Company of Experts, Inc.

Always Appreciating What's Good...

January 2012

Company of Experts Consulting Services

Have you made your New Years Resolution yet?


In November, I had the great opportunity to work with an NGO in Eastern Africa. What a team! They work long hours and face circumstances that are unimaginable to so many of us.  The caring, compassion and commitment is not only to the people they work with but also to each other. The amazing energy of their offices, their conversations and of their playful times was a joy to behold. The chief executive officer and human resources director are immensely caring and passionate people who recognize that time together is finite and how we live each moment refects upon us, upon our soul. It is what brings us to the next level of our being. Knowing that the mind, body connection is so intregal to each employees well-being, they have twice weekly yoga and salsa dancing. Their office space is open and light-filled, lunch is provided each day. Participation is all voluntary but the space for joining together and reflection is within reach and encouraged.


On the long flight home, I made my resolution to spend more time in the moment and more time with the people and things that mean so much to me.  Some energizing moments will just happen. Others will require planning and scheduling.  I need to keep my energy open for those moments and seize them. I also need to create the space and make it happen. Both/and.


Today, was one of those both/and times for us in the office. While I will not compare our work to that of my friends in Eastern Africa, we have some similiarities in our sense of the world and our place in it. I had made a commitment to provide space for more play and reflection at work. One of those fun things is Friday Film Fest. Suddenly, the calendar filled up - and it looked like the first fest may fizzle. Creatively reconfiguring the calendar we were able to fulfill our commitment to others and enjoy our film.


Wishing you a joyful year,  


Kathy Becker,
President and CEO,

Company of Experts, Inc.
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! here.

View pictures from Day 1 Summit here.

View pictures from Day 2 Summit here.
Featured Event of the Month
Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT)
Las Vegas, Nevada ~ February 14 - 14, 2012

TAKE A MOMENT TO REFLECT: "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 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. Rather than focusing on problems, Appreciative Inquiry elicits SOLUTIONS!

     This Appreciative Inquiry foundations course includes mini-lectures, and experiential learning (individual, pairs, trios, small group, and large group) as well as auditory and visual materials to enhance the learning experience. Each day has a morning and afternoon session; a morning and afternoon break; and one hour for lunch.

To learn more about
this Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT), please click
2012 World Appreciative Inquiry Conference (WAIC)
Ghent, Belgium ~ April 25 - 28, 2012

Over two decades ago David Cooperrider and Suresh Srivastva brought Appreciative Inquiry into organizational life. It shifted our attention from organizational life as "a problem-to-be-solved", to "a universe-of-strengths". One decade later Gallup unveiled the results of its landmark research study amongst 1.5 million people worldwide. The research confirmed the basic AI principle: a person, an organization or a larger system will excel only by knowing and amplifying strengths, never by fixing weaknesses.


Since then many people and organizations around the world have shifted their attention to strengths-based practices and leadership. This has led to breathtaking results and breakthroughs. The community of people applying AI at all levels or organizational and social life is growing continuously. Not limited by sector or continent. AI is a true global innovation. AI is changing the way that we look at change.


The World Appreciative Inquiry Conference is held every three years. The last decade, the conference was held three times in the US and lately in Kathmandu, Nepal (2009). In April 2012, it will be organized in Europe for the first time in history. The marvelous city of Ghent (Belgium) will set the scenery for this event.


To learn more about the 2012 World Appreciative Inquiry Conference, please visit their website.
Don't Miss the 2012 International Professional Development Workshop
Sponsored by NCSPOD and presented by the Center for Appreciative Inquiry


This year's International Professional Development Workshop (IPDW) will feature two one-hour virtual sessions on the topic of Appreciative Inquiry for colleagues and students and is FREE TO NCSPOD MEMBERS.


Appreciative Inquiry for Colleagues

March 1, 2012, 2:00 - 3:00 PM EST


Appreciative Inquiry for Students

March 8, 2012, 2:00 - 3:00 PM EST


Additional workshop details and registration information will be sent out later this month, so keep an eye on your inbox. If you are not currently receiving our FREE newsletters, you can sign up here.  

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.
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.

'No Child Left Behind' Celebrates its 10th Birthday. Good? Bad? Indifferent?
One small question - one great response...

By: Melissa Robaina, Company of Experts 


Earlier this week I came across an article written by Sol Stern, an author for The Daily Beast, titled, "Still 'Lying to Children': How No Child Left Behind Corrupted Education". In the article, Stern discusses the "No Child Left Behind Act" (NCLB) - enacted 10 years ago this week. He states that, "Expecting all students to be college ready is a hopeless utopian goal that inevitably produces test-score inflation and bad results".


