Offering

Help advance Esalen's mission of personal and social transformation. Give today! 

CTR October 2014 Participant Biographies

Political Polarization October 5 - 8, 2014


Alan Abramowitz

Alan I. Abramowitz is the Alben W. Barkley Professor of Political Science at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. He received his B.A. from the University of Rochester in 1969 and his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1976. Dr. Abramowitz has authored or coauthored six books, dozens of contributions to edited volumes and more than fifty articles in political science journals dealing with political parties, elections, and voting behavior in the United States. He is also one of the nation’s leading election forecasters—his Time for Change Model has correctly predicted the popular vote winner in every presidential election since 1988 including the 2012 election. Dr. Abramowitz’s most recent book, The Polarized Public: Why American Government Is So Dysfunctional examines the causes and consequences of growing partisan polarization among political leaders and ordinary Americans.

 


 

John Avlon

John Avlon is the editor in chief of The Daily Beast and a CNN political analyst. He is the author of Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics and Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America as well as editor of the anthology Deadline Artists: America’s Greatest Newspaper Columns. Previously, he was a columnist and associate editor for the New York Sun and chief speechwriter for New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. He won the National Society of Newspaper Columnists’ award for best online column in 2012. He serves on the board of Citizens Union of New York and The Bronx Academy of Letters as well as the advisory board of the Theodore Roosevelt Association. He was appointed to the New York City Voter Assistance Advisory Committee in 2011. Avlon is also a co-founder of No Labels – a group of Democrats, Republicans and Independents dedicated to the politics of problem-solving and making government work again.

 


 

Ted Buerger

Ted is a successful executive and social entrepreneur. He is a co-founder of No Labels, a co-founder and Chairman of AmericanTowns.com, and was previously co-founder of Growth Capital Partners and three other successful national businesses. Ted also serves on the board of the Western New York Foundation, and the Welfare to Work Foundation (of which he was a founder), and was previously chairman of the non-partisan Center for the Study of the Presidency. He has a special passion for community, for the Hudson River and for using new media to bring people together around shared concerns.

 

 


 

Laura Chasin

After earning an M.A. in government from Harvard University and an M.S.W. in social work from Simmons College, Laura Chasin did extensive post-graduate training in family therapy and psychodrama.

Laura brought this diverse intellectual background to launching the Public Conversation Project in 1989. Alter four years of experimenting and action research and a planning grant from the Hewlett Foundation, the Public Conversations Project became a non-profit organization dedicated to using dialogue to transform conflict and foster collaboration among people divided by their core values, identities or world views.

Public Conversations’ versatile, communication-focused methodology was initially adapted from family systems therapy approaches to dysfunctional conflict. Guided by feedback from participants in its early dialogues, Public Conversations successfully adapted this approach to non-family contexts so that stereotypes among antagonists rapidly dissolved, understanding and trust increased, fresh ideas were generated, and opportunities for joint action were identified and often pursued. In 1998, Public Conversations was given an award for its innovative contributions by the Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution.

For 25 years, Public Conversations has worked with a variety of educational, religious and social service organizations, networks, and communities across the United States and in parts of Africa. It has addressed a wide range of divisive issues including same sex marriage, the use of animals in research, abortion, immigration and, in Africa, post-genocide community reintegration. One extended dialogue brought together local pro-choice and pro-life leaders to collaborate in lowering the civic “temperature” after fatal shootings in Boston-area clinics in 1994.

Public Conversations currently offers customized and open enrollment trainings as well as consultation, meeting design, and facilitation services. www.publicconversations.org is full of free practical resources, including one that Laura co-authored, Fostering Dialogue Across Divides: A Nuts and Bolts Guide.

Along the way, Laura served on the steering committee of the Common Ground Network for Life and Choice and on the team that facilitated workshops during the bipartisan Congressional retreats held in the 1990s. She has been an active member of No Labels and the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation since they began.

