Our Purpose

Connection Works is dedicated to partnering with those who want their workplaces and work practices to be life-giving.


Connection Works is dedicated to stopping work practices that diminish & disregard people’s humanity.

We believe that building our capacity to be with our individual & collective humanity will create a more life-giving world for all.


Our Practice

Practically speaking, we help people work through challenges such as:

  • Improving their organization’s or department’s culture
  • Clarifying their organization’s purpose, vision, and values
  • Re-thinking their approach to strategic planning and competitive advantage
  • Developing more effective teams and leaders
  • Overcoming silos and other barriers to collaboration
  • Thinking through the creation or revision of leadership development programs
  • Resolving interpersonal conflicts

However, we are finding that underneath these “practically speaking” challenges lie inquiries that take us below the surface, toward the root of what gets in the way of what is life-giving. Such as:

  • What about the way we are showing up on a day-to-day basis is getting in the way of creating the culture we want?
  • What do we value that is more connected to life than money and profitability? How does this inform our vision?
  • What is it we really need from a strategic plan? What if we paid attention to what we are learning along the way?
  • Do we belong? To ourselves and each other? How does belonging impact our leadership and how we think of teams?
  • What is it we are afraid we’ll lose if we open to true connection and collaboration across our organization?
  • Does the way we think of leadership development free us to grow toward where we are being called? Or does it keep us in the same place we’ve been?
  • Are we being honest with ourselves and each other in our interpersonal conflicts? Are we willing to step into the discomfort of understanding the one we feel harmed us?

Our Orienting Principles

Because we are covering new ground with people and working in new ways, we use our Orienting Principles to help us (and our clients) negotiate this new territory.

  1. Do what creates connection - which might mean “following” disconnection, as it is often the doorway to connection.
  2. Listen lots (and lots and lots) - to yourself and others.
  3. Go deep and connect to what truly matters - it’s less about the words and more about what is deeply mattering to the other person.
  4. Get more truth in the room - the more truth there is, the closer you are to clarity, even though it might not feel like it.
  5. Get curious - where are data and judgment/story/assumptions/conclusions conflated? What needs are present in the room?
  6. Look for and pay attention to patterns - patterns are fractal; what is alive in the room, is probably alive throughout the organization
  7. Say what you see, feel, think, and need in the midst of discomfort - discomfort means you are in new territory.
  8. Confusion is a signal to slow down - there is always enough time for the right work. (ES)
  9. There is a conversation that only the people in this room right now can have. Find it. (ES) - frequently, the conversation that initially presents itself is masking a deeper, more true, more needed conversation.
  10. Check in on dignity - whose experience needs more voice, choice, valuing, and understanding?

The principles marked with (ES) are borrowed from the excellent work of adrienne maree brown and her book Emergent Strategies, which is hugely influential on us.

Our Team

Shannon Patterson

Shannon Patterson

Hi, I'm Shannon, the founder of Connection Works. For as long I can remember, I have been interested in understanding who people are, what matters to them, and what makes them tick. My mom tells me that I used to go around dinner parties interviewing people even when I was five! 

While leadership and organizational development (OD) hasn't always been my official work, it has always been my true work. And so, after 15 years of being a transportation planner, I put my true work at the center of my life and started Connection Works. I've had a variety of professional experiences, which  grounds my leadership and OD work in 20 years of business experience across the engineering, architecture, construction, education, and personal development fields. 

I draw on the practices of Identity Mapping®, emotional intelligence, nonviolent communication, group dynamics, complexity science, and Liberating Structures to help the people I work with navigate “the jungle in here” so they can navigate “the jungle out there” from a place of authenticity and wisdom. Whether that jungle is a personal leadership challenge, your team's tricky dynamics, or your organization's culture, I will help bring clarity to whatever complexity you face by helping you understand what's happening beneath the surface. 

I love learning so I have a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Masters in Civil Engineering from the University of Washington as well as a Masters in Organizational Development from Pepperdine University's Graziadio School of Business and Management. When I'm not working, you'll find me cooking with my sweetie, trying to make pottery, reading all sorts of things, and playing Auntie to my 3 year old nephew and 5 year old niece.

Gregory Flynn

Gregory Flynn

Hi, I'm Greg, a Connection Works partner – a coach, a facilitator, and a collaborator to those who are interested in a journey of personal and professional development. I've always found it hard to follow the paths that others expected of me and at some point along the way, I realized that this was a strength of mine. Following my own path led me to supporting people and organizations that are looking to follow theirs.

I began working in leadership development, facilitation, and coaching fifteen years ago in the nonprofit field, supporting people as they found their voice at work. That led me to opportunities in the private and government sectors, both in internal roles and as a consultant. My experience has given me a great view of the landscape that we're all working in today. I've been told I'm especially effective at working with individuals and organizations that are in transition – and, hey, these days, who isn't?

I've had the chance to work with people in industries including healthcare, academia and software. My approach is holistic – or integral – meaning that I work with the whole system and the whole person. I've found this approach to be much more impactful than just "targeted problem solving." My strongest influences are methodologies such as Theory U, Liberating Structures, and Presence-Based Coaching.

A passionate lifelong learner, I have a graduate level certificate in Integral Transformative Leadership from Pacific Integral's Generating Transformative Change program (certified via Saybrook University). My undergrad degree was inspired by my love of the arts – I received a BA in music at Colorado State University. On a personal note, I live in Seattle with my wife and our goofy dog Buckley. We spend our time enjoying the music, theater, art, and the beautiful surroundings in our region.