We warmly invite you to our Host Leadership Gathering on 3-4 June 2024 in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Whether you are a seasoned Host Leadership practitioner hoping to move forward or you have only just become aware of the benefits of this new look at leadership and want to know how to engage people in meaningful initiatives, you are welcome to participate and contribute.


Hosting is at the centre of humanity. It is an intense human drive to give and receive hospitality. Awareness of the value of opening doors and connecting with people goes a long way to building relationships in teams, organisations, communities and movements.

At the core of Host Leadership is the exploration of the metaphor of host as leader, and leader as host. The idea is both practical and transformational. It is practical because the use of its framework of two steps, four positions, six roles helps build engagement and bring out people’s best work. And it is transformational because, by thinking about the leader as a host, we are ready to act in a world of awareness and flexibility.

Host Leading is about building engagement and relationships between the leader and others. It is about drawing people in to tackle complex problems, combine their energies and create new futures. There are three basic questions for a Host Leader to examine at any one moment and / or situation and notice possibilities for action in a desired direction.

– Am I going to step forward or step back (next)?

– In which role (what am I going to do?)

– And in which position? (where am I going to do it?)

Learn more about host leading from Mark McKergow’s TEDxKazimierz talk:

And also, at and in brief through this article Lead as a Host not a Hero – Leadership that Builds Engagement and Performance by Mark McKergow.


The 2024 Gathering in Sofia is dedicated to producing benefits for all the participants and their teams / organisations. We want to continue building productive relationships among experienced Host Leadership practitioners, sharpen our thinking and generate practical ideas.

Day one is about exploring the vast territory of Host Leadership, spreading ideas, clues and possibilities. We look forward to short talks and workshops from people who use the host model in their daily and professional lives. We invite you to share your thoughts and practices.

Look forward to the keynote address of Dr Mark McKergow and a conversation with our guest speaker. If you wish, we can enjoy the first evening of the Gathering together. Dinner will take place somewhere nice and delicious. It is included in the price of the registration ticket.

The second day is an Open Space day – participatory, inclusive and collaborative.

We bring in our stories, questions, paradoxes, strategies, insights and set out on our joint Host Leadership journeys of discovery.

Be our guest in the International Business School in Sofia, on June 3th-4th, 2024.

7 Vincent van Gogh St, Sofia


We extend our hearty welcome to you! Each and everyone of us has their unique experiences, valuable ideas, visions, and questions that can enrich us all. Let’s take a step towards hosting and guesting in the emerging world of the Gathering.

  • Do you have an experience to share? Run a workshop? 

    Please click here to download the contribution proposal form, fill it in, and send it to

  • You want to continue your Host Leadership journey and contribute to enriching the concept? Come and join in! Do a workshop, offer a talk, make a presentation.
  • You want to think again about leading with intention and putting hospitality to work? Come and join in!
  • You want to mobilise your teams and seek a more useful and powerful model? Come and join in!


For your stay we offer a range of possibilities.

Most convenient and adjacent to the Gathering venue is the Impresamente hotel.


We recommend that you contact them direct, via email, so that  you get a discount of 10%. Please say that you are an HL Gathering participant. 

A list of other hotels follows shortly


The International Business School in Sofia prepares its students for a career in business and welcomes them to do their best.

It is situated in the middle of a new and thriving neighbourhood and contributes to its progress.

Detailed sketches of the event rooms and halls will be available soon.


Supporter tickets are getting very popular. Only few left!!


430 Euro (incl. 20% VAT)

With your early participation, you help us organise the Gathering well in advance. Until 15th January 2024

Early Bird

470 Euro (incl. 20% VAT)

Be quick and get the best deal for the Gathering! Grab your Early Bird ticket now by 31th March 2024!


490 Euro (incl. 20% VAT)

Get your ticket while available and the event isn’t sold out. Standard tickets are at hand until 20th May 2024.

All three ticket categories include: your participation in the workshops, sessions, and activities. In addition, you get free coffee and tea break drinks, snacks, two lunches and dinner on the first night of our event!


Taking the Lead

Host Leadership stories can emerge from practically anywhere, holidays being an excellent...

I Want To Be A Host

This is Leah’s fourth post related to the forthcoming HOST LEADERSHIP GATHERING...

Confirmed Sessions Hosts

Leah Davcheva​

That is how the principal of a small school on the outskirts of Sofia (the capital city of Bulgaria) closed the workshop whereby the teachers’ team had their first encounter with the metaphor and frameworks of Host Leadership.

As the facilitator of this three-hour session I could see that the 20 or so teachers were quickly connecting with the idea. They seemed truly hopeful about the possibilities the metaphor opened for them and their pupils. I was intrigued. Would it be useful, I thought, if I helped them make the next step, bring their own teaching experience into the metaphor, and grow their own new meanings into the two steps, four positions and six roles.

I decided to gather and study the stories of the teachers who were willing to talk with me and see how they were hosting and leading their classes, their teams, and their own ‘selfs’ for that matter.

