Steve Zuieback our dearest friend, highly valued colleague, and member of Dalmau Consulting, died in Ukiah, California, on August 11, 2021, 4 days before his 70th birthday.
To say he will be much missed is a huge understatement. Right up until he died, he was giving of himself, and his wisdom to us as colleagues, and to countless others – family, friends and colleagues around the world. That was Steve! A humble, caring, compassionate listener, wise counselor, mentor, group facilitator, teacher and leader who lived his values every breath he took.
Steve began working with Tim in 1996. He was introduced to us through our colleague, Michael Grinder, and there was an instant connection – it was his skills, his mindset, but most of all it was who he was as a person that attracted us. He worked with us and our clients in the USA, South Africa, Australia and Indonesia. On occasion, we worked with some of his American clients as part of his business, Synectics. Our clients were indeed the beneficiaries of his prowess in group facilitation and dialogue where his knowledge and experience was second to none. As part of our team, he listened, supported and shared his experience and wisdom with each of us and as a team member. He authored 2 books, one with Tim, and has left a wealth of free training resources in the form of documents, blogs, videos and e-publications.
For much of his career, Steve worked in the education and environmental sectors. He focused his consulting and training in areas of leadership, creative planning, change implementation, team development, and community building. In his home state he made an enormous contribution to building deep leadership and facilitation capacity in many school districts and local communities. In his hometown of Ukiah, he also made a great contribution as a volunteer to the environmental and social well-being of his local area. He was one of several founders of MendoFutures, a volunteer-based organization that facilitates community dialogue and solutions on environmental, economic and social issues in Mendocino County.
In February 2020 due to illness he had to ‘retire’ from his consulting work. The severe physical, mental and spiritual challenges of his illness would have been more than most of us could have coped with. However, he somehow rose above these to spend the months following trying to find meaning and purpose in his life. And he did!
David Attenborough’s 2020 documentary, A Life on this Planet, reignited Steve’s passion for the natural world and mobilized him to action. In his very restricted circumstances, he talked to us and other close friends and colleagues, about what we could do collectively and individually to focus conversations and action on climate change and the future of our planet. He realised that many have given up hope they can make any difference to the trajectory of global warming. David Attenborough’s film inspired him to be hopeful and know that much is happening, and much can and must be done by many.
As a result a group of about 30 people formed around him, from all around the world – Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, South Africa, UK and the USA. Dialogues were held via Zoom with Steve and between 16 – 32 people over the last 8 months. A ‘space’ was created for people to share their thoughts and feelings and for actions of all sorts to emerge. Each person’s story shared through these processes helped focus, motivate and change behaviors. Some took new actions in their personal lives, others, using the tools for conversation developed by Steve, and ideas for action collected by him to become more influential themselves. Steve, also amassed great resources and personal stories about what is happening around the world to tackle climate change, and provided a focus for organizations in particular on regenerative leadership. Regenerative leaders,‘create the conditions for organizations to become more agile, emergent, and able to operate with the whole system in mind.’
It is still early days for this informal global collection of people (#tag – steveandus) and our collective and individual work is continuing.
We at Dalmau Consulting are deeply committed to continue the work that was catalyzed by Steve. He will live on in our hearts and inspire our work as he deeply touched all these parts in us. We will continue to keep Steve’s memory alive and be close friends with Joyce Paterson, Steve’s wonderful wife and partner of more than 50 years.
Farewell dearest friend.