Laura has been married to Richard Chasin, a psychiatrist, family therapist, and Founding Associate of Public Conversations, for forty-two years.

 


 

Lawrence Chickering

Lawrence Chickering is a social entrepreneur and writer whose work has focused on reducing conflict in political life. He started his career in public policy working for William F. Buckley, Jr., in the late 1960s, and his first project was to organize a day-long seminar bringing together conservatives at National Review with leading black radical intellectuals of that time. The discussions revealed extraordinary and surprising alignment in their views of race and how to reduce racial tension.

Lawry's work has focused especially a 'strong concept of citizenship', empowering citizens to engage each other and partner with governments and help solve public challenges. His current, major project is in an organization he founded, Educate Girls Globally (EGG), which has developed a potential breakthrough model for promoting girls’ education and general education reform by reforming government schools in the most tribal regions of developing countries. The model focuses on empowering all major stakeholders as 'owners' of government schools, with potential for use in other applications, including counterinsurgency warfare and health. The model works in every school (now more than 7,000 of them) and without opposition. (www.educategirls.org)

Chickering wrote his first manifesto for a 'transpartisan' politics in his 1993 book Beyond Left and Right, and then coauthored a sequel (with 'liberal' James S. Turner), Voice of the People: The Transpartisan Imperative in American Life. His co-authored 2006 book Strategic Foreign Assistance: Civil Society in International Security is part of a new (post 9/11) way of thinking about foreign and security policy, incorporating a strong role for civil society in policy.

 


 

Michael Cromartie

Michael Cromartie is Vice President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he directs both the Evangelicals in Civic Life and Faith Angle Forum programs. His area of expertise includes issues at the cross-section of religion and politics.

Mr. Cromartie has contributed book reviews and articles to many prominent publications, including First Things, the Washington Post, Christianity Today, and World magazine. Mr. Cromartie has also appeared on numerous radio and television programs, including National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, NBC’s Evening News with Brian Williams, ABC World News Tonight, C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, and the PBS news program The News Hour with Jim Lehrer.

Mr. Cromartie is the editor of fifteen books, including Religion and Politics in America; Religion, Culture, and International Conflict; and A Public Faith: Evangelicals and Civic Engagement.

A senior advisor to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life and a senior fellow with The Trinity Forum, he is also an advisory editor of Christianity Today magazine.

On September 20, 2004, Mr. Cromartie was appointed by President George W. Bush to a six-year term on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, where he was later twice elected chairman.

Mr. Cromartie is a graduate of Covenant College (GA), and holds an M.A. in Justice from The American University in Washington, D.C.

 


 

John Gable

John Gable is Founder and CEO of AllSides. He has a unique combination of experience in technology and politics, and is driven to build tools and solutions that empower people and improve the world. John served on the original teams for Microsoft Office, Mozilla at Netscape Communications, and ZoneAlarm at Check Point Software Technologies. He co-founded Kavi Corp (collaboration and consensus solutions), founded Stearns Ventures, and serves on the board of TE21 (education tools and services). Politically, John worked as a professional campaigner in the 1980s for a national party as well as for candidates for US President, US Senate (including 3 Senate Majority/Minority Leaders), US Congress, Governor and local campaigns.

Originally from Kentucky, John earned his MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University and BA in Philosophy with an emphasis in Mathematics from Vanderbilt University. John lives in San Francisco with his wife and son.

 


 

Mark Gerzon

Mark Gerzon is an experienced facilitator specializing in cross-party leadership development. Best known in the USA for designing and facilitating the Bipartisan Congressional Retreats, he has convened and facilitated numerous dialogues between Democrats and Republicans and for multinational corporations. As a result of a decade of such work, the UNDP’s Bureau of Crisis Prevention and Recovery invited him to do similar work in emerging democracies around the world, most recently in Kenya and Nepal. He has also trained UN Resident Coordinators in Latin America and Caribbean countries.

