CDR’s Tips and Tricks for Hybrid Meeting

As anyone reading this is well aware, the COVID pandemic catalyzed a seismic shift across the professional landscape. Organizations were forced to upend their normal operations and move to entirely online work environments. At CDR, this meant virtual meetings, virtual happy hours, virtual coffees, and virtual public events. 

While this shift proved challenging, at least the overarching policy was clear: all convening was to be done online, and if that wasn’t possible then the whole approach necessitated rethinking. Now, as another shift begins to take place––not necessarily back to pre-pandemic routines, but toward a “new normal”––things have gotten a little more complicated. Some organizations have begun implementing plans to return to their offices in full, while others are staying remote. Some are giving employees the option of working from home; others are instituting specific schedules for remote and in-office work. CDR even recently facilitated a series of Listening Sessions for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) on this very topic: to understand employee preferences about returning to work in-person or moving to a more virtual workplace. 

But regardless of an organization’s individual policy decisions on this topic, change across the working world is afoot. These changes produce a slew of important questions for facilitators, but one has risen to the top for us at CDR: how can groups collaborate effectively in real time when some members are in-person and others are virtual? 

Enter the hybrid meeting.

Because so much of CDR’s work consists of convening stakeholders, we’ve been working to develop our own list of best practices for hosting hybrid meetings since long before the pandemic. As a reminder, hybrid meetings are those in which some participants are in the same physical space, like an office or a conference room, and others are joining online or on the phone.

Here is a brief list of tips and tricks to ensure your hybrid meeting is productive, engaging, and equitable:

  • Teamwork Makes the Dream Work – Hybrid meetings require extensive preliminary coordination and in-meeting support. We’ve learned the best way to ensure the success of a hybrid meeting is by providing adequate staff to fulfill the various roles these events require. Roles often include: 
    • Meeting facilitation – We’ve found it’s typically more effective to facilitate hybrid meetings from an in-person vantage point, especially for larger groups. However, if the meeting is primarily virtual with a few participants together in the same room (e.g., from a single organization) virtual facilitation is doable. 
    • Technical support –  Significant technical support may be needed for hybrid meetings. Technical components include: hosting the virtual side of the meeting, ensuring participants have correct links and call-in information, running the slide deck or visual presentation, ensuring all parties can comfortably hear and see each other, monitoring the virtual chat log, and troubleshooting when issues arise––this is a full time job for at least one team member. 
    • Documentation – Compared to fully in-person or fully virtual meetings, in hybrid meetings it becomes even more critical to track and document the discussion, action items, and next steps. No matter how much we prepare, technology can still be faulty, so making sure that someone is taking accurate notes throughout the meeting is vital for preserving key points and ensuring nothing gets lost across the airwaves. 
  • Promoting Equity Across the Digital Divide – A principal concern in the realm of public engagement is ensuring that opportunities for input are equitably shared across geographies, demographics, and, in this case, technologies. It’s easy for people who are engaging virtually to feel left out of the discussion, especially if most participants are together in-person. A few options for remedying this potential disparity include: 
    • Allocate specific time in the agenda for virtual participants to provide input.
    • Call on participants, both virtual and in-person, who have not provided input in case they are looking for the right moment to jump in. 
    • Allow for various types of input to inform decisions. This could include verbal input, but it also might include written input in shared documents, messages in the virtual chat, or notes on physical handouts. 
    • Distribute agendas ahead of time in which you describe in detail the logistics and flow of the hybrid meeting approach; then ask for feedback to ensure all participants are on board with the approach.
  • Consider the “Why” Behind the Hybrid Meeting – There are plenty of reasons to hold a hybrid meeting. Perhaps there are documents that are difficult to accurately portray virtually, but some stakeholders are far away and can’t travel; Perhaps COVID restrictions are preventing certain participants from joining in-person, but a significant contingent strongly prefer an in-person setting. The list of potential reasons for holding a hybrid meeting is extensive––however, we recommend thinking long and hard about these reasons and talking them through with key decision-makers prior to scheduling. Often it’s the case that when the reasons for a hybrid approach are laid bare, there turns out to be other, less complicated approaches to meeting the interests of those involved. If it turns out that indeed a hybrid meeting is indeed the best course of action, we hope the tips and tricks listed here will serve you well.

