Blog > Jennifer Neutel

WorldBlu LIVE Emits Extraordinary Energy

Tribe-finding. Hope renewing. Mission starting. Actionably relevant. These were just some of the sentiments expressed by WorldBlu LIVE 2011 participants during the final question posed by the event’s hosts: What has it meant to you to spend two days in this community?

Many participants said this conference was the best they’d ever been to, with a culture outside the norm, as people openly and authentically shared their perspectives and thoughts on organizational democracy.

I have to give kudos to WorldBlu organizers Traci and Miranda, and hosts from Future Considerations (a WorldBlu-certified democratic workplace) Cari, James and Mark for fostering this environment.

High-energy music welcomed each speaker to the front of the room. WorldBlu founder and CEO Traci Fenton was appropriately greeted each time with Katy Perry’s song Fireworks. (During the wrap-up gala event founder Traci said the WorldBlu winners are fireworks in the world, and encouraged them to “let your light shine” and help build the movement.)

Traci started WorldBlu in 1997 and went around the world talking to people about organizational democracy, but was often met with a skeptical eye. But after awhile, she wasn’t the only one telling the story.

  Accepting Axiom's award from Traci Fenton.

“And I thought wouldn’t it be amazing if we could get all these people and all these stories together and build a community around it. And, so, that’s what we started to do,” she said.

WorldBlu LIVE was a way for both those already practising workplace democracy and those interested in it (in fact, two-thirds of the participants were not certified WorldBlu members) to share their stories of successes, hopes, challenges and fears.

The hosts set up fabulous networking opportunities, including leading a world café and giving participants time to discuss with one another future-focused questions such as visioning out what your organization looks like five years in the future.

Delegates were encouraged to self-organize into affinity groups, many of which focused on what to do once the event was complete.

The May 19-20 event was fast-paced, with more than 30 speakers exploring the 10 principles of organizational democracy, as outlined by WorldBlu. In the afternoons, participants had the opportunity to choose two breakout sessions to attend.

On the last night, awards were handed out to winners present from the 52 organizations on this year’s WorldBlu List of Most Democratic Workplaces.

I was proud to represent Axiom News (we’ve been on the WorldBlu List for five years) in accepting the award. As a Gen Y’er, it’s hard to imagine working in a closed, command-and-control organization. For people still in this style of organization, WorldBlu is a light they can turn to for ideas, inspiration, resources and a community of people showing it can be done and even make your business more successful (check out a recent story on WorldBlu winner American Support here).

I’m not the only one who walked away from the event with inspiration. Check out the blog entries below from Will McInnes of NixonMcInnes, and Sam Chaltain, to learn more.

NixonMcInnes: Notes from WorldBlu LIVE, San Francisco

Sam Chaltain: Do Great Conferences Have a “Special Sauce”?

(Photo Credit: Hollister Thomas)

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Jennifer Neutel's picture

Jennifer Neutel is a Story Advocate and Generative Journalist at Axiom News. She completed her Bachelor of Journalism at Carleton University in Ottawa in 2006, and joined Axiom News in 2007. She has taken on a variety of roles at Axiom including new social media intiatives and has a passion for creating strengths-based questions that can lead to positive change.

Contact Jennifer:, or 705-741-4421 ext. 26.

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