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7 comments (Add your own)

I remember with love my two meetings with Jane in Dunhan. Exactly this last Monday I referred to Jane' presence in my first steps in AI. I hope Ralph could meet comfort in the many lived stories in the many years that they spent together.

Wed, August 14, 2019 @ 9:49 PM

2. wrote:
I am very very sad about your going. My sister I met you at JO'BERG year 2015. I was very new in the appreciative inquiry activities. I wanted to touch base with almost everyone in the conference, your smile, kind works..... I can't just imagine that you have gone to rest with our unseen fathers. I treasurer your words of wisdom; this very statement will live in the diary of my memory ....'Just start spreading a positive virus and watch it grow..'- my sister I will try to spread the gospel of Taos Institute in Kenya and the larger world to make sure that a positive virus will grow to hold your love for the institute and her Associate members. Go well my sister
Nelly Ndirangu
Taos Associate member from Kenya

Thu, August 15, 2019 @ 7:13 AM

3. Mo (Maureen) McKenna wrote:
Memories of Jane - a slide show I created for the Celebration of Jane's work. Thanks to Dawn Dole, Jackie Stavros and Megan Tschannen-Moran for working with me to create a wonderful weekend at William & Mary University. So many came from all over the world to celebrate.


Thu, August 15, 2019 @ 8:03 PM

4. Jeannette Aschenbrenner wrote:
It was a great privilege to meet and get to know Jane. She was a remarkable woman, leader and teacher. We were fortunate to have Jane, Ralph and Mo (Maureen) bring appreciative inquiry into our work and into our lives. Thank you Jane for your energy, your passion and your genuine caring for the hopes and challenges of others. Thank you for sharing the power and beauty of appreciative inquiry with us.

Jeannette Aschenbrenner
Anda Dima
Jackie Hubick
Paula Koch
Anna Liu
Dixie Mazuren

OD Team, Regina, SK, Canada

Fri, August 16, 2019 @ 11:53 PM

5. Bernard Mohr wrote:
Dear Ralph;

As I reminisce about our past Im reminded of so many pleasant memories.

The journey of first of the "Circle of Excellence in AI" in Taos and then building AIC and then developing the NTL Certification program - the list goes on. What fun we had. The places we shared as as friends in Bethel, in DC , in Williamsburg , in Mississippi, in Bar Harbor etc etc.
Whenever I had the rare opportunities to spend these times with you and/or Jane, you both always gave so freely and lovingly of your time, your passions and your energies. Thank you.

Jane may have shared with you her not insignificant invitation to me (sometime in the late 80’s?) to join her and a few other NTL colleagues for a pilot workshop to explore a new idea -something she called Appreciative Inquiry that she had been exposed to by a young man from Case Western. I remember going not only because I had nothing to do that weekend, nor because Bethel was close and I had free housing there :-) … but because I had heard about Janes work on the NTL board (something we had in common) and I wanted to get to know her better.

What serendipity!.
That weekend workshop changed my life

I was at a stage in my 30 year career, where I had moved from Behavioural Data analysis, to Management Development work to Organization Development and on to Whole System Design work. I had had a reasonable degree of success but frankly the practice of starting engagements with a description and diagnosis of the system's pathologies had worn me down. (I can only imagine what it did for our clients).When, in the course of that workshop, Jane suggested that one could go into a system and search for the good, the moments of greatness, the things that gave life to the system, without ever delving into the broken and the problematic… well frankly I had two reactions..

First, I (and a few other participants) reacted with “you have got to be kidding! Fixing problems is what we do! And we do it better than most. That is our IDENTITY!”
And then a second reaction started to form. “What if this inquiry into what gives life really could work ?

During that same workshop I got part of the answer when Jane put us into pairs for an appreciative interview, using what, back then we called the “generic protocol”.
I was fortunate to be paired with Barbara Sloan.When Barbara asked me to recount a story about a time in my life when I felt fully alive, fully creative and productive, I told a story of a past, exceptional consulting experience and how the partnership we developed with our clients led to amazing results. As I told the story I was aware of my heart beating faster and my emotions soaring. And to top it off I realized that I had just told a story not just about consulting success but about what gives me life — exploration of new ideas, partnerships, collaboration, co-creation.

Shortly after the workshop (maybe even before it ended) I approached Jane with an offer. What if we combined her experience in training with my background in consulting to further develop this work together. To my great surprise she said “sure” , she would be delighted. And so off we went. First, we started offering NTL’s 6 days in residence introduction to AI - during which we created the 5th D - Definition. Then she invited me to write a book with her which we called "Appreciative Inquiry: Change at The Speed of Imagination” (and which you Ralph so graciously helped with, with your work not just on the tedious task of getting all of our references correct, but as our in-house editor and advisor - you should have been our third author even back then !)
Of course after that came any number of consulting engagements, which Jane always brilliantly framed in ways that I was challenged to do …and our next publication, “The Essentials of Appreciative Inquiry: A Roadmap for Creating Positive Futures"

These are just small glimpses. I cannot say how much the times in which my life intersected with you and Jane have meant to my growth and my joys.
Thank you to you both !

Love, Bernard

Tue, August 27, 2019 @ 8:08 PM

6. Rebecca Phillips wrote:
Yesterday, I thought I must google Jane Watkins to see what she has been up too - and that is when I learned she had passed. With that notice, I was flooded of memories of being mentored and being befriended by an extraordinary woman. Ralph, I did not meet you, but heard of you and know you were the love of her life. I am so sorry for your loss. I first met Jane when she became the Director of the Overseas Development Office at the Episcopal Church in (1982?). I was a program officer living in the Southern Sudan, working with a program called SSRAP (Southern Sudanese Refugee Assistance Program). Jane was my rock as I worked in a crazy environment that honestly defied description for its nonconformist group of program staff. When we traveled together Jane taught this Iowa kid a whole new way of seeing the world. We went on a safari in norther Kenya near the Somali border and had a blast driving around in a small rental. We were fearless. We explored London from one end to the other. She integrated me into an amazing group of women she brought to Kenya to teach action planning, who to this day, remain clear in my mind's eye for their truthful honesty and grappling with larger life issues. She also introduced me to tomatoes and mozzarella at her home - to this day I cannot enjoy that juicy treat without thinking of her. Jane accepted no boundaries and that gift is one I treasured as I moved through my professional life. She was and is a comet of life and the heavens. Peace to her and all those who loved her. Rebecca

Fri, August 30, 2019 @ 12:19 PM

7. Janis Goodman wrote:
Dear Jane came into my life in Washington in the early 1960’s. Although we laughed that we were an unlikely pair - I was a Jewish interior designer from Western Canada who loved bright colours and she was a Southern Episcopalian who had her debut in the Delta and who only wore beige (her words). Although we never lived in the same city after 1965, we remained very close friends for almost 50 years, managed to meet all over the world and even owned an apartment together in New York for a time. We shared all our triumphs, trials and tribulations and I loved her like a sister. She was a very special lady and will forever remain in my heart.

Tue, September 3, 2019 @ 10:01 PM

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