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Finding Common Ground, No Matter How Far Apart We Stand with Kyle Dodson (Episode #176)

Kyle Dodson is a master when it comes to building community bridges. He can turn almost any negative notion on its side, inspect it from a fresh angle, and transform it into a source of positive ripple effects—and in that rare talent, he shows us how to invite others into a place of possibility.



About Our Guest:

Kyle Dodson is a consultant, executive, and educator whose life’s work has supported youth, family, and community-focused organizations for two decades. 

I first became familiar with Kyle’s impact on almost every community he touches when I started attending an amazing innovation conference called See Change in Burlington VT. For two years (through four sessions), he has been the MC for that event, making everyone feel like an honored guest at the party. He has a seamless and elevating manner that makes every member of a group feel loved and embraced, and his informal, appropriately irreverent, open approach is something the world needs more of. 

Kyle Dodson holds a Bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, an MBA in Finance and Management from Columbia University, and a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Vermont—so he has “put in the work” to become this well-respected voice on community, transformation and engagement. 

In the past eight years, Kyle’s wide-ranging experience and rigorous intention has paid off for his home community of Burlington, Vermont. He was formerly the President and CEO of the Greater Burlington YMCA—a position he held from the spring of 2016 until very recently—and he and his fabulous team combined their strengths to raise $20 million to make the new facility an extraordinary source of community. 

If you want to listen in on a wonderfully upbeat conversation that you can look to for inspiration when you need help finding community around you, then this one’s for you. We discuss topics like:  

  • The power of showing up with grace, no matter the circumstances
  • Finding the common ground that’s always there with someone you may think you have nothing in common with.
  • Creating positive ripple effects from otherwise negative situations. 
  • Discovering the path to creating virtuous cycles instead of vicious cycles.
  • Using curiosity to transform the contempt in a room to collaboration

Kyle’s remarkable openness is the key to his way in the world, and his journey is a testament to the power of perseverance and the impact one person can have on their surroundings. As a community leader, he is the embodiment of grassroots activism, tirelessly advocating for inclusivity, equity, and social justice. Whether it’s organizing neighborhood clean-ups, leading discussions on important issues, or simply lending a helping hand to those in need, his commitment to serving others is truly inspiring.

His influence extends far beyond the borders of Burlington, too. Prior to the YMCA chapter of his life, Kyle worked in finance in New York City, as a diversity and equity leader in higher education, and before that he was Principal of the Lee Academy Pilot School. Now, as a consultant, his unique blend of empathy, insight, and strategic thinking has earned him a reputation as a trusted advisor, sought after by businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies alike. 

As an educator, Kyle Dodson is passionate about passing on his knowledge and experience to the next generation of changemakers. Whether he’s leading workshops, mentoring young leaders, or guest lecturing at local schools and universities, he is on a mission to show them how they can work together to affect real, positive change

This impressive man wears many hats—he’s a community leader, a trusted consultant, and a passionate educator, but above all, he’s a catalyst for positive change; so join us as we sit down with Kyle Dodson to learn more about how each of us can play a part in building a stronger, more connected community—and about the amazing things that tend to happen when people with Kyle’s brand of good energy and wisdom create a circle and enact change.

References Mentioned:


  • 00:00 – Intro & Welcome
  • 03:15 – The Power of Intention
  • 05:15 – Community Crossroads
  • 11:50 – Kyle’s Story
  • 23:00 – Show Up With Grace
  • 30:44 – Break
  • 33:00 – Do the Work
  • 41:48 – A Story of Doing Work in Unheralded Ways
  • 46:57 – The Power of Community
  • 51:00 – A Few Caring People Can Change the World
  • 56:50 – Choose Where You Direct Your Energy
  • 1:05:00 – The Power of Curiosity and Relationship
  • 1:09:53 – Closing

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