Dialogue Leaders & Participants

Dialogue Leaders

Catherine (Cate) Creede, PhD

A Partner in the Potential Group consulting firm, Cate’s current projects are mainly in healthcare, especially in the complex network of Ontario teaching hospitals.  Her recent focus has been on creating more effective interprofessional collaboration and leadership, and on developing innovative and integrated care models.  She is a masterful designer and facilitator of planning and engagement processes to create commonality and understanding across diverse perspectives, a skilled capacity builder to develop internal stakeholders as change leaders and facilitators, and has deep skill at transforming systems and enabling leaders to be inspiring and effective change agents. In 2009/10, she was an originator and Co-Director of an innovative learning programme for health professionals becoming change leaders in the area of interprofessional care. She is working on several healthcare research projects, and is co-editing a book on advances in theory and practice of the Coordinated Management of Meaning communication theory, which will be published in late 2011. She is a founding member of the Board of the CMM Institute for Personal and Social Evolution. Cate’s other passion is for her volunteer work with children in Africa.  She is one of 3 co-leads responsible for all fundraising, strategic direction and operational oversight of the Nikibasika Development Program for 52 children orphaned by HIV/AIDS and conflict in Kasese, Uganda.

Linda Blong, Ph.D.

Linda Blong, Ph.D. is a Senior Consultant for the Public Dialogue Consortium, working to design and facilitate training workshops, citizen engagement processes and public meetings with elected officials, administrative staff and local residents. She comes to this position with extensive experience as co-leader and faculty in the Dialogue, Deliberation and Public Engagement Certificate Program at Fielding Graduate University. In that role she helps direct and teach the 17 week certificate program aimed at developing the mastery of mid-career specialists in public dialogue and deliberation. Linda is also a Senior Project Specialist at the Napa County Office of Education where she provides content and process expertise for California’s State Professional Development Grant. She is currently working with a team to advise the California Department of Education on the development of a statewide technical assistance system to address the needs of districts working to improve their policies, procedures, and practices in problem areas related to California’s State Performance Plan indicators. Before that, she served for 10 years as the Director of Projects with California Institute on Human Services at Sonoma State University.

Dialogue Participants (in alphabetical order)

John Costa

John A. Costa is editor of The Bulletin of Bend Oregon, and editor-in-chief of Western Communications, the privately-held company that owns The Bulletin and seven other newspapers in Oregon and California. A Vietnam veteran, he has worked in the newspaper business as a reporter and editor since leaving the Army in 1969. He was the deputy managing editor of The St. Petersburg Times, where he worked for 20 years, and was the executive editor of The Idaho Statesman for four years before moving to Bend in 1997. He is a member of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, a member of the board of directors of the Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellows at the University of Michigan, and a member of the Journalism Advisory Council at the University of Oregon. He is also a former trustee of the Oregon Council for the Humanities, and was a Pulitzer Prize juror.

In 2007 he delivered the annual Hovey Lecture at the University of Michigan, and in 2008 he joined the North American Committee of the International Press Association. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Villanova University in 1966, and was a Michigan Journalism Fellow in 1992-93.  He and his wife Denise have been married for 37 years and have three children.

Kenneth Gergen, Ph.D.

Kenneth J. Gergen, Ph.D., is a founding member, President of the Taos Institute and Chair of the Board, and the Mustin Professor of Psychology at Swarthmore College. Gergen also serves as an Affiliate Professor at Tilburg University in the Netherlands, and an Honorary Professor at the University of Buenos Aires. Gergen received his BA from Yale University and his PhD from Duke University, and has taught at Harvard University and Heidelberg University. He has been the recipient of two Fulbright research fellowships, the Geraldine Mao fellowship in Hong Kong, along with Fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science, and the Alexander Humboldt Stiftung. Gergen has also been the recipient of research grants from the National Science Foundation, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, and the Barra Foundation. He has received honorary degrees from Tilburg University and Saybrook Institute, and is a member of the World Academy of Art and Science.

Gergen is a major figure in the development of social constructionist theory and its applications to practices of social change. He also lectures widely on contemporary issues in cultural life, including the self, technology, postmodernism, the civil society, organizational change, developments in psychotherapy, educational practices, aging, and political conflict. Gergen has published over 300 articles in journals, magazines and books, and his major books include Toward Transformation in Social Knowledge, The Saturated Self, Realities and Relationships, and An Invitation to Social Construction. With Mary Gergen, he publishes an electronic newsletter, Positive Aging (www.positiveaging.net) now distributed to 20,000 recipients.

