Please indicate your World Café experience (ONLY IF YOU HAVE ACTUAL WORLD CAFE EXPERIENCE) in one or more of the following roles:
Participant, I'm New to the World Cafe
If you are new to the World Cafe, would you please share how you heard about this community?
I am taking the World Cafe on line Fielding course and am eager to be part of and learn from this community.
What field is the primary focus of your World Café work (ONLY CHECK AREAS WHERE YOU ARE ALREADY ACTIVELY USING WORLD CAFE PLEASE)?
What knowledge, skills or resources would you like to contribute to the World Café community to help it grow and flourish?
I would be honored to be part of any World Café conversation about marketing, PR and replication strategy. My background in commercial publishing and then, as the founder of a non-profit organization that built and replicated a program across the US and internationally has made me very sensitive to the issues around identifying, branding and selling a "theoretical product," ensuring fidelity, integrity and growth, defining and protecting intellectual property, and the unique challenges of sustaining a training and human development organization through foundations and traditional fundraising strategies. So, if I can help... (also, I have 2 specific projects that perhaps World Café can partner on.)
What would you most like to receive from this community?
I am not a facilitator or teacher by training - but I ended up creating a pregnancy "health literacy" or "advocacy" training program because our "clients" the non-profits and government agencies to whom I was selling our lower-literacy pregnancy book (in English, Spanish and Chinese) demanded curriculum and professional development for their staff. My goal was to help underserved women talk, learn grow and support one another during the teachable moment of pregnancy - using books, social capital and their interest - to know what was going on in their body and their desire - to have a healthy baby. So I set out to find an organization to help us build that model. But finding a discipline, let alone a partner to understand the core spirit of the program was difficult (and building the research agenda proved even more complex). I've worked with health, early childhood and communication researchers and practitioners at leading universities and NGOs. Surprisingly few listened to the voices or acknowledged and built upon the wisdom of the women and communities we were trying to serve. Health educators wanted to tell people what to do to have a healthy pregnancy; literacy educators wanted to teach people how to read about pregnancy. I adapted, with the help of a team of Early childhood educators, a curriculum and training that used their' strength based, experiential learning philosophy. It was more interesting and engaging for young pregnant women who were not readers by nature. But the program's success was dependent on the skill of the messenger, and it was still a “class,” the authentic needs of women were not being heard or addressed. Of all the "interventions" we created, bringing groups of pregnant women together to talk and learn from one another was the most powerful (and least expensive!!) strategy -- but the skill of the facilitator was the most important variable in those groups, and we had only 3 days to help them change their habits and embrace participatory learning - so many groups became boring lectures. Also, trying to standardize the program killed the entire purpose of the program, but without a standard intervention, traditional outcome research and evaluation becomes useless (though undertaken by funders at great expense). I continue to search for the core principles that would create safe, productive learning and sharing spaces for adults during important life moments – that are research based, and can show demonstrable outcomes beyond “patient satisfaction.” For a while now, fellow travelers have mentioned that I should check out The World Cafe but I did not do so until recently - after leaving the organization I created for a variety of frustrating reasons and exploring what's next? I have been wrestling with how to take what I've learned to a new place. I actually did not sign up to the class in order to become a World Cafe Facilitator (well, I want to be sure I could be, but was not my goal). I wanted to understand and explore the model and philosophy to understand if and how it can be used to empower those without voice, and to start conversations and build new systems of support for those living in poverty. Actually, after attending class and an on-line cafe just now, I realized I've been lonely. I need intellectual companionship and support as I figure out what comes next. So what I most would like to receive from this community is....community! And then, who know what comes next?