How did you learn about Art of Hosting (please add the date and place) and what attracted you to it?
I learned about Art of Hosting through Katie Boone in early 2014, when I was living in North Dakota. In July of 2014, Katie invited me to a three day Art of Participatory Leadership workshop in Mankato, and I was hooked. As a person who was involved in my community, and I was frustrated with the way standard meetings gagged many people, and prevented their voices from being heard. Art of Hosting practices were exactly what I was looking for to change the way we were communicating in my hometown.
Tell us about your experience with Art of Hosting as part of your life and work. What would you say your competence in it is? (new, starting practitioner, experienced practitioner, steward)
I returned to ND and began, slowly, using these practices to open up conversations around important topics in my community while working as a community organizer. There was an extraordinary amount of resistance- the first time I held a meeting in circle, the participants thought I was out of my mind. I continued to practice, and to invite others into the process. By the time my family and I moved to Mankato in March of 2016, a self organizing community group had grown in my small hometown, and there is now more civic engagement there than I can ever remember (I was raised there from the age of 3-18, and returned in 2008 at the age of 30 for another 8 years). My community of origin actually talks about challenges with one another, rather than taking about the problems with one another behind each other's backs. I'm now in Mankato, and I continue to practice under Katie's guidance as co-owner of Envision Lab; it is my hope that when the next three day Art of Participatory Leadership workshop is called in Mankato, members of the municipal government from my community of origin will be present to deepen their understanding of what it is to build resilient learning communities. I'd place my competency at the level of an intermediate practitioner- I've been practicing two years and understand the core patterns and their applications fairly well, but there is much learning and work left to be done.
What is the primary field/topic/focus in your hosting work?
The systemic transformation of economic, administrative, and municipal institutions and organizations. I've pursued graduate studies in public administration, and our work at Envision Lab addresses equity and access to economic development, small business services and entrepreneurial support; in addition, Katie and I consult with various organizations, groups and municipalities that are looking for new methods to address emerging community challenges. I think of this as addressing both sides of the challenge; we provide those who need access to traditional system equitable ways to enter those systems, while at the same time working with those system to remove barriers to access and transform the system itself.
Hello, Sara, and welcome to the Art of Hosting community! Glad to see you here. Post a photo when you can so we can really "see" you here. Then join in with all the conversations. You'll find plenty of resources here, too, to help you deepen your practice. And the more you add to your profile, the more the community can learn from you and share with you. We hope you will find value in exchanging in this virtual community!