GLC XIII Leadership & Love (report)

The thirteenth iteration of the Global Leadership Café was held at Impact Hub Tokyo ( on Thursday, June 16, 2016. What a fantastic space! Like the GLC, it’s open, agile and working on developing new ways of working, thinking, and being.

As always, the event was organized with the principle of distributed leadership, and so everyone and no one made it succeed. However a special shout-out needs to be made this time to Jake (Jacob Erlich) for the space-setting/art direction. He created some fantastic visual supports, turning a good space into a great one for our event.


Photo 2016-06-16 18 57 20

Particularly creative was Jake’s visual representation of our agenda, showing our activities (open/launch, movement exercise (process wheel), World Café rounds & breaks, harvest, circle feedback, feedback and clean-up). Each section of the clock-chart indicated the time roughly allotted to each activity. Brilliant!

visual agenda

After opening with a few words about our community and the background to “Leadership and Love”, we started with a Process work-style activity. Starting with the working definition of “loving X” as “wanting X to succeed, develop and grow”, we explored six spaces, each marked out as a physical location in the room with tape. Each space represented a ‘direction’ we could channel our love in our work:

  • Customers
  • Peers
  • Subordinates
  • Vendors/suppliers
  • Self
  • ?

The “?” represented any other entity participants wanted to explore. Interestingly, many chose “boss”. Other choices included “the environment”, “society”, and “the company as a whole”.

After moving to and trying out each perspective, participants were invited to move to the area they felt drawn to, the space that they wanted to operate from in their work. In the debrief, participants were asked to share what brought them to the space they chose and how they felt exploring the different perspectives. One interesting observation was that the group ended up spread out quite evenly – each space had a few people. Another was that in many cases, people had very different reasons for choosing the same space.

Next, the group explored three questions in a World Café:

  1. How did love impact your day today?
  2. Which leaders can you think of who embody love in their leadership? How would you define their leadership qualities?
  3. As a leader how can you support other’s passions?

Photo 2016-06-16 20 40 54

Typical for a Global Leadership Café, the conversations were rich and stimulating. There were diverse opinions shared on how ‘love’ could be defined in the context of both question 1 and 2. However, many conversations led to common discovery: that our leadership role models often operate from a place of (1) a desire to help others grow and generally make the world a better place; and (2) security – they know who they are, are comfortable with who they are, and thus are comfortable focusing their attention on others.

The Café harvest collected insights in three categories: “Head” (ideas/mindset), “Heart” (feeling/emotions) and “Hand” (concrete actions).

Harvest (1)

Harvest (3)


In the debrief, among many other insights, we noticed that “listen” appeared in some form in the presentation of all three categories: to have a ‘listen carefully’ mindset (head); to listen with a selfless heart (heart); and to listen for other’s passions/excitement and reflect it (hand).

Slack for iOS Upload

In the final circle debrief, participants reflected on the event and shared some their feedback, insights, discoveries. A common takeaway was a renewed sense of purpose and a recharged desire to take greater advantage of the opportunities that we are given through our work to express, show, and embody love.

Wrapping up!


GLC XII: Mindful Leadership, March 11, 2016

Please join us for GLC XII: Mindful Leadership March 11th, the 5th anniversary of the 3/11 earthquake. What is Mindful Leadership? How do we maintain mindfulness in the fast changing world we live in? Why would we want to? How do we experience un-mindful leadership? What is the difference between meditation and mindfulness? These are some of questions that may be discussed March 11 at The Wesley Center. Please join the conversation!

To register please go to:

Kai Sawyer’s gift to the GLC community


Held on December 4, 2015: “GLC Presents: Kai Sawyer on Nonviolent Communication” was a great learning experience and it has led to the development of some wonderful new connections. So far, feedback on the event has been overwhelmingly positive.

Nonviolent Communication (NVC)

Kai led us through a series of exercises which helped us understand the foundations of NVC. Along the way, we came to a deeper understanding of what ‘drives” us and we learned ways we can communicate more effectively with others. We explored four basic NVC concepts:

Observations – Our experience of the world and the actions of others, as distinct from our evaluations of those experiences. Kai led an exercise in observation that highlighted just how often and habitually we include evaluations when we recount our own experiences or reflect others’.