He is the author of Leading Through Conflict : How Successful Leaders Transform Differences Into Opportunities (Harvard Business School Press), which has been translated into seven languages and is used around the world; and Global Citizens (Ebury Press: London).

As President of Mediators Foundation, which he founded over twenty-five years ago, Mark has worked closely with a wide variety of projects that advance the field of global conflict prevention. He founded the Conflict Transformation Collaborative, a network of peace-builders from around the world. He is currently developing the “Center for Transpartisan Leadership” as part of building an effective movement to evolve democracy.

 


 

John Haidt

Jonathan Haidt is the Thomas Cooley Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University’s Stern School of Business. He received his B. A. from Yale University in 1985 and his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992. He then did post-doctoral research at the University of Chicago and in Orissa, India. He was a professor at the University of Virginia from 1995 until 2011, when he joined the Stern School of Business. His research focuses on morality – its emotional foundations, cultural variations, and developmental course. He began his career studying the negative moral emotions, such as disgust, shame, and vengeance, but then moved on to the understudied positive moral emotions, such as admiration, awe, and moral elevation. This work got him involved with the field of positive psychology, in which he has been a leading researcher. He is the co-developer of Moral Foundations theory, and of the research site YourMorals.org. He uses his research to help people understand and respect the moral motives of their enemies (see CivilPolitics.org). He won three teaching awards from the University of Virginia, and one from the governor of Virginia. His three TED talks have been viewed more than 3 million times. (Those talks are on political psychology, on religion, and on the causes of America’s political polarization.) He was named a “top 100 global thinker” of 2012 by Foreign Policy magazine, and one of the 65 “World Thinkers of 2013″ by Prospect. He is the author of more than 90 academic articles and two books: The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom, and the New York Times bestseller The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion. For more information see JonathanHaidt.com.

 


 

Steven Hayward

Steven F. Hayward is currently the inaugural visiting scholar in conservative thought and policy at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and teaching in the political science department. From 2002 to 2012 he was the F.K Weyerhaeuser Fellow in Law and Economics at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington DC, and senior fellow at the Pacific Research Institute in San Francisco. He has also been the Thomas Smith Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Ashbrook Center at Ashland University in Ohio, and in the fall of 2014 he will become the Ronald Reagan Distinguished Professor at Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Public Policy in California.

He holds a Ph.D in American Studies and an M.A. in Government from Claremont Graduate School. He writes frequently on a wide range of current topics, including environmentalism, law, economics, and public policy for publications including National Review, Reason, The Weekly Standard, The American Spectator, The Public Interest, the Claremont Review of Books, and Policy Review. His newspaper articles have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Chicago Tribune, and dozens of other daily newspapers. He is the author of Index of Leading Environmental Indicators, published in 14 editions from 1994 – 2009, and its successor, the Almanac of Environmental Trends.

He is the author of a two-volume narrative history of Ronald Reagan and his effect on American political life, The Age of Reagan: The Fall of the Old Liberal Order, 1964-1980, and The Age of Reagan: The Conservative Counter-Revolution, 1980-1989 (CrownForum books). National Review has called the first volume “grand and fascinating history,” comparing it favorably to Macaulay’s History of England. The Times Literary Supplement said that “the book reads at times like a grand historical drama, a kind of War and Peace of the American century, complete with romance and adventure and tragic characters, a thrilling survey of what we might have thought to be familiar history but which appears here quite transformed.” William Niskanen, chairman of Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers, called volume 2 “simply the best history of the Reagan presidency,” while former Secretary of Education Bill Bennett said “this is the book we have been waiting for.” His other books include Churchill on Leadership, Air Quality in America, Greatness: Reagan Churchill, and the Making of Modern Statesmen, and The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Presidents from Wilson to Obama.

