About Us

Conversation Café is an initiative to get people engaging about important matters in peaceful, creative ways. The exchange of ideas invariably creates tensions. Of late, however, the activity comes at a higher cost than usual. Amidst disease, polarization, censorship, fear and centralized planning who dares to weigh in? But engage we must if we are to tease out the common ground without ripping apart our whisper thin fragility of connection.

To that end, we are committed to offer the opportunity to write a playbook for COVID and other hot topics that will serve to induce societal reconciliation. Conversation Café offers the community a reminder that debate is healthy, necessary expected and even fun. Exercising our knowledge, skills and values preserves them and our culture.

We are committed to highlight the appeal of an exchange where no one is punished or injured. Each person is welcomed each position is explored through a respectful process. Sense making becomes a collective effort rather than one sided by a powerful few as is so often the case. If there is no opportunity for this lofty but vitally necessary communal activity, we risk the slide into authoritarian, high tech, “high noise low signal” societies.

My Story

How I Got Started

You want to know how I got started? I will be sharing my story at our next event. Stay tuned for the location, date and time!

"I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think is right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country."

John G. Diefenbaker

"Patience is a tree whose root is bitter, but its fruit is very sweet"

Canadian Proverb

“Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving.”

Dale Carnegie

“To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to.”

Kahlil Gibran

“We are all so desperate to be understood, we forget to be understanding.”

Beau Taplin

“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”

Henry Ford

Foundational Values

Peace Making:

In conversation with others, it is paramount that respect is afforded to each participant.  Peace making must be inherent at all levels of operation and within language used when conducting business, interviews, small groups and written content.  Engagement is the invitation to listen which signifies a desire to include.  The challenge is to exist in reciprocity where all parties come together in good faith to foster, and experience peace.  It is everyone’s responsibility to make peace.

Truth Seeking:

In an era where feelings are poised to over-ride many aspects of conversations, we are determined to seek an accurate account of information while the body is often flooded with intense feelings.  This is not to downplay emotional honesty.  Identifying and clarifying the felt experience coupled with intellectual integrity provides a depth and richness of the overall narrative.

Safety:

Group work will not take place without a trained, skillful facilitator.  As many interactions over the last 2 plus years in particular have ended in conflict and separation, it would be unwise and dangerous to attempt this work without the confidence of a safe process through which it will be conducted.  The facilitator has 20 years as a therapist as well as 5 years as a coach and facilitator of small group

Compassion:

We recognize that each person is at a different stage of emotional regulation, and maturity.  Conversations can become intense emotionally and intellectually.  Some individuals have a greater degree of experience and may tend to dominate.  We will hold space for those participants who are developing their skills of communication.  Interaction will occur without sarcasm, condescension, and conversely with patience, kindness self control, and matching levels of investment.

Matching Levels of Investment:

It would lack compassion to place a first grader with a sixth grader and expect the same level of outcome.  If a person’s life experience proves to be too limited (even after filling out the survey), she or he may be asked to evaluate their fit for the group and engage in problem solving for their continued participation.

Crux Value

Diversity of Thought:

Diversity will grow in the soil of foundational values and it will flourish. It will emerge in an array of voices, angles, colours, shapes and sizes.  It is expected that people will think similarly to each other, express nuance and completely disagree.  Herein lies the crux of Conversation Café.  When participants experience the freedom to express, the exchange of ideas will light up the sky. If we are to move out of darkness, it will be done so in freedom.

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