The World Cafe Community

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There are people gathering here in the World Cafe community from literally all over the world, and it is so exciting!!! I really want to meet everyone, and I know I'm not alone. Would you please tell us a little about yourself here, just as an introduction, so we can start to learn about each other? Where do you live? How did you learn about the World Cafe? What are your interests and passions?

NOTE: The convention on this part of the site is that the responses are in chronological order, so you have to click forward to the last page (at the bottom of this page) to see the latest introductions.

Tags: community, introductions, stories

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I'll start! :-)
I'm blessed to live in northern California, right across the bay from San Francisco. I can see the city skyline and the extraordinary Golden Gate bridge whenever I walk along the bay, or drive over one of the many bridges in this area. I came here in 1999 from Brighton, a wonderful town on the south coast of England, where I had lived (and loved) for 13 years.

I've been working intensively with the World Cafe for almost 4 years now. I knew about it before, and had worked with Juanita and Ken Homer on the logistics of bringing the World Cafe to a conference I was co-organizing in 2003, and I knew several people in the community personally, but I didn't really start working formally with the World Cafe until they brought me in as a web designer and online communications consultant in late 2005, early 2006.

In learning about what needed to go on a World Cafe website I was of necessity learning about everything at once and I found myself falling in love with the people and the spirit of what was happening here. Around the same time, Juanita called a meeting of "Girl Geeks" in early 2006. The Girl Geeks were a group of women that Juanita brought together to help the World Cafe "enter the digital age", a direction she intuitively knew was important but felt unequipped to lead. That meeting marked the beginning of not only a fabulous period of fun and professional development in my own life but also a beautiful circle of friendships that have only grown and strengthened through time.

I learned more and more and soon my work became clear - to help make this incredible community and the work you are all doing in the world visible - to the world and to each other. So the virtual communications constellation was born to begin doing that - this constellation includes the World Cafe website, the newsletters, the translation of the book into new languages, the StoryNet, the blogs, our grass-roots resourcing program, our videos, our presence and participation in various social media, and now this new online community space!

As you can imagine, it is an enormous pleasure to me and the rest of the World Cafe Community Foundation team to see all of you coming together here!

My passion for spreading the spirit of World Cafe has continue to unfold and now besides my work in caring for our global communications, I have been developing our capacity to host World Cafes using the internet. My intent is to create truly hospitable space in the online environment and bring the magic and connection of the face to face World Cafe experience into the online sphere. The online world can never replace the face to face experience, nor is it meant to, but there are advantages to virtual World Cafes that are not available otherwise, as well, including the ability to connect across great geographic distances.

I think I'll stop here and leave some space for others to introduce themselves! I look forward to meeting you.
Amy I will drop an introduction in over the weekend coming up. By the way I did not sense an English accent in your writing. :-)

John
Hi Everyone,
My name is Ric Abadesco. I'm an independent OD consultant based in Manila, Philippines. I was in the ODN Conference in SF in 2006 and heard Juanita talk about World Cafe. I've been hooked since then and have facilitated several cafe conversations in the Philippines.
I was President of the People Management Association of the Philippines in 2008 (the oldest and largest professional organization of HR and people managers in the Philippines) and have hosted a World Cafe event in our annual convention in 2007 with more than 800 in attendance. It was a blast and people really felt connected!
Amy, I really appreciate your passion and commitment to spreading the World Cafe and in setting up this website. I feel two connecting points with you --1) One of my best friends and former Exxon OD colleagues comes from Brighton; 2) my wife's family lives in San Francisco, my favorite US city.
Good to hear from everyone else...what a wonderful diverse group!
Hi Enrique,
How wonderful to see you here. I'm so excited to hear of what you've been doing in the Phillipines as we had NO idea that the World Cafe had spread there--and with 800 folks no less!
Can you share some stories with the community of what you've been doing there-- and especially how your event with the People Management Association went in 2007.
With warm regards and appreciation,
Juanita
Hi Enrique,

It is great to meet World Cafe friends from the Philippines in this Online Community. I had the pleasure of visiting and working in your country in the later part of 1999 with a local consultant --Dr. Bella Dumas-- Have you heard or met her? She and I also collaborated in a values-based organizational culture project with leaders from a Norwegian-Swedish company. As part of the project, we hosted a World Cafe session that was literally a turning point for the project and the leaders. Elva Castaneda-Hall, who is a member of this online community, was part of this project as well.