 


 

Scott Kaspick

J. Scott Kaspick is the Co-Founder and Chairman Emeritus of KASPICK & COMPANY, an organization which specializes in the management and administration of planned gifts.For six years prior to founding KASPICK & COMPANY, Mr. Kaspick was Associate Treasurer of Stanford University and a member of the endowment management team. From 1989 until his retirement in 2010, he served as Managing Director and then Chairman of KASPICK & COMPANY. Mr. Kaspick's pioneering work on charitable remainder trust payout rates and the investment of planned gifts set new standards in the industry. Under his leadership, the firm grew to 70 clients and $4.2 billion in assets under management prior to being acquired by TIAA-CREF in 2006. Mr. Kaspick continues to serve on the company's Board of Managers. Mr. Kaspick has a BA in Economics from California State University and an MBA from Stanford University.

 


 

Priscilla Lewis

Priscilla Lewis is a senior advisor to the National Purpose Initiative, a new project being incubated at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. This project will develop and test strategies to help break the vicious cycle that connects Americans’ growing skepticism about the value of participating in political processes, to the distortions in our electoral system that erode the incentives for elected officials to respond to broad public concerns. Prior to her involvement in the NPI, Priscilla co-directed the U.S. in the World Initiative, which drew on communications and cognitive scientific research to help opinion leaders build mainstream public support for principled, pragmatic foreign policy proposals and for a broadly shared vision of responsible U.S. global engagement. She co-founded U.S. in the World during her tenure as program officer for peace and security at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, where she designed and implemented grantmaking strategies to address the need for farsighted U.S. leadership in international efforts to solve global problems, and the need for greater respect and understanding between Muslim and Western societies. Previously, Priscilla served as vice president for publications at the Council for Aid to Education and directed the publishing program at the Russell Sage Foundation, the principle U.S. foundation devoted to social science research.

 


 

Tom Mann

Born on September 10, 1944, in Milwaukee, he earned his B.A. in political science at the University of Florida and his M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Michigan. He first came to Washington in 1969 as a Congressional Fellow in the offices of Senator Philip A. Hart and Representative James G. O'Hara.

Mann has taught at Princeton University, Johns Hopkins University, Georgetown University, the University of Virginia and American University; conducted polls for congressional candidates; worked as a consultant to IBM and the Public Broadcasting Service; chaired the Board of Overseers of the National Election Studies; and served as an expert witness in the constitutional defense of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law. He lectures frequently in the United States and abroad on American politics and public policy and is also a regular contributor to newspaper stories and television and radio programs on politics and governance.

Mann is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a recipient of the American Political Science Association’s Frank J. Goodnow and Charles E. Merriam Awards.

Mann's published works include Unsafe at Any Margin: Interpreting Congressional Elections; Vital Statistics on Congress; The New Congress; A Question of Balance: The President, the Congress and Foreign Policy; Media Polls in American Politics; Renewing Congress; Congress, the Press, and the Public; Intensive Care: How Congress Shapes Health Policy; Campaign Finance Reform: A Sourcebook; The Permanent Campaign and Its Future; Inside the Campaign Finance Battle: Court Testimony on the New Reforms; The New Campaign Finance Sourcebook; and Party Lines: Competition, Partisanship and Congressional Redistricting. He has also written numerous scholarly articles and opinion pieces on various aspects of American politics, including elections, political parties, Congress, the presidency and public policymaking.

He and Norman Ornstein in 2008 published an updated edition of The Broken Branch: How Congress is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track (Oxford University Press). Their new book, It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism, was published by Basic Books in the spring of 2012. Mann and Ornstein were recently named by Foreign Policy Magazine among “100 Top Global Thinkers of 2012” for “diagnosing America’s political dysfunction.”

Mann resides in Bethesda, Maryland with his wife Sheilah, who is also a political scientist. They have two children, Ted, an assistant curator at the Guggenheim Museum in New York and a Ph.D. student in the NYU Institute of Fine Arts, and Stephanie, a marketing manager at Clorox in Oakland, California.

