Category Archives: Announcements

Celebrating 25 Years with Huge Savings on our Appreciative Inquiry Trainings

COE 25 yr anniversary_SmallSince 1989, Company of Experts has developed an excellent word-of-mouth reputation by helping hundreds of organizations and groups, and thousands of individuals, heighten their energy, sharpen their vision, and inspire their action for change.

To celebrate 25 years, we are offering an additional $250.00 savings on all 2014 Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Trainings (AIFT) being hosted in Las Vegas! Register early and combine your $250.00 savings on top of our Early Bird Registration Discount. Please enter promo code: THEBIG25 upon checkout to receive our 25 year celebratory discount. Discount cannot be combines with group rates or other offers.

“What I enjoy most about my job is hearing from people who have taken the time to write or call us to tell us how we have helped change their personal or professional lives in ways I had not even considered. Listening to stories of how people have taken the skills they have learned from our workshops or trainings and applied them in their day-to-day lives that helped them make a difference in their communities are the type of stories that give you goose bumps and leave you yearning for more!”

Kathy Becker, CEO & President of the Company of Experts, Inc.

We thank you for sharing your stories with us – we laugh, we learn, and are amazed at the engagement and excitement that we hear from you. The stories you share bring such light into our office and to our work. Please keep sending us your personal stories of success via email, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

This coming year, we see the door of opportunity opening for so many of you – and we look forward to walking the journey with you.

As always we appreciate the good work all of you do.
~ Your friends at the Company of Experts.

Logo Contest

Utilizing artistic creativity to mark a new beginning!

Company of Experts has the privilege to meet extraordinary people and organizations who genuinely value people and live to make a difference in the lives of those around them. Nebraska Advocacy Services (NAS) is no exception.

Nebraska Advocacy Services is going to be changing its name! Starting July of 2012, Nebraska Advocacy Services, The Center for Disability Rights, Law, and Advocacy, will become Disability Rights Nebraska.

Nebraska Advocacy Services wants your help in designing its new logo for its new name! The Contest is open to individuals, disability organizations, companies, and educational institutions. You do not need to have a disability to participate, but people with disabilities are encouraged to enter a design. See below for the full contest rules.

To learn more about contest rules and prizes, please click here.

Save the Dates…

October 17-19, 2012 ~ NCSPOD 2012 Annual Conference

Think it’s too early to consider next year’s North American Council for Staff, Program, and Organizational Development (NCSPOD) annual conference? Think again! NCSPOD will be in Rockville, MD, at the Rockville Hilton Hotel, which is a mere 8 miles from the White House. NCSPOD conferences are family-friendly, offering meal tickets for guests so that they can share meals and special events and excursions with you during the conference. While you are in programs and meetings, guests can enjoy the sights and attractions of Washington and, with some advance planning, so can you. Use this opportunity to extend your stay and see DC.

The November Blast! included a top-ten list of things to do in DC. Transportation to and from DC sights will be easy to arrange. The Twinbrook Metro Station is located adjacent to the hotel and is readily accessible to the museums, monuments, and other places of interest in Washington, DC.

More information and registration link will be released soon. Stay tuned!

Don’t Miss the 2012 International Professional Development Workshop!

Sponsored by NCSPOD and presented by the Center for Appreciative Inquiry

This year’s International Professional Development Workshop (IPDW) will feature two one-hour virtual sessions on the topic of Appreciative Inquiry for colleagues and students and is FREE TO NCSPOD MEMBERS.

Appreciative Inquiry for Colleagues
March 1, 2012, 2:00 – 3:00 PM EST

Appreciative Inquiry for Students
March 8, 2012, 2:00 – 3:00 PM EST

Additional workshop details and registration information will be sent out this month, so keep an eye on your inbox. If you are not currently receiving our FREE newsletters, you can sign up here.

Thousands Develop Bibb County’s Strategic Plan

On Monday, October 10, the Bibb County School District hosted its second Strategic Planning session involving more than 4,000 people, including parents and community members and every employee.

“We must believe in our children and in ourselves if we are going to be successful,” says Superintendent Dr. Romain Dallemand. “We must think outside of the box to generate the revolutionary ideas that will help us move our community forward and make sure our children are successful. We must think radically and consider things like year-round school and school choice for the entire District, and our children must be fluent in English, Mandarin Chinese, and technology.

Working with the Center for Appreciative Inquiry, large and small group sessions were used to facilitate discussions about the future of the District and community, as well as to begin identifying the goals, ideas, and strategies that will define “The Macon Miracle.” After the first session on September 19, feedback about areas that could be improved in the District was used to identify commonalities and themes. At the second session on October 10, the community attended themed breakout sessions to generate ideas about how the District could improve student achievement.

“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.”

This process is a new method by which a school district defines its work and goals. Instead of a small group of educators and community leaders developing a plan that is handed down to the employees, Dr. Dallemand invited this larger group to join the process. Additionally, a survey was made available to every middle and high school student to provide similar feedback since they are at the core of the District; the survey was also available to parents and community members that did not attend the sessions.

To view complete information about “The Macon Miracle,” Bibb County’s Strategic Plan. Featured on the page are stories, videos, photographs, and media coverage from these momentous events.

