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A tour of the Detroit Veterans Housing Program


by Amanda Falkenbury

Dr. Richard Bush, Director of eLearning Services, and I visited the Detroit Veterans Housing Program this week.  We were invited for a tour by Volunteers of America Michigan.  This program offers two-year transitional housing for homeless veterans.  The facility houses 60 beds and is currently filled to capacity – only six months after opening its doors (November 11, 2011).  In addition to housing, the program provides veterans with counseling, employment training, and job placement assistance.  Leading the tour was Emilie Rohrback, Director of Community Engagement for Volunteers of America (Southeast Michigan).  She showed us around the common areas as well as the living quarters.  Upon visiting the living quarters, Dr. Bush, an army veteran himself, commented on the neatly made beds and the perfectly aligned shoes (heel to heel) sitting under each bed.  “It never leaves you”, he said, referencing the neatness required of military personnel. 

The facility is located on the outskirts of Detroit’s New Center area.  The program is housed in a building on East Milwaukee and offers a spectacular mural of Detroit at first view when you walk through the entrance.  When leaving the building I took one last look at the mural; it reminded me that Detroit is home - even to those who are homeless. 

If you’d like to learn more about the Detroit Veterans Housing Program, here is their website:


Healthy Safety Net 2012: A Blues Symposium


Jerry Lindman, Director of the Nonprofit Management Center at LTU, along with Mike Montgomery and I are in Michigan’s beautiful capitol of Lansing attending the Healthy Safety Net 2012 Symposium.  This symposium is hosted by Blue Cross Blue Shield and is a highly interactive symposium for teams from Michigan’s free clinics, federally qualified health centers, hospitals, rural health centers, and other safety net health care organizations to learn about the changing health care environment and best practices for organizational sustainability.  Jerry is on the Planning Committee and moderating Day 2 on organizational sustainability.  Mike is speaking at the event and we are here to promote LTU’s academic programs to include the Nonprofit Management and Health IT Management programs.


True healthcare reform calls for transformation of leadership and management


This article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review captures the current thinking on the transformation needed in the US healthcare “system” if we are serious about improving health outcomes and bending the cost curve. It calls a broader definition of what we consider “providing healthcare” to include consideration the environment and community we live in. It goes on to identify communities in the US which are making progress on such transformation and demonstrating valuable outcomes. All this has significant implications on the leadership and management at healthcare organizations.

Sir Ken Robinson Says Schools Kill Creativity


The keynote speaker at the ICAM conference was Sir Ken Robinson and quite possibly one of the best presenters I have ever heard.  He presented for two hours and had the entire audience captivated with his skillful presentatin and dry wit.  His British sense of humor was well received and presented a very powerful message about educating students on creativity, imagination, and innovation.

His presentation was focused on  his books, “The Element,” and “Out of Their Minds.” No! I don’t get commission on marketing his books:-)

The following are some of the quotes from his presentation:

“Diversity is the pulse of human achievement.”

“Life is not linear.”

“We need people who can think differently.”

“We live in a world that is culturally challenged.”

“Imagination is the root of innovation.”

“Anticipate the future: don’t predict it.”

“We are born with a capacity to be literate and creative.”

“If you’re serious about leading a culture of innovation, everyone and everyting need to be involved.”

“It’s not HOW creative you are, but how YOU are creative.”

“The role of a leader is not about control, it’s about climate control.”

Source: Sir Ken Robinson, 2012 ICAM Conference, San Diego, CA., May 2, 2012.


It’s worth taking a look at the following link for one of his presentations:


AACSB 2012 International Conference & Annual Meeting-San Diego


Al and I (Nadia) are currently attending the 2012 AACSB International Conference and Annual Meeting in lovely San Diego, CA.  Although the weather hasn’t been that great, the conference has.  The conference is the largest gathering of deans, associate deans, department chairs, faculty, program directors, and business school teams.  The networking opportunity at the AACSB annual meetings is absolutely wonderful.  There are members from all over the world covering all continents sharing their thoughts and experiences on something common to all: management education.