 


 

John Marks

John founded Search for Common Ground 32 years ago, and in September he stepped aside from his role as president. He was also founder and president of Common Ground Productions, and he remains a Senior Advisor to both. He has produced or executive produced a wide variety of TV and film productions. He also is a best-selling, award-winning author, and he was a US Foreign Service Officer, a US Senate aide, a Fellow at Harvard's Institute of Politics, and a Visiting Scholar at Harvard Law School. He is a Skoll Awardee in Social Entrepreneurship and an Ashoka Senior Fellow, and he holds an honorary doctorate from the UN University for Peace in Costa Rica.

 


 

Susan Collin Marks

Susan stepped aside as Senior Vice President of Search for Common Ground in September 2014--she remains Peace Ambassador. For over 25 years, she has worked worldwide establishing peacebuilding programs, facilitating dialogues, mediating conflicts and coaching political leaders. A native South African, she was deeply engaged in her country's transition from apartheid to democracy, captured in her book Watching the Wind: Conflict Resolution during South Africa's Transition to Democracy (US Institute of Peace, 2000) (Arabic, Dar Al Ahliah, Amman, Jordan, 2004.)

Honors include a Jennings Randolph Peace Fellowship at the United States Institute of Peace, Institute for Noetic Science's Creative Altruism Award, Skoll Fellowship for Social Entrepreneurship, and Honorary Doctorate from the UN University for Peace. She was portrayed in the PBS documentary Peace X Peace: Women on the Frontlines. Susan believes that our common humanity binds us together more than our differences divide us. She works to make it so.

 


 

Steve McIntosh

Steve McIntosh J.D. is author of the acclaimed books: Evolution’s Purpose, and Integral Consciousness, as well as the forthcoming book: The Presence of the Infinite. He is a leader in the integral philosophy movement and currently works as a Founding Partner and Managing Director of The Institute for Cultural Evolution think tank. In addition to this think tank, and his work in philosophy, McIntosh has had a variety of other successful careers, including founding the consumer products company Now & Zen, practicing law with one of America’s largest firms, working as an executive with Celestial Seasonings Tea Company, and Olympic-class bicycle racing. He is an honors graduate of the University of Virginia Law School and the University of Southern California Business School.

Upon graduating from law school in 1987, McIntosh became a member of the California bar and began practicing corporate law with Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro, the state’s largest law firm. In 1990, after three years of law practice he was recruited to become Vice President of a start-up environmental products company in Boulder, Colorado called Earth Wise. Then in 1991, Earth Wise was acquired by Celestial Seasonings tea company where he served as Director of Corporate Development and General Counsel. In 1995, he left his position at Celestial Seasonings to found Now & Zen, Inc., a brand of “natural lifestyle products,” featuring the famous line of Zen Alarm Clocks, which McIntosh conceived, designed, and patented. In 2012, McIntosh stepped down from his position as CEO of Now & Zen to co-found The Institute for Cultural Evolution.

Steve is married to Tehya McIntosh, and has two sons: Ian (age 22) and Peter (age 8). Since 2008, the McIntosh’s have divided their time between their Victorian home in downtown Boulder, Colorado, and their desert retreat—an off-the-grid yurt on 5 acres in Castle Valley, near Moab, Utah.

 


 

Mac McQuown

Mac McQuown is a co-founder/director and principal of Diversified Credit Investments, located in San Francisco, a firm that manages portfolios of corporate credit risk for institutional investors (~$4 billion AUM). Mac was a co-founder and Chairman of KMV, San Francisco, a corporate credit risk analytics firm acquired by Moody's Investors Services in 2002. He co-founded and remains a director of Dimensional Fund Advisors, Austin, TX, an equity funds investment advisor (~$200 billion AUM). Previously, he co-founded Diversified Corporate Loans, Chalone Wine Group, and Loan Performance. Mac began his business career in the Corporate Finance Department of Smith, Barney & Co., New York.