Written by Daniel Estes, October 2021

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Improving Access to Justice in Myanmar: Prospects for Collaborative Dispute Resolution

This policy brief examines how Collaborative Dispute Resolution (CDR) can help address land allocation, use, and confiscation issues in Myanmar. CDR encompasses a number of procedures that facilitate voluntary engagement of parties with a common problem or that are involved in a dispute or grievance to cooperate and discover or develop mutually acceptable agreements that settle their differences. CDR approaches and procedures can effectively be for both “preventions” and “interventions.”

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CDR is Hiring!



We are a collaboration and communications consulting firm in Boulder, Colorado. We help governments and communities make decisions on large, complex public projects. 

We’re looking for an entry-level Program Coordinator to join our team. Our team is the perfect match for professionals seeking values-based work, opportunities for growth, and a workplace culture that values individual perspectives and self-empowerment. You’ll work remotely now and for the immediate future. Post-Covid, there’s flexibility on where you work in the Denver/Boulder area – at client offices, at your house, and the CDR office.


You will support a range of stakeholder engagement, communications, problem solving, and conflict resolution projects. You will work on projects in the transportation, water, and public lands management fields in Colorado as well as in the regional West.

Roles and Responsibilities include:

  • Administrative and Organizational Support
    • Manage organization email and phone accounts
    • Order and track materials
    • Coordinate IT
    • Organize organizational functions/internal meetings
    • Assist Principal and CEO with administrative and project needs
  • Marketing and Communications
    • Maintain LinkedIn and Website
    • Coordinate quarterly newsletters and marketing emails
    • Design, print, and manage marketing materials
    • Proposal coordination and graphic design
  • Project Support
    • Manage meeting logistics and technology
    • Write, edit and/or proofread project reports and meeting summaries
    • Develop meeting materials


You have a bachelor’s degree and an interest in multi-modal transportation, community and regional planning, natural resource management, and/or environmental public policy issues. Fluency in Spanish is highly desirable but not required. We are looking for someone who is comfortable managing projects virtually. Adobe Creative Suite experience is strongly preferred. You are:

RESULTS ORIENTED: You are able to prioritize and multi-task to achieve great results. You value quality work, are able to manage short turnarounds, and can stay on time and on budget.

ORGANIZED AND DETAILED: You manage your projects and information in an organized way to ensure nothing slips through the cracks, and you pay close attention to detail. 

CREATIVE AND FLEXIBLE: You can clearly and graphically communicate complex information in a creative way and are able to adapt to changing conditions easily, particularly in the context of COVID-19.

COMFORTABLE WORKING IN A STRUCTURED AS WELL AS AN UNPREDICTABLE ENVIRONMENT: You produce quality work independently and as a team. You take initiative and contribute to team dynamics by offering new ideas and creative solutions to unexpected or surprising challenges.

SELF-STARTER: You have an entrepreneurial mindset and are interested in future growth opportunities. 

CDR offers a benefits package to employees including health insurance and paid vacation. Compensation will be determined based on the experience of the selected candidate but is expected to fall into the low $40k a year range.


In lieu of the traditional cover letter, we ask that you send us a resume and one of the following options no later than Friday, April 30:

  1. Design a one page flyer about your favorite college course or a recent book you’ve read
  2. Write about a recent problem you’ve solved, in no more than one page

We’ll be reviewing and engaging with applicants on a rolling basis. Send materials to Please write “CDR Program Coordinator 2021 Application_[First Name] [Last Name]” in the subject line of the email.

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The Songs that Carried Us Through 2020: A Playlist

CDR’s Spotify playlist can be accessed HERE.

