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Recognizing NCDD’s fabulous Office Manager, Joy Garman

Today is “Administrative Professionals Day,” and I wanted to take a moment to thank our amazing office manager, Joy Garman.

JoyWithCake-borderMany of you hear from Joy when you first join the Coalition, when it’s time to renew, when you have a question about sending dues or conference registration fees, and when we need a new bio from you. Joy started working with NCDD in 2006 soon after Andy and I moved from Vermont to Pennsylvania, and we’re now completely dependent on her!  :)

Joy manages our Quickbooks, she manages the database, and keeps the membership rolls in good standing. She helps our Board with our financial statements, gets them metrics on membership, and does tons of other things that keep NCDD functioning.

She is a godsend, truly, and she is one of the sweetest and most positive people I’ve ever met.


Joy actually lives right down the street from us, and does most of her work from home like Andy and I do. She comes to our place and does her “office hours” once a week for a couple of hours, when she processes checks and receipts, checks in with me about various tasks, and perhaps most importantly, brings her amazing energy to our workspace. (I love my husband, but working together all the time can be, let’s say, challenging sometimes — and Joy helps more than she knows!)

Joy manages her family of six (she has four adorable kids, all of whom are extraordinary and super-sweet like their mom) and her NCDD work beautifully, and finds time to be active in the community as well. We feel so lucky to have found Joy, and wanted to recognize her today. Thank you, Joy!!!

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Innovative Journalism Can Take Public Conversation to Scale

We have barely begun to use major media and journalism – both old and new forms – to scale up the impact of powerful public conversations about public issues beyond the rooms and online forums where those conversations take place. Our societies urgently need innovations and development in the area of public conversation journalism in order to bring collective intelligence and community wisdom into our policy-making and into the everyday activities of ordinary citizens and organizations.

In this post I want to highlight the most remarkable public conversation journalism I’ve ever seen and explore some of the kinds of work public conversation journalists do and could do.

A few weeks ago 122 members of the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation created, edited, and rated 95 ideas about what they’d like to see and do in their national conference in October 2014 (and you can see the results here). To my surprise and delight, an item I contributed ended up in third place:

Explore the best examples we can find where major media have partnered with dialogue and deliberation efforts to actually “scale up” public dialogue and deliberation to the regional, state, and national levels – or which contained lessons and best practices to help us do that in the future.

Thanks to these results I’ve decided it is finally time to share a major research project I’ve been working on over the last 15 years. I posted the last pieces of that work online last month. So now a major new resource is available – a thorough examination of what I believe is the most potent example of media-sponsored public conversation on public issues in North America and possibly the world. This initiative – all but unknown even to specialists in the field – was undertaken in 1991 by Maclean’s magazine, Canada’s leading newsweekly in collaboration with Canadian TV. The resources now available online include the entire 40 pages of Maclean’s coverage, the complete CTV documentary video, detailed interviews with four of the major players, and my own descriptions and analyses (see www.co-intelligence.org/Macleans1991Experiment.html). (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

CommunityMatters & CIRD Conference Call this Thursday

CM_logo-200pxWe wanted to make sure NCDD members know that our organizational partners with CommunityMatters are working with the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design to host an application assistance call this Thursday, April 24th from 3-4pm. The call is a follow up to their April 2nd Program Information Webinar on a Request for Proposals from the National Endowment for the Arts and Project for Public Spaces that is still open.

This week’s call will feature thoughts from Cynthia Nikitin of the Project for Public Spaces, and CIRD staff will be available to answer questions about the Request for Proposals and application process. We encourage you all to take advantage of this great opportunity and register now.

You can find more information on the call and the RFP by visiting the CM website. We hope to hear you on the call!


Important 10-question survey for NCDD volunteers and contractors

To all members of the NCDD community:

With our small staff and modest budget over the years, we’ve always relied on NCDD members to step forward as volunteers to plan the national and regional conferences, organize our online events, host our book clubs, contribute content to the website, create videos, provide each other with advice, and so much more.  We are a Coalition after all, and that’s part of our culture.

