Lisa Connors, NEXTWORK PARTNERS, LLC
Owner, Chief Hybrid Consultant
Designer | Facilitator | Consultant | Writer
HYBRID. /ˈhīˌbrid/ adjective. Of mixed character; composed of mixed parts that do the same thing. From Latin hibrida offspring of a mixed union.
HYBRID CONSULTANT. I bring all of my parts, and my partners, to do the same thing. Help you define 'what's next' and build a sound bridge from here to there.
HYBRID CONSULTING COMPANY. NeXtwork Partners is not built on one model, idea, platform or 'expert'. Instead we, my partners and I, have a richly abundant variety of experiences, education and orientations we build upon where we find the willing and ready to take bold leaps ahead.
I have worked in these fields & industries...
Healthcare; Education; Manufacturing; Non-profit; Publishing; Automotive; Government; Community Development; Architecture & Design; Travel; Pharmaceutical Research; Foundations
Under the these names...
Leadership Development; Organization Development; Project Management; Community Development; Training; Quality; Change Integration; Instructional Design; Graphic Design; Coaching; Facilitation; Design; Innovation; Strategic Planning; Visioning; Personal Development; Circle Calling; Customer Service; Teaching; Workshop Lead; Event Planning; Storycatching; Writing; Photography; Texturizing; Web Design; Marketing; Jill of All Trades
The short version of my winding path to here...
I was raised in a rural community bolstered by lakes and farmland in Southeast Michigan where I played in the woods with my dog and dreamed of going to Africa of all places. I worked in my dad's ice cream joint where my life's first big lesson took hold: it's all about the experience you create for the customer, down to the smallest detail. We had events like pajama night and the whole town showed up! Oh, and try not to eat all the profits. I went to college and graduated in 1988 with a BA in Interior Design from Michigan State.
I married my college sweetheart, Kevin, in 1989 and moved to Chicago where I worked as a designer for OWP&P Architects. Under their roof, I learned several more lessons and took a big fork in the road. The firm was transitioning from four founding partners to the next generation. They hired a consultant to help them define a new vision, build on this proud ground and reach for what's next. I was asked to facilitate a small team of 'young, smart and smart-alec designers and architects', aka my friends, to coax their involvement. Who me? Desperate, I phoned my mom and stepdad, Carole and David Schwinn, who sent me an exercise, Force Field Analysis, from their book, The Transformation Toolkit. It worked. I was hooked. They sent me a copy of the newly published The Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge, I careened down the fork to the left.
Returning 'home' to Michigan in 1992 I branched into design marketing, managed my first employee, talked my way into training and quality, built teams, mapped processes, worked with brilliant dedicated people and a really dysfunctional leadership team. Even survived a hostile take-over including chained doors and the magical time after of 're-building & re-branding bootcamp'. Ah, those were the days (dreamy pause)! I learned firsthand the trials of building a Learning Organization in this cauldron of chaos. When the need of this company outstripped what I knew, I played Lassie - "Go on girl, run quick and get help!" I found my parents anew and their colleagues in The School For Managing, Meg Wheatley, Peter Block, David Whyte, Joann Gadbaw. I also played and learned in the Community Building initiative in Jackson, MI with Lorri Johnson and LaMont Williams. Joann led me to Peter Norlin, Andrew Bennett, Susan Marshall and the partners of MetaDynamics, Michael Roblee and Terry Poling. All played important roles in my story's what's next.
Work with the willing and ready. Work with people you love and respect. Work with those who share your values. These are the lessons out of this period. And I do well when I stick with them now. In 1999, two years after my daughter was born, I was told by the then CEO to have the whole company read "Who Moved My Cheese", which I thought was a stupid idea. I read it myself, and before the box of books arrived for the rest, I went out in the maze to find my new cheese. I was invited to work for MetaDynamics, Leadership & OD Consultants extraordinairre and darn good folks to boot. Together we built a Community of Learners made up of the best practitioners in Michigan, many of whom, I am grateful to say, have agreed to be Colleague Partners of NeXtwork. We did fine work with leaders and teams at Abbott Labs, Ascension Health, the greater Detroit regional community, and started a decade plus relationship with Robert Bosch, LLC.
Somewhere in there my dear friends Vincenza Mueller, Lynda Ronie and Anne Thompson asked me to be the designer of a six month women's leadership intensive in partnership with four other smart, talented women. I was busy. I hesitated. Said yes to one meeting. Life lesson number I have lost track: Say YES to one meeting, you have NO IDEA What's Next! The Center for Women's Leadership was born.
In another say YES moment, I was asked to join a global initiative of the Berkana Institute called From the Four Directions, Helping Life Affirming Leaders Everywhere. A diverse group of men and women, by every measure, learned The Circle Way with Christina Baldwin and Ann Linnea on a ranch in Arizona. There I met Teresa Posakany and Tenneson Wolf, soul mates to be. We dispersed across the globe, seeding circles of leaders, supporting the Young Pioneers, and from this Teresa and Tenneson helped found the Art of Hosting.
In 2004 MetaDynamics transitioned from my employer to my client. I struck out on my own, with the great fortune to maintain my all-ways-rewarding relationship with MetaDynamics and Bosch.
Roxanne Pals and I began our voyage together at Trinity Health where we worked together as change specialists on system-wide process and structure shifts. Today we partner on projects with organizations who are hell bent on transforming some part of their organization (or the whole darn thing). We love the idealism/realism of the work Carole and David Schwinn have documented in their book The Transformative Workplace, and yes we believe whole-heartedly that workplaces CAN be places that grow people, purpose, prosperity and peace--mostly by talking honestly and often to one another and thinking together creatively. She was a boots on the ground nurse supervisor/turn-around magician and then a culture change maven and I am well, you know, Jill of All Trades designer, texturizer and soon to be Master of Creative Writing. We are great at asking WHAT'S NEXT? together.
I have never marketed. Until very recently I had no business cards nor business name of my own. No website. Just my relationships and enough work to keep me fed, contributing and learning. You can read more (I swear it is shorter there) under Clients and Colleagues - MetroParent; Trinity Health; JOURNEYS International; Robert Bosch, LLC; 3Consulting; University of Michigan and others. And at this latest site review, July 2016, my answer to What's Next now is to continue what has served me well for 25 years, do the work that comes to my hands with people I love and respect, finish my Creative Writing Masters degree and . . . we'll see.