Connecting for Change brings together innovators from the business, social and philanthropic sectors to build connections and understanding about how to work together to create sustained social change, thus a more compassionate and peaceful world.

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Connecting for Change 2009 will be guided by world-renowned authors and change leaders:

Peter Block

Peter BlockPeter Block is an author, consultant and citizen of Cincinnati, Ohio. His work is about empowerment, stewardship, chosen accountability, and the reconciliation of community.

Peter has written seven books, the latest one is Community: The Structure of Belonging.

His books are about ways to create workplaces and communities that work for all. They offer an alternative to the patriarchal beliefs that dominate our culture. Peter’s work is to support a world that operates through consent and connectedness rather than through mandate and force.

He is a partner in Designed Learning, a training company that offers workshops organized around his ideas.

Peter spends most of his time attempting to make a difference in his home town. With other volunteers in Cincinnati, Peter began A Small Group, whose work is to create a new community narrative and to bring his work on civic engagement into being. He is active with Elementz, a Hip Hop urban youth center; Inktank, which uses writing to bring self-expression to those on the margin; and Cincinnati Public Radio.

Juanita Brown

Juanita Brown

Juanita Brown Ph.D. is the co-originator of The World Café (, a pioneering approach to large scale dialogue and collaborative inquiry being used in corporate, community, government, education, and multi-stakeholder settings around the globe. Hundreds of thousands of people on six continents have experienced the World Café to foster sustainable development, responsible business futures, conflict resolution, democratic leadership, and local community engagement around critical issues.  Her award-winning book, The World Café: Shaping our Futures through Conversations that Matter, co-authored with her partner David Isaacs and the World Café Community has been translated into 10 languages, and will soon be published in mainland China.

Juanita developed her belief in the power of conversation and community to shape the future through her early years at the Na-Bolom Institute, a center for dialogue and action on indigenous issues and rainforest preservation in Chiapas, Mexico. Juanita was also a key architect in large-scale community development and outreach work with Cesar Chavez and the farm workers movement. She has applied her discoveries about the principles for building engaged communities to the co-evolution of the World Café as social innovation––using both living systems approaches and community development sensibilities to engage a growing global network of multi-generational hosts committed to creating collaborative dialogue and committed action around critical local, national and global issues.

Since 1974, Juanita has collaborated as a strategic thinking partner with senior corporate executives as well as non-profit leaders in the U.S., Latin America, Canada, Europe and the Pacific Rim, advising on large scale change intiatives and creating innovative forums for strategic dialogue around critical organizational and societal issues. Juanita is a Fellow of the World Business Academy and has served as a Senior Affiliate with both the MIT Center for Organizational Learning (now the Society for Organizational Learning) and the Institute for the Future. Her greatest joy, however, is when she finds herself alone in nature on the shores of Tomales Bay, California listening to the loons and seeing the white pelicans floating quietly through the mist.

Charles HolmesCharles Holmes

Charles Holmes is a skilled facilitator and educator whose 18 years of experience has honed a passion for creating meaningful dialogue among groups whose diverse opinions would otherwise work against a common understanding of desired outcomes.

Charles has worked with clients from health care to forestry and mining, software and pharmaceutical companies, educational institutions and utility firms, government and not-for-profit sectors. The meetings he has designed and facilitated have focused on innovation (e.g. a meeting with former Prime Minister Paul Martin and 250 Western Canadian CEOs to focus on development and export of environmental technologies), conflict resolution (meeting of 200 home owners and property developers to develop a shared vision for future development), community engagement (meetings of mining firms and community groups), and many other kinds of group engagements.

In all instances, Charles' number one interest is helping groups to see the potential of what they might be able to create together; to acknowledge, but not be constrained by the past, and to explore opportunities for working together toward a common future.

Charles is co-founder and a part-time associate with the Learning Strategies Group in the Faculty of Business at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Dawna Markova

Dawna Markova

Dr. Dawna Markova, Ph.d., is CEO of Professional Thinking Partners LLC, a group of consultants whose expertise lies in the expansion of human capacity. She is an internationally known expert in the fields of learning, perception, and cognitive psychology, and is passionately interested in maximizing individual and team talent. She has served as a thinking partner to senior executives in organizations around the world including Frito Lay, Bolthouse Farms, Royal Dutch Shell, Xerox, Ford, EDS, Daimler-Chrysler, and Hewlett-Packard as well as the Government of Nigeria and the Canadian health care system. A former Senior Affiliate of the Organizational Learning Center at MIT and a research member of the Society for Organizational Learning, Dawna has authored many books, including Wide Open, A Spot of Grace, I Will Not Die an Unlived Life, The Smart Parenting Revolution,  No Enemies Within, How Your Child IS Smart, Learning Unlimited, and The Open Mind book and audio series. As one of the Editors of the Random Acts of Kindness series, she helped launch a national movement to help counter America’s crisis of violence. A former board member of the Visions for a Better World Foundation, she was given their Visions In Action Award.

Peter Senge

Peter Senge

Peter Senge was named a ‘Strategist of the Century’ by the Journal of Business Strategy, one of 24 men and women who have ‘had the greatest impact on the way we conduct business today’ (September/October 1999). While he has studied how firms and organizations develop adaptive capabilities for many years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), it was Peter's 1990 book The Fifth Discipline that brought him firmly into the limelight and popularized the concept of the ‘learning organization'. The Harvard Business Review identified it as one of the seminal management books of the past 75 years.

Peter graduated in engineering from Stanford and then went on to undertake a Masters on social systems modeling at MIT before completing his PhD on Management, where he is presently a senior lecturer. He is also Founding Chair of the Society for Organizational Learning (SoL). SoL is part of a global community of corporations, researchers, and consultants dedicated to discovering, integrating, and implementing ‘theories and practices for the interdependent development of people and their institutions’.

Aside from writing The Fifth Discipline, Peter has co-authored a number of other books linked to the themes first developed in The Fifth Discipline. These include The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook: Strategies and Tools for Building a Learning Organization (1994); The Dance of Change: The Challenges to Sustaining Momentum in Learning Organizations (1999) and Schools That Learn (2000).

Margaret Wheatley

Margaret Wheatley

Margaret Wheatley writes, teaches, and speaks about how we might organize and accomplish our work in chaotic times.  She invites us to attend to the quality of our relationships to weather the increasing turbulence.  She knows that whatever the problem, community is the answer.

She is co-founder and President emerita of The Berkana Institute, a charitable global foundation that works in partnership with a rich diversity of people around the world who strengthen their communities by working with the wisdom and wealth already present in their people, traditions and environment. (

She has written four books: Leadership and the New Science (in twenty languages and third edition), Turning to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future (in two editions), A Simpler Way  (with Myron Rogers) and, most recently, Finding Our Way: Leadership for an Uncertain Time.  Her numerous articles appear in both professional and popular journals and may be downloaded free from her website. (

Margaret received her doctorate in Organizational Behavior and Change from Harvard University, and a Masters in Media Ecology from New York University.  She has been a global citizen since her youth, serving in the Peace Corps in Korea in the 1960s. She was a practicing consultant for 30 years to a very wide variety of organizations on all continents.