I hope you’ve noticed that NCDD has a lot going on these days — now more than ever before, from my vantage point. We have our new member map and directory, regular confab calls and tech tuesdays, lots of rich collaborative projects like Creating Community Solutions (the national dialogue on mental health project) and the CommunityMatters partnership, a news blog that keeps getting better and better.  And we want to keep up this momentum as well as the high quality of our activities and products.

NCDDSeattle-GRs-borderWe’re looking to create a go-to list of NCDD members we can tap into when we need volunteers — and when we have opportunities to contract with NCDD members.

There are many opportunities on the horizon for you to participate more deeply in NCDD.  We’ll need researchers and report writers, people who can theme and summarize the best listserv conversations and blog threads, people who can help us do systems mapping and geo-mapping, people who can interview leaders in the field for the blog, collect mini case stories for the Dialogue Storytelling Tool, share their own stories and cases, do graphic recording, help manage our social media accounts, and so much more.

Some tasks will be volunteer tasks, of course, but some that require a greater time commitment or a specialized skill set will be compensated.

If you’re interested in volunteering or contracting with NCDD in the coming months and years, please take a few minutes and fill out the 10-question survey that’s up at:


This survey will help us develop a rolodex of great members who are willing to be contacted about volunteer and paid opportunities that arise, based on your skills, experience and interests.

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation a key player in Thursday’s Text Talk Act

We’re excited to announce that Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation is partnering with Creating Community Solutions to promote youth participation in Thursday’s Text Talk Act event! How cool is that?


We hope many of you are planning on participating on Thursday. For those of you still on the fence, please join in and hold at least one TTA conversation.  All you need is 3 people, a smartphone, and about an hour, anytime on the 24th.  Anyone can participate, though involving young people is especially encouraged.

If you are planning on hosting a Text Talk Act conversation on Thursday, do us a favor and add yourself to the Creating Community Solutions map! After logging in/creating an account on the Creating Community Solutions site, click on the “Add your dialogue to the map” button under the “Dialogues” tab — or just click here).

Learn more about Text Talk Act here, and sign up today.

NCDD is part of the collaboration running the Creating Community Solutions national dialogue effort aimed at tackling mental health issues in our communities, along with these other NCDDers:  National Institute for Civil Discourse, Everyday Democracy, National Issues Forums Institute, AmericaSpeaks and the Deliberative Democracy Consortium. Check out all of our previous posts on Creating Community Solutions here.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Five Strategies to Include Community in Collective Impact

As of late, our field and NCDD specifically has been looking more closely at “collective impact” models of creating change in our communities, and we saw an article from Rich Harwood, an NCDD organizational member and president of the Harwood Institute, on that theme recently that was worth sharing.

Rich’s article looked at the way that, though collective impact strategies are becoming more popular, the involvement of local communities is often left out of our thinking on how we create collective impact: “My chief concern here is that we sometimes leave robust notions of community out of collective impact discussions and implementation efforts. At times, the very nature of community seems like an afterthought, even a nuisance.” 

He says that rather than imposing collective impact strategies on communities, we have to ensure that the community and its civic culture are part of the calculations for how to succeed. What is civic culture? Rich says,   (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Managing Extreme Opinions During Deliberation

We are happy to share the reflective piece below from one of our newest NCDD supporting members, Donald Ellis of University of Hartford’s School of Communication. Donald’s post came via our Submit-to-Blog Form. Do you have news you want to share with the NCDD network? Just click here to submit your news post for the NCDD Blog!

Even during those heavy late-night conversations in college about God the guy with an unmovable opinion, who just couldn’t see outside his own boundaries, was annoying. Extreme voices, and the harsh opinions and rigid sensibilities that accompany them, are always a problem during deliberation or any attempted genuine discussion.