My session presents the outcomes of that collaborative exploration. People in education will certainly benefit from participating in it, and I believe those working in business organisations, community building, and the media, will put it to good use.

Jason Pascoe

This 60-minute session introduces the metaphor and model of Host, not as something new but as something you already do and have known for some time. As you learn to see yourself as a Host and understand the model, you will see the ‘dance’ of hosting in your practice. The model gives you elegant and intentional language and moves for leading in complexity.  During the session, you will find the role you are most comfortable stepping into, identify the 6 roles of Host Leading throughout an event and be introduced to the 4 positions of Host Leadership.  This workshop is a fast-paced introduction to Host Leadership that will give you a new lens for your leadership interactions.

Jason Pascoe is an experienced professional with a diverse background in coaching, mentoring, facilitation, program design, and strategic advisory roles. He has supported professionals across Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the UK. Jason’s expertise encompasses leadership development, project coordination, team building, coaching, mentoring, and university lecturing. In 2011, he was introduced to SF and incorporated it into his practice, working mainly with groups and teams. Jason pursued further education, completing a Solution Focused Business Professional certificate and a Graduate Diploma in Coaching Psychology. During this time, he also explored the concept of Host Leadership and collaborated with Dr Mark McKergow on the book “Host: Six New Roles of Engagement”, setting up the Australian interviews. Jason’s integration of Solutions Focus and Host Leadership has deepened his understanding and provided powerful tools for helping leaders envision the future.

Dr Mark McKergow

Host Leadership is both a metaphor and a model. To mark the 10th anniversary of the publication of Host, co-author and Host Leadership pioneer Mark McKergow will be leading a discussion about how understanding of the six roles of a host leader (a key part of the model) has developed over that time. What seems more important now? Which elements of the roles seem to be more challenging to implement? How might things be different today? Join Mark for a wide-ranging trip across the terrain of Host Leadership.

Dr Mark McKergow is the co-author of Host (with Helen Bailey, 2014) and The Host Leadership Field Book (with Pierluigi Pugliese, 2019). He is also widely known for his work on Solution Focus and writes Steps To A Humanity Of Organisation every week on Substack.

Rolf Katzenberger

A 60-minute workshop on keeping up community in times when indifference, persecution and betrayal form an unlikely alliance against it. We’ll collect what worked for hosts (dead or alive). We’ll look at history. And we’ll look around in the world of today. Despite everything: what does still work? How can the roles and positions of Host Leadership be useful?

Rolf F. Katzenberger specializes on brain-friendly facilitation (both virtual and in-person), solution-focused team coaching, and mentoring for change hosts. For 16 years now, he’s been supporting clients from fields like automotive, banking, pharmaceutical, online communities, government, and more.

Veronika Jungwirth and Dr. Ralph Miarka

So you lead a company or a team. And you experience complications… Maybe you need to have a look at your gatekeeping. 

Gatekeeping builds on many other roles, positions and movements of the host leadership model. Do you spend enough time on the Gallery, to observe what’s happening? Are you with your guests to listen in, whether some actions are needed? Do you take the time to reflect? And do you go into the spotlight, to announce boundaries and their purpose and make clear what happens when they are overstepped? What space do you create to stay within the gate – or do you leave too much space so orientation can get lost? What might go wrong already during the invitation? How many boundaries can be communicated to keep the feeling of an invitation? Do you miss some types of connections, so people overstep the boundaries? And are you there to see when problems occur or to experience them yourself?

Please join us for this 60-90-minute workshop to explore different facets of gatekeeping together.


Veronika Jungwirth MC has been working independently and enthusiastically since 2006 as a consultant in change processes, as a coach, mentor, trainer for solution-focused coaching, sparring partner in leadership issues and as a facilitator of team development processes in various industries. 

Dr Ralph Miarka MSc works as an independent coach, consultant and trainer. He has been leading companies and their teams to a successful agile way of working for years.

Together they live in Vienna. As sinnvollFÜHREN they act under the sign of the penguin and want to support people in fulfilling their leadership work with ease and more effectiveness. Since 2012 they have been carrying the solution-focused approach into the agile community. They have appeared as speakers and workshop facilitators at numerous conferences and Agile Coach Camps. In addition, they have been and continue to be actively involved in the organisation of XP2013, EBTA 2015, Agile Coach Camps Austria since 2014, the Agile Tour Vienna 2011-2018 and the Host Leadership Gathering 2021 and 2023 as well as the SOLworld Conference 2021 and 2023.

Manol Peykov

Manol Peykov is one of our guest speakers. He is going to talk about his experience in collecting donations through his personal account on Facebook, (about two million euro in a little more than a year) for the people affected from the war in Ukraine and the massive earthquake in Turkey and Syria.

Manol Peykov is an award-winning translator, publisher and entrepreneur. In 2021 he was elected to the 45th and 46th Bulgarian National Assembly. He received the HRH Princess Maria Louisa Distinguished AUBG Alumni Award at the university’s 29th Commencement Ceremony where he delivered the keynote address.

Diana Ivanova

I call my work “trauma sensitive” and I associate it with the Hosting metaphor.

