Clients / Projects

Some project/client examples follow.

I co-designed and was the primary moderator for this TNS conference.  One of my proudest accomplishments.

Sustainability: An Exploration of the Social Dimensions
October 5-7, 2000 – Atlanta, GA


Day 1: An Introduction to the Natural Step FrameworkThursday, October 5th, 2000

The conference began with Mats Lederhausen, Vice President of Global Strategy, McDonalds Corporation. Mr. Lederhausen was President of McDonalds Sweden when they introduced The Natural Step’s approach and integrated sustainability into corporate strategy and operations. He described why sustainability is fundamental to business strategy in the 21st Century and how McDonalds Sweden moved from being one of the least to one of the most admired companies in Sweden around environmental issues. Next, Dr. Karl-Henrik Robèrt, Founder and Chair of The Natural Step, introduced core concepts of The Natural Step approach to sustainability including the basic science and principles, backcasting (working backwards from a vision of long-term success), and strategic methods of analysis.

In the afternoon, a panel of corporate leaders discussed the role of sustainability in business and the challenges and opportunities of implementing sustainable practices. Presenters included Ray Anderson (Interface, Inc.), Mats Lederhausen (McDonalds Corporation), Sarah Severn (Nike), and Nick Sonntag (CH2M Gore & Storrie).

Days 2-3: Exploring Social Dimensions of SustainabilityFriday, October 6th and Saturday, October 7th, 2000

Days 2-3 included plenary presentations, breakout sessions, and numerous opportunities for dialogue. Presenters such as Betty Sue Flowers, Mathis Wackernagel, and Vicki Robin explored the assumptions, stories, and myths we live by and how they keep the current unsustainable system in place.

During these two days, the conversation continued with an exploration of new stories and assumptions that can guide us to a more sustainable future. Topics included areas such as biomimicry, new ways of measuring progress and well-being, and innovative approaches to ensure social and financial equity and environmental sustainability. Participants also had the opportunity to hear case studies and current examples of integrated approaches to the social dimensions of sustainability.

The conference closed with an exploration of actions we can take as individuals, corporations, governments, and citizens to move toward a more sustainable society.

Throughout the event, there were numerous structured opportunities for participants to explore these issues in relation to their own situations and to network with the presenters and other participants.


The best way out is always through.” -Robert Frost

Thank you to all of our conference participants and presenters who helped create a learning environment at the Carter Center during our Fifth Annual Conference. The conference was an unprecedented success, allowing for breakthrough dialogue and participant-speaker interaction.

Led by an outstanding collection of presenters and facilitors, a true community was formed at the Carter Center. Together, we examined new “sustainability myths”, innovations, and stories that can guide us to a more sustainable future for people and the planet.

Throughout the 3-day event, small groups of participants convened during lunch, and in structured afternoon sessions, to discuss topics surrounding the social dimensions of sustainability and system condition 4. Each group brought their thoughts, inspirations and concerns back to fellow conference attendees in the Carter Center’s Chapel during thought-provoking group dialogue sessions.

The large group dialogue sessions provided a venue for everyone to be heard individually, as well as collectively, by way of keypad audience polling technology.

We have also posted a selection from our “Working Wall” containing conference feedback and reflections from participants during the event.

Nike, Norm Thompson make splash at Natural Step conference

Portland Business Journal – by Brian J. Back

The Possibility ‘Keypad’ Group Response System

The Tax Man

Bill Sizemore continues to mature as he organizes an impressive lineup for this weekend’s tax conference.
Those who dismiss the Oct. 24-25 conference on tax reform as a Bill Sizemore publicity stunt should take a closer look. Though the Salem conference is widely viewed as nothing more than Sizemore’s entree into the 1998 gubernatorial race, the tax-slashing, government-bashing activist has actually put together a useful event. Rather than coming across as an attention-seeking charlatan, Sizemore may finally have grown up.As the conference’s panel demonstrates, this is not an arch-conservative dog-and-pony show. Sizemore is interested in bona fide debate on tax reform. The event’s key speakers are four respectable tax experts who represent a fair snapshot of political ideologies.Michael Ettlinger of Washington, D.C.’s Citizens for Tax Justice clearly leans to the left. He’s balanced by Grover Norquist, founder and executive director of the conservative Americans for Tax Reform. Patrick Fleenor of the Tax Foundation, also from Washington, D.C., stakes out the right side of the middle ground, while Jeff Hamond, a moderate Democrat from San Francisco’s Redefining Progress, is his counterpart on the left.In setting up the conference, Sizemore got help from one of the most credible dollars-and-cents experts in Oregon. Jim Scherzinger, state legislative revenue officer, helped Sizemore select the panel and has agreed to examine the proposals that take shape there.

