Building skilled and engaged communicators, facilitators, problem-solvers and planners.
The Blue Door Group helps individuals and organizations more effectively engage their stakeholders - through training, consulting, planning, and dialogue.
- We offer trainings on facilitation, including our annual three-day Train-the-Trainer.
- We offer trainings on trauma-informed practices.
We offer transformational intergroup dialogues and facilitator training for those who would like to lead groups using this method.
We offer retreats and meeting facilitation.
The Blue Door Group designs and facilitates participatory learning experiences with a view toward building collaboration and encouraging the representation of many and diverse voices in dialogue and decision-making. We take an approach that encourages participants to reflect, connect with others, and build the flexibility and creativity needed to facilitate diverse groups.
All of our work uses participatory, interactive, embodied, and arts-based approaches.
The Blue Door team has degrees and professional expertise in the areas of social work, adult education, African American studies, applied theater, and community health. For more about the Blue Door team, please see individual bios below:
Tchet Dereic Dorman, Senior Consultant
Our Friend, Mentor and Colleague
Tchet was a crucial and irreplaceable part of Blue Door. He served as our mentor and leader in transformational intergroup dialogue work.
Tchet and Hillary facilitated countless dialogues together and offered intergroup dialogue facilitator training to professionals from community, K-12, and higher education institutions. Tchet’s desire was to see intergroup dialogue work happening everywhere.
Tchet's work reached people far and wide. He was an educator, administrator and organizational leader, having served as a university administrator and faculty member at 15 colleges and universities. He served as a leader in diversity, inclusion, and equity at a variety of institutions, including most recently as Senior Consultant for Diversity and Inclusion for the American Cancer Society (ACS). Previously, Tchet served as the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Germantown Friends School, the Director of Diversity and Social Justice at Millersville University, the Director of the Center for Social Justice and Multicultural Education in the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, Advocacy and Leadership at Temple University, and as the Director of Multicultural Affairs at both Lebanon Valley College and Albright College. Tchet had a bachelor’s degree in Black Studies and Government from Oberlin College, and master’s and doctoral degrees in African American Studies from Temple. He also had a graduate certificate in Diversity Leadership from Temple, where he learned the tools of transformational social therapy that he used in his dialogue work.
We honor Tchet and the transformative work he did in the world.
Hillary Blecker, Founding Partner
Hillary helps groups accomplish their goals by building authentic relationships across barriers of race, class, gender, and other social identities. She’s a longtime leader of both dialogues and trainings, and a co-founder of The Blue Door Group and its predecessor, the Philadelphia Trainers’ Collaborative. Hillary has a decade of experience in occupational health and safety training, predominantly with immigrant and low-wage workers, where she learned that relationships and trust were the biggest internal obstacles to groups getting what they want. Now she leads dialogues that support organizations and individuals to address existing conflicts, locate barriers to engagement, and build trust together. She has a BA in Public Health Social Sciences from Johns Hopkins University, a Master of Public Health in Community Practice from the University of Washington, and a graduate certificate in Diversity Leadership from Temple University. As a Blue Door trainer, Hillary prioritizes connection, warmth, and flexibility in assisting groups to have productive conflict and get where they need to go.
Susanna Gilbertson, Founding Partner
Susanna is a trained social worker and has designed and facilitated interactive workshops on trauma-informed practices, intimate partner violence, sexual health, parenting, suicide prevention, secondary trauma and self-care for youth, professional and community groups for over 20 years. She received her Master of Social Work degree from San Francisco State University and her undergraduate degree from Haverford College. Susanna teaches social work at the Community College of Philadelphia, Widener University, and the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania. Susanna’s background includes work as an advocate, educator, and manager in the intimate partner violence field. Susanna has also worked on a crisis hotline, in a homeless shelter, in a middle school, and in people’s homes as a counselor and advocate. Susanna believes in the healing possibility inherent in intentionally designed learning spaces where learners can take risks, make mistakes, share feelings, get feedback, and continue to grow.
Jessica Levy, Founding Partner
Jessica works in the intersections of education, the arts, and civic engagement. With twenty years in the nonprofit & public sectors, she has designed and implemented civic participation initiatives, arts-based community programs, and a variety of education, service, and advocacy events. Her work has included immigrant rights organizing, community education, and using drama-based approaches to learning and community-building. Jessica holds an M.A. in Applied Theater from CUNY School of Professional Studies and an M.A. in Adult Education & Community Development from the University of Toronto. She has taught graduate-level courses in teamwork and collaboration with the Industrial Design program at the University of the Arts. Jessica is also certified as a Teacher of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) through the School for International Training. She currently teaches adult ESOL with District 1199c Training and Upgrading Fund. Jessica was a co-founder of the Philadelphia Trainers' Collaborative, which, for four years, offered skill-sharing and networking opportunities for Philly-area trainers and educators interested in participatory approaches to education. She is interested in embodied learning and in the role of creativity, arts, and design in strengthening institutions, communities, and movements.
Sarvelia Peralta-Duran, Founder
Sarvelia has experience in higher education, coordinating workshop offerings on diversity and intercultural issues for on- and off-campus partners, implementing programs, and cultivating collaborations among various academic and student affairs departments. Sarvelia is passionate about student development and intercultural work as a means to advance social justice and equity. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Arts in Intercultural Service, Leadership and Management from the School for International Training Graduate Institute in Brattleboro, V.T. Originally from Mexico, Sarvelia has extensive international living experience having resided in Mexico, Singapore, Austria and the U.S. These experiences have cemented her commitment to work toward fostering more inclusive and equitable communities. Sarvelia has multifaceted interests in academic research, leadership and organizational development, leveraging technology, and integrating creative expression into academic settings. She has done research in the ethnic identity development of first-time Latino/Hispanic immigrants in the U.S. and has extensive training in experiential training design and inter-cultural awareness building.