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First Empathy Trainers Association Meeting
Date:  Saturday, May 28, 2016 
Time: 9am to 12pm PST 

Co-Design ChallengeHow might we build a mutually supportive Empathy Trainers Association?

YouTube Video


What’s next?



Unclear how to move forward without overwhelmed. Need clarity - see the unfolding and emergence.  Like mission statement based on vision. Keep it simple.  Whoever shows up, shows up. Have a poll, and have a vote on fbook. Everyone is welcome.

  • (   ) Will create a Vision Statement  (draft)? Need clarity to be effective.
    • (  ) What is Edwin's vision statement?
  • (x ) Will create a Graphic Drawing? see below.



  • ( ) Will review and interact with mission statement.
  • ( ) Messaging group is a lot, gather people together.  Create community


  • ( )  Will continue developing, organizing association and setting up meetings, etc.


Mireille van Bremen
Graphical Recording Of Meetings

I did some graphical recording during the online meeting we just had in the International Empathy Trainers Association. I still feel thrilled about the inspiring conversation and delight about having had a three hour talk with like-minded people who care for and are passionate about bringing empathy to most needed places.

We spoke around the topic of ˇHow might we design a mutually supportive International Empathy Trainers Association?ˇ   

As a participant, I will give my own small summary of the meeting (of course, just my point of view. See overview in the wonderful attached drawings and the raw data where Edwin has posted our notes during the meeting)

There were five of us, 
  • Edwin, our organizer and director of the Center for building a culture of empathy; 
  • a young Non-Violent Communication (NVC) person who is also our wonderful graphic designer; 
  • a long-time NVC trainer now with a leadership role in that community; 
  • a philosopher/psychologist/scholar who has written books about empathy but also has a radio program for spreading empathy; 
  • and myself, a long time teacher of Empathic Listening and Gendlin's Focusing (a method of self-empathy) in building supportive communities or "empathy circles." 

What a wonderful variety of experts.

I balked at the idea of spending three hours doing the " human design process" which involves creating and looking at a lot of documents and visual aids but less face-to-face contact.

Edwin made space for my concern, and we started by doing round robin five minute interviews with each other on the topic " how can we build an empathy trainers Association?", knowing that we would have a second round of five-minute interviewing turns.

It was in those turns that we got to know each other, got to identify our own needs and concerns and possible contributions, and, I think, began to become bonded together in a community with a common goal.

Then, at my request, we spent the last 45 minutes applying the "human design " model to the themes and the needs and ideas we had come up with. Using that model, we came up with several next step tasks that each of us were willing to carry out.

And I became fascinated by the human design model as a way of taking our interview material and sorting it into categories and coming up with a way of formalizing and going forward.

So I was happy to see a marriage of the two things, empathy circles for sharing and human design for building from that first person knowledge.

You can see the list of themes and needs and concerns and solutions and action steps we came up with in Mirielle's graphic and the Google document from our interviews.

What mattered to me was how thrilling it was to be in a group of people with such a variety of skills and expertise they could bring to bear toward our common cause of starting an association.

How exciting for all of us to work together, overcoming difference by using our own empathy skills, and becoming a model of the culture of empathy we want to bring into the world.

Thanks to Edwin and to everyone who came and to all those who will contribute in their own way and in their own time. 

And we did have as a mantra, "Keeping it simple," so we could find a way for everyone to be involved according to their needs.