Jim Pulliam, the Vice President of Company of Experts and a former community college president, is passionate about student learning - which inspired him to establish Distance Edu Learning, the software company responsible for developing Fintelo, a content management system. When developing Fintelo, Jim ensured that the software would engage students by allowing the learner to construct their own learning based on their individual learning styles. In addition, the software has included intended learning outcomes within each lesson of a course - providing learners an increased awareness of what is required of them and allows teachers to evaluate and enhance their own teaching and curriculum. As I read the article, I was curious what Jim's thoughts on the issue would be. In an email, I sent him a link to the online article I found and wrote, "This week celebrated the 10th anniversary of No Child Left behind. Sol Stern writes that the landmark law has corrupted education. What do you think?" His reply is as follows:

Read Full Article >>
Logo Contest
Utilizing artistic creativity to mark a new beginning!

Company of Experts has the privilege to meet extraordinary people and organizations who genuinely value people and live to make a difference in the lives of those around them. Nebraska Advocacy Services (NAS) is no exception.

Nebraska Advocacy Services is going to be changing its name! Starting July of 2012, Nebraska Advocacy Services, The Center for Disability Rights, Law, and Advocacy, will become Disability Rights Nebraska.


Nebraska Advocacy Services wants your help in designing its new logo for its new name! The Contest is open to individuals, disability organizations, companies, and educational institutions. You do not need to have a disability to participate, but people with disabilities are encouraged to enter a design. See below for the full contest rules.


To learn more about contest rules and prizes, please click here.

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

In This Issue
Welcome to the AI Community
Words Create Worlds©
Join the Conversation: AI in Schools
Featured Event of the Month
2012 World Appreciative Inquiry Conference (WAIC)
2012 International Professional Development Workshops
Save the Dates - NCSPOD 2012 Conference
No Child Left Behind Celebrates its 10th Birthday. Good? Bad? Indifferent?
Logo Contest
Webinar Recordings On-Demand
Upcoming Events
Join the Discussion
Expert on Call Spotlight
Visit Our Websites
Upcoming Events:
Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT)
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Dates: Jan 30 - Feb. 2, 2012

Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training (AIFT)
Early Bird Discount Extended!
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Dates: February 14 - 17, 2012

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

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

View Company of Experts' Entire Event Calendar here >>
Join the Discussion

Company of Experts believes that individuals, groups, and organizations add value to the work we do through their thoughts, beliefs, and involvement in discussions surrounding current events. These discussions provide insight to where the energy lies in our growing online family - allowing us to develop programs, workshops, webinars, podcasts, etc. on topics that speak to your heart.  


Take a look at the questions below and let us know what you think.  You can continue the discussion on Facebook by simply clicking on the question of your choosing.


Do you believe that success makes organizations and their employees complacent?

you are not following us on Facebook, we invite you to do so. Our Facebook pages will allow you to participate in online polls, chat with your peers, read industry-related articles, view informational videos, and share your stories.  We look forward to seeing your online! 

Recent Tweets

@CompanyofExperts: In a complex business environment, innovative companies must move from a guru model to one based on team leadership. 


@CompanyofExperts: Are you an entrepreneur or a leader? 


@CompanyofExperts: How to create a culture of innovation. 


@CompanyofExperts: What Is Shared Culture? Like so many things, it's hard to describe, but you know it when you see it.  


@CompanyofExperts: Not using Facebook as part of your job search? You might be missing out.
Good Reads...

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 World Cafe: Shaping our Futures Through Conversations that Matter

By: Jaunita Brown & David Isaacs 

Description: The World Cafe process has been used by tens of thousands of people around the world to tackle real-life issues. Based on seven key principles, it begins with small, intimate conversations at cafe-style tables; these gatherings then link and build on each other as people move between groups and cross-pollinate ideas. In this way, Cafe learning enables even very large groups to think together creatively in a single, connected conversation. This book provides readers with the tools needed to get started. Each chapter opens with stories from business, education, government, and community organizations demonstrating how leaders are using this process in the real world. Such stories underline the Cafe's immediate, practical implications for meeting and conference design, strategy formation, knowledge creation, and large-scale systems change.

Expert on Call Spotlight
Jim Pulliam_Expert on Call_Company of Experts


Jim Pulliam retired after thirty-four years of public service in the California community college system and four years in the K-12 system in California. Jim's professional experience includes serving as a faculty member, dean, provost and founding Superintendent/President of a California Community College District.  Jim has been certified by Company of as an Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator.


As the founding President, Jim established a solid, collaborative environment with the Faculty and staff. Jim was able to build strong relationships in the local community and politicians to fund and organize a new community college in California. Leading a committed administrative, faculty, staff, student and community partnership the college gained funding to begin discussions on building programs, services, partnerships and facilities for the future...  

Read More >> 


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

Inspirational Quotes

"Appreciate everything and everyone. Look upon every experience you've ever had, and everyone who's ever played any role in your life, as having been sent to you for your benefit. In this universe, which was created by a divine, organizing intelligence, there are simply no accidents."  

~ Dr. Wayne Dyer   


"A language is not just words. It's a culture, a tradition, a unification of a community, a whole history that creates what a community is. It's all embodied in a language."

~ Noam Chomsky  


"When we are positive, others around us are elevated to be more positive"

~ Tom Shadyac 

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