Company of Experts, Inc.

Always Appreciating What's Good...

March 2012

Company of Experts Consulting Services


Spring has arrived in Southern Nevada.  The rays of light seem to be penetrating giving us the warmth that a " being" finds refreshing, invigorating and energizing.   Mother Earth is giving us the entr�e to be out and about creating and imagining, "what if "?


What does "What if " mean for you, a friend, family member or those you work with on a daily basis?   In reading a quote from Henry Ford, his "what if" might have been, "Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress , working together is success."    To me, it means working with others - using ones imagination to be able to feel a change, see it, sense it, feel it and best of all redirect my focus to possibilities.  No matter the descriptor or definition it is working and communicating with others.  It is about us, all of us. 


This past week I have had the opportunity to read and review the fine work, Practicum's,  of many of those that have joined us  at Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Trainings  somewhere throughout the world.  The stories are touching, encouraging and most of all speak of individuals coming together with a common purpose and outcome,  as Henry Ford stated, "...working together is success."    


Individually, how can we create a difference for others thus changing ourselves?


We look forward to seeing  friends and colleagues at the World Appreciative Inquiry Conference (WAIC).  For those planning on attending the WAIC, travel safe.  For our friends staying closer to home, keep up the good work.

Warmest Wishes,

~ Yours friends at the Company of Experts

Welcome to the AI Community!!

Company of Experts is pleased to introduce its newest Certified Appreciative Inquiry Facilitators (CAIF) to its growing AI family. 

The individual(s) listed below participated in our 4-day  Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT) program and submitted a practicum demonstrating their knowledge and application of Appreciative Inquiry. In reading their practicums, we are able to celebrate in their achievements and observe how Appreciative Inquiry has positively influenced their lives - personally and professionally.

New practicums are frequently posted to our blog, so check back often to see what new stories have been posted. Click here for more practicums.  

Words Creates Worlds
Better living through positive dialogue! Words Create Worlds

Read an issue of our "Words Create Worlds" (WCW) - a periodical compilation of success stories collected from AIFT participants from around the world. Words Create Worlds illustrates how AIFT participants have used words to help shape their world and the world of others - resulting in positive change.


If you wish to read our WCW publications, please click here.


Bibb County Schools Are Like So Many in the 21st Century
Many schools struggle with children in poverty, educational standardization, declining economic status, changing demographics, amongst other challenges...


Bibb County Schools are like so many in the 21st century, struggling with children in poverty, educational standardization, declining economic status, changing demographics, and other challenges. At the same time, the Bibb County Schools Board is working to achieve a radical change that is unique among most large American school districts and is positioned to create a positive learning environment in the decade to come.


How then can it capitalize on the upcoming economic and population growth without leaving critical segments of the population behind?


This was one of the key questions at the heart of the Macon Miracle Summits held with Superintendent Romain Dallemand and approximately 4500 teachers, principals, custodians, secretaries, community members and parents in September and October 2011. And it is the ongoing dialogue that remains focused on the positive outcomes for students and their learning achievements that will create the foundation to sustain changes for the greater good. Read Full Article>> 

Featured Event of the Month
Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT)
Corning, New York ~ June 5 - 8, 2012 

"What might be possible if stakeholders were fully engaged and using their strengths to collectively achieve shared visions?

Cultivate sustainable change using Appreciative Inquiry as your tool! Appreciative Inquiry is a collaborative, strengths-based approach to bother personal and organizational development that is proving to be highly effective in thousands of organizations and communities in hundreds of countries around the world. It is a way of bring change that shares leadership and learning - fully engaging everyone in the process!

Our world-renowned program, Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT), teaches participants the skills and foundations needed to co-facilitate Appreciative Inquiry sessions to both small and large human systems. As an AIFT participant, you will learn to guide organizations, groups, individuals, and communities consciously and deliberately shift their collected ways of being and seeing to an appreciative approach that will allow them to focus on what's right in their organization, group or community, rather than on what's wrong. 

