Friday, Nov. 16 - Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012
Prince Conference Center, Grand Rapids, Michigan
























Why a conference?

To Connect Face To Face

People will gather at the conference to meet with old friends, to renew and deepen those connections, and to meet new people of like-mind for support, encouragement, collaboration, friendship. Here one builds social capital, near and far. Something different happens when we hear, in person, others’ stories dealing with similar and different challenges. This will be a time to gather and share in a focused, serious, mature setting with others engaged in the work; to be in an environment where one can speak openly of the current state of affairs and attending implications; where one has the unique opportunity to share fully one’s personal, familial, and/or community challenges, dreams, fears, successes, in light of the current unprecedented challenges.

To Build Skills

The conference will provide an opportunity to develop a concise TED style talk, to practice speaking skills with a large, friendly audience. In addition, one will be able to frame, ask, and respond to, intelligent questions. The conference will offer guidelines to build skills in giving and receiving helpful feedback. Speaking, questioning, and offering effective feedback are all skills designed to empower participants to be more effective in their local community.

Support and Rest

The conference carves out time to find support and to rest: good food, a beautiful facility, and conversation with colleagues away from one’s daily demands. In such an atmosphere, people can find acknowledgement and feel valued for the work they all too often do alone or with little help as activists, leaders, and visionaries. It is important to get rejuvenated and recharged, to have some fun and to celebrate with others in order to stay fresh, open, and vital.

To grow intellectually, personally, professionally and creatively

Gathering as colleagues means opening to one another’s greater expertise in other areas in order to consider new information and perspectives, to imagine new scenarios and possibilities, to identify and likely challenge some of one’s core assumptions and beliefs, in order to engage in true dialogue. Others can encourage us to move into a greater sense of leadership and responsibility. That may require one to stretch old limits and push into new personal and professional territory. The conference will support those coming with a personal intention to find greater clarity about purpose and right action. People will come with stories from their own growing edges, their challenges, failures, successes, and lessons learned. This kind of rich environment supports all kinds of growth, new energy and possibilities.

To be inspired

The different format of the conference represents a step in a new direction and the opportunity to witness and even embody emerging ideas, actions, and styles of vision, action and leadership. This conference will be an opportunity to enact in real time Gandhi’s admonition to “be the change you wish to see” both personally and collectively in a changed conference culture. Such a gathering will give people the opportunity to share in the creation of visions for a culture and way of being that works for all.

In addition hearing and reflecting on other’s stories of personal growth, risk-taking and meaningful action arising from deep conviction will support and inspire those of us longing for such. This conference also offers the experience that one is part of something real, something bigger than oneself. Also getting to meet people whose works have influenced our own development through speaking, writing, the arts, can remind us that we’re all just people and that “we are the one’s we’ve been waiting for.”

To make a contribution:

Gathering as colleagues means coming to give and to receive, both. Seeing the needs for support and acknowledgement one has the opportunity to listen and affirm other’s efforts. Learning to and then giving effective, truly helpful feedback is an all-too rare gift. Taking the time and expense to attend a conference with the lofty goal of affecting the future is a major way one can contribute.


Why are do current participants say they are attending?

  1. Of the current participants:

  2. To meet old friends and deepen those connections.

  3. To meet new people of like mind for support, encouragement, collaboration.

  4. To make new friends

  5. To build and strengthen your social network

  6. To hone speaking skills through developing a concise TED style talk to large friendly audience

  7. To receive intelligent questions, and have time to consider and respond.

  8. To receive critical feedback and ideas for improvement

  9. To feel valued in sharing this contribution

  10. To get away from work and home to a beautiful retreat setting

  11. To enjoy good food and relaxed conversation

  12. To be seen and acknowledged as a leader and visionary

  13. To help shape the vision of a positive future, and the movement towards it

  14. To hear interesting stories

  15. To consider new information, perspective and challenge assumptions and beliefs.

  16. To develop new skills and new tools

  17. To witness the emergence of something new, at the beginning

  18. To be associated with a very positive, cutting edge culture change

  19. To gain a fuller understanding of possible future scenarios.

  20. To better understand what is really going on, how things work in the economy, environment, and culture.

  21. To share passions, heartfelt purpose, the beauty of deep conviction.

  22. To be in a focused, serious gathering

  23. To push oneself

  24. To serve the community gathered and take home ways to serve one’s local community.

  25. To share ideas with others who are concerned with energy, environment, culture and society.

  26. To hear new ideas from a wide variety of perspectives.

  27. To feel renewed, rejuvenated and recharged

  28. To feel empowered

  29. To be part of something bigger than self

  30. To meet people face to face that one has learned from through writing, film, etc.

  31. To understand better what I want and need to do next

  32. To grow social capital

  33. To share stories about family, community, personal challenges and successes.

  34. To share and benefit from lessons learned

  35. To talk freely to people interested in the same things

  36. To participate in an mature conversations about meaningful things

  37. To hear interesting new talks

  38. To share feedback to help improve the talks

  39. To experience a new conference model

  40. To make connections

  41. To meet as colleagues rather than as experts vs. attendees.

  42. To help shape the future

  43. To learn what is happening on the leading edge

  44. To share in the creation of visions for a culture that works for all.

  45. To find new hope

  46. To have fun

  47. To share

  48. To improve

  49. To connect

  50. To grow

  51. To contribute