The world needs your best work.
We can help.

A consulting group for the uncommon good.

Design your future.

Change is inevitable. We make it intentional.

You can’t predict the future, but our expertise in the art and principles of organizational design will prepare you for a more effective path and increase your capacity to navigate through change, however unpredictable. We work with our clients to create custom processes for creating new options to bridge the gap from where they are and where they want to be.



For great organizations, leadership is everyone’s responsibility.

Leadership is not a gift to the few, but an activity everyone can learn and practice. At the core of most challenges is the opportunity to grow as people. Visioning, communication, accountability, followership and creativity are all greatly enhanced as our understanding and practice of leadership grows. We offer training and coaching in the transformational practice of adaptive leadership.


It’s not about choosing a good option, its about creating the right one. Some problems can’t be solved without changing the rules. Organizations who are creating new horizons for themselves face challenges and the tried and true methods for meeting yesterday’s challenges won’t do.

When the solutions that are needed don’t exist, we can help to innovate and adapt. Every organization has its own unique culture and history. Finding the right path and pace for an organization to be success are essential. Our consultants will partner with you to understand your situation from a different perspective, identify the underlying trends that are fueling the current outcomes and find the right strategy for your circumstance.


We offer group facilitation for organizational meetings, retreats and strategy sessions. We also design experiential learning on subjects such as:

  • Storytelling for Transformation
  • Design Thinking
  • Systems Thinking
  • Effective Humility and Bridging Cultural Chasms
  • Collaborative Research Methods


To work towards a more equitable and flourishing future by partnering with public and private organizations committed to a more just and healthful world.

To deliver effective, efficient, and thoughtful results to our clients and the people they serve.

To inspire and retain talented and dedicated individuals by providing meaningful work, career opportunities, and the capacity to offer transformative service to our clients and their missions.


We envision a sustainable and profitable professional community whose service is transformative, empathetic, and excellent; and where the lives of our partners, clients, neighbors, and environment are enriched by our presence.


He aha te mea nui o te ao
What is the most important thing in the world?
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata
It is the people, it is the people, it is the people
– Maori proverb

We know the most important thing in your organization is the people –– here are ours.

Matthew Hayashi

Matthew Hayashi

Whole System Change & Leadership

Matthew Hayashi is the principal organization development and leadership consultant for Headwater People. He offers organizations a variety of strategic consulting services such as organization design, strategic planning, change management, process improvement, retreat planning and facilitation, and executive coaching. His passion is to help connect groups to the core mission of their work through collaborative and innovative learning and whole organizational health.

Additionally, Matthew has significant experience in facilitating empowering and productive experiences in emotionally charged and relationally challenging circumstances. Relevant bodies of work include facilitating discussion between Seattle Public Schools and Seattle’s urban native community over failed efforts to close achievement gaps for Native learners; leading a project to partner IHS and a Montana Tribe to find equitable solutions over water disputes; and facilitating team-performance workshops for a physician partnership at Swedish hospitals. Very recent clients include the Environmental Protection Agency, Indian Health Services, UW College of Education, Washington State Department of Commerce, the Native Youth Alliance of Minnesota and the Urban Native Educational Alliance. Matthew has a particular interest in supporting community-led projects that improve systems in Native American organizations and agencies. Matthew grew up in indigenous communities in Kaneohe, Hawaii and continues to be grounded in the perspective and gifts of traditional cultures.
Kate Hastings

Kate Hastings

Whole Systems Change & Health Policy

Kate Hastings is a principal consultant for Headwater People. She heads the Public Health Communications & Policy practice, which helps individuals, organizations, industries, and government rapidly improve health and performance. She has more than a decade of experience in environmental public health, policy analysis, strategic planning, program design, social marketing, change management, community health, and facilitation for government, health care, foundation, and nonprofit clients.

Ms. Hastings specializes in seeing connections and opportunities to bring groups together to rapidly improve community, organizational or population health. She has designed and carried out health promotion campaigns for numerous clients including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Her campaigns have helped to rapidly reduce lung cancer deaths from radon and the number of emergency room visits due to asthma in communities nationwide.

