Open Conversation Project Circles

Expand Skills, Leverage a Community of Support

With Open Conversation Project Circles

Move forward on something important to you as you experience the community and strengthen leadership skills. Join an Open Conversation Project Circle!

The Open Conversation Project began as an inquiry into how we might create a way for people to come together to begin to cultivate common ground and understanding through conversation – at a time of great polarity, and complex challenges. Conversation about what is deeply meaningful and what’s possible together can be transformative.

This highly interactive program integrates coaching, training, action-learning and peer mentoring. Learning topics include:

  • Are you open? Your personal practices to enhance an open mindset
  • Levels of listening that impact understanding and mindset
  • Body language and how it impacts openness and possibility
  • Emotions and moods are contagious
  • The power of empathy and appreciation
  • Respect and creating community
  • Open, generative conversations for shared solutions
  • Engaging in a project with support

You will experience:

  • Enhanced self-awareness
  • Empowerment to initiate action on an intention that is clarified with the cohort
  • Learning how to be more open to possibilities
  • Participation in a supportive community to realize projects
  • Support for taking intentional action on something that matters to you
  • Innovation, solutions and a co-creating community 

Ideal for:

  • Professionals looking to expand leadership skills while developing new relationships
  • Individuals seeking support as they move forward on an initiative that matters to them
  • Anyone interested in practicing more openness in their organizations or communities
  • Those who enjoy learning communities and communities of practice

About The Open Conversation Project Circles

Engaging others in conversation about what is deeply meaningful and what’s possible together can be transformative. Yet, many of us don’t speak much to those with beliefs or lifestyles different from ours. At the same time, most of us are very concerned about issues affecting our communities and organizations.

The purpose of Open Conversation Project Circles is to build self-awareness, skills and community, and provide opportunity and support for intentional action. Participants are invited to create or take on small projects and receive guidance and support as they form and implement them. A key focus is to create awareness about the fact that each of us is open and closed to various things, and that this is something we all have in common. When we model being open, we often provoke openness in others; openness is contagious. The simple act of modeling openness can expand possibility.

When we are open, we are empathetic and can co-create productive conversations and innovative approaches. Being open involves deep listening to another and for what’s possible together. Conversation is at the heart of leadership and how we work together.

The Open Conversation Project Circles offer learning, tools and practice to support modeling being open and engaging in open-minded conversations.

Program elements:

  • Four 90-minute interactive live video learning and discussion sessions every other week over eight weeks, via the Zoom online platform
  • Recordings will be available
  • Participants are invited to take on or create a project
    • Projects may be as simple or as complex as participants choose.
  • Each session includes:
    • Community check-ins
    • Learning content
    • Project updates
  • Participants receive coaching and support from the facilitator and peers
  • Participants are encouraged to develop personal practices to support being open
  • Participants are encouraged to communicate with at least one other participant between formal sessions
  • Live learning sessions
  • Connecting with cohort members in between group sessions

Background on the Open Conversation Project

The Open Conversation Project was developed as part of the Societal Transformation Lab initiative of MIT’s Presencing Institute. 300 groups from around the world participated. Ann Van Eron and Jackie Sloane recruited a team of colleagues who together conducted over 100 interviews to learn more about what makes individuals closed and open in their interactions with others. We worked with the Presencing Institute’s processes to synthesize and review learnings from the process.

We agree with David Brooks, New York Times columnist and news commentator, who has noted that the polarization we are seeing in the world is less related to progressive vs. conservative views, but is more about being open vs. closed. Many are sensing that old systems are failing people and this is a time of volatility and uncertainty on many levels. According to MIT’s Otto Scharmer, author of Theory U, founder of the Presencing Institute and leader of the Societal Transformation Lab, what is needed is a shift from ego-system awareness to eco-system awareness (a focus from me to we).

Ann and Jackie, seasoned consultants and executive coaches, have experienced the transformative power of conversation.  They have supported many clients of all sizes, including privately-held, not-for-profit, public sector and Fortune 100 firms across industries and functions in having open, generative conversations that produce unpredictable and sustainable outcomes. We believe that if we can engage in open conversations with one another, we can collectively find creative solutions to many of the challenges before us.

Program Facilitators

Ann Van Eron, Ph.D., MCC, fosters open-minded conversations for unparalleled relationships, results and well-being with leaders, teams and organizations.  She is the founder of Potentials, a global coaching and organization development consulting firm with over 30 years of experience coaching leaders and working with teams and organizations all over the world.  Ann supports people in creating positive and productive relationships and enhancing awareness using her tested OASIS Moves® process.  Ann is the author of OASIS Conversations: Leading with an Open Mindset to Maximize Potential.  She creates and facilitates team and leadership development programs for organizations including the UN, Ford Motor Company, New York-Presbyterian Hospital and The World Bank. She is certified as a Master Coach and has a doctorate in Organization Psychology from Columbia University.  Clients include Fortune 100 companies, government and nongovernmental organizations and privately held organizations.  She works with Caterpillar, GE Capital, Cleveland Clinic, Chubb Insurance, Accenture, Oshkosh Corporation, Tennessee Valley Authority, Korn Ferry, Consumers Union, Group Health Cooperative and many more. and

Jackie Sloane, MCC is a seasoned executive coach and consultant, specializing in enhancing ability to achieve significant results and greater well-being through how clients engage others, communicate, and cultivate relationships.  Jackie has over 25 years’ experience in executive coaching, leadership development, communication and transformation consulting and journalism. The Generative Leadership Communication program she developed has been credited with unleashing creativity and innovation and reducing production time at client organizations. She has served leaders, teams and groups at privately-held, nonprofit and Fortune 500 firms in a variety of industries, including academia, manufacturing, professional services, pharmaceutical, medical, medical products, publishing, consumer products, and retail. She has served clients at Abbott, Accenture, American Society of Anesthesiologists, Bank of America, Comcast, Deloitte, Exelon, Garrett Theological Seminary Grant Thornton, Hollister, International Truck and Engine, Legal Marketing Association, Northern Indiana Commuter Transit District, PepsiCo, Plante & Moran and Purdue University Northwest among others. Jackie wrote the Executive Coach column for Executive Travel, an American Express Publishing/Time Inc. magazine for five years. Jackie has a B.A. in political science from the University of Illinois at Chicago, has completed graduate work at Columbia College, and numerous leadership, communication, facilitation and coaching trainings. She completed Newfield’s Mastering the Art of Professional Coaching in 1994, and has two coach certifications including Master Certified Coach designation from the International Coach Federation. She is a mentor for Chicago Innovation.

Contact Ann Van Eron: 312-856-1155 or Jackie Sloane: 773-465-5906,