Feelings – Emotions seem to arise in response to our experiences, but NVC encourages us to avoid the trap of thinking and communicating in a way that assumes that the actions of others cause our emotions and that others are therefore responsible for how we feel.

Needs – Kai described needs as “the energy of life” – the deep drives that move us. These needs are universal and include things such as creativity, community and compassion, among many others.As NVC explains, we are affected emotionally when our needs are met and when they are not met. Through an “empathy circle” exercise, Kai helped us identify the needs that underlay recent emotionally-charged experiences. Several participants commented that this exercise was a very powerful way of gaining self-awareness.

Requests – When we come to better understand our needs, we can begin to be clearer about what we would like to ask of others, and that clarity can enrich relationships. Kai helped us recognize how often our requests are too vague, abstract or ambiguous to be useful.



As is typical for GLC events, there was plenty of diversity! Among the 36 participants, almost half were non-Japanese and more than a dozen nationalities were represented. There was a wide range of communities represented as well, including students, artists, healthcare workers, coaches/trainers and businesspeople. Also, some participants came with a lot of experience with NVC, while others were being introduced to NVC for the first time. Kai’s approach allowed everyone to learn at their level.

New connections

Almost half of the participants were attending a GLC event for the first time. Some were members of Japan’s NVC community, or of Kai’s or 3X3 Labo’s network. Some great connections were made and we look forward to hearing these new voices at upcoming GLC events.

Among the new connections, a special shout-out to Yurie Makihara, who volunteered outstanding graphic facilitation during the workshop and has joined our leadership community. Scroll down for photos of her amazing work. Thank you, Yurie! Please contact Yurie at to find out about her Graphic Facilitation Basics workshop on Jan. 11.

Gift economy

Kai shared with us his practice of the gift economy. One element was a potluck lunch during the workshop, in which participants were invited to experience community through the sharing of food. Another was the invitation to give back to support Kai’s work, through a pay-forward donation collection at the end of the event. Read more about Kai’s approach to gift economy here:

3X3 Labo

What a great space! Welcoming, bright and versatile, we loved the facility. We also found strong alignment with the values of the organizations supporting the space and the projects based there. We want to thank 3X3 Labo for welcoming us, and we look forward to doing more to support their mission. Learn more about 3X3 Labo here:

Looking ahead

This was a new initiative for us in the GLC. It was the first time we worked with a presenter to create an event based on their offering. As we’ve had a chance to collaborate with Kai for our Future of Leadership Forums, we knew it would be worth doing, but in the end it far exceeded our expectations. It led to so many positive outcomes – learning for all, new connections, great ideas for our own events (look forward to more integration of gift economy!), and the joy of helping a fantastic presenter/facilitator live their purpose.

We’d love to hear your thoughts. Who else could we support in a win-win-win (participants, the presenter, and our community) by providing a similar platform for their work?






GLC Presents: Kai Sawyer on Non-Violent Communication (Workshop)


An introduction to the world of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) and an exploration into radical social/organizational change. The goal of the workshop is for each of us to look deeply into what “moves” us, what “moves” others, and how we can connect deeply to that energy of life.

How do we communicate in our full authenticity while holding others with loving care? How do we shift from a power-over paradigm to a power-with paradigm, where all life matters equally? We will explore these questions through powerful interactive practices.

Please note that the language of this event is English only.

Register here!

New videos posted on our Youtube Channel

Check out the latest videos on our GLC Youtube Channel! They do a great job in communicating who we are and its impact on our key members.

Thank you Thibaut Meurisse for putting these together!

Global Leadership Café X: The Power of Appreciation

July 2, 2015 – A two year anniversary of the Global Leadership Café. Once again we had come together in an open and safe place to share and co-create. We began with a brief overview of the themes of the nine previous cafes, such as Freedom to Fail, Staying Foolish, Team Collaboration; each one expressed by one of the attending community members. Recurring participants recalled some of their experiences, while new participants were exposed to a humble and valued history.