Before becoming an entrepreneur, Mac was for a decade the founder and Director of Management Sciences, Wells Fargo Bank, where, among other research, he was responsible for the research that resulted in the world's first "index" equity funds. It was at Wells that Mac and his team first experimented using options pricing theory to value corporate debt issuance (and related default probabilities) that morphed into KMV. Mac co-founded and was the first chairman of Wells Fargo Investment Advisors, that was sold to Barclays (becoming “BGI”, and later the world’s largest asset manager), which was later sold to Blackrock. Mac is presently co-founding a new venture, eBond Advisors, whose mission is to create a new kind of corporate bond (with far greater transparency and liquidity than legacy corporate bonds).

The McQuown family’s primary residence is in Sonoma, California, where they grow organically wine grapes, heirloom vegetables, and olive oil; and their first proprietary red wine, Stone Edge Farm, was released in 2010 (500 cases). Mac received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Northwestern University and a M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School. Mac is on the advisory councils of the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, and UCSD’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography; he is also a director of Esalen’s TRAC II, an institute for citizens diplomacy.

 


 

Michael Murphy, Chairman Emeritus

Michael Murphy is co-founder and Chairman Emeritus of the Board of the Esalen Institute, and serves as Director of Esalen’s Center for Theory & Research (CTR). He lived for a year and a half at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry, India before starting the Esalen Institute in 1962 with fellow Stanford graduate, Richard Price. In Big Sur, Price and Murphy co-created a magical and magnificent living laboratory on land owned by Murphy’s family. Michael insisted that Esalen focus not only on the wonders that happen for the thousands of people that come to be healed and made whole, but that it also work for social advance in various fields and fundamental research into the potentials of human nature.

Murphy is director of the Center for Theory & Research (CTR), the groundbreaking research center for Esalen Institute. In addition to serving as Director, Murphy leads a number of CTR initiatives, including one that explores the empirical evidence of post-mortem survival, another to explore encompassing visions of evolution that reconcile scientific and mystical perspectives, and one on meditation research.

Murphy's and George Leonard's Integral Transformative Practices (ITP) program has been researched by Stanford’s Medical School and it was this program that inspired their book The Life We Are Given. Murphy also co-authored God and the Evolving Universe; In the Zone, an anthology of extraordinary sports experiences; and The Physical and Psychological Effects of Meditation. Murphy’s novel, Golf in the Kingdom, was released as a full-length feature film in 2011, and is still a best seller 30 years after it was published. He also wrote three other novels: The Kingdom of Shivas Irons, Jacob Atabet, and An End to Ordinary History.

 


 

Jay Ogivly

Jay Ogilvy, is a cofounder of Global Business Network. Trained in philosophy (Yale PhD in 1968), he taught for 7 years at Yale, 1 at Texas, 4 at Williams College. Then he transitioned into contract research and consulting at SRI International (formerly Stanford Research Institute) from 1979 to 1986. In 1987 he and four friends founded Global Business Network, a boutique consultancy that specializes in using scenario planning to develop long range strategies for large corporations and government agencies.

Jay is the author of Many Dimensional Man: Decentralizing Self, Society and the Sacred (Oxford, 1977; Harper& Row, 1980); Creating Better Futures (Oxford, 2000); China’s Futures with Peter Schwartz (Jossey- Bass, 2001); Living Without a Goal (Doubleday, 1996). He is also the editor of Re-Visioning Philosophy (SUNY Press, 1991) which is an anthology based on a series of invitational conferences at Esalen and Cambridge University. He also edited An Actual Man: Michael Murphy and the Human Potential Movement (2010). He is a frequent facilitator of invitational conferences for Esalen’s Center for Theory and Research, and chairs Esalen’s Global Potentials Program.

