About Bickford Collaboration

2020 - Barb and Mike - Block Portrait St
Barb Bickford, Founder and Principal

I'm a science-based professional
who learned how to work collaboratively. 

Many of my clients are professionals in
science-based organizations.  Others are in 
non-profits, faith-based organizations or are individuals
simply wanting better results


I help all my clients transform their both
their events/meetings and 

I love working with people who are creative,
enthusiastic, willing to try new things and
want to
 make this world 
a better, healthier place! 

I hate boring meetings.  

I prefer using approaches that are easy to use,
practical, effective, 
versatile, positive
and relatively low cost,

I believe tech tools should not get in the way. 

Tech should connect people to each other and their
purpose. Period.

I work with groups through the lens of integral facilitation.

That is, I consider what is going on outside
(tasks and processes)

and balance those with what is going inside
(within the facilitator and the group)

My go-to methods are liberating structures 
such as the Ecocycle
I use them in nearly every meeting I lead
because they engage everyone 
and are both efficient and effective


I also use convergent facilitation,
appreciative inquiry, positive strategic planning, clean
language, positive agreements. Learn more at
approaches for changing meetings for good.

Here's what I offer:

  • Experience in public health, the environment, government, non-profits, small business, facilitation, collaboration and training

  • Knowledge of how to tap the wisdom of everyone in your group and how to help you to do the same, using approaches that are versatile and effective 

  • Acceptance of you, of your group and of things as they are

Who I am as a professional
Barb at desk 1998.jpg

There I was, an introverted fact-oriented 

Professional Geologist (PG) in the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, in my cubicle, 

happily reviewing groundwater data and technical
plans for landfills.

Suddenly, I got a mid-career assignment 

to coordinate Wisconsin's Medical Waste program.

It required me to work closely with people.
How would I do that?  What did I know about 
healthcare  -- let alone collaboration?

I set about learning, and I continue to learn

Barb IW containers IMG_2975 (2).jpg
20170410_160830 crp d.jpg

Although shifting gears wasn't easy, I grew to

become well-known statewide and nationally
for collaborating on challenging and emerging issues such as reducing 
pharmaceutical waste 

and managing highly infectious waste.

I observed first-hand how collaborative
leadership (or lack of it) can impact results.
I now focus
 on guiding people to transform 
public health and environmental health 
by transforming their meetings and themselves

Who I am as a person
Barb carrying a canoe upstream

I've been focused on improving water quality since my first Earth Day. 

  • from preventing groundwater contamination 

  • to recycling and reducing waste 

  • to changing public policies that create waste

  • to transforming how we adopt policies --

-- I'm always moving upstream

I've been moving upstream personally too,

transforming myself by embracing life challenges

such as overcoming low-self esteem, living with persons who have a mental illness, 

divorcing, being a single parent, losing a child,

supporting aging parents and starting a business. 

Barb paddling a canoe

I live in a small town near St. Paul, MN, 

with my family and a cat who thinks it's human. My husband and I are both Minnesota Water Stewards. We keep busy planting trees, pulling buckthorn and planning our next canoe trip..  

What others say...

Charlotte Smith.jpg

Barb is one of the nicest people I know 

and is consistently ready to offer her 'best self' to others

for the benefit of the common good. 
She can motivate groups and individuals, and encourage them

to stretch their goals and achieve them.

-- Charlotte Smith, President, GreatWorks LLC
(founder of PharmEcology) 


Angela Fleming (2).jpg

Barb is very knowledgeable and easy to work with.

She presents information in a down to earth way.

She is passionate about the environment and you can’t help but catch the bug!

-- Angela Flemming, Dietary/Environmental Services
Director at The Richland Hospital Inc