In what he describes as searching for meaning, John Engle left a corporate job in Chicago in 1991 and moved to Haiti as part of a two-year commitment to a small non-profit supporting education for Haitian children and adults.
A violent coup d’etat happened 4 months later and became part of a transformative experience that changed his life direction. His early analysis of Haiti’s problem—the need for a new leadership and education paradigm—led him on a quest for practices and approaches that nurture bottom-up, servant leadership and student-centered education. He and his colleagues created a 6-month program called Circles of Change. More than 10,000 Haitian educators and community leaders completed it.
Convinced of the need to create a school-based community development model that would start with 3-year old children and place heavy emphasis on education of the parents, John, along with his colleagues and community members, founded Children’s Academy and Learning Center in 2011.
John is co-founder/co-director of Haiti Partners and has lived in Haiti for most of the last 25 years. He has consulted for the World Bank, USAID and others on collaborative leadership. He’s currently leading a USAID initiative using Open Space Technology to solicit broad-based Haitian input to shape USAID/Haiti’s five-year strategy.
In 2013 John received a Lifetime Achievement Award from World Blu for his work in Haiti promoting democratic practice and freedom centered leadership. He and his wife Merline – who is Haitian – have two children.
What John promises you as takeaways from his presentation.
- The WorldBlu 10 Principles of Organizational Democracy™ that form part of The Freedom at Work™ Model which provides a scalable strategy to full engagement, joy and meaning at work.
- A tool for measuring and evaluating efforts toward creating a dynamic, innovative and resilient organization/company.
- An approach to invite and nurture engagement using Open Space Technology.
- A method for improving dialogue, listening and mutual learning among your team.
What John says about why he is participating in the retreat.
There are pockets around the world where values such as love, joy, and compassion are flourishing and helping people to discover their best selves and to create extraordinary companies and organizations. Wisdom for Modern Workplaces is bringing together an amazing group of people coming from many of these pockets. I look forward to gaining inspiration that helps me become a more effective changemaker in my world, specifically Haiti. The stakes are high. The amount of human suffering is completely unacceptable. We need to learn to create conditions for nurturing and engaging people’s best selves. I know I can learn so much from the energy field that Wisdom for Modern Workplaces is creating. In exchange, I hope to contribute to this retreat from the experiences that life has generously afforded me.
From John’s LinkedIn profile:
“Social entrepreneur with nonprofit and consulting experience in Haiti, US, Canada and Mozambique. Helping groups, communities, organizations and networks to create conditions for engagement and innovation. Recipient of WorldBlu (http://worldblu.com) Life-Achievement Award.
Specialties: Open Space Technology, Discussion-based education, whole systems change, community development, social business, strategic planning, organization development, program management, and fundraising.”