Kate graduated magna cum laude with honors in government & legal studies from Bowdoin College. She has master’s degrees in comparative politics and political philosophy from the University of Notre Dame and is a Fulbright Scholar. She is certified by the Interaction Institute for Social Change in Facilitative Leadership, Facilitating Change, and Essential Facilitation. She is also a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Accredited Professional.
Colleen Echohawk

Colleen Echohawk

Community Transformation & Equitable Space

Colleen Echohawk is an enrolled member of the Kithehaki Band of the Pawnee Nation and a member of the Upper Athabascan people of Mentasta Lake. Ms. Echohawk is the Executive Director of the Chief Seattle Club, a nonprofit dedicated to the needs of Native American and Alaska Native people who are experiencing homelessness in Seattle. Chief Seattle Club provides a safe and sacred place to rest, revive and nurture the spirit of urban Native people. They serve approximately 100 urban Native people a day, 7 days a week, providing services such as hot meals, clothing, laundry, showers, resources for sobriety and wellness, and cultural programming. The Chief Seattle Club is the winner of the 2017 Neighborhood Builder Award. Municipal League of King County named Chief Seattle Club organization of the year in 2016. Crosscut awarded Ms. Echohawk their annual Courage Award for Public Service, also in 2016.

As the founder of the Coalition to End Urban Native Homelessness, Ms. Echohawk is committed to homeless advocacy. The coalition is a first of its kind to respond to the trajectory of Native American and Alaska Native people living away from reservations in urban places and experiencing homelessness. Ms. Echohawk is interested in creating systems and structures that help facilitate wellness, and encourage kindness and courage. Her education has been focused on organizational development and leadership; helping brilliant people do better work for the greater good. She is the co-founder and principal at Headwater People Consulting Group. 

Ms. Echohawk serves on local boards including a Mayoral appointment to both the Community Police Commission and co-chair of the City of Seattle MDAR Committee. Other board affiliations are KUOW (National Public Radio member station,) All-Home Coordinating, Metropolitan Improvement District.

In her spare time, she loves to read, sing karaoke, listen to National Public Radio and cook delicious food for her friends and family. Ms. Echohawk is a proud mom to two children and is married to Matt Hayashi. 
Abigail Echo-Hawk

Abigail Echo-Hawk

Health & Wellness

Abigail Echo-Hawk, MA, is an enrolled member of the Kitkehahki band of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma. She is also a member of the Upper Athabascan people of Mentasta Village, Alaska. She was born in the heart of Alaska where she was raised in the traditional values of giving, respect for all and love.

She is a graduate of the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies and Minor in Human Rights, and a Master of Arts in Policy Studies. She previously served as the Co-Director and Tribal Liaison for Partnerships for Native Health at Washington State University-Spokane. In this role she oversaw the implementation and dissemination of 24 NIH funded grants with topics ranging from suicide prevention, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and more. Ms. Echo-Hawk focuses on policy advocacy in areas such as: maternal and child health, domestic violence, sexual assault, youth prostitution and educational disparities.

Her greatest accomplishment however, is her place within her extended family. She is a wife, a mother, an auntie, a daughter, a granddaughter, a friend and a community member. Abigail strives to serve them with love and to be a small part of ensuring a great future for the next generations.
Lael Echo-Hawk

Lael Echo-Hawk

Tribal Policy & Government

Lael Echo-Hawk (Pawnee) represents tribes and tribal organizations across the United States.  After serving as in-house counsel for a tribe and its economic enterprises, Lael moved to Washington, D.C. to take a position as Legislative Director for the Native American Contractors Association and Counselor to the Chairwoman of the National Indian Gaming Commission.  Now in private practice, Lael draws on her fifteen years of legal and advocacy experience representing tribes and tribal organizations to provide her clients the advice and guidance they need to shape the direction of their tribe or organization. She recognizes the need to represent Indian Country in a good way – respectful of leadership concerns and goals while providing expert guidance and available options to achieve those goals.

Lael is an enrolled member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma but was born in Fairbanks, Alaska and raised in the Interior of Alaska. She is the adopted granddaughter of Katie John of the Upper Athabascan Mentasta Lake Village, Alaska. Lael is a Past-President of both the National Native American Bar Association and the Northwest Indian Bar Association.  She is 2013 recipient of National Center for American Indian Economic Development “40 Under 40” and currently based in Washington, D.C.
Howard Echo-Hawk

Howard Echo-Hawk

Storytelling & Communications

Howard Echo-Hawk (Pawnee) was raised in Alaska, around the Athabaskan village of Mentasta–home to the matriarchal chief, and late Native rights activist, Katie John. As the youngest sibling of five sisters and two brothers, Howard learned early on that listening first was the best way to be heard. Steeped in indigenous culture, Howard’s passion for social justice and activism has always been at the forefront, passed on to him through storytelling and Indigenous ways of knowing.

As a communications specialist, Howard is skilled writer and storyteller, and he is passionate about using his abilities to craft messages for his clients that reflect their core values and mission in the most effective way. In his free-time, Howard enjoys writing, listening to podcasts, playing music and spending time with his partner and family. Howard’s recent clients include, the EPA, the Seattle Indian Health Board, the Seattle Indian Services Commission and the Better Way Foundation’s Montessori Education Indian Country Initiative.