Sizemore also says all the proposals must be “revenue neutral”–that is, they must generate the same cash flow that the current tax structure brings in to state coffers. “If this conference was me running for governor,” Sizemore says, “it would focus on cutting taxes. But this is about changing how we collect taxes, not how much we collect.” Sizemore says the best proposals will be presented to Oregonians in a statewide poll.

Sizemore acknowledges, however, that the conference will help his tax-slashing cause. “No one will be able to say Sizemore just went into his kitchen and took out his crayons and drafted a tax-cutting plan without talking to anybody first,” he told Willamette Week. “I’ll be able to say I tried to get a consensus. Then I can go and write my own.”

The tax conference demonstrates Sizemore’s coming of age in another way as well. The fact that Norquist is a key speaker confirms that Sizemore has enough prestige to receive the blessing of arguably the most influential Republican policy maker in the country.

Norquist is the executive director of Americans for Tax Reform, a group he founded in 1985 to build grassroots support for Ronald Reagan’s tax-cut package. Touching a nerve, ATR slowly developed into a power center for Republican strategizing, and today, Norquist is credited with designing the blueprint for Newt Gingrich’s 1994 “revolution.”

Gingrich called Norquist the “brightest grassroots activist on the whole tax front” and still speaks with him weekly for help in guiding the Republican program. Norquist also heads an ad hoc group he calls the “Leave Us Alone Coalition,” which links disparate pieces of the Republican party.

The unifying theme among Norquist’s followers is a demand for smaller government. That fits well into ATR’s anti-tax crusade, in which it funds tax-cutting measures all over the country.

Sizemore dismisses the notion that he’s following some form of national playbook. He says he met Norquist at a conference in D.C. four years ago. The two became ideological allies.

Sizemore, in fact, has been ATR’s Oregon contact for years and, more important, was one of four Oregonians on a 1995 list of 73 regular ATR conference-call participants, ranging from former Oregon state Rep. Kevin Mannix to former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed.

One of ATR’s pet causes was Sizemore’s Measure 47. ATR contributed $600,000 to its campaign late last election season.

Sizemore and Norquist share another common goal: reducing the power of unions. While both men couch their anti-union efforts as a way to shrink government, critics note that it also has the effect of eroding support for political opponents. “Norquist is linked to efforts in lab test states like California and Washington and Oregon to sap union support of Democrats,” says political researcher Daniel Junas.

The effort in Oregon is being spearheaded by Sizemore, who has offered no fewer than seven versions of ballot initiatives that would either prohibit public employee unions from directly deducting dues from paychecks (widely known as direct deposit) or–broadening the focus to private unions–would require union members to authorize any monies used for political purposes.

The idea, according to Junas, comes straight from the Norquist playbook. Norquist is credited with convincing California Gov. Pete Wilson to push the issue through a ballot measure in that state.

Now, looking quite gubernatorial himself, Sizemore is pushing the same issue.

Complete Communities for Clackamas County

Clackamas County logo

watch the video Interested citizens, elected officials and business leaders from throughout Clackamas County crowded into Gregory Forum at Clackamas Community College May 16 for the Complete Community Congress IV. Attendees shared their diverse opinions on the meaning of Healthy Communities and discussed various paths toward achieving that goal.
At several intervals throughout the discussion, attendees noted their opinions through a keypad polling technique that compiled their answers within minutes.

Participants heard supportive comments from Commissioners Bob Austin, Jim Bernard and Ann Lininger. State Senator, Martha Schrader and State Representative, Bill Kennemer, who championed the Complete Communities programs during their tenures as county commissioners, also attended.

Clackamas County has received national recognition for the unique Community Congresses and has brought together people to discuss issues of concern that have led to program initiatives by the board.

A summary report is being compiled and will be posted on the web.

Community Congress Community Congress

Community Congress Community Congress

# # #

The Complete Communities program began in 1999 as a response by the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) to citizen requests for increased participation in decisions that affect their lives. Its mission, developed by a 65-member design committee, is to “Engage the greatest number of County residents in defining our common and unique community values; identifying the diverse attributes of complete communities; and guiding future policy decisions and actions.”

