Course Information


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 of conversations worth having.

Conversation Bootcamp 1: Conversations Worth Having

Step into Your Capacity to Fuel Productivity and Meaningful Engagement

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."

You will walk away prepared to:

  • Keep your cool when you want to explode!
  • Effectively challenge assumptions and preconceptions, including yours.
  • Deal with conflict quickly and effectively.
  • Fuel productive and meaningful engagement.
  • Communicate successfully with people who hold negative attitudes or defensive positions.
  • Give and receive critical feedback in ways that promote learning and high performance.
  • Ask the kind of questions that deepen understanding, strengthen connections, and inspire possibility.
  • Talk with colleagues in ways that invite them to collaborate on projects and strategic outcomes.
  • Listen with genuine curiosity.
  • Frame any conversation, even one around a highly complex problem, to inspire creative and innovative thinking and solutions.

Conversation 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. Without a context for their work, employees are not inspired to think or plan creatively about process improvement, innovation, or cost savings. And anyone who has tried knows, it can be a struggle to get teams to buy-in to strategic goals, much less think and work in alignment with those goals.

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. The days of hiring an outside agency to create a strategic plan for your organization are over; so too should be strategic plans developed at the top and handed down for others to implement. 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.

This bootcamp will support your capacity and develop capabilities to have strategic conversations at the level of the individual, team, division, and the whole organization or community.


In-Person Bootcamps are two days of in-person training, typically from 8:30-5pm. Online Bootcamps connect for a virtual live session via Zoom once a week for four weeks, typically around noon ET. The live sessions are recorded for later viewing and materials are made available offline for independent review.

Important Notes

  • Pre-requisites: You must complete Conversations Worth Having before attending Strategic Conversations. It IS possible to take one bootcamp at a time (online $479, in person $695). Please contact to do so.
  • Certification: After you complete these courses, you can complete the certification to become a Conversations Worth Having Trainer. Certifications are in person in Asheville, NC in May and Burlington, VT in Sept. Online options are also available. Learn more 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

"Appreciative Inquiry (AI) boils down to what everyone needs most right now. In this bootcamp, Jackie and Cheri remind us to slow down, dig a little deeper, ask generative questions, and ultimately try to be better people. This workshop, for me, was a wonderful deep dive into the Conversations Worth Having book. I was so impressed and amazed by the group of people who chose to take the class and how far some traveled to be there. Thank you for such a wonderful experience and class! So often, I find myself also asking, what would the world look like if everyone had the benefit of AI?"

Heidi Webb
Major Gifts Officer
Shelburne Farms

“Do you ever wish the world was a more positive place? Then stop wishing and start reading Conversations Worth Having: Using Appreciative Inquiry to Fuel Productive and Meaningful Engagement --a practical guide sure to help each and every one of us engage in more meaningful, uplifting, and life-giving conversations and then sign up for the Conversations Worth Having and Strategic Conversations Bootcamps. At the workshop you get both the research and the practice from the fields of design thinking, positive psychology, and appreciative inquiry. These bootcamps empower participants to make a difference in the world--one conversation at a time. Authors Jackie Stavros and Cheri Torres have curated and crafted practical communication, feedback, and strategic tips you can carry into every conversation – anytime, anywhere!”

Caroline Comport
Emmy Award-winning Journalist
Founder, Narrative Quest


Cheri Torres
Cheri 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.

Jackie Stavros
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, health care 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 Strategy and Conversations 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.


Contact the Cooperrider Center at


Jun 24 - Jul 15 Conversations Worth Having Online, Weds Noon - 1pm ET
Jul 22 - Aug 12 Strategic Conversations Online, Weds Noon - 1pm ET
Aug 6 - Aug 7 Conversations Worth Having Online 12-2pm ET
Aug 13 - Aug 14 Strategic Conversations Online 12-2pm ET
Oct 1 - Oct 22 Conversations Worth Having Online, Thurs Noon - 1pm ET
Oct 29 - Nov 19 Strategic Conversations Online, Thurs Noon - 1pm ET
Jan 5 - Jan 26 Conversations Worth Having Online, Tues Noon - 1pm ET
Feb 2 - Feb 23 Strategic Conversations Online, Tues Noon - 1pm ET
March 25 Conversations Worth Having Asheville, NC 8:30am-4:30pm
March 26 Strategic Conversations Asheville, NC 8:30am-4:30pm
Apr 6 - Apr 27 Conversations Worth Having Online, Tues Noon - 1pm ET
May 4 - May 25 Strategic Conversations Online, Tues Noon - 1pm ET
June 3 Conversations Worth Having Burlington, VT 8:30am-4:30pm
June 4 Strategic Conversations Burlington, VT 8:30am-4:30pm
Jun 9 - Jun 30 Conversations Worth Having Online, Weds Noon - 1pm ET
Jul 7 - Jul 28 Strategic Conversations Online, Weds Noon - 1pm ET
August 5 Conversations Worth Having West Coast 9am - 5pm
August 6 Strategic Conversations West Coast 9am - 5pm
Oct 5 - Oct 26 Conversations Worth Having Online, Tues Noon - 1pm ET
Nov 2 - Nov 23 Strategic Conversations Online, Tues Noon - 1pm ET

AI Program Registration

For questions, please contact Alyssa Labare at

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Online Options
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Total: $

Refund Policy
If you wish to cancel your registration, notification must be made in writing to up to fifteen business days prior to the program start date to receive a refund.