I founded CEO Roundtable over twenty years ago and each year we hold an All Member Retreat – usually 2 days.  Our retreats have a national reputation for the unusual topics and the quality of the discussions.  Our rule is to leave your CEO hats at the door and have deep conversations about non-business topics.  We have focused our programs on a wide variety of discussions based on the arts and humanities, from the poetry of David Whyte ( 5 times), Shakespeare with professional actors (3 times), mythology (4 times), jazz music (3 times) symphony orchestra, (2 times) but I always wanted to develop a CEO Retreat based on the visual arts.  I just could not envision how to do this – how do I get 50 CEOs deeply involved in painting?  I did not want this to be an art appreciation class, I wanted it to experiential.

I researched many consultants and read many books on the subject of Art in Business but nothing ‘clicked’ until I started a discussion with Linda Naiman.  I knew that the subject was a big gamble and I had to have the right ‘talent’ to make it work.  Linda was an inspired choice.  She framed the experiences as a conversation on the Process of Art.  We learned that art is a process of experimentation that starts with letting go of preconceptions and judgements .. art is an invitation to deep conversations with yourself, with your friends and with the world.  Linda just set he framework and told us to start.  We painted by ourselves, with a partner, and with the group at the table – everyone adding to ‘picture’ their understanding of what the previous person was saying.  There was no talking just ‘doing’.  By the end of the day we were conversing without words – art was our language. It takes a remarkable leader to make the magic happen.  Linda Naiman made it happen.

Innovation is the key to the company’s future success and the global race for innovation is getting intense. The innovation workshop is really inspiring and engaging as it guides us through different skills and tool kits to explore the potential power of our minds and shows us how to lead the product innovation to business success.

Our company has a mandate to accelerate business growth through innovation and in order to reach our targets we recognised the need for skills development in creativity. We asked Linda Naiman to conduct a creativity workshop at our global meeting for our Business Unit team of chemists, engineers and marketers, to inspire creative thinking, introduce idea generation methodologies, and develop a set of tangible ideas for new products and services. Linda offered us a challenging, unusual approach to creativity, which was highly valuable for me. While some skeptics in the audience made it a real challenge for Linda, she mastered it extremely well and provided all of us with highly valuable insights. We now have a set of principles and practices for fostering creativity and innovation that we are implementing at our Business Unit. I recommend Linda Naiman to companies looking for effective ways to cultivate creativity in their people.

US Navy

Thank you for taking the time to speak at our second annual Leadership Symposium. Your topic “Creativity at Work: Principles and Practices” was both interesting and insightful. I am confident that our leadership came away with valuable tools they can use in developing their personal leadership skills.

Baxter Pharmaceuticals

Sometimes we feel we can not go beyond our ideas and creativity comes to a stall. Art can liberate that feeling and help us look inside ourselves, then we realize there are more ideas than we can imagine and they start to flow. This program helped me look inside myself and understand we just need to let our mind flow and with the help of art as a base for creativity we can go beyond our imagination. We are all artists in our own way. I plan to use the tools and processes from the Art of  Leadership Forum at our organization’s strategic brainstorming sessions.

Public Works and Government Services Canada

The Collaborative Leadership Experience was incredible and essential — it is the opportunity in which the exploration of group and individual creativity and innovation is taken to its potential. The utilization of the arts kindles the generation of new perspective and fires the imagination to explore the possibilities for the future. I think about the participation, the interaction, the new knowledge, the really great learning, and I am still smiling.

Linda, I’ve thought a great deal about our experience with you and about art in business. You are involved in a truly pioneering effort to help us keep the personal, ‘heart matters’ in the foreground as we manage our increasingly ‘technical’ business. Successful pioneering in our own industry starts with the sharing of a new, different, and compelling corporate vision. A shared vision is possible only if each of our personal visions are brought forward, honored and made part of the whole picture. We can articulate our personal vision only as well as we can reveal our true selves. Revealing one’s true self is an artful act, and a matter of the heart.

Your work with us showed this so well, and your quote from Gandhi –“If you want something really important to be done you must not merely satisfy the reason, you must satisfy the heart also” — echoes the learning. For those who would ask, ‘… and just how does art benefit my business, I would offer, “If your business has important, pioneering work to do, then develop artful capabilities in your associates just as well as technical skills, else you’ll work at half-strength at best, and risk losing all the benefit of their passion.” Now, there is a connection between art and the bottom line.

Dear Conference Organizers, Employee and Organizational Development Professionals,
It gives me great pleasure to recommend Linda Naiman to you. Linda recently spoke at a plenary session during our recent (October, 2004) Human Resources and Trainers Conference. Her skillful delivery and the insights gained through the content were very well received by our participants. Linda brings a provocative and challenging perspective to creativity in the workplace that at once engages and entertains audiences and workshop participants. I would have no hesitation at all in recommending Linda for any conference or meeting where you need to engage, and inspire people around creativity and innovation.

Arizona State University

Thank you for leading the Artful Leader session and Arts-Based Approaches presentation at Arizona State University (ASU), School of Public Affairs. You are an accomplished and passionate catalyst for the thought and ideas behind creative leadership and change. We are grateful to you for bringing this insight to ASU by engaging the participants in activity and dialo

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