Since its inception, the BCC has hosted five Community Congresses, providing an opportunity for hundreds of local officials, citizen, education and business leaders to work together on a range of issues.  Through these collaborative efforts, it is generally agreed that a Complete Community in Clackamas County has the following attributes:

  • Engaged citizenry
  • Cultural diversity
  • Variety of cultural opportunities
  • Excellent and well-funded educational system
  • Range of employment options
  • Environmental health
  • Strong growth management and land use planning
  • Network of health and social services
  • Variety of housing choices for all residents
  • Sufficient parks and recreation
  • Assurance of public safety
  • Transportation system with a range of travel options

The 2007 Congress focused on defining a sustainable physical, economic and social environment.

A noteworthy outgrowth of Complete Communities is the County’s nationally recognized Hamlets and Villages program, a grassroots, citizen-driven effort.  To date, six unincorporated communities in Clackamas County have considered forming either a Hamlet or Village.  Currently, three hamlets and one village have been formed.

The Possibility ‘Keypad’ Group Response System

Transportation 101 The Times They Are A-ChangingIn the last 20 years, Washington’s population increased by 48% while vehicle miles increased 88%—almost twice as much. In 1980, Clark County had a population of 192,000; today, 363,000 people live in Clark County and they own over 200,000 cars. In other words, Clark County today has more cars than it had people in 1980. In the face of this tremendous growth in numbers of people and cars, the state capital outlay for road capacity per dollar of personal income dropped by 50%. Clark County is in a transportation crisis.

Latest News:

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Why Should YOU Care?

What we decide about transportation and how to fund it will have a big impact on each of us. From how much time we spend driving—getting to work, dropping the kids off at school, and running errands—to the prices we pay, these all are affected.

  • It takes longer today to get around town. Even if you only drive or travel outside rush hour, you feel the impact of having more cars on the road all day, every day. Morning and evening rush hour congestion start earlier and last longer.
  • Things cost more because it takes freight haulers longer to get them to market. Maybe a few extra pennies per pound for apples don’t seem like much, but adding pennies onto the price of everything adds up.
  • More cars equal more air pollution. Air quality is getting worse and it is becoming harder to meet state and federal requirements. (See Supplemental Information for the health effects resulting from car emissions.)

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The Transportation Priorities Project (TPP) has a simple message: Clark County is in a transportation crisis, and we need to step up to the plate and do something about it. The theme of the TPP is Dream It, Fund It, Build It. TPP is grassroots and citizen-driven—ordinary people working to find solutions to this crisis. The TPP gives citizens the opportunity to make informed choices about the direction of transportation improvements in Clark County over the next 20 years—what improvements should be made, how improvements will be funded, and how we will pay for it.

TPP volunteers are talking with friends, family, neighbors, and groups and organizations about Clark County’s transportation crisis. After holding more than 40 meetings and talking with over 500 people, so far they have heard that:

  • You recognize the importance and value of transportation—good planning results in sound development and family wage jobs, less congestion, cleaner air—a better life for us and our children.
  • You need straight talk—how it all works, who comes up with the plan, what the plan looks like, who pays for it, when will it happen.

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TPP Background

In early summer 2002, some concerned citizens got together to talk about Clark County’s transportation system and its direction for the future, because local transportation agencies and experts can’t seem to come up with a workable solution that citizens will support. The TPP came up with a blueprint for a citizen-led community discussion. That blueprint became the Transportation Priorities Project: Dream It, Fund It, Build It. Two local not-for-profit organizations, Identity Clark County (ICC) and InterAct, took the project on.

From August–November 2002, 500 individuals at 40 meetings were asked what they knew about the county’s transportation issues, what their preferences were, and what solutions they would suggest. A final all-day meeting produced a group of 113 people willing to work on the transportation project.

The first phase of TPP found out that 1) people care deeply about what happens in their neighborhood and see fixing travel around the county and to and from Oregon as a priority, 2) people can learn a lot from good information about transportation, and 3) if people know their money will be spent on local projects, they are willing to pay for them. The people who participated in TPP I said they were moderately concerned about getting from place to place. They were more concerned about finding solutions and funding for major needs for our transportation system for the near and distant future.

Government officials expressed a sincere desire to know what citizens wanted, what they were willing to pay for, and how they want to pay for it. Many talked about how hard it is to get people involved and give them good information about transportation choices and funding. Government officials get mixed messages from citizens—they want transportation improvements but don’t want to pay for them.