The evening’s opening jolt of an exercise was simple and readily noticed. We partnered up, most with a complete stranger, and then did the following: “take a moment with this person, and whatever may come to mind, express what you might appreciate about her/him.” Expressions varied with descriptions of appearance, perceived qualities, and feelings that arose from the person’s presence. Our exchanges differed, but one could sense a greater openness and increasingly positive atmosphere. This was the beginning of an experiential understanding of appreciation.

Our first café question asked: “What is an experience in your life where you felt you were unappreciated, and would have liked to have received appreciation?”

As stories were shared some participants began to identify this missing appreciation as a lack of praise, recognition, or missing feedback for one’s work and efforts. Other participants expressed that they had not been consciously acknowledged, or that their value had been neglected. Disappointments, frustrations, and inner pains were willingly exposed. Two conceptions of appreciation were raised: “appreciation for my actions, and appreciation for who I am as a person.”

A second paired exercise: “take a moment, and think about a part of yourself that you would like appreciation for. Tell your partner, as if they were you, ‘I appreciate your ..’ Your partner then repeats the same exact words to you, reflecting that appreciation.”

“Wow! What an experience!” A diversity of reactions arose, intense and more deeply felt. There were some “feelings of warm energy,” “a powerful sensation,” “seeing a truth that you believe, or want to believe.” One of the most meaningful perhaps, was being able to understand and connect with the essence, or centrality of who another person is. In this atmosphere we were recognizing the value of one another, simply for who we were. A welcomed feeling.

Our second Café question then followed: “How can we share this felt understanding of appreciation with our communities and organizations?”

Ideas that emerged were simple yet impactful: a warm smile, words that reflect the meaning of appreciation: ご馳走様でした、お疲れさまでした. We noticed and shared nuances of culture and language. Other ideas were more playful, such as an imitation or a retelling of a story. With our community harvest we able to reflect, take in the moment, and share as a single group what we were experiencing and understanding. We could laugh, feel joy, encourage one another, and move forward with deeper insights. One takeaway, is acting with the awareness that everyone can value being appreciated, and that there are opportune moments throughout our days to sincerely express one’s recognition of another human being.

We concluded the Café with our tree of appreciation. Each one of us wrote an action item of how we would share appreciation with others, and then posted it on the beautifully paper-crafted, banyan tree.

GLC X: The Power of Appreciation, was a remarkable and heart-warming experience. A big thank you, for the participants and planning members for co-creating this highly enjoyable event. And, a moment of appreciation.


DSCF0152 (2)














If you would like to contribute or participate in the next GLC event, please feel free to contact us!

Facilitators: Gordan Gaul, Yuka Kojima, Michael Shell, David Nevin, Jorge Chiu

FOLF 2015 Summary

HideWhat a great day Saturday! A truly collaborative effort with over 20 people working together in its creation. Hide Enomoto-san started the day by helping us look at new ways to connect with our purpose. While not easy to do in a day he gave us a method and the state of mind to be in the quest.

conscious_leadershipThis was followed by a workshop facilitated by Skip Swanson and Dori Yanagi with support by Diana Chapman and her book, “The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership”. In any given moment we are either acting from a conscious or unconscious state. One isn’t better than the other but we are generally more happy and resourceful when we operate from a conscious state. The key is to recognize where you are at any given moment and shift to a conscious state, especially in these times of “emerging complexity”. In leadership coaching, we see more and more leaders looking for tools to help them shift to their conscious state to enhance effectiveness.

An interactive workshop with tarinainanika followed dinner. This was a refreshingly physical, fun and unexpected activity incorporating delight and play. It brought the topic of creating connection and creating community out of the head and into the body.

Panel DiscussionYoko Ishikura-sensei gave an inspired talk on what the future of leadership is requiring of us. We can’t wait to get the right pedigree or wait to be part of an establishment. The time is NOW. We need to extend ourselves beyond what we think is possible and to give our greatest contributions as Leaders today. She was joined by Kai Sawyer-san and Hide Enomoto-san on a panel discussion. Hide-san expressed that we all possess leadership qualities within ourselves and that leadership is not a title or a position. He expressed that in Japan’s past one’s identity was often tied up with an organization. If the organization failed one’s identity was questioned. Ishikura-sensei boldly shared that she pays “no attention to joining this or that community,” but instead follows her curiosity and interest. Kai feels connectedness with everyone with the realization that every action he takes affects everyone in some way. In the gift economy or “gift ecology,” instead of fretting over money, he offers his work to those in need and in turn his needs are met through offers. “What goes around comes around.”

