Valeria Cortés

“Our destiny is to create a new world, to reveal a new life, to remember that there exists a frontier for everything except dreams… In history there are no solitary dreams; one dreamer breaths life into the next.” —Sebastião Salgado

I am a leadership educator and practitioner, passionate about leadership for social change in multicultural contexts. I work extensively with post-secondary institutions and with community organizations, designing learning experiences aimed at transforming our way of being, thinking, and doing. I love facilitating experiential learning processes and creating inclusive spaces that enable creative cross-cultural communication, where we can all learn from each other, where synergy is created and where all people feel connected and empowered to take action to enhance their organizations and communities.

As an educator, consultant, and facilitator I have worked with the following organizations:

  • Royal Roads University
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of Victoria
  • University of Toronto
  • Volunteer Victoria
  • Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria
  • International Institute for Child Rights and Development
  • ArtsReach
  • Spectrum Job Search Society
  • Guanajuato’s Ministry of Education
  • Tecnologico de Monterrey
  • Universidad Iberoamericana Leon

My professional experience working with post-secondary institutions in Canada, Mexico, and the U.S., gave me opportunities to implement different ways of active learning and whole-systems initiatives: I have facilitated outdoor education and team-building programs,  liberating structuresworld cafés, open-space technology, image theatre, forum theatre, arts-based learning, cooperative learning and participatory-based workshops on topics such as conflict resolution, intercultural communication, and group facilitation skills.

As a student affairs professional I developed and coordinated educational programs for undergraduate and graduate students and implemented campus-wide strategies to enhance the student experience.

I have an Engineering degree with a focus on Information Systems, a Master’s in Education from Tecnólogico de Monterrey where I did research in the area of leadership development and social responsibility of students involved in campus organizations, and a M.A. in Leadership Studies from the University of Victoria, my research focused on exploring and documenting the implementation of theatre-based activities as a means of developing systems thinking in leadership development programs.

Contact Information: Please contact me through this blog. Comment moderation has been enabled and your post will not be published if you state so. Thanks!

Join the Conversation


  1. Hello
    I am an executive coach here in Toronto, and am also certified to use the leadership effectiveness assessment of the leadership circle. I will be happy to meet with you and share my knowledge and experience in Leadership development, these tools and executive coaching.

    Warmest regards


  2. Hi,

    I wanted to know if you facilitated World Cafe sessions in Toronto. If so, could you please email me so we could further discuss. I would need three World Cafe sessions consisting of approx. 100 people.


  3. Hello,

    My name is Reuven and I got your name through Jorge (who is working with me and my colleague, Leila, on an environmental psychology project involving eye-tracking). I am contacting you because I am currently preparing another environmental psychology study taking place on campus at UVic, and I think your expertise might really help.

    The project I have proposed involves recruiting students in residence with particularly high environmental concern and training them to (1) become more charismatic and expand their social networks, and (2) persuade their peers to adopt more pro-environmental attitudes and behaviours (particularly toward waste diversion).

    Given your strong background in leadership studies and teaching workshops, I would be very interested in your thoughts and any ideas you might have about training my participants. I have published other research on the effects of social influence on pro-environmental behaviour, but never attempted to teach leadership, charisma, or the art of persuasion myself.

    What do you think?



  4. Hello Val,
    I participated in LEARN at UofT with you and would love to get in touch with you again.

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