Citizens and government officials agreed that we need better communication, understanding, and information so we can work together to find solutions to the region’s transportation problems. People also told us in TPP I that we should

  1. Continue with the same intense TPP grassroots participation.
  2. Convince our elected officials to put a statewide program in place that provides dollars for local and state transportation projects.
  3. Pull everyone together to talk the same talk about transportation so we have a better chance of receiving state and federal funding.
  4. Look at the big picture for Clark County’s transportation needs, instead of a piece here and a piece there.
  5. Reach out and spread the transportation word throughout Clark County—neighborhood to neighborhood, city to city.
  6. Help citizens and local officials understand each other and work together as a team.

In response to what we heard citizens say in TPP I, we moved on to TPP II and to working with all of the transportation agencies in the county to develop three regional transportation improvement scenarios—a big picture.

TPP II will gather feedback from the public and share it with transportation agencies on:

  • Level of service of the regional transportation system—movement of people and freight through Clark County on highways and arterial roads
  • How much the public is willing to pay
  • How the public prefers to pay

TPP II closes the loop between the users and designers and funders of Clark County’s transportation network so that projects that receive a high level of support from citizens are put at the top of the list for implementation. The public will use TPP II to tell transportation agencies how much more they are willing to pay for transportation improvement.

Most of us don’t understand transportation lingo—charts, traffic modeling and analysis, and concurrency. We want to know what the problem is, how it will affect us, how it will be fixed, and what it’s going to cost. We want straightforward, understandable talk, and we want someone to listen to what we think should be done. So the TPP has come up with Transportation 101—Useful Information About Transportation. In one-on-one conversation, group presentations, printed materials, and an interactive web site, the TPP intends to get its message to as many people as possible. (Visit our web site at for complete details about the TPP, and how you can make a difference.)

What you do with the message is up to you, but we encourage you to listen, learn about transportation, think about what you want for Clark County, and then take a few minutes to tell us. We’ll take your ideas, your recommendations, suggestions, and concerns, and tell the people who are responsible for developing, building, and maintaining our transportation system. Then we can all work together to address the transportation crisis. Citizens need to give their opinions about the following transportation questions:

  1. What do citizens want?
  2. What are they willing to pay for?
  3. How do they want to pay for it?

Metro people places - open spaces

Joint MPAC-JPACT meeting: Bringing it all together

Wednesday, December 10, 2008
4:00 pm to 7:00 pm

This event, which takes the place of a regular meeting of the Metro Policy Advisory Committee (MPAC), will involve members of MPAC and the Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation (JPACT) in a discussion about that integrates the results of the joint meetings of Oct. 22 and Nov. 12 and sets the stage for further regional policy discussions in 2009 that will shape the growth of local communities over the long term.

Making the Greatest Place

The Metro Council is working with local leaders and people throughout the region to create sustainable and prosperous communities for present and future generations. Learn about key decisions that will be made in 2009 and 2010.

When someone asks you why you live in the Portland metropolitan area, what do you say? Chances are you love this place – and choose to live here – for many reasons. Whether your roots are generations deep or newly planted, you are part of a community that treasures the nature around us, the neighborhoods and businesses that sustain us and our shared commitment to preserving our quality of life.

The quality of life we enjoy here is the result of conscious decisions and hard choices made by citizen leaders, business owners and elected officials to protect farms and forest land, preserve the character of single-family neighborhoods, revitalize commercial districts, invest in transportation options and safeguard our clean air, clean water and healthy ecosystems. As our population continues to grow, the Metro Council is committed to protecting the things we love about this place and charting a wise course for the future.

Key decisions will be made in 2009 and 2010

Making the Greatest Place is a set of policy and investment decisions aimed at protecting our valuable farm and forest land while maintaining and investing in our town and regional centers, transportation corridors and employment areas. Key decisions in fall 2009 and throughout 2010 include:

  • adoption of the 2035 Regional Transportation Plan that outlines investments in multiple modes of transportation aimed at supporting economic growth, reducing global warming, and enhancing vibrant communities where residents can choose to walk for pleasure and to meet their everyday needsLearn more
  • designation of urban and rural reserves to identify which areas outside of the current urban growth boundary will be set aside to accommodate future population and employment growth over the next 40 to 50 years and which areas will be excluded from growth over that same periodLearn more
  • commitment to local policies and investments that will help the region better accommodate growth within its centers, corridors and employment areas over the next 20 years, as described in the urban growth report.Learn more

By the end of 2010, if local policy and investment commitments are not adequate to serve the growth that is anticipated over the next 20 years, an expansion of the urban growth boundary may be considered.


