Conversation Bootcamps

Conversations Worth HavingLinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner says the biggest skills gap in the US is not coding, it's communication skills, team-building and leadership. He goes on to suggest the most "popular bootcamps of tomorrow will be those that can teach us how to have a conversation."

"Our lives and the lives of others flourish or flounder one conversation at a time."
- David Cooperrider

Bootcamp 1: Conversations Worth Having

Step into Your Capacity to Fuel Productivity and Meaningful Engagement.

Communication. It remains the top issue for organizations, teams, and relationships. Almost everyone struggles with how to effectively communicate when they are frustrated or facing conflict. The effects of poor communication are costly. They show up in organizations as:

  • Employee disengagement, malaise, and turnover
  • Dysfunctional teams
  • Poor performance
  • Inability to give and receive critical feedback
  • Negative attitudes, cliques, and gossip: a culture of "me"

If you're dealing with any of these outcomes, the Conversations Worth Having Bootcamp will give you the skills and tools to turn them around. This program is grounded in Appreciative Inquiry, one of the most widely used positive change approaches. Two simple Appreciative Inquiry practices can turn your entire culture around, creating a culture ofconversations worth having. Following this workshop, you will have tools to establish communication practices that will support productivity, engagement, high performance teams, regular feedback, positivity, and a culture of "we."

Bootcamp 2: Strategic Conversations

Step into Your Capacity to Foster Whole System Strategic Thinking, Planning, and Leading.

A lack of strategic thinking and planning in organizations is costly. The greatest expense is the investment of time and resources into activities that do not support company goals or the mission. In addition, employees show up, do their work, and go home. This results in missed opportunities. Organizations poised for growth and success have leaders who are adopting strategic thinking as an on-going way of doing business and strategic planning that engages employees across the whole organization as well as external stakeholders. They engage everyone in developing agile plans, cycles of experimentation and learning, innovation, and measuring actions against relevant metrics. The Strategic Conversations Bootcamp will support you in developing capabilities to have strategic conversations at the level of the individual, team, division, and the whole organization or community. Developing your leadership ability for strategic thinking and planning, coupled with the skills to engage in strategic conversations significantly improves your value as a leader.


Online Bootcamps

  • Bootcamp 1:  Tuesdays, November 5, 12, 19, 26, 2019. Noon - 1 PM
  • Bootcamp 2: Tuesdays, January 7, 14, 21, 28, 2020. Noon - 1 PM
  • Fees: $479 per bootcamp, $895 when you sign up for both

In-Person Bootcamps

  • Mar 12 (Bootcamp 1) - Mar 13 (Bootcamp 2), 2020 in Asheville, NC, 8:30am - 5:00pm
  • Jun 4 (Bootcamp 1) - Jun 5 (Bootcamp 2), 2020 in Burlington, VT, 8:30am - 5:00pm
  • Fees: $695 per Bootcamp, $1295 when you sign up for both

Register Here


"Communication is at the heart of every interaction. We are constantly in a state of dialogue-with ourselves and with others. Jackie Stavros and Cheri Torres have managed to translate years of theory, research from the fields of Appreciative Inquiry, Positive Psychology, and Neuroscience into two simple practices focused on HOW to have conversations that build positive and engaging connections! Their bootcamps are brilliantly designed—very practical and relatable...they keep things simple, don't get bogged down in complex theory, focus on application with lots of time for real-time practice. You will walk away thinking very intentionally about your conversations and be amazed at how easy the concepts are to apply in every day conversations—personal and professional."
—Fasiha Haq Eli Lilly Canada