I now curate a project – OPEN GARDENS – in Ahrtal, an area in Germany that was devastated by the heavy floods of 2021.  The valley of the Ahr river is а beautiful wine area and I have lived here since 2020.

Within the project, we invite people to act as hosts in their private gardens and open them to small groups of guests for one garden event – а small concert, а reading, or just а garden walk with some drinks. These gardens were badly damaged by the floods and people are now happy to open and show them in a new light, following two years of hard work. It is a healing experience, deep and powerful. I lead by just being there. Most of the time I step back and observe a most natural process of opening and hosting.

In the summer of 2024, we will resume the project. Double the number of gardens will host visitors. To me, the “garden” is as powerful a metaphor as “hosting” and I would love to share more of this transformative practice that, I am sure, can be adapted in areas of the world that experience severe pain.

Diana Ivanova

Born in Montana, Bulgaria, she now lives in Bad Bodendorf. Diana works interdisciplinary as a journalist, curator, group therapist and trauma yoga therapist with a research focus on trauma and memory. She is author of the amazing book “Ahr Valley of Compassion. 89 Fragments of Life after the Floods.


Katerina Valcheva

A popular definition of vulnerability is uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.

But, vulnerability is not a weakness; it is our most accurate measure of courage”

Brené Brown (2012)           

In my session, I will talk about some of the ways I have developed to

  • foster a culture of openness and create an environment in which sensitive conversations in women’s circles, thrive.
  • encourage group members to describe their experiences, challenges and insights, cultivating a sense of shared vulnerability and collective resilience.

Katerina Valcheva is a psychologist in training and a dance/movement therapist. She employs various modalities of verbal and non-verbal communication in individual and also group sessions to develop interventions aiming to enhance the emotional, social, physical, and cognitive integration of individuals.

Marina Marinova       

Teachers today face vastly different challenges compared to 30 years ago. While the main focus of teacher training in the 1980s and 1990s was methodological literacy and expanding methodological tools, young teachers in Europe today leave universities with sufficient knowledge and some practical experience. They are, however, required to prepare their students to be successful adults in a fast-changing world, where yesterday’s cutting-edge knowledge and skills are today’s old boots.

While teacher training has already begun providing tools and strategies to help students become critical thinkers, complex problem solvers, or good leaders, we still don’t help teachers enough to be critical thinkers, complex problem solvers, or good leaders. This talk is about the need to respond to the redefined role of a teacher from “knowledge-provider” to a manager, motivator and, indeed, leader.

With Jaione Cereijo – Deputy Head of Mission Embassy of Spain in Sofia
and Leah Davcheva   

A year or so ago, Jaione and Leah took care of initiating and bringing to fruition a grand public event. We aspired to reach out and bring people together to celebrate the Jewish community in Bulgaria and appreciate the beauty and resilience of their heritage language. In the process of organizing the event, we found ourselves constantly choosing between a wide range of possibilities, between acting and responding to what was happening, never losing sight of where we wanted to be when the time arrived for the event to happen.

In our session, we are going to talk about how we set ourselves in motion to host and steer our endeavor. We will put the emphasis on the dynamics of working with multiple other hosts, where kindness, connection, and care for how others feel, mattered a lot. We welcome questions and comments.



Hall 2.3

Hall 2.4


Registration & Welcome coffee, Lobby floor 2




Mark McKergow


Roles Revisited


Jason Pascoe

(workshop online from Australia)

Leading in Complexity: Introducing Host Leadership

Marina Marinova


Turning Teachers into Leaders


Coffee / Tea break


Diana Ivanova

(online from Germany, presentation)

Hosting a “Garden Party”

Veronika Jungwirth and Ralf Miarka


Gatekeeping – the Tricky Part of Being a Host Leader


Lunch break


Manol Peykov

(guest speaker)

Hosting Charity


Katerina Valcheva

(workshop / Reflecting teams)

Hosting Groups Through Sensitive Topics

Jaione Cereijo and Leah Davcheva


Co-Hosting A Major Event


Coffee / Tea break


Leah Davcheva

(workshop / Reflecting teams)

Host Leadership Works, We’ll Do More of It!

Rolf Katzenberger


Hosting the Résistance



Open Space – participatory, inclusive and collaborative.

We bring in our stories, questions, paradoxes, strategies, insights and set out on our joint Host Leadership journeys of discovery.


The organisers, Leah Davcheva, Yana Noel and Daniel Velkov look forward to your proposals for contributions.

Leah Davcheva

Leah Davcheva, PhD, is the founder and director of AHA moments. Over the years, Leah has introduced the metaphor and practices of Host Leadership into many different contexts over the years, engaging people to build performance and results.

Yana Noel

Yana Noel has extensive experience in the field of international projects and education. On the team of AHA moments Yana works as coordinator of local and international events and trainer of young people.

Daniel Velkov

Daniel Velkov is the IT and Design guy behind the Gathering event. With over 15 years of experience in the field, he aims to bring a fresh and nice outlook to the event.