The Possibility ‘Keypad’ Group Response System

Building thriving, livable, sustainable communities is going to require collaborative innovation: new technologies, new solutions to problems, and new ways of working together.

The Regional Innovation Forum brought together community leaders from every sector to explore the systemic challenges facing our region that require coordinated effort between individuals, communities, organizations, and local, regional and national policymakers. Oregon’s deep roots in sustainable innovation and activism provide a platform for the all-encompassing societal change that is required to build a sustainable future.

From a participant’s blog:

Stephen Schneider Presentation

In the evening, after walking the floor of the Better Living Show, I was rewarded for staying around by hearing the renowned climatologist, Dr. Stephen Schneider of Stanford University speak. What a joy it was to listen to someone who was a joint recipient for the Nobel Peace Prize along with the other authors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). His message was that we must continue grassroots and civic involvement to push for greater regulations and to develop sustainable solutions that will reduce the effects of climate change. It is too late (by about thirty years) to avoid negative effects but it is not too late to avoid catastrophic effects which will certainly occur if we don’t do anything. Dr. Schneider’s talk was so lucid and convincing that I can only point readers to his site, to read up on his work rather than try to convey it in as clear a manner as he does in person.


The Regional Innovation Forum 2009 could be a game-changing and life-changing event for those of us lucky enough to attend. The question is, what will each of us do to make sure that what we learned is not forgotten? My answer to this is to start taking action, now. In addition to going to future events such as the Springboard Innovation Forum on April 8th, I want to bring together others who want to be committed to a sustainable future and create something lasting. Maybe it’s an organization that, like, will use web technologies to reach across divides to bring people together. Maybe the organization will become sustainable by employing creative ways to solve local, community issues and use incoming funds to further more projects, the way Our United Villages does.

I’m compiling my ideas which I’d like to discuss with interested people, those who are seriously interested in making a difference in the world and want to start now.


The Possibility ‘Keypad’ Group Response System

Sustainable Fisheries Foundation

Don McDonald Don MacDonald…

is the principal of MacDonald Environmental Sciences Ltd., an environmental consulting firm that specializes in environmental assessment and ecosystem-based management. He is also the Canadian Director of the Sustainable Fisheries Foundation, a non-profit, charitable organization that is focused on the development and implementation of a sustainable fisheries strategy for west coast salmon and steelhead population

Toward Ecosystem Management: Breaking Down the Barriers in the Columbia River Basin and Beyond

In late April and early May of 2002, over 840 individuals from throughout the Columbia River basin, including youth participants, academics, scientists, government and First Nations representatives, professionals, politicians, policy-makers, environmental groups, and concerned citizens, attended the five-day conference in Spokane.  It was the third in a sequence of transboundary conferences that was launched with a workshop in 1994 and then evolved into a larger conference in Castlegar, BC, in 1998.  The 2002 conference, Toward Ecosystem-Based Management: Breaking Down the Barriers in the Columbia River Basin and Beyond, focused on the theme of transitioning toward ecosystem-based management of fish and wildlife resources throughout the Columbia River basin.  The results of the conference were summarized in the conference highlights and the conference review and call to action.


Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers

Sustainable Harvest


Let’s Talk Coffee®

For the past seven years, Sustainable Harvest has hosted Let’s Talk Coffee to bring our supply chain partners together to discuss sustainability in the supply chain, communicate stakeholder needs, and calibrate quality expectations. Let’s Talk Coffee assembles farmers, cooperative leaders, roasters, industry visionaries, market analysts, and business experts, providing a forum for 250 participants from thirteen countries to receive industry-specific training, listen to expert presentations designed to help improve supply chain quality, and share best practices among peers. To better understand the impact of Let’s Talk Coffee, click here to watch a video from Let’s Talk Coffee 2008.


Suppliers Coming Together

The Relationship Coffee Model

Since 1997, the Relationship Coffee business model has helped nearly 200,000 farmers and their families in hundreds of African and Latin American communities. With the foundations of transparency, traceability, trade credit, training, and total product quality, the Relationship Coffee model has helped farmers secure better paying markets for their coffee.

The Relationship Coffee model is an alternative model for sourcing coffee. While a “middleman” traditionally works in an anonymous system, Relationship Coffee brings farmers and roasters together, facilitating direct communication, differentiation, and better business practices at both ends of the supply chain.