Gergen has served as the President of two divisions of the American Psychological Association, the Division on Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, and on Psychology and the Arts. He has served on the editorial board of 35 journals, and as the Associate Editor of The American Psychologist and Theory and Psychology. He has also served as a consultant to Sandoz Pharmaceutical Company, Arthur D. Little, Inc, the National Academy of Science, Trans-World Airlines, Bio-Dynamics, and Knight, Gladieux & Smith, Inc.

Mary Gergen, Ph.D.

Mary M. Gergen is a founder, board member and treasurer/secretary of the Taos Institute and a professor of psychology affiliated with the Women's Studies Program at Pennsylvania State University, the Delaware County Campus, Media, PA. She has positioned herself at the intellectual convergence of feminist theory and postmodernist thought, as a social constructionist. (Occasionally she gets run down, but the locale is intriguing all the same.) She has been involved in a great variety of the Taos projects, including conferences, organizational consulting and educational spheres.

Her recent publications include: Toward a New Psychology of Gender, edited with Sara N. Davis, Feminist Reconstructions in Psychology, Narrative, Gender & Performance (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage 2001) and Social Constructionism: A Reader (London: Sage, 2003) (Edited with K. J. Gergen). Among her earlier publications is Feminist Thought and the Structure of Knowledge.

Dorothy Johnson-Speight

Dorothy Johnson-Speight, MHS, LPC-highly regarded leader, lauded conference workshop speaker, and guest television commentator is a clarion voice against the war to end senseless acts of violent crime. Her work, though rooted in the city Philadelphia, has led to national appearances and presentations across the United States and abroad.

A licensed family therapist, Dorothy has been a long time supporter for the rights of children and families over her distinguished career in victim advocacy. Following the tragic 2001 murder of her 24 year old son Khaaliq Jabbar Johnson over a parking space dispute.  Ms. Johnson-Speight along with other grieving mothers founded the non-profit, Mothers In Charge, Inc., (MIC). MIC is a grassroots organization whose mission focuses on violence prevention through the education and intervention for children, young adults, families and community organizations. The organization’s mission is realized through collaborative partnerships with school districts, youth and faith-based community organizations, while providing grief support to families affected by violence.

As Executive Director and Founder of Mothers In Charge, Ms. Johnson-Speight has received many recognitions and awards for her work in the community. She has previously received Philadelphia Magazine’s coveted “Best Philadelphian” Award as well as recognition during the Philadelphia Eagles 75th Anniversary celebration as one of the “75 Greatest Living Philadelphians.” Under Dorothy’s leadership, numerous awards and recognitions of honor have been awarded to the organization including the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Director of Community Service Award, the Wells Fargo/Wachovia Community Service Award and the School District of Philadelphia Humanitarian Award.

A Native Philadelphian, Ms. Johnson-Speight received her Masters Degree in Human Services from Lincoln University and subsequently completed Immaculata University’s School Psychologist Certification Program. She has taken courses toward her Doctoral studies and continues to pursue other various educational training to remain an effective and empowering agent for change. In her spare time she enjoys traveling and is a frequent patron of the arts. She currently resides in the Philadelphia area and takes pleasure in spending time with her daughter and grandson.

Spoma Jovanovic, Ph.D.

Spoma Janovic is an Associate Professor in the department of communication faculty at UNC Greensboro.  Originally from California, she received her BA from UCLA and her masters and PhDs from the University of Denver. Her scholarly interests include ethics, civic engagement and community participation. She is active in various local community building projects including supporting the Truth and Community Reconciliation Project, and Action Greensboro’s creative character initiative.

Omi Jones, Ph.D.