To learn more about this Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT), please click here

AI: Beyond the Duality of Positive and Negative
Written by Ezelle Theunissen, Certified AI Trainer and Facilitator

"Appreciative Inquiry Is Not (Just) About The Positive," written by Gervase R. Bushe, Ph.D., is a popular article circulated amongst AI enthusiasts. Many readers find the article useful in providing additional insight about the generative nature of Appreciative Inquiry; however, the title - at face value - can baffle newcomers. What do you mean AI is not about the positive? Their confusion is understandable. One of the five original principles of Appreciative Inquiry, for example, is named the Positive Principle. Confusion can also stem from the words of Dr. David Cooperrider, the founder of Appreciative Inquiry. In one of his many writings regarding Innovation-inspired Positive Organisational Development (IPOD), Cooperrider reinforces the connection between Appreciative Inquiry and other Positive Organisational Systems thinking.


So, is AI positive or is it not? Read Full Article >> 

Countdown to WAIC 2012
To Ghent, Belgium or bust!


What a wonderful opportunity to be able to attend the World Appreciative Inquiry Conference 2012 in Ghent, Belgium; and, to have our story accepted as a workshop! Pinch us now! But don't wake us from this wonderful dream. Our workshop is April 27th, 2012, Friday at 10:00 a.m. if you are at the Conference, we hope to see you there. We are going to provide a weekly update on Bibb and our preparation for the Conference as well as conference updates.


We cannot begin to say how excited we are to share the Bibb County School story on such a grand scale as the WAIC 2012. Working with the amazing people at BCS (all 4500 of them) was a life changing experience for us. Designing our presentation brings up those good thoughts again and makes them real as though we are reliving that energy, that dynamic experience that touched our senses on so many levels. Read Full Article>> 

Save the Dates...
October 17-19, 2012 ~ NCSPOD 2012 Annual Conference

Think it's too early to consider next year's North American Council for Staff, Program, and Organizational Development (NCSPOD) annual conference? Think again! NCSPOD will be in Rockville, MD, at the Rockville Hilton Hotel, which is a mere 8 miles from the White House. NCSPOD conferences are family-friendly, offering meal tickets for guests so that they can share meals and special events and excursions with you during the conference. While you are in programs and meetings, guests can enjoy the sights and attractions of Washington and, with some advance planning, so can you. Use this opportunity to extend your stay and see DC.

The November Blast! included a top-ten list of things to do in DC. Transportation to and from DC sights will be easy to arrange. The Twinbrook Metro Station is located adjacent to the hotel and is readily accessible to the museums, monuments, and other places of interest in Washington, DC.
Appreciative Inquiry Resources
Curiosity leads to growth, inspiration, and innovation
  • The Beauty of the Trees, Part 1 (Lifevest). How often do we put our lives on pause and stop to observe the beauty that exists around us. Sometimes we can be so wrapped up in the hectic nature of our lives that we fail to appreciate the simple yet powerful messages of our surroundings.
  • Building More than a House (Ode). As individuals creating something we are limited by time, talent, energy and (sometimes) money. When we act collectively though, magic happens.  
  • The Sound of Solitude (The Atlantic). We are all cocooned in noise, and can escape from one another's only when immersed in our own. What effect is the sound-culture having on our self-awareness and faculties of thought?
  • The Positive Power of Uncertainty (Positively Positive). Uncertainty can be challenging but ultimately it's what keeps life meaningful. Uncertainty is...Stressful and exciting; Fear invoking and empowering; Unnerving and confidence building.
  • Barefoot College - video (KarmaTube). In Rajasthan, India, an extraordinary school teaches rural women and men -- many of them illiterate -- to become solar engineers, artisans, dentists and doctors in their own villages. It's called the Barefoot College, and its founder, Bunker Roy, explains the values behind its success. Trust the people, he says, and they'll create the solutions themselves.  
Leadership Resources
Helping organizations and its people grow to new heights
  • How to Make a Business Mentoring Relationship Work (Fortune). Most entrepreneurs view a mentor as someone older and more experienced who takes the time to personally give guidance, advice and takes an emotional investment in your success. They don't think about this process requiring an investment on their part, both in nurturing the relationship, and really listening, without being defensive, to advice given.
  • Are You Called to Leadership? (CBS News). In our world of smart phones, latest research studies, and the newest "must see" viral videos, we've lost some basic wisdom about leadership, and we're paying a big price for the loss. When it comes to careers, the most important bit of old-world wisdom is that people are called to vocations, like engineering, science, law, education, the military, medicine -- and leadership.
  • 10 Steps to Make Your Employees Smile (Inc). How do you get your employees engaged in your organization's mission? A common-sense approach to building a company culture of engagement.
  • The Hard Science of Teamwork (HBR). Like many people, I've encountered teams that are "clicking." I've experienced the "buzz" of a group that's blazing away with new ideas in a way that makes it seem they can read each others' minds. We think of building teams that operate on this plane as an art, or even magic.
  • A Blueprint for Strategic Leadership (Strategy-Business). What sorts of leaders could be counted on to do the right thing? Creative, experimental risk takers, like Richard Branson? Charismatic, domineering battlers like Lee Iacocca? Ruthless pursuers of performance like Jack Welch?  
Workplace Resources
Supporting environments where people grow, innovate, & work.
  • Ethics and Social Media: Where Should You Draw the Line? (Mashable). The Ethics Resource Center (ERC) is the oldest non-profit organization in the U.S. dedicated to independent research and advancement of high ethical standards and practices in both public and private institutions. The ERC's latest report is one of the first to explore the possible connection between ethics and social media.
  • The Copyright Question: How to Protect Yourself on Pinterest (Mashable). Are you aware of legal rights on this social media platform? The rush to join Pinterest has been somewhat tempered by concerns over the social network's terms of use. Namely, people are questioning "who owns what" content.
  • Top 10 Helpful SEO Tips for Small Business Owners (SEJ). Small business owners who have just begun their SEO campaign will find that there is no end to the depth and complexity inherent in search engine optimization. Many companies try to take a do-it-yourself mentality to SEO implementation that ends with them sloppily stringing together popular search terms or stuffing keywords on contextually irrelevant web pages.
  • Hire Character, Train Skills (Majorium). The great leaders intuitively knew that one of the biggest challenges to be faced came from selecting and motivating the right employees.
Our "Unofficial" Book Club
A list of what the Company of Experts' staff is currently reading