This innovative model requires an investment of our profits into Farmer Development. In order to effectively provide these services, Sustainable Harvest invests approximately one third of its gross profit margin into supply-side activities and farmer development programs. Sustainable Harvest also hosts an annual 3-day training event called Let’s Talk Coffee, in which members from all parts of the supply chain gather to discuss business issues, market strategies, and train in quality control. Through this deliberate development approach, the Relationship Coffee model generates the necessary revenues that keep farmers, cooperatives, and roasters communicating, learning, and doing business together.


2008 Outstanding Contribution Award from the Specialty Coffee Association of America

Sustainable Harvest Founder and President David Griswold received the SCAA’s Outstanding Contribution Award in 2008 for his two decades of leadership in the coffee industry. The award celebrated Griswold’s vision in pioneering the Relationship Coffee business model, which has revolutionized the coffee supply chain by increasing transparency and traceability, providing new opportunities for farmers to receive credit and training, and ensuring overall sustainability. Griswold is a former President of the SCAA

David with Computer

2000 SCAA Annual Conference & Exhibition Show Review

More than 8,000 coffee professionals gathered in San Francisco in April for the 12th annual SCAA Conference & Exhibition. The banner theme, A Bridge to the 21st Century — Quality, Sustainability, and Social Responsibility, permeated the show from the coffee breaks to educational sessions to product

The Third Annual Sustainable Coffee Conference opened the show with author Paul Hawken as keynote speaker and radio talk show host Michael Krasny from NPR and the Bay Area’s KQED as moderator of a panel representing all segments of the coffee industry.
The accomplishments of SCAA during 2000 were mainly shaped by the keynote address of Paul Hawken last April in San Francisco. During his speech, he observed that effective leaders must hear all the voices, must reach out to all the advocates, and must embrace all the possibilities. He also recognized that members of the specialty coffee industry were too quick to criticize each other, while at the same time were too slow to realize that, as an industry group, we are far outpacing the rest of the world in our concerns for the hierarchy of needs for sustainable coffee agriculture: economic viability; environmental conservation; and social responsibility. It was in the spirit of this vision that SCAA joined in collaborative activities with two new partners: the Consumers Choice Council (CCC), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

The Possibility ‘Keypad’ Group Response System————————————————————————————————–


Building off the success of statewide oral health summit in 2004, the Oregon State Oral Health Program, with guidance from its Oral Health Advisory Board (OHAB) began development of a broad based statewide oral health coalition (SOHC) in 2005. The OHAB expanded membership to form a Coalition Steering Committee which coordinated the planning of three major activities around a two day event in May, 2006. Those activities were: 1) release of the first ever state oral health plan, 2) the convening of a second oral health summit (Forum) and 3) the launch of the first ever statewide oral health coalition.

The Steering Committee began by identifying a broad based list of stakeholder organizations and individuals to invite as founding members of the Coalition. A draft Charter was created which identified the Purpose, Mission, Fundamental Functions and Interim Operating Principles for the Coalition. The State Oral Health Program agreed to provide resources to the newly formed Coalition for its first 18 months of development which included communications, facilitation, meeting space and planning, conference calling, minute taking and other operational support. The Steering Committee also completed planning of an all day Summit (Forum) followed the next day by the first ever SOHC business meeting.

The Summit, attended by 150 stakeholders, included: 1) a session on “Why a Coalition?”, 2) introduction of the State Oral Health Plan, 3) feedback sessions on priorities in the Plan and 4) recommended activities for the newly formed Coalition.  Included in the attendees were about 50 invited Coalition members.

The Coalition’s first meeting was held the next day with the 50 invited members in attendance. The agenda included review of the Summit outcomes, identification of priority activities, adoption of the interim Charter and establishment of subcommittees which included a leadership group, standing committees and subject committees. The adopted mission of the Coalition was determined to be a central source for advocacy, information, and communication about oral health issues in Oregon and to organized stakeholders’ individual strengths into a collective power for oral health. The Coalition adopted a mission statement and set of objectives.

The Oregon Oral Health Coalition (OROHC) is a broad based group diverse group of individuals committed to improving oral health in Oregon. The mission of the Oregon Oral Health Coalition is to be a central source for advocacy, information, and communication about oral health issues in Oregon and to organize stakeholders’ individual strengths into a collective power for oral health.

