The Power of Wholeness in Community Revitalization with Fran Stoddard

Fran Stoddard is a journalist and consultant who has been involved in education, public relations, media production, facilitation, and strategy development for more than 30 years. With a deep interest in helping organizations and communities move forward, Fran has used Appreciative Inquiry to help inspire impacts in towns and communities across the country.

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Episode Highlights:

  • Fran’s path to AI started when she took a job with the Orton Family Foundation. She realized that much of their work with communities was built upon appreciative practices.
  • She used AI to help facilitate conversations in a Maine Community that struggled to move past its history as a former mill town. By dialoguing around strengths and possibilities – the town flourished by honoring its history while embracing opportunities that allowed it to thrive (find a short video about this work here).
  • She touches on the power of intergenerational collaboration.
  • Fran did strategic planning work with the town of Waterbury, VT and shares some event planning tips!
  • She shares some of the questions she asks when working with communities that really resonate, and ignite the inspiring conversations.
  • She emphasizes how collecting stories and finding common threads can be used to discover the heart and soul of a community and generate value statements that help it stay focused on its strengths.
“It is very hard work, but once a town begins to get its pride back, and when your trust of your neighbors gets back on a good foundation, so much can happen – so many wonderful things.”

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