(Re)Crafting Narrative Fragments of Personal Sense-Making during COVID-19: Pieces from our 2020 MCQ Forum Essay

For the August 2020 issue of Management Communication Quarterly, the journal has published an OPEN-ACCESS forum essay where a multicultural team of organizational communication scholars, from different universities, reflected on our collective sense-making of the historic COVID-19 pandemic. The essay builds on personal narratives from each of us on different questions posed by the lead researcher, to create a beautiful mosaic from our words, ideas and feelings. Below, I try to another iteration, by crafting together my fragmented narratives from an earlier, unedited version of the essay, to re-present those forms of expression, to create a new/old essay rooted in praxis. Thank you for reading.

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Learnshop on Tensions Model to Negotiate with Environmental Stakeholders at GLBD 2018 Conference

I was privileged to facilitate a “Learn shop” at the 14th annual conference of the Great Lakes Bioneers Detroit, targeted primarily at regional leaders working toward environmental sustainability. My own contribution centered on helping learnshop participants use communication theory to engage multiple stakeholders amid the “wicked problems” of environmental sustainability. Drawing from my research, I proposed a Tensions Model centered on recognizing how tensions can be more than just headaches, but can be used constructively once we take the time to appreciate the situation holistically from multiple perspectives. Specifically, the learnshop used four “tension areas” as the starting point to help analyze different problems in small groups.

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The time I played “Shark” for the New Enterprise Forum in Ann Arbor.

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I was privileged and thrilled to serve as a “Pitch Pit” judge at the Oct 18, 2018, Showcase and Pitch Pit, organized by the New Enterprise Forum (NEF). Based in Ann Arbor, MI, only 45 minutes from downtown Detroit, NEF offers local entrepreneurs extensive coaching, networking and other support services so that they can be successful. Pitch Pit gives startup leaders the opportunity to practice presenting to investors and others interested in the Detroit Area entrepreneurial community. Basically, our brief was to offer constructive and useful feedback, a more helpful version of the “sharks” on Shark Tank, to help the entrepreneurs pitching their business.

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How can we “translate” Sustainability effectively?

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At the close of my recent talk on “Organizing/Communicating Sustainably” at Central Michigan University, someone in the audience asked me, predictably enough, what hope there was for meaningful systemic change, given the preponderance of cultural, structural, and moral obstacles both in the U.S. and worldwide.

My response hinged around the very communicative concept of translation.

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