Anatomy of Peace

By: The Arbinger Institute 

Description: Written as an engaging story, this book shows how mistaken views can cause people to misread situations and exacerbate the issues they wish to improve. Arguing that it is only after they understand themselves and get their internal house in order that they can correctly confront external conflicts, the book shows what can be done to make that happen, and how to make inner peace a potent tool for achieving outer satisfaction.


Reframing Evaluation through Appreciative Inquiry   

By: Hallie Preskill  

Description: Reframing Evaluation Through Appreciative Inquiry is the first book to introduce the application of Appreciative Inquiry (AI), an approach for organizational development and change, to the practice of evaluation. Authors Hallie Preskill and Tessie Tzavaras Catsambas lay out the theoretical foundation of AI and build a bridge between the theory and practice of applying AI to evaluation.   


The Last Lecture

By: Randy Pausch  

Description: A lot of professors give talks titled "The Last Lecture." Professors are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them. And while they speak, audiences can't help but mull the same question: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy?   


April 4 1968. Martin Luther King Jr's Death and How it Changed America  

By: Michael Eric Dyson 

Description: Acclaimed public intellectual and best-selling author Michael Eric Dyson uses the fortieth anniversary of King's assassination as the occasion for a provocative and fresh examination of how King fought, and faced, his own death, and we should use his death and legacy. Always engaging and inspiring, April 4, 1968 celebrates the prophetic leadership of Dr. King, and challenges America to renew its commitment to his deeply moral vision.

Webinar Recordings On-Demand
Providing professional development tidbits on-the-go!

Company of Experts' webinar recordings provide you with the opportunity to learn at a time and place that is most convenient. Gather a group in a conference room or listen at your desktop when it works with your schedule. Company of Experts' webinar recordings are available for download which can be replayed as often as you wish and can be shared with with your colleagues and friends.


To view a list of our webinar recordings, please click here

Become a Host for our Trainings
We offer incentives to hosting organizations for their hospitality

Company of Experts is seeking host organizations throughout the world to host any of our trainings (Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT), Department Chair Institute (DCI), and Leadership Development Institute(LDI)). To show our gratitude, host organizations receive two complimentary registrations for a training held on their site when minimum enrollment is met.
Host organizations may limit the training to people at their organization or it can be open to others. If the training is open, Company of Experts partner with the host organization to help promote the training.  
Please contact Kathy or Heather for more information.

