Awakin Calls » Kern Beare

Kern Beare: Nonprofit leader, community builder, technologist
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Aug 17, 2019: Learning to Live Together Via Difficult Conversations


Read: Call Transcript (Also: Nuggets From Kern Beare's Call)


Kern Beare is the founder of Pop the Bubble, a personal initiative born in the wake of the 2016 election to help heal our national divide. “Tucked inside my cozy Silicon Valley ‘bubble,’ I'd missed the signs of a radical shift in the American electorate,” Kern said. “I'd become disconnected, oblivious to the experiences of millions of my fellow citizens.” So with his 23-year-old son, Kern mapped out a route from California to Washington D.C. (being sure to arrive for the inaugural parade and the Women’s March the next day) to talk with as many people of different backgrounds as he could find to better understand what happened and why. Talking with a range of diverse of individuals, from a conservative Libertarian in a coffee shop in See full.

Kern Beare is the founder of Pop the Bubble, a personal initiative born in the wake of the 2016 election to help heal our national divide. “Tucked inside my cozy Silicon Valley ‘bubble,’ I'd missed the signs of a radical shift in the American electorate,” Kern said. “I'd become disconnected, oblivious to the experiences of millions of my fellow citizens.” So with his 23-year-old son, Kern mapped out a route from California to Washington D.C. (being sure to arrive for the inaugural parade and the Women’s March the next day) to talk with as many people of different backgrounds as he could find to better understand what happened and why.

Talking with a range of diverse of individuals, from a conservative Libertarian in a coffee shop in Reno, Nevada, to a grieving group of teachers at a small community college in Bowling Green, Kentucky, Kern and his son began to dig beneath the surface of the country’s political divide through conversations both impromptu and planned. Following their one-month, cross-country “conversation road trip”, Kern and his son had gained vital insights around our relationships with one another, our desire for meaningful dialogue, and the need to develop radical new skills to heal our nation and move forward together.

With these learnings in mind, Kern created a free, half-day workshop called “Difficult Conversations: The art and science of living together.” Focusing on the question, "Who do we need to be to have the conversations we need to have?", the workshop sets out to help participants gain a deeper understanding of the dynamics that turn conversations into conflicts, discover how one critical shift in thinking can turn a negative interaction into a creative and constructive engagement, understand how our personal story can be a tool to both build bridges and burn them, and look "beyond" our personal story to access more easily and deeply our innate capacity for connection, creativity and collaboration.

Kern been traveling the country leading the workshop since the summer of 2017.

Before entering the non-profit sector full-time, Kern was the vice president of communications for a large technology firm in Silicon Valley, California until 2005. He went on to serve as the co-founder of Global Mindshift, which offered online facilitated workshops on the skills we need to survive and thrive in today’s interconnected and interdependent world. In 2009, Kern brought his corporate and non-profit experience to FeelGood, a college youth leadership program, joining them as director of education and strategic communications.

In 2015, Kern co-founded Crew 2030, an online hub designed to amplify social movements and education programs that is now part of the Enlight Collaborative, a non-profit initiative providing strategic consulting and technology solutions to organizations focused on youth engagement. The Enlight Collaborative serves to promote community, nurture collaboration, and build resilience among organizations dedicated to helping youth develop critical changemaking skills both inside and outside the classroom and at all stages of development, from early childhood through young adulthood. As part of this mission, the Crew Platform is “a powerful and fully customizable online platform for movement leaders to equip, train and connect their communities of youth, educators and volunteers.” The Platform helps social movements and education programs amplify their reach, increase organizational capacity, and deepen relationships through online training and education, communications, and online relationship building,

Kern has traveled extensively, including living two years in the People's Republic of China in the early 1980s, where he and his wife Amy taught English. Additionally, he's sat on the board of two non-profit organizations, The Foundation for Global Community and Volunteers in Asia, an organization that provides innovative experiential learning programs in Asia and the United States to promote cross-cultural understanding and partnership development. Kern and his wife currently live in Mountain View, CA and have two grown sons.

Join us in conversation with this inspiring leader!


Five Questions for Kern
What Makes You Come Alive?

Working with like-hearted people on a project or mission that helps make the world more loving.

Pivotal turning point in your life?

At 16, I was introduced to the idea that my 'self' is not my 'Self.' That beyond our ego lies our true nature, or what some call our "ground of being." Its essence is love. When I learned that, my internal landscape rearranged. I found the courage to face my fears -- knowing that what might look like annihilation of the self was actually the doorway to my fuller Self.

An Act of Kindness You'll Never Forget?

It's kind of a silly one. I had driven to a business lunch with a male colleague. I had not brought a sport coat, and found myself underdressed for the occasion. I felt self-conscious. My colleague, somehow sensing my discomfort, took off his coat as we entered the restaurant together. I think of that often as a simple example of what love looks like in everyday action.

One Thing On Your Bucket List?

I've always wanted to write a book and now I'm writing one based on my workshop. It's not done. It's hard work. I look forward to finishing it!

One-line Message for the World?

Become familiar with and master the art of surrender.

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