An Afternoon with Dr. Ken Gergen


Thursday’s Keynote was Dr. Ken Gergen, whose work has been instrumental and deeply inspiring to many doctoral students in a variety of business disciplines.   I had the privilege of having Dr. Gergen on my doctoral dissertation committee and was delighted to reconnect with him.  Dr. Gergen is a senior research professor at Swarthmore College and President of the Taos Institute.  Dr. Gergen has been a major contributor to social constructionist theory and organizational change practices and shared the stage with Dr. Danielle Zandee, Professor of Sustainable Organizational Development at Nyenrode Business Universiteit in Breukelen, the Netherlands, to speak about how to interweave micro practices into daily conversation.

Conversation itself undergoes renewal–it is an in-between-emerging process, causing the language to develop, including the interpretations and meanings. Ken Gergen and Danielle Zandee highlighted their already enlightening dialogue with a little play about how conversations can degenerate, and how to prevent this – or even turn them into a generative alternative.  Danielle asked the audience to think about ways to ‘interweave’ or ‘interlock’ the micro practices into day to day conversations, and make them sustainable.  For example, they focused on the act of ‘listening’ in our everyday dialogue to create generative conversations.  They demonstrated the difference between an ‘active’ listener and an ‘inactive’ listener and how we chose to listen to each other.

How we chose to listen impacts the outcome of the next moment.

Reconnecting with Joep C. de Jong


In May 2005, Joep C. de Jong, a senior executive from British Telecom, hosted LTU’s Doctoral students and family members at the World Headquarters in Amsterdam.  Both Dr. Steenkamp and Dr. Castelli were the Program Directors of the DMIT and DBA programs respectively  and the trip included visits to organizations and universities in England and The Netherlands.  He had fond memories of the visit and the first thing Mr. de Jong asked was “How is Dr. Steenkamp, Dr. Castelli, and Patty Riney?”

Mr. de Jong is now the CEO of Van Harte & Lingsma [] and presented his Leadership Value Chain Model and principles of Appreciative Leadership during our workshop.  We had an opportunity to share a lovely dinner with Joep and talk about the growth of the doctoral programs and the accomplishments of our students.

WAIC 2012 Ghent, Belgium


Our workshop started with the findings from the original study of Appreciative Leaders and transitioned to a shared inquiry and dialogue of current appreciative leaders to include the capabilities required to lead from a strengths-based perspective to create positive change.  We had close to 100 participants from several countries that shared their ideas about what makes an appreciative leader from a social constructionist viewpoint.

This is a continuation of a longitudinal study of appreciative leaders that was originally started by Dr. Marge Schiller in 1999 and presented in 2001 at the 1st World Appreciative Inquiry Conference in Boston, MA.  It is a decade later and we are working with Dr. Schiller and collecting additional data that will be analyzed and compared to the original model of appreciative leadership to understand the meaning, characteristics, and actions of appreciative leaders from a variety of cultures and locations around the world.

World Appreciate Inquiry Conference, Ghent Belgium


Today AI is challenged enormously to contribute to a wider societal application.  Questions and issues in our complex and interconnected society are in essence interdependent: they can no longer be resolved from a single perspective.  To meet the challenges of today, we must find other ways to grow ourselves, to develop the organizations we work in, as well as the communities we live in.  We should excel in the way we connect, learn, collaborate and merge our strengths.  The generative power of AI will lead to sustainable breakthroughs by establishing strong and interconnected relationships with multiple actors.

This conference is focusing on scaling-up the generative power of AI and kicked-off with an opening keynote speaker: David Cooperrider, a co-originator of Appreciative Inquiry.  He kicked off the conference with a wonderful 25 year history of Appreciative Inquiry and its most innovative applications of the way AI has changed our view on change and development.  It shifted our attention from the world of people and organizations as ‘problems-to-be-solved,’ to the world as a ‘connection of people and their strengths.’

World Appreciative Inquiry Conference, Ghent Belgium

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We [Dr. Jackie Stavros & Dr. Anne Kohnke] have arrived in Belgium to participate in the 5th World Appreciative Inquiry Conference in Ghent, Belgium.  We are collaborating with Joep de Jong and Dr. Marge Schiller and will be conducting a workshop on Appreciative Leaders: The Social Construction of Generative Connections.  This workshop is designed to address and understand the meaning, characteristics, and actions of appreciative leaders from a variety of cultures and locations around the world.

There are close to 800 participants from over 50 countries.  Tomorrow we will be joining up with Joep de Jong, CEO of Van Harte & Lingsma.  Joep graciously hosted 40 of our doctoral students in May 2005 during their international trip to England and The Netherlands.


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