• Member Spotlight: Essential Partners

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    Tell us about your business:
    Essential Partners has worked for more than 25 years to facilitate conversations and equip people using our approach to dialogue. We bring a method that is applicable and adaptable in a wide variety of contexts. We offer training, facilitation, and consultation – all aimed to equip communities to have the conversations about what is most essential to be able to move forward and create new ways of being together.
    How long have you been a part of the Cambridge business community?
    1 month -1 year
    What is the history of your business?
    Laura Chasin imagined a different kind of civic life — one in which people could speak truthfully and compassionately about what mattered in their communities without letting differences tear them apart. She and her colleagues turned their research on constructive communication patterns into a new initiative the Public Conversations Project (of the Family Institute of Cambridge). It was an experiment, a bold exploration. Following the murders of two women outside local abortion clinics, Laura became a co-facilitator of a multi-year, clandestine dialogue between Boston area pro-choice and pro-life leaders.
     In the years that followed, Laura and the founders applied this singular method — which combined elements of family therapy, neuroscience, and mediation — to a wide range of issues and communities. Today, 26 years after Laura gathered her colleagues to address the pain she saw in civil society, the goal remains the same: equipping individuals and communities to not simply survive with their differences, but to thrive, working toward a vibrant future for us all. In 2016, the organization of Public Conversations Project embarked on a strategic process to boldly proclaim the power and relevance of its work, connecting to new audiences hungry for better ways to be in community together. Laura shared and furthered the imperative to shift the organization from a philanthropy into a self-sustaining institution. After her untimely passing, the organization staff, board, and founding associates gathered to fulfill the plans to grow the message and the impact of the core and distinct qualities of the organization’s critically important work. Our experts have facilitated and trained partners to facilitate conversations on the issues most essential to a robust civic life, including:
    • same-sex marriage and faith communities
    • immigration in America
    •  gun rights in Massachusetts and Montana
    •  gender, race, socio-economic class, wellness, sexual orientation, and mental illness on college and university campuses
    •  transpartisan dialogue in Washington, D.C.
    • inter-religious tolerance in Nigeria
    • science and faith
    • peace-building efforts in conflict-torn regions overseas

    How long have you been a member of the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce?
    1 month – 1 year

    What is your favorite part of doing business in Cambridge?
    As new residents of Cambridge (formerly Watertown), we have a whole new community to become a part of; sharing our hopes of constructive dialogue with our new neighbors in this great city!

    What new or exciting things are happening with your business?
    We created the first year-long Apprenticeship Program at Essential Partners, which concluded in December. We now have 11 new practitioners to go out in to the field!
    To gain more funding from foundations, Essential Partners is implementing a new state of the art monitoring and evaluation system to better measure our work.
    Essential Partners has also been host to two events post-election to encourage community conversations around stories of personal experiences during this time where dialogue can be difficult.

    Connect with Essential Partners!
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