Her delivery is emphatic and sincere. “If you're not in the conversation, then how can anything happen?” It is something she has taken deeply to heart. Indeed, it is the power of conversation that has literally defined Juanita Brown's life and career.
As a Farm Workers Union organizer, she saw how an insurmountable obstacle could be overcome in an instant by a single voice giving expression to the hopes of the collective. Co-creator of the World Café, she has participated in countless group mediations that began with acrimony and cynicism but ended with a community joined in the intimate experience of their common humanity. Even in her work as a high-level corporate strategist, Juanita's overriding interest is in the moment when “a window opens in the conversation.” It is in this mysterious moment that the “magic in the middle” occurs—when separate minds coalesce into a transparent, accessible intelligence.
In this deeply engaging interview with WIE editor Craig Hamilton, Juanita recounts these and other signal moments in her life and work. She also shares with us her concerns for the future and the search for a source of wisdom and insight deep enough to see us through the complex challenges that lie ahead. For Juanita, this guidance is always to be found in the limitless power of the human collective in dialogue.