Joan McArthur-Blair, Co-President, Cockell McArthur-Blair Consulting, is a powerful speaker, writer and facilitator who grounds her work in a deep passion for learning, change and the possibilities of a positive future.
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About Joan

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Dr. Joan McArthur-Blair, Co-President of Cockell McArthur-Blair Consulting is an inspirational writer, speaker and facilitator. After more than 25 years of institutionally based work as an educator, she has returned to her loves of consulting, writing, speaking and facilitating, and works with groups of all kinds to make a positive difference. Joan specializes in the use of appreciative inquiry to foster leadership development, strategic planning and innovative strategies for organizational development. She also provides short term leadership through executive-to-go services.

Joan has fulfilled faculty, department head, dean, vice president and president roles over her career at four diverse Canadian colleges and now co-leads a highly successful consultancy focused on ‘making magic – facilitating futures not yet imagined.’ In her life as an educator from faculty to president, she cared most deeply about learners, their access to higher education and their success when there. Now as a consultant, she fosters the possibilities of education and leadership, working to lift up the work of others.

She has a special interest in igniting pathways for women in leadership and is committed to the responsibility leadership provides for advancing equity and diversity.

She has sat on and/or chaired community arts boards, Executive Leadership Institutes and boards related to education and sustainability. As well, she has worked around the world in India, Pakistan, Qatar, the Caribbean and the United States from her bases in British Columbia and Nova Scotia, Canada. She has been humbled by the recognition of her work and especially warmed by receiving the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Paul Elsner International Excellence in Leadership Award.

She co-authored Appreciative Inquiry in Higher Education: a Transformative Force (2012) and Building Resilience with Appreciative Inquiry: A Leadership Journey through Hope, Despair, and Forgiveness (2018). She has published many articles on appreciative inquiry and embeds her poetry to in her academic writing. She also maintains a self-published poetry site on She believes that words shape our world and are a powerful force for good.

She has had the privilege of higher education attaining a BA in English from the University of Western Ontario, the British Columbia Instructor’s Diploma, a MEd from Simon Fraser University and an EdD from the University of British Columbia.

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