I suppose my first teacher in this work was my Grandmother, Lena in my teenaged and young adult years. She taught me to be curious and see with a systemic eye and a kind heart. I first encountered the work of dialogue and change in graduate school. That was 1992.
I first encountered the practice of The Circle Way in the late 1990s. I thought of it as a methodology, but realized quickly that it was also a way of being. Soon thereafter followed The World Cafe and Open Space Technology in the early 2000s — this is when key friendships grew into a few of us offering The Art of Hosting set of practices and teachings.
In the Portland / Vancouver area, we’ve been hosting annual AoH trainings now for four years. Together with Kevin and Jessica, we’ve been nuancing our own learning and our learning together. I know that many others are also nuancing their work and hungry to go just a bit further together. Welcome to Deepen Your Practice.
Tenneson Woolf is a facilitator, workshop leader, speaker, and writer. He posts a daily blog, Human to Human, in which he offers reflection on varied aspects of participative leadership practices, insights, and human to human depth.
Tenneson designs and leads meetings in participative formats. To help people be smarter together. To get people interacting with each other — learning together, building relationships, and focused on projects. To get deeper to the heart of what matters. From strategic visioning with boards to large conference design. He has been a practitioner of Circle and other participative forms for 20+ years.
Lately he has been working with faith communities, educators, and sustainability conference planners. His lineages include The Berkana Institute, The Circle Way, and The Art of Hosting.
Many people ask me how I got started in this work. The answer I give is through many bad meetings, experiences and frustrations I came to the conclusion that, “There has to be better ways of being together." Better ways to dialogue, better ways to move together into collective action, better ways to make decisions.
From this my journey weaved through various streams and learnings through Parker Palmers Circles of Trust, Training for Change Organizing training and a deep dive into an Enneagram certification. Always seeking and learning about the intersection of the individual, the team and the collective. Ultimately this landed me at Bowen Island in 2011 for my first Art of Hosting experience.
Art of Hosting gave me a holistic framework that balanced the individuals need for presence and strong center to the collective need to navigate complexity and change. For the last three years, I have been stewarding the Art of Hosting work in the Portland/Vancouver and we are planning for our fourth year of local Art of Hosting trainings.
As Einstein said, ““You cannot solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it. You must learn to see the world anew.” We need new ways of thinking and interacting but these new thoughts must come from this mess we call humanity.
I am a son, brother, father, husband and friend. It is these real-life relationships that keep me grounded and my feet in the fire of relationships that continues to teach me what love, trust and openness are. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, traveling and chasing the sun.
To the journey…
Kevin Hiebert, Owner and Director of Resonate Consulting, is a facilitator, trainer, leadership coach and strategy consultant who helps change leaders collaborate across organizational boundaries to create collective impact and systems change. Kevin’s work is informed by his experience in how change happens, systems thinking and experience in prior collaborative efforts. He is passionate about collaboration, participatory leadership and seeing collective wisdom and action emerge.
Like Tenneson, I first encountered the work of hosting in graduate school. However, hosting was a part of my upbringing so it at once felt familiar and comforting to see this way of being brought beyond our social life and into our work.
What was so compelling to me, was the integration of the arts into how one experienced a hosted event. As a professional photographer, documenting is in my DNA. AoH pushed my thinking further about how photography can be used for social learning and expression of work.
I’ve also added graphic recording and visual thinking to my hosting skill sets, because they offer another compelling way to experience our work through the arts. Research says that 75% of us are visual in nature, so it follows to look to see if 75% of the work we do has a visual component. I strive to move deeper into the interplay of visual learning and hosting.
The visual harvest is just one mode of harvesting, others are auditory, linguistic, and kinesthetic. I welcome you into a deeper practice of harvesting your learning with us and in the world.
Jessica Riehl, www.jessicariehl.com, is a facilitator, coach, designer, visual thinker and photographer. Through her company, Jessica Riehl Consulting, Jessica focuses on helping organizations develop strategy through creating participatory frameworks and design thinking methods. She is passionate about nurturing engagement and illuminating the inherent wisdom of the group or individual.