This led to an experimental open space technology conversation led by David Nevin and Shiro. Topics from the day were broken down, digested and discussed. It was a cross-pollination conversation of new ideas. Commitments were made. Joel Mitchel lead us through a silent and profound gratitude exercise. Annette Karseras ended the day by helping us harvest the insights of the day.

lumina world_cafe

Overall the event was gratifying and inspiring. A follow up conversation (Global Leadership Cafe) is being planned for sometime in July. If you would like to contribute your ideas for that conversation please let us know.

Thank you everyone for your participation and contribution. FOLF 2 was a great example of the power of collaboration!

FOLF 2015

Global Leadership Café IX: Empowering Organizations and Communities

Asia’s Global Leadership Cafe IX started as a conversation about the difference between community and organization. And ended by questioning connections between empowerment and productivity.

If you didn’t attend…why don’t you try the first challenge of our evening now? Pick up a pen and write a number. Without thinking too much – How many organizations and communities do you belong to?

On that Friday night in April 2015, forty marker pens scribbled figures – colours filled the corners of the white sheets spread over tables. As I moved around the room – world-café-style for each round of questions that followed – I noticed numbers from 4 to 44, acronyms scrawled roughly in the process of recall. Many numbers had been erased and re-written higher: 52, even 63 communities or organizations. We helped each other discover more that we were not conscious of belonging to at first….

Questions that expanded our awareness:

  • What are different categories of community and organization?
  • What organizations would you put on a resume?
  • What are conversations you would say “Me too!” to….like communities of left-handed people!?
  • What membership cards do you have in your wallet?
  • What educational alumini do you belong to?
  • What are your social identities or interests?
  • …Shared interests lead us to lunch.

What figure of belonging has yours risen to now?(!)

The spirit of this Tokyo-based global leadership laboratory extended to facilitators’ own collaboration with each other. The event’s volunteer leaders connected improvisation with prepared pieces that threaded their existing expertise through to their learningful edges.

Our opening facilitator jolted us out of our workdays and into his own developmental and experimental zone. Impromptu, he invited one of his co-organizers to ad-lib the etymology of the difference between “community and organization.” Something that perhaps had come up inconsequentially in conversation during a planning meeting, was put to a poignant purpose in the spur of the moment. His co-facilitator gracefully responded to the request.

Other facilitators navigated personal challenges with their public persona: controlling nervous apprehension, projecting vocally in competition with the echoing architecture of Tsukiji Temple, adjusting to ever-deviating time-management of co-facilitators, warming away the perceptible chill of a late winter or harvesting and thematizing insights gleaned by participants from dozens of domiciles. My admiration for these facilitators rose each time they rose to the challenges of leadership, collaboration and facilitation.

Guidelines not rules. Invite others to speak. Listen. Be open minded. “This GL community is like a new leadership school.” Said one facilitator as she addressed us.

Collective consciousness sustained palpably in paradox with authentic autonomy.

Just one of the beautiful things that this forum offers is the chance to re-connect with likeminded people. Serendipitous rencontres with old colleagues. Acquaintances recently made at Japan’s International Coach Federation’s Japan Chapter. Fond hugs from friends; memories of coaching Salons now disbanded. The permeable continuity of faces familiar and half-remembered from previous Global Leadership Cafes.

Like minds that share a common language of leadership – whatever their native tongue. The future of leadership; a possibility that fires human aspiration and renders organizational politics ***irrelevant.***

Global Leadership Café questions:
Q1: When have you felt empowered by a community and/or organization?

Q2: What would be different if your community or organization existed to empower *you*?

Q3: What would be different if your community or organization existed to empower *all* its members?

Q4: How do we empower our communities and organizations?

[WARNING: you may find some of what you are about to read offensive]

“Love, empathy and consideration for others.”

“Slap them on the face before they fall on their face! ‘Hard? It’s your f***ing job!’ …he felt the sting, but it empowered him.”

“Empowerment comes from within. From patience. From the ability to make mistakes…and learn.”

