency, systems of land ownership, and the history of the formation and current cultural state of the USA.

Farzin Farzad

Reston, VA, USA

Farzin (he/him) is an Organizational Justice practitioner with experience in higher education, local government, and the private sector. Holding two master’s degrees in international affairs and diplomacy as well as a certificate in conflict resolution skills, Farzin leverages his unique academic background, extensive travel experience, and experiential knowledge to provide comprehensive, thought-provoking local and global approaches to his work.

Farzin is the founder of Critical Equity Consulting, LLC, a boutique Organizational Justice consulting firm focused on helping organizations rebuild with a primary focus on creating equitable outcomes.

Sarah Silvas-Bernstein

Boulder, CO, USA

Sarah (she/her) is a dedicated advocate, educator, and professional contributing to the eradication of sexual violence through proactive and responsive approaches for effective social change. Her work and research are rooted in the practices and principles of restorative and social justice as a means to increase institutional and personal capacity, well-being, and resilience.

Sarah’s professional work as the Title IX Coordinator of Naropa University, volunteer experience with The Blue Bench and Moving to End Sexual Assault, and on-going experience as a Restorative Justice Facilitator and Community Member with local agencies bolster her commitment to lifelong and fulfilling community-based work. She holds a dual undergraduate degree in Organizational Leadership and Business Management from Graceland University.

Dr. Sherri Taylor

Oakland, CA, USA

Sherri (she/they/femme) is a contemplative, teacher, end of life doula, consultant, and facilitator.

She completed her undergraduate education in Feminist Studies at Stanford University and earned her master’s and doctoral degrees in Clinical Psychology from the Wright Institute in Berkeley, California. Her scholarship and research interests include contemplative leadership, dreamwork, the intergenerational transmission of benevolence and resilience, and the somatics of belonging and unbelonging.

She is also the guardian of the soulstudiolab and Black Womxn’s Dream Lab. Dr. Taylor aspires each day to appreciate the fullness and complexity of the human experience.

Dau Windwater

Boulder, CO, USA

Dau (they/them) is a contemplative practitioner, systems thinker, and lover of the living world. They bring pragmatism from a past career in bookkeeping and a big heart from their deeper interest in community and belonging. Through Dau’s work, they foster the awareness and exploration of power and paradox in order to empower and encourage multicultural understanding. As a facilitator, their style is infused with ritual, reflection, and space to experience the relationship between our inner and outer landscapes.

Jamelah Zidan

Boulder, CO, USA

Jamelah (she/her) is the Restorative Community Coordinator at Naropa University. She was born in New York City to Palestinian parents. She earned her B.A. in Political Economics from Sarah Lawrence College, where she was the recipient of the Scholarship for the Environment. She then pursued her M.S. in Education from Sarah Lawrence, where she was the recipient of the Regina Arnold Memorial Scholarship.

For several years, Jamelah worked as a teacher in New York City. Desiring to work in a more spiritual atmosphere and impact the quality of people’s lives, she later changed careers, taking up a position as Assistant Director at the Abode, a Sufi and Interfaith retreat center in the Berkshires. She moved to Colorado in 2020 to be with her husband, Netanel Miles-Yepez, and is now happy to be working with the compassionate and skilled staff, students, and faculty of Naropa.

She’s currently a fellow in the Emerging Leaders Fellowship, and volunteering in the Restorative Justice program of the Boulder County DA’s office.

Ian Sanderson

Erie, CO, USA

Ian Sanderson (he/him) (Mohawk Nation, Turtle clan) has spent the last 25 years inspiring reconnection to self, community, and the rest of the natural world by exploring convergences of the philosophies found in Indigenous and Eastern traditions as a means to realize empowered personal development and socio-ecological change.

He owns and runs the Boulder Quest Center, which trains youth and adults in the Japanese art of Ninjutsu-To-Shin-Do, teaches in the Environmental Studies Department at Naropa University, and offers professional development and training to businesses and non-profits. He lives in community with his wife, dogs, cats, chickens, trees, plants, and humans, 15 miles east of Boulder.

How much does it cost?

Reduced Rate

(Limited to 5 Seats)
$ 1500
  • This rate is for those who frequently struggle to meet basic needs or are facing temporary financial crisis.

Standard Rate

(This helps us to cover costs)
$ 2250
  • This rate is for those who are mostly able to meet basic needs and have some discretionary income.

Redistribution Rate

(This helps us to offer the reduced rate)
$ 3000
  • This rate is for those who comfortably meet their basic needs and have significant discretionary income.