To stay connected with the District throughout “The Macon Miracle,” check the site above regularly and visit Dr. Dallemand’s blog and our Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube pages.

Written By: Chris Floore, Director of Public Relationships for Bibb County School District
Chris invites you to contact him if you wish to learn more about the changes being made in Bibb County. You can email him at or call 478-390-8258.

Macon Miracle Update

The excitement from the crowd at the Macon Centreplex was palpable as more than 4,200 community members, parents, teachers, Board members, local businesses, and dignitaries from Macon, Georgia convened on October 10, 2011, to complete part two of a two-day appreciative inquiry strategic  planning summit designed to reinvent Bibb County school district and ensure
that every student flourishes.

Superintendent Dr. Romain Dallemand envisions becoming the best school district in the nation. Deemed the “Macon Miracle,” Dr. Dallemand contracted with several facilitators from the Center for Appreciative Inquiry to reinvent the school system by hosting a two-day appreciative inquiry summit.

During the first day, held on September 19, 2011, more than 4,000 participants met to collaboratively discover the best of “what is” in order to create a shared image of their preferred future. They interviewed each other and shared stories about peak experiences, strengths, and opportunities to discover their positive core.  By developing bold possibility statements, and then sharing them with each other, the participants began to envision a future state where every child succeeds.

On day two of the summit, held October 10, 2011, participants reconvened to identify methods to bring their future dreams to life. They developed strategic proposals to bridge the best of “what is” with their ideas of “what can be.” Each of the strategic proposals included key concepts necessary for successful implementation. As participants shared their proposals with each other, the excitement and energy in the arena grew exponentially. In the final activity, participants began designing the action items and ideas that would be necessary to bring their dreams into fruition.  Together, along with input from the students, Dr. Dallemand and his leadership team will finalize their five-year strategic plan early next year.

Kimberley Seitz, PhD
An Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator on behalf of Company of Experts, Inc.
If you wish to contact Kimberley Seitz, PhD, please click 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.

We will keep you posted as the Macon Miracle blossoms…

New Beginnings for Natalie Aisoff

Today is a big day for all that have worked, interfaced, had a conversation, or requested information from Natalie Aisoff.  Natalie is leaving the Company of Experts to be closer to family in Arizona. We wish her success, good wishes and happiness in everything she does.

Since the Company of Experts was purchased by Jim Pulliam and Kathy Becker in 2005, Natalie has been a mainstay of the organization. Her never ending smile, friendly and comforting voice, mixed with a willingness and interest in assisting others are attributes we shall miss. One of the most important values for service is, did the individual make a difference for others in their journey? Without hesitation, Natalie Aisoff made a “difference”.

Natalie, in turning the page, enjoy the journey.

We welcome you to sign Natalie’s virtual “Card” via the discussion threads found on the Company of Experts’ Facebook page.

Congratulations to Lane Glenn, the new president of Northern Essex Community College

This is one of those warm and fuzzy stories of success that we just love to share. For those of you in higher education and/or if you have participated in our Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training, you may know Lane Glenn. Lane has been an Expert of Call and AIFT Trainer/Facilitator for years. He is one of those people that truly stands out in a crowd. He is fun, energetic, optimistic and cares about people and helping them find the best in themselves. The kind of person you know will do terrific work in whatever he does and where ever he goes.

With pleasure, we send this public congratulations to Dr. Lane Glenn as the new president of Northern Essex Community College. Lane will be serving NECC after the long tenure of a fine college president David Hartleb, who will retire this coming June.

We welcome you to sign Lane’s virtual “Congratulations Card” via the discussion threads found on the Company of Experts’ Facebook or LinkedIn pages.

Living Card of Appreciation for Jeanie Cockell

Jeanie Cockell picture

Don’t believe what you read in the newspaper and see on television. People all over the world are achieving their dreams to improve their communities whether that is a school, hospital, or corporation, for profit and non-profit. It is amazing how many terrific, caring and inspirational people we meet and the stories that we hear from them. Stories of grace, of style, of engagement – awe inspiring stories. Unique stories about people and the people that they work with.

We have an amazing Expert on Call – Jeanie Cockell. Many of you may know of Jeanie as an Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator and trainer from seeing her name on our website or from stories of success written by those who have worked with Jeanie. Jeanie has that special magical personality that lights up the room and invites you in to converse and to become friends. People gravitate toward Jeanie like a hummingbird to a flower.

We are so fortunate that Jeanie is with us. A few weeks ago Jeanie was involved in a horrific automobile accident and had a punctured lung, fractured pelvis and a leg broken in several places (I am not a medical person and do not mind if anyone corrects me!) It is awesome that Jeanie had no head injuries and remains positive about her recovery and is already looking ahead to returning to the work she loves. Working with people and introducing Appreciative Inquiry whenever possible.

Jeanie has physical rehabilitation to relearn how to walk and how long that will be we are not sure of. We just thought it might be nice to start a Jeanie Cockell Living Card to express our appreciation and wishes for her return to full health.

To send Jeanie your wishes, please follow this link to Facebook (click on the discussion tab) or Linkedin – if you are not a member, you will need to join. Jeanie will be able to visit her Living Card of Appreciation when she is able and as often as she wants. You may leave messages as often as you like – check often to see what others have to say.