Meetup to Save the World

7:00 pm – 8:30 pm in the Community Room, Lower Level

What can we do together to improve our world despite differences that we may have? How can we find common ground and work together productively (and peacefully), even though we may totally disagree politically or ideologically? Join us on the first Thursday of each month as Mike Travisano & Joe Brtalik facilitate deep discussion and dialogue employing communication techniques that provide a space for differing opinions to be heard safely, honorably, and respectfully. Each month a topic will be provided, but the conversation will largely be led by attendees.  Our discussions will focus on how we can learn from each other in order to find common ground and positively impact the world around us. Space is limited. Registration for February’s meetup begins January 2.


February's Topic:  Who (or what) is right? ...How do I know?

No matter what our individual "Save the World" goal might be (climate change, divisive politics, security, economics, etc.), our ability to effectively influence change is only as good as our ability to communicate our ideas (and understand others' ideas).

In January’s meetup we explored how we come to know what we know and talked through a communications model that helps us to define what makes a fact a fact and makes an opinion (our assessment of the fact) an opinion. For February’s meeting, we’ll briefly review this material again and then build on it with a discussion centered around:

·        Am I balancing my conversations by listening carefully to understand others who disagree with me? (And what’s the right balance?)

·        Am I able to listen with empathy to someone whose opinions oppose mine, and what if they’re right? (Do I have the capacity for my mind to be changed?)

·        Do I receive feedback from other people and respond to it effectively, or do I just ignore it? (And how do I decide who to listen to?)

As before, Joe and Mike will facilitate the discussion using simplified models to help us make sense of some very complicated processes.


Meet the Discussion Leaders:

Joe Brtalik - Originally from Long Island, New York, Joe attended the Catholic Seminary before serving as a Communications Specialist in the Navy and then working in Executive Leadership for Electronic Data Systems (EDS). Joe received his Organization Leadership and Development training under Peter Senge and Fred Kofman at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and built a consulting practice which led transformational change and leadership development initiatives throughout the country at such organizations as IBM, General Motors, and Johnson & Johnson. Additionally, Joe has been a successful restaurateur (with his two sons), written articles for multiple publications on the topics of leadership, groups, and teams, and participated in the Institute for the Healing of Racism. Joe lives with his wife near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and has three children and seven grandchildren.

Mike TravisanoMike grew up in central Pennsylvania and received his B.S. and M.B.A. from Penn State University. He started his career in technology and business in Boston, and eventually moved back to central Pennsylvania, where in addition to working with IBM, he partnered with Joe Brtalik delivering organizational development training. Recently, Mike completed a four-year mission as an officer for the United Nations’ International Fund for Agricultural Development in Rome, Italy, whose goal is to eradicate rural poverty and hunger. Additionally, Mike had the pleasure to work with on their project to collect, curate, and summarize the late philosopher's recorded lectures on topics such as Zen, Taoism, communications, and technology. Mike is also performing musician and composer and has released two albums of solo piano music as well as solo compositions for guitar. Mike lives near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania with his wife, son, and funny little dog.

Thursday, February 7, 2019 - 7:00pm to 8:30pm


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