Joni L. Jones/Omi Osun Olomo specializes in performance scholarship that focuses on identity, ethnography, Yoruba-based performance aesthetics, Black Feminisms and Theatre for Social Change. She teaches undergraduate courses in African-American theatre history and the performance of race. At the graduate level she teaches performance ethnography, performing Black Feminisms, Yoruba performance, and performance and activism. Dr. Jones was a Fulbright Fellow in Nigeria (1997-1998) where she taught at Obafemi Awolowo University and contributed Theatre for Social Change workshops to the Forum on Governance and Democracy in Ile-Ife. Her dramaturgical work includes con flama for Frontera @ Hyde Park Theatre, Clay Angels for New WORLD Theatre in Amherst, Massachusetts, and Shakin' the Mess Outta Misery andPill Hill for First Stage Productions in Austin, Texas. In Austin, Texas and Washington, D.C. she has received acting awards for her work in professional theatre. Dr. Jones was the opening plenary performer at the Second Annual Performance Studies Conference at Northwestern University with "sista docta." That work has also been presented at National Communication Association National Conference, Pedagogy/Theatre of the Oppressed Conference, and the Black Women in the Academy II Conference. Her print scholarship on performance and identity have appeared in Text and Performance Quarterly, Theatre Topics, The Drama Review, Theatre Insight, Theatre Journal, andBlack Theatre News. She has served on the Arts Advisory Panel to the College Board, consultant to the Educational Testing Service, Chair of the Theatre Board for the National Foundation for the Arts, Chair of the Theatre Review Board of the Cultural Contracts Office, Parliamentarian for the Black Theatre Network, and member of the Theatre Review Panel for the Texas Commission on the Arts. Dr. Jones was the 1998-1999 recipient of the College of Communication Teaching Excellence Award. In 2000, she completed her tenure as secretary to the Performance Studies Division of the National Communication Association and as executive board member for Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed. She is currently writing a book on the use of a jazz aesthetic among theatre artists with particular attention to Laurie Carlos, Daniel Alexander Jones, and Sharon Bridgforth, as well as a book documenting the work of The Austin Project—a collaborative venture among women of color artists, scholars and activists and their allies.

Louis Massiah

Louis Massiah is an independent documentary filmmaker whose films often explore historical and political subjects. His award-winning works, which have been seen widely on public television and at film festivals internationally, includeW.E.B. Du Bois: A Biography in Four Voices and Louise Alone Thompson Patterson: In Her Own Words. Currently, Massiah is producing Haytian Stories, exploring the history of the 200-year relationship between the United States and Haiti.

Massiah is the founder and executive director of Scribe Video Center in Philadelphia, a media arts organization that provides low-cost workshops and equipment access to emerging video/filmmakers and community organizations. At Scribe, he has facilitated and executive produced over two hundred documentaries covering major issues and concerns facing urban communities. Massiah has also designedPrecious Places Community History Project, a citywide oral history portrait that is composed of short documentaries produced with neighborhood organizations in Philadelphia and throughout the region.

Louis Massiah is the recipient of a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation fellowship (1996-2001) and has received awards from Columbia-DuPont, The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, The Global Village Documentary Festival, The National Black Programming Consortium, The Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters, The Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame, and several Emmy award nominations. Massiah was selected for a Pew fellowship, two Rockefeller Intercultural fellowships, and the Paul Robeson Award for Social Justice from Philadelphia's Bread and Roses Community Foundation.

Massiah received a B.A. from Cornell University and an M.S. in documentary filmmaking from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In addition to teaching at Scribe, Louis Massiah has been an artist-in-residence and on faculty at City College of New York, Princeton University, Ithaca College, the Center for Africana Studies at The University of Pennsylvania, and American University. For the 2008-2009 academic year, Massiah is the Distinguished Artist in Residence at Haverford College and a lecturer at The University of Pennsylvania.

Kent Ono, Ph.D.

Kent A. Ono conducts research on rhetoric and discourse, media and film, and race, ethnic, and cultural studies. He has published several books and has contributed essays to numerous journals, including Communication Monographs, Critical Studies in Media CommunicationCommunication and Critical/Cultural StudiesWestern Journal of Communication, Philosophy and RhetoricAmerasia JournalJournal of Asian American Studies, and Cultural Studies. Ono directed the Asian American Studies Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from 2002-2007. He also directed the Cultural Studies Program at the University of California at Davis from 1999-2002. He founded the Asian American Cultural Politics Research Cluster at UC Davis in 1997. He wrote the proposal to create the journal,Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies. He helped propose, organize and chair the Critical and Cultural Studies Division of NCA from 2000-2001; chaired the Asian Pacific American Caucus of NCA in 1996-1997; co-chaired the Asian Pacific American Caucus of the Society for Cinema Studies (1999-2001); and has planned several conferences. He co-edits the book series "Critical Cultural Communication" with Sarah Banet-Weiser at New York University Press. He is also co-editor-elect of the journal "Critical Studies in Media Communication"with Ronald Jackson.

Steve Pyser, J.D.