 


 

Norman Ornstein

Norman Ornstein is a long-time observer of Congress and politics. He is a contributing editor and columnist for National Journal and The Atlantic and is an election eve analyst for BBC News. He served as codirector of the AEI-Brookings Election Reform Project and participates in AEI's Election Watch series. He also served as a senior counselor to the Continuity of Government Commission. Mr. Ornstein led a working group of scholars and practitioners that helped shape the law, known as McCain-Feingold, that reformed the campaign financing system. He was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004. His many books include The Permanent Campaign and Its Future (AEI Press, 2000); The Broken Branch: How Congress Is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track, with Thomas E. Mann (Oxford University Press, 2006, named by the Washington Post one of the best books of 2006 and called by The Economist "a classic"); and, most recently, the New York Times bestseller, It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism, also with Tom Mann, published in May 2012 by Basic Books. It was named as one of 2012's best books on pollitics by The New Yorker and one of the best books of the year by the Washington Post.

 


 

Carter Phipps

ICE co-founder Carter Phipps is an author, a journalist, and a leading voice in articulating the emerging evolutionary worldview. His acclaimed first book, Evolutionaries: Unlocking the Spiritual and Cultural Potential of Science’s Greatest Idea, was published by Harper Perennial in June 2012, combining the insights of Integral Theory, evolutionary science, developmental psychology, the social sciences, and evolutionary philosophy. Publishers’ Weekly magazine called it a “masterful survey . . . of the diverse ideas that make up the emerging field of Integral thought … broadening the definition and scope of what evolution is understood to be.”

From 1999-2011, Phipps was executive editor of EnlightenNext magazine, where he honed his perspective and his writing skills at the forefront of contemporary spiritual, philosophical, and cultural discourse. His numerous feature articles and interviews have played a key role in making important new thinking accessible to a wider audience. Phipps is an unapologetic generalist and his areas of interest and expertise range from philosophy to mysticism to politics to science and technology. His writings combine the careful rigor of investigative journalism with a passionate personal concern for the development of human culture.

In 2009, Phipps’ feature article A Theologian of Renewal was awarded a Gold Award for Editorial Excellence from Folio, the leading magazine industry awards. Phipps regularly presents at conferences; has spoken at educational institutions around the country and participates in conferences and leadership gatherings, including the Evolutionary Leaders Forum and the Transformational Leadership Council. He has appeared on MSNBC, BBC Radio, NPR, and numerous other media outlets.

Carter lives in Oakland, CA, with his wife Ellen and their cat. He enjoys reading and playing tennis, and appreciates fine wine.

 


 

Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus

Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus are leading global thinkers on energy, climate, security, human development, and politics. Their 2007 book Break Through was called "prescient" by Time and "the best thing to happen to environmentalism since Silent Spring" by Wired. Their 2004 essay, "The Death of Environmentalism" was featured on the front page of the Sunday New York Times, sparked a national debate, and inspired a generation of young environmentalists.

Over the years, the two have been profiled in the New York Times, Wired, the National Review, The New Rebublic, and on NPR. In 2007, they received the Green Book Award and Time magazine's 2008 "Heroes of the Environment" award.

In 2011, Nordhaus and Shellenberger started the Breakthrough Journal, which The New Republic called "among the most complete answers" to the question of how to modernize liberal thought, and the National Review called "the most promising effort at self-criticism by our liberal cousins in a long time."

Shellenberger and Nordhaus are leaders in a paradigm shift in climate and energy policy. They proposed "making clean energy cheap" in the Harvard Law and Policy Review, explained why the Kyoto climate treaty failed in Democracy Journal, and predicted the bursting of the green bubble in The New Republic and American Prospect, criticized "green jobs" in The New Republic, and pointed a way forward for climate policy in the Wall Street Journal.

Ted Nordhaus is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. He lives in the Bay Area and travels widely.