  1. Aqua Profunda! by Courtney Barnett
    Why? First, it’s a swimming song. Second, this song is important due to the shoulder replacement recovery and being able to live without 24/7 pain and to do things I love – like swim. -TWin
  2. Hold On by Yola
    Why? Yola was the best find of my year! She describes herself as “genre fluid” —  I call her the “Adele” of country music. It’s hard to pick just one song, but this one is at the top. -EZ
  3. Nobody Else (A-Trak Remix) by Axwell and A-Trak
    Why? Because if there was ever a year that needed more dancing it was 2020 and this was my mid-workday-dance-party-in-the-kitchen jam! -DE
  4. Turntables by Janelle Monae  
    Why? Wow, this is not just a great song, it packs a real punch, too. -TWin
  5. Rivers Deep by Gabby Barrett
    Why? Because this year the kitchen was the only place open for dancing. -EZ 
  6. Life Ain’t Fair and the World is Mean by Sturgill Simpson 
    Why? Because the title perfectly sums up 2020 and it’s a good reminder that humor can be a powerful bulwark against the cruelty of the world.  -DE
  7. Harry’s Wondrous World by John Williams
    Why? This one is important because of 2020 — which at times has felt like a battle between good and evil. There is so much in the Harry Potter books about integrity, friendship, character, courage, and fighting for what’s good. And they beat Lord Voldemort and the Death Eaters in the end. -TWin
  8. The Highwomen by the Highwomen
    Why? Between the lyrics, the remake, and the vocals, this song was my favorite for the year. -EZ
  9. I Don’t Know Where to Start by Bully
    Why: Because it’s loud and aggressive and even though, in 2020, I often felt like I didn’t know where to start, this song seems to make that seem okay. -JR
  10. Rocket Fuel by DJ Shadow
    Why: It’s frenetic and sometimes chaos feels good in uncertain times and energizes you to just move. -JR
  11. Time Stands by Nathaniel Rateliff
    Why: It’s haunting and makes me feel alive. -JR
  12. Starting Over by Chris Stapleton
    Why? This whole album is a must. A great start to the morning with this song playing in the background, a cup of coffee in my hand, and a jig in my step. Give it a whirl. -TW
  13. The Partisan. Leonard Cohen
    Why? A song about the French Resistance that inspires fortitude, perseverance and a reminder for us all to stand up for what we believe in. -TW
  14. Morning Sun by Melody Gardot
    Why? A reminder of hope for the future and the beauty and potential of this world. -TW
  15. Alabama Pines by Jason Isbell
    Why? Perfect road trip song.  -TW
  16. Man on Fire by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
    Why? Just feels good to listen to this one. -TW
  17. Mercy Now by Mary Gauthier
    Why? Because we all could use a little mercy  now. -TW
  18. Energy by Disclosure
    Why? Because where your focus goes, your energy flows! -JB 
  19. Revolution by Heartless Bastards
    Why? Good tune and lyrics: “you were born with a voice so open up and speak your mind” -JB
  20. The Bigger Picture by Lil Baby
    Why? Because “it’s bigger than black and white, it’s a problem with the whole way of life, it can’t change overnight, but we gotta start somewhere”. One of President Obama’s favorites. -JB
  21. (Nose to The) Grindstones by Tyler Childers
    Why? Rocking tune and we need to keep our noses “to the grindstone and keep our feet on the ground” -JB
  22. 7 Summers by Morgan Wallen
    Why? Every good playlist needs a country song or two. -MR
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Meet Our Newest Board Members

German E. Velasco

City planning, public policy, conflict-resolution facilitation.

Origin / Home: Boulder, Colorado, and born in La Paz, Bolivia

Favorite Book or TV Show: The Day the Universe Changed, James Burke / BBC

Since COVID-19 started, what’s one adaptation or “lifehack” that you’ve implemented that you’re proud of?
Eating healthier by cooking at home most of the time

What’s something you’ve done that no one else at CDR has done?
Being governor of a state in Bolivia (The state of La Paz, includes capital + 110 municipalities) 

How will CDR be different at the end of your term?
Perhaps a view with the eyes of someone who had the privilege to live and work in radically different economies and cultures;  what I have seen people do to solve big problems with less resources. How others view the world.

Jayla Ryan Poppleton

Nonprofit Executive Director at Water Education Colorado.

Origin/ Home: Chicagoland, Illinois 

Favorite Book or TV Show: The Overstory by Richard Powers is my current
favorite book. Favorite tv show currently is Schitt’s
Creek, although the Office is an all-time favorite.

Since COVID-19 started, what’s one adaptation or “lifehack” that you’ve implemented that you’re proud of?
Wednesday night dinner and game nights with the family where we all unplug from all forms of digital media

What’s something you’ve done that no one else at CDR has done?
Lived in Amsterdam, Netherlands for three years when I was first married

How will CDR be different at the end of your term?
I would hope to bring a very positive, authentic and relational approach to helping the organization deliver the very best services to its clients/customers and to taking great care of its staff.