In This Issue
Welcome to the AI Community
Words Create Worlds©
Bibb County Schools are Like So Maning in the 21st Century
Featured Event of the Month
AI: Beyong the Duality of Positive and Negative
Countdown to WAIC 2012
Save the Dates - NCSPOD 2012 Conference
Appreciative Inquiry Resources
Leadership Resources
Workplace Resources
Our "Unofficial" Book Club
Webinar Recordings On-Demand
Become a Host for our Trainings
Free Downloads
Recent Tweets
Online Videos Worth Watching
Expert on Call Spotlight
Visit Our Websites
Free Downloads:
The Neuroscience of Leadership
By: David Rock & Jeffrey Schwartz

Aligning Strengths Through Appreciative Inquiry
By: Nancy Stetson

Managing with the Brain in Mind
By: David Rock
Upcoming Events:
Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT)
Location: Doha, Qatar 
Dates: April 15 - 18, 2012
Early Bird Discount Ends 3/23/12 

Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT)
Location: Corning, New York 
Dates: June 5 - 8, 2012 

Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT)
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada 
Dates: July 17 - 20, 2012 

Smart Grant Writing
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Dates: July 25 - 27, 2012 

Department Chair Institute (DCI)
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Dates: July 30 - August 1, 2012  

Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT)
Location: Reno, Nevada 
Dates: August 14 - 17, 2012 

Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT)
Location: Cape Town, South Africa 
Dates: August 27 - 30, 2012 

Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT)
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada 
Dates: September 24 - 27, 2012 

Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT)
Location: Rockville, Maryland 
Dates: October 15 - 17, 2012 

Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT)
Location: The Woodlands, Texas  
Dates: Oct. 29 - Nov. 1, 2012 

Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT)
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada 
Dates: November 5 - 8, 2012 

Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT)
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada 
Dates: January 8 - 11, 2013  
View Event Page >>

Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT)
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada 
Dates: Mach 5 - 8, 2013  
View Event Page >>

View Company of Experts' Entire Event Calendar here >>
Recent Tweets

@CompanyofExperts: It is unconscionable for us to ask a generation of students to pay the price for adult political dysfunction.  


@Center_For_AI: "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails." William Arthur Ward  


@Center_for_AI: Research Project to Explore Human Perception; How would this affect the field of Appreciative Inquiry? Society?...  


@Center_for_AI: Never regret. If it's good, it's wonderful. If it's bad, it's experience. - Victoria Holt  


@CompanyofExperts: Today's #TED: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon's passionate call to see women entrepreneurs as examples, not the exception:
Videos Worth Watching

Whole Systems Healing - Interview with Diana Whitney  

Description: An interview with Diana Whitney about Whole Systems Healing and Appreciative Inquiry.


Appreciative Inquiry in the Working Place 

Description: Prof. John Hayes discusses Appreciative Inquiry and its use in the workplace.  


Appreciative Inquiry in Churches 

Description: a temporary pastor talks about using Ai as a way to transition from old 'traditional' ways to developing a new culture and selecting a new minister

Expert on Call Spotlight
Kathy Becker, Company of Experts President

Kathy Becker, is the president of the Company of Experts, Inc. With over thirty years of professional experience in K-12 and higher education, she has served as a Human Resources Officer, Staff Development Coordinator and Equal Employment Opportunity Officer. She has had direct responsibility for labor contract negotiations, sexual harassment training, discrimination investigation, mediation and conflict resolution, discipline and grievance, professional training and leadership development.  


Kathy is a trained Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator/Trainer and incorporates AI into her consulting, training, and online teaching. With her background in the public and private sectors as well as a strong commitment to customer service and developing learning organizations, Kathy brings real-world experience to her online workshops.   


In 2011, Kathy won the Helen Burnstad International Leadership Award at the 2011 NCSPOD Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Helen Burnstad Award recognizes Kathy's  significant contributions in writing, research, leadership, and advocacy that promotes the goals of staff, program, and/or organizational development at the national or international level in higher education. Learn More>   


Interested in becoming an Expert on Call? Learn more here. 

Inspirational Quotes

"What success means to one, can be very different for another. Success to some may mean fancy cars and homes. Success to others may mean being a good parent, spouse, or friend. For others, it may be simply to be happy. Or it can be all of the above."  

~ Jen Groover  


"Never get tired of doing little things for others; Sometimes those little things occupy the biggest part of their hearts."   

~ Author Unknown 


"It is the function of art to renew our perception. What we are familiar with we cease to see." 

~ Anais Nin 

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