 


 

Rich Tafel

Rich Tafel is the founder and president of Public Squared that provides collaborative solutions to our world’s most challenging problems with a unique ability to bring together diverse sectors and ideologies into win-win-win coalitions to bring sustainable change.

A graduate of Harvard Divinity School, Rich served as the Assistant to the Minister of Harvard’s Chapel from 1987-1991. Governor William Weld (R-MA) appointed Rich to serve as Adolescent Health Director for the state of Massachusetts in 1991. In 1993, Rich created Log Cabin Republicans and moved to Washington DC to open a national office as its first Executive Director where he implemented a values strategy for gay rights creating 50 grass roots chapters, a PAC and foundation.

He was one of early national leaders for marriage equability and in 1995 engaged in a national series of debates on college campuses with the Christian Action Network. Throughout the mid-90s, he worked with a coalition of activists, drug companies and the FDA to fast track life saving AIDS drugs and guided a Republican Congress to surpass the Clinton Administration in their funding to fight AIDS. In 1999, he authored “Party Crasher: A Gay Republican Challenges Politics as Usual,” challenging both the left and right to find a more effective political culture. During this decade he appeared in most political media outlets.

In 2003, Tafel launched a strategy company to help world changing leaders succeed with a focus on systems, not symptoms change. His company helped craft strategy to help deliver AIDS drugs to Africa helping to host a conservative Congressional staff trip to Africa. He also worked on strategies in Jamaica, Brazil and served as lead strategist in Mexico to bridge the gap between people living with AIDS and large business, eventually leading to the creation of an AIDS business council. Today, Rich serves as the CSO of the Workplace Wellness Council of Mexico.

In the US, he worked on reforming the Higher Education and Opportunity Act of 2008 to require high schools to measure their success of getting low-income students into college. In 2012, in conjunction with the state of MI, he helped launch the nation’s first statewide social entrepreneur competition training participants and preparing winners for investment with an 80% success of rate of investment.

An ordained minister in the SwedenborgIan Church, he is chairman of the board of Wayfarers Chapel in Rancho Palos Verdes CA, chosen in 2013 as one of America’s most beautiful churches. He was recently appointed as a representative to the National Council of Churches Interreligious Relations and Collaboration on Topics of Mutual Concern Convening Table and the intergenerational think tank. He is co-chair of Compass Partners the nation’s first student run college based social entrepreneur training program now in 15 campuses.

Rich is certified coach and his worked with over 800 world changing leaders on strategy of social change. He writes frequently for Stanford Social Innovation Review, Huffington Post on politics and in March 2014 wrote “Shark Tank for Good: Michigan’s Innovative Strategy to End Poverty,” in Forbes magazine. In October 2013, he authored, “The Only Upside to the Shutdown, Realize We Need a New Political System” where he called for an evolved political system based on win-win-win thinking.

 


 

Sam Yau

Sam Yau, Chairman of the Board of the Esalen Institute, is a recognized business leader and strategist, known for delivering rapid value creation for companies that need strategic repositioning for growth or significant turnaround in a challenging time. His diversified career has spanned many industries, including semiconductor, specialty retailing, computer hardware and software, medical management and for-profit education.

Sam currently serves as a director on the board of Multi-Fineline Electronix. He is the past Chairman of the Forum for Corporate Directors in Orange County. Sam has served on the board of seven public companies and seven non-profits in the last fifteen years. He has a Bachelor of Social Sciences Degree in Economics from the University of Hong Kong and a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the University of Chicago.


 

Return to the 2014 Political Polarization conference summary

Read the full 2014 Political Polarization conference description

View the 2014 conference agenda

View the List of Recommended Reading for 2014

 


 

Learn

We offer a rich and varied integral learning environment devoted to cultivating deep change in self and society.

Explore

Experience twenty-seven acres of Pacific coastline paradise.

Give

Make a difference and leave a legacy by becoming a Friend of Esalen.

About

A global network of seekers devoted to the belief that we are all capable of the extraordinary.