Steven N. Pyser leads the Pyser Group, specializing in ethics, leadership development, corporate governance and sustainability strategies. He created a solutions-based model by leveraging his business knowledge and litigation experience in high-stakes jury trials. The paradigm uses critical and systems thinking, decision making and Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMM) approaches.

Professor Pyser is an active researcher who has taught in higher education with distinction. His writings include ancillaries for Law and Ethics in the Business Environment (2009), refereed journal articles, reports, chapters in edited books and op-eds. Internationally recognized as a public participation and facilitation expert, his work is cited by authoritative sources such as the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat and The Ministry of Social Development of New Zealand.

Committed to research, writing and editing excellence, he has been a reviewer, member of editorial boards, associate editor and editor. He was invited to Caux Round Table Scholars' Colloquium (2011 Global Dialogue) to strengthen private enterprise and public governance.

Barbara Rick

Barbara Rick is president and founder of Out of The Blue Films, Inc., an award-winning independent documentary company officially recognized as a 501(c)(3) by the IRS for its dedication to the creation of exceptional films that explore, articulate, and celebrate humanity. A Peabody and Emmy-winning filmmaker and journalist for more than twenty years, Ms. Rick has produced, directed, and written a number of highly acclaimed films. Currently, she is launching a groundbreaking documentary series and interactive initiative examining the causes and consequences of the most corrosive human emotion: ENVY. The project is the recipient of a $250,000 research and development grant from philanthropist Mary Catherine Bunting.

Her most recent documentary, Girls of Daraja, celebrates the unique and powerful Daraja Academy in Kenya: the first free secondary school for girls in all of East Africa. Winner of the Jury Prize for Best Short Documentary at the 2010 Lights Camera Help Film Festival, G.O.D. was praised in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, the Huffington Post, and endorsed by readers of The Nation as one of the Top Ten YouTube videos deserving a wider audience.

Her other acclaimed and award-winning films include Road To Ingwavuma (2008), In Good Conscience: Sister Jeannine Gramick's Journey of Faith (2004), and Sounds Sacred (2001). She also directed, produced and co-wrote the PBS film, SHE SAYS/ Women In News. Rick won a News & Documentary Emmy in the ‘Outstanding Informational Programming-Long Form’ category for that film and was cited as a finalist by the 2002-2003 Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia awards jury. SHE SAYS received major funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Ford Foundation, the Whitehead Foundation, Bill Moyers, and others. Special screenings were sponsored by Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, KCET in Los Angeles, and New York Women In Film & Television.

Barbara Rick served as a freelance writer/producer/field producer and off-air reporter at ABC News from 1994-2005, where she wrote for the anchors of Good Morning America, World News Now, World News Tonight Saturday & Sunday, and World News Tonight with Peter Jennings. Other clients over the years include HBO, Disney Theatrical Productions, National Geographic Television, and CNN. Barbara Rick has appeared as a guest on women's issues on the ABC News Now Digital Network and she and her films have been featured in scores of newspaper, magazine, and web articles and radio and television spots around the country and the world.

Ron Scott

Ron Scott is a board member for the James and Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership. He brings extensive experience to this role, given his extensive experience a community and civil rights organizer, attorney and media maker from Detroit. He was a co-founder of the Detroit branch of the Black Panther Party in the 1960s, and later founded the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality. A journalist and multimedia-focused activist, he also writes on the Detroit News political blog Democracy Now.

Ilene Wassermann, Ph.D.

Ilene Wasserman, PhD has consulted and coached leaders and teams throughout organizations foster teams that leverage multiple dimensions of diversity by enhancing communication and collaboration.  Ilene’s approach is appreciative, based on the principles that we transform organizational cultures through engaging the whole system to move in the direction of their highest aspirations.  She has worked successfully with financial and health care institutions, Fortune 100 companies, institutions of higher education, and community and religious-based groups conducting organizational assessments and designing interventions aimed at achieving high performing, inclusive work cultures.  Ilene has presented at professional conferences and is an adjunct faculty member at Columbia University’s Teacher’s College where she teaches courses related to emotional and social intelligence and transformative dialogue. She also teaches leadership and consulting at the Haub School of Business, St. Joseph’s University. Ilene received her PhD in 2004 from the Fielding Graduate University in Human and Organizational Development. She also holds Masters degrees both in Counseling Psychology and Social Work from Washington University and a Bachelor degree from Cornell University in Human Development. Ilene is active in her community and serves on a number of community boards.

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