The practicalities of deliberation require manageably sized groups that are small enough for sufficient participation in genuine engagement with the other side that is not defused throughout a large network of people. In fact, smaller deliberative groups provide a more empirical experience one that is more easily observed and measured.

Originally, deliberation was (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

The Importance of Completed Conversations

This reflective piece was submitted by NCDD member Katy Byrne, MFT Psychotherapist, columnist, radio host, and public speaker, via our Submit-to-Blog Form. Do you have news you want to share with the NCDD network? Just click here to submit your news post for the NCDD Blog!

“We live in a time when there are so many sophisticated means for communication: email, telephone, fax, yet it is very difficult for individuals, groups, and nations to communicate with each other. We feel we can’t use words to speak, and so we use bombs to communicate.” – Thich Nhat Hanh, Calming The Fearful Mind.

Hairballs aren’t easy.

Why do we leave, abandon, disappear, walk away or never talk to someone again?

Those silly fights or sudden break ups, what’s that about? Twenty, thirty, forty years and vamoose… gone. What‘s up with that? Sometimes it’s a wife, a sister, a friend who just blows up and loses it. “Hey, what happened?” we ask ourselveswhile reading multiple emails with words in black and white.

Some of the past loves of our lives were important .Some died and we lost the opportunity for final closure. A few had unhappy endings. But don’t many of us have a couple past relations that were (more…)

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Free online events coming up from the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation

We’ve got some great activities coming up in the next few months, and I wanted to extend a warm welcome to everybody who works in dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement to participate. Our events are not exclusive to NCDD members (though we hope they’d make you want to join!).

Tech_Tuesday_BadgeThis Tuesday at 2pm EST (11 PST), we have a 1-hour “Tech Tuesday” event with Colleen Hardwick, who will walk us through a cool engagement technology called PlaceSpeak (learn more and register at www.ncdd.org/14552).

This Thursday you don’t want to miss the opportunity to participate in Text Talk Act — a project of Creating Community Solutions, a partnership we’ve involved in that’s part of Obama’s national dialogue on mental health. This innovative project uses the fun and convenience of text messaging to scale up face-to-face dialogue — especially among young people. Learn more here about our strategy this round for working with youth organizers.

Next month on May 27th at 1pm EST (10am PST), our Tech Tuesday focuses on Ethelo Decisions, an exciting new tool that helps people weigh options and make decisions about public problems (www.ncdd.org/14562).

And we’re excited that for our June “confab call” (on the 12th at 2pm EST), our special guest is leading scholar Peter Levine, who will be talking with us about his new book on the democracy movement, We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For: The Promise of Civic Renewal in America. (Registration will be up soon for this special confab.)

You can see a list of all NCDD’s upcoming events at www.ncdd.org/events (including our national conference in the fall!), and you can always go to www.ncdd.org/tag/confab-archives to check out recordings of past confabs and tech tuesdays.

ThankYouImageAlso, I want to give a special shout-out to NCDD Board member Susan Stuart Clark, who is helping to manage the Tech Tuesday events, and to supporting member Ben Roberts, who is working with us to use Maestroconference with Tech Tuesday presenters who don’t have their own webinar protocol.  Thank you, Susan and Ben!!!

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Art of Hosting Trainings & NCDD Discounts

We’ve previously highlighted the newest round of skill-building retreats from the Art of Hosting Beyond the Basics team, and we wanted to make sure that NCDD members know it’s not too late to sign up for this year’s retreats. The next retreat will be taking place May 15th – 17th in Nova Scotia, followed by another in British Columbia this September 21st – 24th.

We are excited to announce that NCDD has been able to secure a discount for our members at the retreats! Teams of 3 or more NCDD members are eligible for a 15% discount on registration if you sign up as an “NCDD group”.  So if you plan on attending the AoH retreat, we encourage you to let the network know via our Discussion Listserv (find out more and sign up for the listserv here) so that you can connect with others interested in attending.  

We have been hearing very good things about the AoH retreats, and (more…)