Who We Are

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Our Mission

We empower humans and systems with research-based tools and processes that prevent burnout, reduce turnover, and improve individual and organizational well-being.

Our Vision

Thriving humans and systems.

Healthy Systems Principles

  • Assume the best: Everybody is doing the best they can with what they have and what they know.
  • Focus on the vision: The best way forward moves us toward what we want, not away from what we fear.
  • Enable autonomy: A challenge is best solved by the person or group most affected.
  • Pursue collective truth: The truth lies in the combined perspective and experiences of all stakeholders.
  • Align outsides with insides: Purposefully aligning our words and actions with our values and beliefs allows effective leadership and growth to emerge.

Human Wellbeing Principles

  • Equal worth: My worth is equal to that of every other human being.
  • Emotional value: Awareness and acceptance of my emotions creates space for compassion and balance.
  • Self-surrender: Releasing my problems to the source brings peace and creates order out of chaos.
  • Empowered transformation: Nurturing relationships with shared goals enables my empowerment, healing, and growth.
  • Unique purpose: Pursuing my unique and valuable contribution to the world fulfills my human purpose.

Our Approach

We use our Healthy Systems Principles and Human Wellbeing Principles, as well as our original research-based tools, to empower individuals and organizations to assess their practices and determine pathways to personal and collective growth. Whether consulting with an organization or coaching an individual, we always “start where the client is” – we assume that the client knows what they need and how to get there. We focus on strengths while providing guidance on navigating relationship and systems challenges.

Colby Peters, PhD, LCSW

HS CEO & Founder

Welcome, I am glad you’re here!

I started Human Systems in 2016 because I believe that we can eliminate burnout and unnecessary turnover in health and human service organizations. When I went back to school in 2012 to get my PhD in social work, my intention was to find out why burnout and turnover were so high in human services, and how to stop it. My research led me to reconceptualize leadership as positive action that happens on the individual, relational, and systems levels. This new concept of leadership opens the leadership role to anybody who acts for change (as opposed to just the individuals at the top of an organizational chart), and also accounts for the complexity of how change happens in organizations and other systems (as opposed to simply focusing on the traditional leader-follower dynamic).  Using this new concept of leadership, I  developed the first multi-level, scientifically validated leadership model and assessment, especially designed for health and human service organizations.

Like many others, the Covid pandemic forced me to search for additional mental health and wellbeing tools, and I found mindfulness and recovery. I was struck by how well mindfulness concepts fit with my existing leadership research, and saw an opportunity to expand the model for use in both personal life and professional organizations. From extensive research on mindfulness models and mindfulness practice in organizations, I developed the Healthy Systems Principles, the Human Wellbeing Principles, and the HS Mindfulness Model. The HS Mindful Growth Model and the HS Mindful Leadership Model are the result of the consolidation of my original leadership model, mindfulness research, and research on recovery and human wellbeing.

In addition to working with others on systems health and human wellbeing, I am also an artist, wife, and mother.

I would love to work with you, and I feel confident that you, like so many others, will find my unique, research-based tools and approach to be illuminating and effective. Contact us or book a free consultation!

Joshua Aceves, DSW, MSW, MA

HS Research Assistant

Since 2009, I have been a social worker in direct practice in healthcare settings. Throughout my career, I have realized potential pathways whenever I experience challenges that surface while working in relation to clients, mentors, colleagues, and employers. Additionally, I have had both comfortable and uncomfortable experiences with leadership at the organizational level. Consequently, this led to my interest in understanding the principles and values essential to becoming an effective leader capable of influencing positive change at the individual, relational, and organizational levels. My educational and professional formulation has taught me to understand the difference between leadership being a role or title but rather a process wherein leaders and followers work collaboratively to achieve goals.

My research in leadership led me to Dr. Colby Peters and the trailblazing work she is doing through Human Systems. Furthermore, Dr. Peters became one of my mentors and advisors during my doctoral studies. As a result of our collaboration, I accepted her invitation to join Human Systems as a Research Assistant and continue working to define and develop mindful leadership practices in human and social service organizations. I aim to learn more about different facets of leadership and promote the belief that leadership is any action for positive change. Furthermore, I want to continue collaborating with leading scholars to define social work leadership and mindful leadership that promotes diversity and challenges destructive organizational systems.

Furthering the work of Human Systems has been a privilege, and we welcome the opportunity to learn more about your unique professional experience. You will certainly receive a unique research-based and practice-informed approach that will enhance your understanding of leadership within organizational systems.   

In addition to participating in my professional and research activities, traveling is my hobby, and more often than not, I am most likely planning my next trip. I also enjoy spending time with my family and friends.

Where We Are

Dr. Peters lives in Severna Park, Maryland and Dr. Aceves lives in West Hollywood, California. HS clients, partners, and customers live on four continents and 23 countries and territories as of May 2023. Pink pins represent clients and partners; orange pins represent customers.

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