Members, through participation with OROHC and its committees are able to:

  • Influence oral health policy change
  • Advocate for improved general health through better oral health
  • Receive the latest and current information on oral health matters in Oregon
  • Enjoy interactions and collaboration with fellow oral health advocates
  • Get excited again about oral health activities

Report from the American Citizens’ Summit, Denver, February 2009

Transpartisan Chartby Carol Brouillet “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Abraham Lincoln

From February 11th to 15th , 2009, at the American Citizens’ Summit in Denver, people from across the political spectrum gathered to speak and identify priorities demanding attention at a time of converging global crises. Processes included meeting in circles, listening, open space, and innovative feedback technologies that allowed everyone to vote on issues, ideas, and positions–anonymously and instantly–and to reflect the information to the group.

Transpartisan Chart
Left to Right- Joseph McCormick, Steven Bhaerman, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Cynthia McKinney

An interim Sunshine Cabinet–including Cynthia McKinney (2008- Green Party candidate for President), Congressman Ron Paul, Grover Norquist, Liberty Coalition co-founder Michael Ostrolenk, Barbara Marx Hubbard, humorist Steve Bhaerman and Committee for a Unified Independent Party director Jackie Salit–spoke about their top priorities. They included transparency, dismantling the national security state, a non-interventionist foreign policy, peace, justice, dignity, promoting liberty, following the Constitution, creating a Peace Room, and addressing the collapse of the economic system by creating a local/global sustainable economy that values solar energy, food, human invention and love.

The history and evolution of the Transpartisan Movement was mapped. Processes, some of which were developed from high school classroom ground rules and from rules adopted at the first Bipartisan Congressional Retreat, were explained. Spiral Dynamics allowed everyone to understand a framework to help people consciously transcend the limits of bipartisan thinking. People were encouraged to leave their egos at the door and to be open to all points of view, deeper truths, and surprising synergies, so they could create space in which ideas or solutions drawn from the collective wisdom of a diverse group of people could emerge.

In creating room for dialogue and compassionate listening, respect for diverse points of view, awareness of the “triggers” that push our buttons and how to overcome reactions and “stay present,” the Citizens’ Summit created a space for surprising insights, ideas, synergies, and solutions to emerge in powerful ways.

The Citizens’ Summit identified the values we held in common: the top ones were respect, listening, integrity, transparency, taking action, building trust, compassion, and love. Joseph McCormick, primary organizer of the Citizens’ Summit and co-founder of Reuniting America, deliberately chose the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday as the date of the conference to draw together people with the “courage to cooperate” across traditional ideological barriers. He voiced his concern about the increasing polarization taking place within the country. He showed a map delineating Republican and Democrat counties in 2006 and 2008 that highlighted how the red areas were becoming redder and the blue areas bluer, with very little purple.

There seemed to be many “leaders, authors, presidents, politicians, and founders of various organizations” at the summit, and few “followers.” There was a healthy gender balance but a distinct lack of ethnic and income diversity. The registration fee to attend the summit and the hotel costs were beyond the price range of struggling activists and those who have to “earn a living.” The organizers had approached the conference with a strong vision and had gone out on a limb to try to pull off a conference in the middle of February in Colorado. A poster session focused on endowing the Transpartisan Alliance, paying off the debt, and advancing the work.

Frankly, I’m not sure what the next step will be for those of us who came to the summit, were transformed, and have committed to work together during this time of crisis.

At a poster session on “Transpartisan Economics” there was a very friendly, respectful discussion regarding numerous approaches to tax reform, land reform, and monetary reform, which recognized that there is no silver bullet solution to quickly solve and retool our economic system. Wendell Fitzgerald, president of the Henry George School of San Francisco (, and Steven Shafarman, author of Peaceful, Positive Revolution: Economic Security for Every American, advocated for a guaranteed basic income, together with tax and monetary reformists, agreed that we need “an honest, above-board participatory economic system valuing community in the creation of money, land value and tax policy to serve our individual and common needs, creating income security for all, and not passing down debt and loss to the final consumer or future inhabitant.”

These are the top issues that emerged from the collective whole, framed as questions:

    How do we give everyone access to affordable, quality healthcare? How do we create a system for quality education that respects the individual, encourages the desire to learn, and develops critical thinking skills? How do we achieve transparency in all government transactions including taxes and the Federal Reserve? How do we develop an alternative energy economy that provides jobs, protects our environment and creates energy independence?

    Enhancing local role in decision making:
    How do we deepen the quality of engagement between Americans and their government?
    All people are authentically engaged in the creation of all public decisions and policy. America’s government is termed a Republic:
    How do we achieve a truly representative Republic – a truly representative Democracy?

