Category Archives: Events

What Makes the Center for Appreciative Inquiry Unique?

For over 25 years, we have delivered workshops tailored to meet the rapidly changing needs of leaders in today’s global economy. Our strategy involves developing individuals, groups and organizations into true “centers of excellence” by cultivating their collective strengths and appreciating the value that is present in all human systems (large or small). By utilizing the existing talents, strengths and resources, our clients are able to connect to their positive core in ways that heighten their energy, sharpen their vision, and inspire action for positive, sustainable change.

How are we different?

  • We are relationship-focused. We believe the success of any human endeavor is dependent upon the relationships between those involved. We value each person and strive to develop a rapport, trust, and understanding with all of our clients by investing time and energy into understanding each client, their business, and their aspirations.
  • Trainings are small and intimate. The size of each of our trainings vary based on the location of the event, but rarely exceed 24 participants. Our intimate training sessions allow for extensive interaction between our trainer(s) and participants – allowing each participant to receive more assistance with individual needs.
  • Intensive and experiential. “We remember best what we experience. We understand best what we identify with. We learn best by doing.” We are aware of the importance of personal experience in the retention of learning. This is the underlying principle used in all of our workshops.
  • Support. Our intimate training sessions create the perfect environment for networking, motivation, and support with other workshop participants. We encourage participants to continue to share their challenges and experiences with one another even after our trainings have concluded. Support from others can provide the strength needed to continue on the path of positive, sustainable change.
  • Infused with Appreciative Inquiry. Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is a collaborative, strengths-based approach to both personal and organizational development that is proving to be highly effective in thousands of organizations and communities around the world. It is a way of bringing about change that shares leadership and learning, fully engaging everyone in the process. AI empowers our participants to create the processes they wish to use in order to put belief into practice and acquire their goals.
  • Mentoring included. To ensure the successful implementation of the skill sets taught during our trainings, our trainer(s) make themselves readily available to answer questions, share knowledge, and provide on-going support and encouragement long after the training has concluded.
  • Certification. Many of our workshops include certification – at no additional cost to you. Certification demonstrates to your customers, competitors, suppliers, staff and investors that you use industry-respected best practices.
  • Low cost. Evolving positively in today’s changing environment requires that we constantly improve and build upon our skill sets. By providing our workshops at a low cost, we hope to attract more individuals, groups, and organizations who are expected “to do more with less”. We now offer group rates that provide additional savings on top of our already reduced workshop prices.
  • Expertise. Each of our trainers have a strong commitment to the theory and practice of their subject area — bringing a balance of education, consulting, and on-the-job experience to all of our trainings.

Join the Discussion: AI in Schools

Our proposal for the 2012 WAIC was accepted. Next stop, Belgium. 

The Center for Appreciative Inquiry, a branch of the Company of Experts, is pleased to announce that its proposal, “The Macon Miracle: Connecting Strengths, Reinventing Education, and Helping Children Flourish”, was accepted for the 2012 World Appreciative Inquiry Conference in Ghent, Belgium.

This year’s World Appreciative Inquiry Conference (WAIC) emphasizes Appreciative Inquiry (AI) as “a theory and practice of connecting people and generating new possibilities”. In 2011, we had the opportunity to work with Bibb County School District in Macon, Georgia. The Macon Centreplax Arena was filled to near capacity with almost 4,500 people in attendance. Participants consisted of internal and external stakeholders, such as: teachers, janitorial staff, bus divers, parents, community members, and city and state officials. This is the largest AI Summit to date!

Superintendent Dr. Romain Dallemand’s mission was to design a new educational system with the collaborative efforts of the community at large. “Our District and community must decide where it wants to be 20 and 50 years from now, and that journey begins with building a new education system that meets the need of all children,” says Dr. Dallemand. “The new system will be built with the engagement of our entire community because that is the only way in which it will be successful.”

Using Appreciative Inquiry as our tool, we facilitated large and small group sessions to discuss the future of the District and community, as well as to begin identifying the goals, ideas, and strategies that would define “The Macon Miracle.” Our workshop proposal for WAIC noted that workshop participants will learn how the large-scale summit was organized, what emerged from the two days, and where the school district is headed next. In addition, workshop participants will engage in conversation around AI and strength-based schools, positive school culture, and innovative practices in teaching and learning from around the world. We invite those attending to join us in these exciting discussions.

We will keep you updated on the time and location of our presentation as details unfold.

Learn more about the ‘Macon Miracle’:
Visit the Macon Miracle landing page.
View videos from the Core Team and Summit here.
View pictures from Day 1 Summit here.
View pictures from Day 2 Summit here.

The Macon Miracle

Loud cheers and unbridled excitement are not unfamiliar sounds for any sports arena; however, the noise generated at the Macon Centreplex Arena on September 19th reverberated far beyond the arena walls.

The voices and enthusiasm of 4,500 Bibb County Schools stakeholders quickly rose as they began discovering the best of ‘what is’ in order to construct a positive future for their students.  The stakeholders included bus drivers, teachers, custodians, secretaries, administrators, elected officials (City and state) as well as parents.

This is the largest Appreciative Inquiry Summit that we have ever been involved in. The visionary Superintendent of Bibb County Schools, Dr. Romain Dallemand, sees a new dawning of education for the 21st century. From the beginning of his tenure, Dr. Dallemand has sought input from teachers, community members, and other decision makers – posing the question, “What can Bibb School District do to redesign education and create an example that ensures all students have the opportunity to learn?”

After a powerful opening message by Dr. Dallemand and keynote speaker Dr. Anthony Mohammed, participants were divided amongst six breakout rooms, including the arena floor of the Centreplex. Chairs in each of the rooms were assembled into circles of eight. No tables were present – providing participants with the opportunity to get closer to the individuals in their circle as they conducted their paired interviews. As participants began their appreciative interview, the energy in each of the rooms quickly ignited. Conversations consisted of laughter and tears and as time progressed, people moved closer to one another as their stories unfolded.

Through the use of technology, the positive core and the word image for the entire group of 4,500 was able to be electronically captured. The information collected was sorted and common themes began to emerge. These themes will be used to design and create a new destiny for Bibb County Schools. The Design and Destiny phase, of what is being called the Macon Miracle, has been scheduled for October 10th in the Macon Centreplex Arena. As the day concluded, participants were excited about the future – of what ‘can be’ for Bibb County Schools; they realized change starts with them. You could see, feel, and sense hope in the room. It was powerful for all in attendance.

Our great facilitator team consisted of: Cheri Torres, Kathy Becker, Jim Pulliam, Charles Miller, Melissa Robaina, Annette Vaillancourt, Eileen Rohan, Joan Trottier, Trevor Warner, and Kimberley Seitz.

We will keep you posted as the Macon Miracle blossoms…

View our photo album from the first Summit here