Personal Renewal - Steve Byers - July 2007

On June 10, 2007, the first Seattle University OSR cohort walked across the stage at Qwest Field in Seattle and received their Master of Arts in Organizational Design and Renewal.  I am part of this community. We were excited beyond description.  Family (long suffering) and friends were in the stands, and our faculty advisors were in their finest academic dress and sitting stage left.  I was incredibly proud to be part of this cohort, and to have accomplished all the work (and play) for this degree. The ceremony in the huge stadium concluded an emotional and deeply satisfying final weekend, rich in content and meaning.

Over this weekend, as for the entire 22-month program, the cohort worked and learned with some incredibly talented people. Threshold Ensemble, an improvisational theater group based in Seattle that specializes in "playback theater," used ideas and narratives from the students to dramatize some of the life changing events experienced by the cohort.  One thing made clear by this interaction with Threshold Ensemble is that we, OSR 13, are not done learning. Also, and just as important, we know not to take ourselves too seriously.

Simone LaDrumma
drummed us into the program in September 2005 and helped us close our program this weekend in June 2007. She guided us for two hours, bringing us together in celebration of our community and our relationships.  She closed with an intentional and intimate solo performance, working her way around our circle, making eye contact with each member of the cohort.  Never have I felt so much a part of something. Tears flow even now, a month later.
We were blessed on Saturday by Dawna Markova and Andy Bryner.  Dawna, author of "I Will Not Die an Unlived Life," and Andy also appeared at the 2006 Pegasus Conference in Boston. She and Andy led us through a series of reflections designed to help us focus on purpose and intention. Her message to us: "Live on Purpose".

OSR is a graduate program in the design and leadership of systemic organizational change. Everything is based on the concept of whole person learning. The program was founded by Don Swartz with the help of pioneers in the field of whole systems approaches to organizational change, including Gordon Lippitt, Ronald Lippitt, Oscar Mink, Eva Schindler-Rainman, and Virginia Satir. Visiting faculty for cohort 13 included Fritjof Capra, Geoffrey Bellman, Jane Magruder Watkins, Linda Booth Sweeney, Bob Stilger, Kathleen Ryan, Jean McLendon, and Hugh O'Doherty, among others.

The next cohort begins in October 2007. For more information, contact Bill Koenig, OSR Program Administrator. 

Steve Byers

OSR 13