“I called him at 10am…he was still hungover from the night before. It wasn’t even SetTai (He wasn’t with clients). What can you say…?”

“Disempowerment is not being given credit for your work. Worse is when others take credit for something they didn’t contribute to.”

“To increase the bottom line for shareholders is to cut back on employee welfare resources…Productive organization does not need empowerment but empowerment needs productivity and proactivity. Too many rules and reducing resources is disempowering. Empowered employees have a freer hand on how to do their work.”

“Synergy makes profitability sustainable” I replied in agreement.

“Sharing my positive attitude, modelling my own empowerment for others, be all that I can be! Emphasis can be infectious.”

“Helping people fail safely.”

“No bulshit or flakeness. Empathy and playfulness. Steadfastness & accountability.”

“Empowerment leads to self respect and fulfilment/actualization… Whether or not it leads to higher productivity or profits is another question.”

Participants included:

HR generalist, start-up entrepreneur, MBA professor & students, own-business financier, leadership coaches, business consultants, engineering manager, NPO activists, SME board member, German-Japan project manager, translators, off-the-street participants, friends, colleagues, partners in love, life and work.

Facilitators in order of appearance:

Skip, David, Yuka & Selma, Dori & Rohini, Michael.


Mark the date:
Sat 16 May 2015 “The Future of Leadership Forum” with Global Leadership Partners Asia.

Have a lovely Golden Week. Hope to see you then…

Karenni Social Development Centerでのグローバルリーダーシップカフェ

数名のGLCファシリテーターが2月20日にタイ・ビルマ国境へ行き、Karenni Social Development Center (“SDC”)でグローバルリーダーシップカフェを開催します。SDCとは、カレンニ族の人権を推進し、環境を保護するための地域参画型コミュニティーです。SDCは、法律に基づいて新しい社会をつくりあげることを目標としています。目標達成のために、SDCは若いカレンニ避難民が非暴力による社会変革を推進するための教育を行っています。

2月20日のグローバルリーダーシップカフェの目的はi) SDCが長期ビジョンを作成すること、ii) カレンニ族各自が実際持っている力量を認識してもらうこと、そしてiii)世界中のコミュニティーがSDCの変革的な活動を広められるよう明確に告知すること、です。参加者はSDCリーダーシップチーム、教授団、学生、卒業生及びボランティアです。他のカレンニ族コミュニティーリーダーは、共有されているチャレンジやこれからの希望について多様な観点から対話に加わります。


Karenni Social Development Centerについては、こちらhereをご覧ください。

この意義深いプロジェクトはRefugees International Japanによって実現化されました。RIJの避難民活動については、こちらhereをご覧ください。

SDCグローバルリーダーシップカフェについては、David Nevin (まで、お問い合わせください。


A Global Leadership Café at the Karenni Social Development Center

On February 20, a small team of GLC facilitators will travel to the Thai-Burma border to conduct a Global Leadership Café at the Karenni Social Development Center. The SDC is a small, community-based organization dedicated to protecting the environment and promoting the human rights of the Karenni people. The SDC’s aim is to build a new society based upon the rule of the law. To accomplish this, the SDC trains young Karenni refugees to become advocates in non-violent social change.

The objective of the Feb. 20 Global Leadership Café is to help the SDC create a long-term vision, appreciate their inner resources, and clearly articulate how other communities around the world can empower the SDC’s transformative work. Participants will include the SDC leadership team, staff, faculty, students, alumni and volunteers. Other Karenni community leaders will join the conversation, providing diverse perspectives on the shared challenges and opportunities ahead.

The SDC embodies leadership and innovation. While the GLC team hopes to contribute to the SDC’s success, this is also a fantastic learning opportunity for our community. In the context of adversity and limited resources, the SDC leadership team has created a strong and growing movement towards a more sustainable future. We believe that there are many lessons to learn from this community about the kind of leadership we need to thrive in the next 100 years. Find out more about the Karenni Social Development Center at their website here.

This inspiring project was made possible by Refugees International Japan. Find out more about RIJ’s work to assist refugees at their website here.

To find out more about the SDC Global Leadership Café, contact David Nevin (

You can read more about the event at our Tumblr site. You can also find more on the SDC web site.