I am often asked what kind of work I do at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute. My answer can include many things, but it is a much simpler question to answer when I tell you that our mission at the Institute is to continue Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller’s collaborative approach to creating transformational change.

We do this through a process we call the Rockefeller Ethic, which combines collaborative problem solving, respectful dialogue, and diversity of opinion in order to create transformational change. Transformational change can happen in people, in systems, and in communities. The work I do at the Institute teaches people about the Rockefeller Ethic and how to use it to have more meaningful and productive meetings with any team they’re part of.

Have you ever attended a meeting or conference where a lot of great work happened only for that work to stop once the meeting came to an end? Many of us have, and we remember the poor results it generated. Here at the Institute, we have a team of experienced facilitators who specialize in designing meetings and dialogues around challenging issues. Building a meeting that allows for clarity, continuity, and an effective outcome is a specialty of ours that addresses not only what happens in the room during the meeting, but what continues to happen when everyone goes home.

I am often asked a second question: “How do you do this work and how can I learn?” Workshops are a fairly new offering at the Institute that are excellent professional development on their own, or can be added to conferences already happening at the Institute.

In the Tools for Respectful Dialogue workshop, we open up our “tool-kit” and show you how to build your own meetings that, like the Institute’s, are designed around desired outcomes. We’ll teach you how to foster respectful dialogue and create a space that allows diverse opinions to emerge, as well as what to do to keep the momentum going when you leave.

All of our workshops range in duration from 90 minutes to a full day, and teach people how to use the Rockefeller Ethic in their own work. In addition to Tools for Respectful Dialogue, we also offer Walks with the Governor, and Beyond Civility.

If you would like our help convening or building a meeting with a diverse group of participants working towards a common goal, let us help you. If you would like to learn how to apply the Rockefeller Ethic to your own meetings, try one of our workshops.

Heather Southard

Education & Evaluation Officerhsouthard@uawri.org(501) 727-6265

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