Something’s Up In Cincinnati

Something’s Up In Cincinnati

Strengths movement taking shape as community members plan whole-system strengths summit

There is something very exciting taking shape in Cincinnati, Ohio. Something anyone interested in the strengths movement will want to watch.

Cincinnati has some pretty awful stats. Homicides are triple the national average. People are leaving the city. Death related to diabetes is double the national rate.

Dr. Victor Garcia can’t see the point of continuing to do the same things, working on problems with linear approaches, beginning with deficits rather than strengths, fixing broken things rather than living into dreams. A committed Cincinnati citizen, he is doing what he can to convene a whole-system Appreciative Inquiry to mobilize the city towards its aspirations. He sees the city "building on strengths no matter what the statistics."


David Cooperrider, a founder of the strengths-based practice of Appreciative Inquiry (AI), will be involved in designing a system-wide summit to draw out the city’s dreams and strengths and catalyze their realization. That summit will involve as many as 1,000 people working in the systemic, organizational, and individual spheres of the system.

Greg Otis, one of Victor’s brothers-in-arms and president of GBBN, an architectural firm in Cincinnati, believes the strengths summit and approach can reach across silos and boundaries and create interplay between areas like public safety, health, education, and transportation.

Greg has been busy reaching out to organizations in the city and inviting them to be involved. As the summit approaches there is the chance that a very exciting story about a whole-system, democratic, and strength-based movement will emerge.

Over the past few months a couple of our team members have had the opportunity to get to know a few people in Cincinnati.

Michelle Strutzenberger, who chairs our news team, met Victor and Greg at an AI workshop held by David Cooperrider in Longboat Key, Florida.

Since then our founder, Peter Pula, has visited Cincinnati twice and has been introduced to Greg, Liz Blume, Dante Ingram, Stan Ross, and Rosie Merkt. Intention focussed on gifts, strengths, and assets marked each conversation. The spirit in these meetings was powerful.

In the coming weeks, as much as people in Cincinnati are willing, we at Axiom News would be honoured to play a role in sharing this spirit’s story.

It is a spirit and a story with which we can all connect.

If you have a strengths-based news story to share with us please drop a line to

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