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Climate Change: Impacting Our World and Our Work

More than any year in recent memory, 2020 demonstrated the necessity for collaboration. While COVID-19 presented the most salient example of why a collaborative approach to problem-solving is critical in a connected world, other global events–such as ongoing trade wars, famines, wildfires, water shortages, polio eradication in Africa, and online education–are similarly instructive. Based in Boulder, CDR was in close proximity to the wildfires that blazed through Colorado this summer. Experts attribute the increase in wildfires nationwide to climate change, a global problem of ever-increasing significance, and one that CDR navigates across all of its practice areas. Here, we’ll take a look at how CDR is bringing collaborative problem-solving to the fight against climate change in the transportation, land management, and water arenas. 

Transportation: A transformation in the mobility and transportation sector has been occurring for years. As emissions from vehicles contribute to climate change, there is a need to find creative solutions that reduce emissions and move toward carbon neutral or even “climate positive” industry norms. These ambitious goals increasingly intersect not just with CDR’s transportation projects, but also with our organizational values around building a sustainable and equitable future. 

CDR has expertise in a wide variety of transportation projects––including interdisciplinary planning and environmental processes (NEPA, PEL, CSS, etc.), and community transportation plans––yet our focus is on meeting the challenge of climate change, namely emerging mobility and multimodal planning. Communities across Colorado are planning for a more sustainable future by fast tracking projects that will prepare them for less reliance on fossil fuels and overall improved climate outcomes. Projects such as Electric Vehicle Readiness Plans, inter-city passenger rail, transit and bicycle and pedestrian-focused projects all fit under this umbrella. This is exciting news for the fight against climate change and for the future of transportation. CDR’s public engagement expertise benefits our clients and communities on these projects by allowing agencies and local governments to better understand public sentiment around change, which in turn allows impactful climate-related transportation policy to be informed and crafted with the public playing a key role. 

Land Management: Conservation, sustainability, resource management––these are common themes in CDR’s land management projects. They are crucial concepts when thinking about climate change mitigation, especially in planning for the utilization and conservation of public lands. While the human health and economic impacts are generally the first to be considered in climate change scenarios, it’s the wildlife––namely plants and animals––that will continue to bear the brunt of this human-caused phenomenon. 

With this in mind, CDR is warding off negative impacts of climate change through effective land management, not just for humans but also for our furry and botanical friends. As the facilitator for the Colorado Wildlife and Transportation Alliance, CDR works with multiple agencies, including Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), to stymie undesirable changes to the state’s ecosystem. One aspect of the Alliance’s mission is to ensure and enhance wildlife habitat connectivity through transportation planning that accounts for wildlife movement. Such planning, when implemented, allows big game animals like deer and elk to maintain their centuries-old migration patterns amid the encroachment of society. In other land management projects––whether facilitating the Master Planning process for a new state park or working to conserve and enhance the network of biospheres––CDR is continually thinking about how a collaborative approach can be leveraged toward climate change strategies and solutions. 

Water: Climate change and water are intrinsically linked. While on a global scale scientists have long been raising the alarm about melting ice caps and rising ocean levels, the flipside of the same coin are water shortages, prolonged drought, and desertification. For inland geographies like Colorado, reduced snowpack and snowmelt have led to severe drought throughout the state. CDR works with experts in the field and community leaders to develop solutions and programs in the water arena. Managing the outreach component of the State’s investigation into demand management for the Colorado River Upper Basin, CDR brings together experts and stakeholders to determine how Colorado’s growing demand for water can be adequately addressed in years to come. CDR also leads the strategic planning effort between Colorado State University and Denver Water to design the Western Water Policy Institute, which will focus on solving critical water problems through policies that rise to meet the challenge of rapid global change, including climate- and growth-induced impacts to Colorado. 

If 2020 taught us anything it’s that we have to work together when facing global challenges––and climate change is the biggest global challenge of the century. How we rise to meet it will depend on our collective ability to coalesce around a common cause, connect the best scientific data with decision-making, and develop policies at scale that lead to sustainable solutions. CDR is committed to continuing this critical work. 

Written by CDR’s Daniel Estes (

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