• Expanding to Meet Your Needs

    As you read this blog post, you may notice a different look, feel, and name to our website. For over 10 years Our Community Listens has offered transformative learning experiences across the country. Over 11,000 people have learned to understand themselves, connect with others, and lead empathetically through our three-day core class. As I travel the country, person after person tells me, “I am an alum of Our Community Listens.”

    Rebecca Buell Rebecca Buell
    May 03, 2021
  • Cracking the Communication Code

    Remember those “secret decoder” prizes that used to come packed in purchases of Cracker Jacks or various childhood cereals? Often buried within a box of sugary treats was a bookmark with a tinted plastic film that could illuminate hidden messages printed on the back of the box. Designed to crack the code, they often led us to find buried treasure or revealed the punch line of a riddle.

    Rebecca Buell Rebecca Buell
    Mar 15, 2021
  • Paying to Listen

    Once at a local coffee shop, I struck up a conversation with an older man from my neighborhood, asked him about his dogs, and how his weekend was going. What started as surface-level, neighborly conversation soon took a quick dive into him sharing his world—a pending divorce he didn’t want, a son struggling with health issues, business dealings and wondering how he could find meaning in the twilight of his career.

    Rebecca Buell Rebecca Buell
    Feb 24, 2021
  • More Than Words: Listening Beyond the Tangible to Unveil True Potential

    When I was 23 and beginning graduate school, I applied for a job as receptionist at a social services organization. Uncertain of my abilities to juggle schedules, direct phone traffic, and organize office needs, I literally stopped the interview mid-stream, told the Director that I probably couldn't do the job, and let him know I didn't want to waste his time. I started gathering my things to leave.

    Rebecca Buell Rebecca Buell
    Nov 13, 2020
  • A Shortage of Grace

    In a virtual coffee conversation with coworkers the other day, the topic came up of how short people are getting with one another. Well-meaning, well-intended, big-hearted and great-natured individuals seem to be nonexempt. Six full months into Pandemic 2020, my teammate observed, at grocery stores, on highways, in workplaces, in families, and even in houses of faith, there seems to be a pervasive “shortage of grace.”

    Rebecca Buell Rebecca Buell
    Sep 23, 2020
  • Returning to Basics of Humanity, Connection and Care

    It’s been said that most of the things we need to know in life we learn in kindergarten. While primary school doesn’t teach us calculus or chemistry, it does teach us skills more readily and widely applicable in daily life.

    Rebecca Buell Rebecca Buell
    Sep 18, 2020
  • Reliving Quality Time: Memories of the Past Bring Insight to the Present

    Cleaning and purging bookcases earlier this week, I ran across a beloved treasure. There on the seldom-seen top shelf, ensconced in a thin layer of dust, was a set of eight slightly-yellowed Laura Ingalls Wilder books about her life growing up on the Midwestern prairies. With a smile I took one down, looked at the 50-years-passed printing date, and snuggled into warm memories.

    Rebecca Buell Rebecca Buell
    Aug 25, 2020
  • Hope and Empathy: Working Together to Ease Unrest

    How one Michigan organization is using hope and empathy to help ease tensions during this time of unrest.

    Rebecca Buell Rebecca Buell
    Aug 05, 2020
  • Reciprocal Relationships and How Our Community Listens Can Inspire Youth

    Our Community Listens imagines a society in which we care for each other first, and one way we strive to achieve this is through inspiring youth. With that in mind, Educational Initiatives Leader Mike Desparrois and I started on a journey to discover what OCL’s contribution could be in the field of education.

    Rebecca Buell Rebecca Buell
    Jul 20, 2020
  • When the World is Unfathomable, Seek to Understand

    Sitting in my St. Louis home office watching live coverage of protests waging across my city tonight, I am reminded of similar scenes six years ago when the nation and beyond focused on Ferguson, a sister suburb just a few miles away. As I type I can hear sirens raging in the distance, the distinct cacophony of fire, police, and ambulances blending into a far-too-familiar soundtrack of city life in the days of social unrest.

    Rebecca Buell Rebecca Buell
    Jun 01, 2020