I gathered from your note that you worked in the oil industry--I did as well, but with Shell Oil based in Houston, Texas. I am originally from Mexico and moved to the US in 1990. Since then I have lived in the San Francisco-Bay Area, then Houston, and back in San Francisco since 2005.

Good to have you in this community,
Hello, All,

My name is Joan Griffin and I teach 8th grade English/Language Arts in the beautiful foothills of the Sierra Nevada in Northern California. I work in a public, rural school that has 400 students K-8, which is on the small side. I have been teaching middle school students here for 20 years.

I was introduced to World Cafe two years ago while attending Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, and working on an MA in Contemplative Education. My thesis was focused on building community and providing a source of renewal to the seasoned teachers on my campus. Most of the teacher community gatherings that I led were done in the World Cafe format. The idea was very successful in meeting its goals and continues this year. I believe the Cafe format was essential to that success.

This year, I want to bring World Cafe to my 8th graders. That will require a different kind of introduction to the format and the process, slower and with lots of encouragement to listen deeply and think before speaking. I would love to hear from others who have used the Cafe effectively with adolescent students.

Joan

Hello all:

I live in New Harmony, Indiana, a Utopian community still, and am slowly moving to Louisville, KY to be with the man I love. It is a time of transition for me in many ways. I am an artist who teaches art and Humanities both in the classroom and online. I have done this for about 15 years now and am slowly retiring. Things are changing in the world of education and though I love the students and the technology, I am finding that the financial situation has made universities compete and therefore cater more to the students, which creates problems for professors.

However, I am also an artist and paint and exhibit my paintings throughout the United States and the world to people who like landscapes and water and surrealism. These themes have run through my paintings throughout my long career and it is about time that I paid more attention to my real work, rather than trying to support this occupation with jobs. A 9-5 job-job takes a lot of time and energy which now can go into my real job of painting and, of course, promotion.

Unfortunately, today one of the responsibilities of an artist is to "get out there" and promote one's work. I have never liked to do that, being rather modest about my work, no matter what people said about it.

I also am a writer and publisher. I have published three books and hope to publish more (poetry, travel journals and prose). I love editing and talking with people who love words. My interests lie in history (thus I love teaching Humanities), art and literature. I look forward to having discussions on any subject!

Thanks for letting me introduce myself! (You can see my work at http://jillbaker.com/.)

Jill Baker

HI Jill...

Welcome!  It's great to have you here.  How did you learn about the World Cafe?

You might also want to peruse the various groups to see if there are areas you are interested in participating in.  I think there is one related to the arts and the World Cafe if I recall.

With warm regards,

Juanita

Hi Jill,

Your work is fantastic, such diversity in styles and I really love your surrealism, I think that is what it  is called. From what I can see in some of your paintings you use a great deal of texture, I really like that. I'm not an artist but when I see paintings I like to take in the brushwork.

I hope you can do more and more.


Geof

Hi
I am Sharie Patty form Lubbock TX. I work with college students, elementary children and their families in a fabulous afterschool program. I use World CAfe in our staff development. I learned about it from Meg Wheatley's book I think.
Looking forward to a cup of conversation with the world.
Sharie PAtty
I am Lucho Jacobsen from Bogota Colombia. I am a OD consultant in knowledge mgt and org. learning. I combine large groups conversations with experiential training, like outdoors, low and high ropes courses.

We are starting a local colombian community to spread the voice as fast and effective as possible, because there will have to be loooooots of dialogue in our country to resettle peace, and crate development.

It is just great to join this community, I feel I am not alone in a field of knowledge made by practice and search for own truth.

Yours, Luis Carlos
Hi Luis, I too am a consultant working with large group conversations and combining it with my experience in outdoors-based experiential learning....pleased to meet you! I am excited about how nature and the outdoors can be combined with tools like World Cafe, Open Space Techonology etc to more effectively transfer learnings and growth at the individual level back into the workplace and organisational level. I am facilitator and soon-to-be trainer in the Genuine Contact (TM) Program feel very inspired by this work.

All the best for your work in Colombia, its heart-warming to know that World Cafe conversations are making a difference in your country.
Best, Janine

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