    How do we create economic policies that provide the basic needs and opportunities for every American?

    How do we create healthy, safe, vital, sustainable local communities?

Establishing common ground and trust in shared values and goals seemed to be the first step in working together through the more gnarled strategies and steps necessary to realize them. On the first day, a long presentation on spiral dynamics looked at the evolution of thought processes and how increasingly complex problems and crises demand new ways of thinking–first for tribes, then nations, and finally for civilizations to adapt and survive. Many have not survived.

Sometimes the most personal stories are the most universal, when someone has the courage to bare their soul, removing whatever façade they might wear to protect themselves, and exposing their weaknesses, their vulnerabilities, their heart. The revelations we offer one another–and the sensitive listening, reciprocity, and respect–are the essential first steps toward developing trust and overcoming stereotypes and prejudice based on appearances.

On the last day of the conference, we were asked to stand where we felt we were in relation to the Transpartisan Alliance–anywhere from the center to the edge. Except for getting up from my chair, I didn’t move, because I could see how I could incorporate the good ideas into my work and help promote them, and at the same time try to balance my life and continue to work on the issues that I cared about passionately. However, in the last round of stating our commitments to the group, I found myself teamed up with Robert Steele, an ex-intelligence professional (can one actually retire from the CIA?) who has strongly advocated open source public intelligence available to all, promoting the idea of Collective Intelligence–inspired by one of my mentors and friends, Tom Atlee of the Co-Intelligence Institute. I subsequently found myself on the funding committee.

How can we nurture new, transparent, life serving, decentralized, local, state, national, international Transpartisan efforts to identify and solve the real problems that we face? Can we draw from the collective wisdom of the diverse many with direct knowledge and experience in the real world whose voices, concerns and insights need to be heard?

Sunday group photo Transpartisan Citizens Summit

Last group photo on Sunday afternoon

NBIS. Network for business innovation and sustainability.NBIS. Network for business innovation and sustainability.


In 2004, we had the privilege of leading an interdisciplinary planning committee to host the first national conference in Seattle on “Profitable Sustainability: The Future of Business.” This brought together over 140 speakers to discuss the foundations and strategies for sustainable business development and helped focus mainstream attention on sustainability as a business opportunity.

Co-Directors of NBIS, Karl Ostrom and Mary Rose, are the hub of a unique member community of passionate, pragmatic, innovative professionals exploring new ways of doing business that foster thriving companies, communities and ecosystems. They founded NBIS, the Network for Business Innovation and Sustainability, over five years ago with the help of an interdisciplinary group of individuals that shared a vision for a new organization that would bridge the private and public sectors to meet the unprecedented challenges and opportunities we face today.

NBIS members and leadership board are dedicated to helping companies make the transition from old take-make-waste models to new paradigms of resource efficiency and social and environmental responsibility. The path forward requires leadership, collaboration and innovative thinking.

NBIS offers opportunities for people to meet and learn from each other, to collaborate across sectors and industries, to gain training in new practices and approaches, and to benefit from world class expertise that NBIS provides through consultation and coaching. NBIS programs inspire companies to reach beyond the limits of traditional models and to engage in turning the engines of industry toward problem solving and prosperity making for a new local and global economy.

About NBIS

NBIS provides Businesses and Professionals who are serious about Profitable Sustainability with the connections, skills, tools, programs, and resources that are vital for success in the Green Economy.

NBIS convenes a diverse membership that spans industries and supports and highlights innovative companies and best practices. NBIS members are passionate, dedicated people with much talent to be shared. By providing a hub for this talent and opportunities for people to meet for social and professional networking, we create valuable links between companies and the technical assistance and expertise provided by our members. Members include academic institutions, government agencies and the collaborative resources of individuals and businesses charting the path to sustainability.

Our Values

  • Cultivate best practices and innovation to position business members and clients to achieve success in the changing global marketplace and within the context of engagement with local economies and ecosystems.
  • Collaborate with internal staff and teams to maximize capacity and leadership for successful change management that will enhance profitability for the company and its stakeholders, generate social benefits and reduce environmental impacts.
  • Convene talented people and provide supportive environments for peer learning and professional development.
  • Link the resources of higher education with business through interdisciplinary action learning and research opportunities.
  • Coordinate multidisciplinary educational and consultative resources to support leaders in industry and organizations.

NBIS Services Model image

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