cultivating high intelligence in human systems

David Sawyer is a consultant extraordinaire, social entrepreneurship expert, master facilitator...and good friend.

 Greg Dees, Duke University 

A Current Exciting Project!

The James Irvine Foundation
New Leadership Network


David Sawyer is president of Context, a consulting firm with practice areas in strategy, leadership, and culture. Active across sectors, Sawyer has played key roles in a variety of fields: sustainable agriculture, education reform, national service, social entrepreneurship, venture philanthropy, and the emerging green economy.


For a decade David directed leadership and service-learning programs at Berea College, receiving the nation’s highest award for voluntary service from the White House and The Servant Leader Award from the National Youth Leadership Council. David was an advisor to Honda’s innovative Eagle Rock School, designed Save the Children’s Appalachian Teen Leadership Program, and traveled to India to meet with the Dalai Lama to help design a Tibetan refugee education program. Sawyer worked with the Clinton administration to help launch the nation’s Americorps program, facilitated The New Generation Training Program and other national leadership programs, and in 1997 led a delegation to the Presidents' Summit for America's Future.

Sawyer spent four years working with energy company BP, coaching senior leaders, designing the cultural integration of the BP/ARCO merger, and facilitating a conference on global climate change in Washington. He helped develop the Denali Initiative, a national fellowship program for social entrepreneurs, and served as executive-in-residence for the Kauffman Foundation, promoting citizen engagement and civic innovation. David served as the first Executive Director of Social Venture Partners Portland and as the Chief Culture Officer for gDiapers, the green business making the world’s first flushable/compostable diaper. He recently led a project for National Geographic to help launch a global network to save the ocean, inspired by TED Prize winner Sylvia Earle. David is a Senior Network Practitioner with the Monitor Institute and is based in Portland, Oregon.


                                                                     A big thinker and a great strategy guy. And a good friend of the city.

                                                                                          Gavin Newsom, Mayor of San Francisco

The Monitor Institute

Mercy Corps

National Geographic Society

Vigor Industrial

Global Greengrants Fund

Arizona Community Foundation


Oregon Humanities Foundation

Irvine Foundation

Reed College

Threshold Group

Children First for Oregon

Maui AIDS Foundation

World Pulse

Packard Foundation

Pyramid Communications

Hands to Hearts International


David is exceptional. We learned a great deal from him and the business is better because of it.

Richard Campbell, President (ret.), BP Alaska

©2010 David Sawyer - Context