I am writing to you today with excitement, joy, and awe because today is the NVC Academy’s 15th Anniversary!!! Wow!
Over the past few weeks, I have been thinking about how we got started. At the time, Mark Schultz and I were both involved in starting the NVC Arizona organization, and we started having conversations about these topics:
- Why isn’t NVC more well known in the world?
- What would it take for NVC trainers to have greater ease in earning a living?
- What are the barriers to learning / living NVC?
- What is needed that will address the issues we uncover?
We quickly realized that two of the biggest barriers to learning NVC was money and access. Only a few trainers were offering NVC telecourses (yep, back then, videoconferencing wasn’t an option), so the only way to learn NVC was to read a book, watch one of Marshall Rosenberg’s VHS videos (if you’re too young to know VHS, google it!), or attend workshops in-person.
We thought these options were too limiting for many people across the globe – trainers and participants alike.
There HAD to be another idea that could act as a bridge and bring more accessibility to all.
After several conversations, we landed on the idea of creating an online NVC organization. I hadn’t even taken an online course and I didn’t truly understand what they were. Mark had been working along the cutting edge of the technology industry for 25 years, but creating online learning was new to him too. It felt like falling out of an airplane and fumbling with a stuck parachute. Scary and unnerving.
We stepped into it anyway and figured it out as we went along.
Looking back over the years, I feel my heart lift in celebration because our values remain the same today as they were 15 years ago:
- Support trainers across the globe in having other opportunities for visibility and sustainability;
- Support NVC enthusiasts in having greater access to NVC (in our first month, we got an email from a man living at the North Pole who was overjoyed to finally have other options for connecting with the worldwide NVC community!)
- Hire team members who were NVC trained so we could live our values
- Support the greater NVC economy by running our company in a partnership model. (This was not the most economically effective model for the first 10 years or so, but each time we thought about making a change, we realized it would be outside our integrity. We wanted trainers to receive a fair wage for their efforts, and we wanted accessibility for people who live in many different parts of the world.)
I am proud that that we:
- Have been and continue to be pioneers in offering outstanding online NVC programs;
- Stepped up in a big way to support trainers and others when COVID stopped all NVC in-person events from across the world. We were well trained, ready and willing to support the effort!
- Provided approximately $25,000 in discounts and full ride scholarships (as far as I can remember, no one has ever been turned away because they couldn’t afford a course);
- Did our very best to stay true to our NVC values that we learned from Marshall Rosenberg;
- Made the transition from audio to video and pioneered excellence in videoconferencing – and then taught many others how to do it as well;
- Put concerted effort into our relationships with our team and trainers, further living our value for connection first.
It has not been without many overwhelming, comical, awesome, and frustrating moments, like:
- The time we tried desperately to offer a course with Dominic Barter in Brazil and struggled every week to find a reliable phone system for him to use;
- Trying to provide videoconferencing before Zoom offered breakouts, so we used a combination of Maestro Conferencing and Zoom!
- When I got caught in a traffic jam and couldn’t get to my hotel in time, so I pulled off the road and led an online meditation by the side of the road… or the time I led a course session in the parking lot of the Nashville Zoo!
- When Miki Kashtan took me into her closet via Zoom and had me pick out a top she could wear for a video we were about to create, and then proceeded to change her top on camera!
There is so much to be grateful for. You among them. The truth is, without you and our trainers, our legacy would have been very short. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Here is to the next 15 years and all the fun, deeply thoughtful, and inspiring online NVC programs we will create with you, starting with our Thrive Together August fest, which is just around the corner.