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2019 Distinguished Wesorick Lectureship (GVSU)

  • LV Eberhard Center (GVSU) 301 Fulton West Grand Rapids, MI, 49504 United States (map)

Building Healthy Community: Inequities and Polarized Tensions

An Interactive Evening of Lecture and Discussion

Barry, Peter, and Lindsay offer a fresh way of seeing and addressing reoccurring conflicts and tensions that affect the health of communities. They offer an important message and skill to help manage chronic issues, rather than avoid them. You will take home practical knowledge to engage members of your community in addressing polarizing dilemmas, where both sides are not only “right”, but need each other’s wisdom to achieve a greater purpose. This event is free and open to the public.

Date & Time: Tuesday – April 9, 2019 | 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Location: L.V. Eberhard Center ‐ 301 West Fulton Street
Parking: Complimentary Parking
Credits: CEUs available for Registered Nurses; LIB 100 and LIB 201 Approved

UHS is a proud sponsor of this event and we hope to see you there on April 9th!



Barry Johnson, PhD

In 1975, Barry created the first Polarity Map® and set of principles. Since then he has been learning, with clients, how to leverage polarities, also known as paradoxes, dilemmas, or tensions. Polarity Thinking has been applied in hundreds of organizations, large and small, in the United States and globally.

Barry has worked with a variety of organizations: Business and Industry – Amoco, GM, Intel of Ireland, Cargill, Wal-Mart, Hyster-Yale, Hershey, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, New York Live Insurance, Natura of Brazil, SASOL of South Africa; Government – International Atomic Energy Agency, US Department of Defense, NASA, US Federal Executive Institute, US Defense Acquisition University, UK National Health Service, UK Cabinet Top Management Programme, UK National Audit Office, Canada Post of Ontario, Provincial Government of Alberta, Northwest Department of Health and National Treasury Republic of South Africa, Charleston Police Department and City of Charleston. Education – Notre Dame, Learning Innovations Lab (LILA) at Harvard, Washington University of St. Louis, Purdue College of Engineering, U of St Thomas, Potchefstroom University and University of Cape Town in South Africa, University of Cincinnati, University of Minnesota, U of the Virgin Islands, University of Michigan; Not-for-profit – Bread for the World, Archdiocese of Chicago, Christian Reformed Church, Local Future in Michigan, EcoSocial in Brazil, Southridge Shelter in Ontario.

He is devoted to his family, an avid outdoorsman and intrepid traveler, and brings head and heart together in his presentations, teaching and consulting. Barry and his wife, Dana, have 5 children and 11 grandchildren.

His 1992 book, Polarity Management®: Identifying and Managing Unsolvable Problems (Human Resource Development Press) is in wide use in businesses and community organizations. His third book, AND, How to Leverage Polarity, Paradox, or Dilemma will be out in 2019.


Peter Whitt

Peter Whitt established Enlightenment Consultant Group, LLC, as a catalyst for transformation. He strives to support leaders manage tensions through an integrative approach and strategies at the individual, team, organization and community levels. His work centers on leadership. He has worked with diverse leaders in urban neighborhoods to leaders in Philanthropy and Government organizations. Peter serves on the Community Relations Board for the City of Cleveland. He provides leadership as chair of the Race Relations committee.

Through his ongoing effort addressing race inequity, Peter wrote a section in a book published in 2016 titled; A Race Anthology: Dispatches and Artifacts from a Segregated City. This section shared his perspective on race inequity as an African American.

He has been on faculty for Polarity Partnerships. LLC, a two-year Mastery Program where participants receive the highest level of certification in Polarity Thinking. Peter has co-lectured a course for the Master of Diversity Management Program at Cleveland State University. He has served as the Associate Director for the Center for Health Equity at Cleveland State University (CSU) Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs. He has served as the Director of Community Outreach at St. Vincent Charity Hospital.

He is certified by the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland in coaching and organization interventions. Peter attended the University of Pittsburgh graduated School of Social Work.

He also holds the title of Maha Guru (Senior Teacher-Master level) in the art of Kun Tao & Silat as part of the Willem Reeders-Sikes Lineage. He has used this valued lifelong learning as tool for leadership development and emotional intelligence, not just a punch and kick.


Lindsay Burr, MS

Lindsay, Partner with The Yarbrough Group, focuses on developing the next generation of leadership, helping organizations navigate the changing virtual workspace, bringing in the perspective of women and the experience of generations X and Y. She leads training in interpersonal, group, and organizational conflict resolution techniques; facilitates team development, and strategic planning; and coaches individuals so they can reach their full potential.

Lindsay graduated from Wellesley College with a degree in Political Science and has her Masters from George Mason University School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (S-CAR). Her studies have focused on rebuilding governments following violent civil conflict, and engaging women in peace building processes. She is a recent graduate of the Mastery level class of Polarity Thinking.

The majority of her work has been articulating the underlying motivation for peoples’ political involvement. Previously, she worked as the Senior Program Assistant for Governance at the National Democratic Institute (NDI) based in Washington, DC. Lindsay also served as the Development Director for the Center for the Study of Gender and Conflict at George Mason University and a Researcher for the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars Global Women’s Leadership Initiative (GWLI). Her background is in political campaigns and the impacts of policy. Currently she is consulting with the European Women’s Lobby on engaging women in economic development in Western Europe. Lindsay lives in Washington, DC.

GVSU brings you this event in collaboration with:

Kirkhof College of Nursing, The Bonnie Wesorick Center for Health Care Transformation, The Interprofessional Institute of Polarity Thinking™ in Healthcare, Universal Health Solutions, MissingLogic LLC, TANDEM365, GVSU Division of Inclusion and Equity, the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies, Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the College of Health Professions.