"Conversations centered on our strengths create remarkably stimulating and inspiring dialogues.  That's why Jackie Stavros and Cheri Torres gem of a book,Conversations Worth Having: Using Appreciative Inquiry to Fuel Productive and Meaningful Engagement, is a must read for anyone who desires improved and enhanced professional and personal relationships.  Their simple framework is based on decades of empirical research and management theory. It offers readers an easy-to-use road map on successfully engaging in conversations worth having.  Read it. Practice it. Experience it. You will leave negative self-talk and stalemate interactions behind as you and move towards meaningful, effective, solutions-based conversations.  Their Boot Camps are fully immersive, and designed for real-world application. If you're looking for a better way to engage in strategic thinking and strategic planning - at the macro or micro level, then it's time to step out of your comfort zone and SOAR with this dynamic duo. You will be astounded at your results!"
—Laurie "Elle" Finnegan Director of Leadership Gifts St. Paul's School

When someone asked me if I had been on vacation recently, I said, "Yes, I was at the Conversations Bootcamps!" Why? Jackie and Cheri showed me how to open a world a possibilities by asking generative questions. The program is simply brilliant in its collegial and practical approach. It's personal and professional development packed into one course! I highly recommend it.
Thank you!
—Kelly Stewart Founder and Positive Business Consultant The Positive Business 



Jackie ( is a professor at Lawrence Technological University (LTU). Her passion is working with others to bring AI into their daily conversations and meetings to create productive and meaningful results. She is recognized for her creation of SOAR, a positive approach to strategic thinking, planning, and leading ( She works with organizations in leadership development, team-building, and strategic planning. She helps organizations identify and articulate their values, vision, mission, strategy, and strategic initiatives. In 1995, Jackie was introduced to Appreciative Inquiry by David Cooperrider and Ron Fry while working on her doctorate at CASE Weatherhead School of Management. Her dissertation:Capacity Building Using an Appreciative Approach: A Relational Process of Building Your Organization's Future.She has worked across all sectors: for-profit, non-profit, government, and a wide spectrum of industries. Clients include: Edsel and Eleanor Ford Foundation, Flint Intermediate School District, Jefferson Wells, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Girl Scouts, Orbseal Technologies, Washtenaw Literacy, U.S. Army, automotive suppliers, healthcare centers, and education.  She has worked in over 25 countries using AI to affect the lives of thousands of people and their organizations improve capacity to thrive and increase performance. She has written 6 books, 20 books chapters, and over 40 articles. Co-authored books include:Thin Book of SOAR: Building Strengths-based StrategyandConversations Worth Having: Using Appreciative Inquiry to Fuel Productive and Meaningful Engagement.She lives in Brighton, Michigan, with her husband, Paul; their kids, Ally and Adam; and Rex, a lovable dog.


Cheri Torres ( is a Lead Catalyst at Collaborative by Design and guest lecturer at Lenoir Rhyne University. The foundation of Cheri's work is Appreciative Inquiry, which she was introduced to by David Cooperrider and Diana Whitney. Her work is grounded in neuroscience and positive psychology, and she is adept at helping others understand how their conversations influence their well-being and ability to succeed. She has worked with thousands of leaders and teams around the world to support high performance, engagement, and organizational success. Her clients have included AbbVie Pharmaceuticals, Baystate Medical Center, Booz Allen, EPA-ORD, NASA , Satyam Computer Services, Silverado Memory Care, and numerous non-profits and schools. She's written numerous books and articles; her most recent book is a Berrett Koehler bestseller, Conversations Worth Having: Using Appreciative Inquiry to Fuel Productive and Meaningful Engagement. Her work has been featured in leading media sources including Careers in Government, Fast Company, Forbes, HR Magazine, SmartBrief, Training Industry, and Training Magazine. A consummate learner, she has a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology, specializing in Collaborative Learning, an MBA, with emphasis on management, a Masters in Transpersonal Psychology, Appreciative Inquiry certification from Case Western Reserve University, Level 2 certification in Cultural Transformation Tools/Barrett Values Centre, and Level II certification in Spiral Dynamics Integral. She lives in Asheville, NC with her husband, Michael, their two dogs, Logan and Annabelle, and Ziggy, the cat, enjoying hiking, music, and eating great food.