“Identity is not primarily a brand, a slogan, an image, or a logo. Identity is a powerful purpose, a deep commitment, and a higher goal. Identity is what makes it possible and probable that people will be drawn to your organization. It’s the language, values, and intention that infuse your institution; and it’s these patterns of words and ways of doing business that allow your community and membership to be attracted to you and to value your presence.”
Why Your Identity Matters to Us
We are invested in the success of impactful institutions and leaders. The ITI believes that in our emerging societal & cultural situation—especially that represented by the values, behaviors, desires, trends being brought to the marketplace by the ascending Millennial generation—institutions will need robust, well-defined identities that meet specific needs and cater to particular local communities; our era will require leaders and institutions who offer meaning and purpose to their local partners, who entice their members by a clear sense of their own selves, and who will derive success from forging connections with & empowering their surrounding communities. These are the institutions who will become viable and vital in long-term, sustainable endeavors.
Why Participate (Why Be Here)?
The ITI exists to encourage, enrich, cultivate, and equip those individuals and institutions who are interested in enhancing their self-understanding and honing their professional craftsmanship, those who are seeking to develop themselves as authentic, innovative, creative, and constructively concerned organizational leaders and community presences.
Our Institute accompanies institutional leaders and organizations on the journey of discovery: catalyzing leaders to (re)discover, renew, and clarify their identity, cultivate attention to their members/clients/partners, craft clear trajectories for their partnerships, design truly relevant products, and intentionally evaluate outcomes of cooperative thriving.
What Problems Are We Solving?
In a culture and era of fragmentary identities, where needs, values, interests fluctuate rapidly—an era of shifting technologies and fleeting fads—the ITI believes many institutions & organizations have misidentified what makes them unique and therefore compelling – perhaps via succumbing to the flux and frenzy of being fashionable.
Many institutions are under-appreciating, under-emphasizing, or simply unaware of their own uniqueness, their true hallmark—what we call the “authentic leadership or institutional self.” They settle for generic solutions, uniform complacency, bloated infrastructures, monolithic approaches, dissolving trajectories, or homogenizing trends. Such patterns actually do not and cannot—due to their very nature—meet the needs of their local communities. Such patterns offer little sustainable connection to surrounding communities that does not get swept away in the tidal waves of cheap curiosities or trending global gossip.
The Seminar Experience
Towards the goal of cultivating strong & thriving identities that understand the generational matrix and are meaningfully connected to their communities (toward fostering compelling leaders), participants in the Institute’s seminars will engage in challenging and rewarding exercises, which are structured around identity enrichment and community connectivity. Instructors engage participants across various organizational profiles, encouraging broad dialog amongst leaders from varying contexts and experiences; while we will also structure sessions and guide discussion targeted to specific industries or organizations.
Form and content are not merely nice additions to one another but integrally related. So are environment and event. That is why the Institute happens in retreat settings, in which the spaces themselves decisively influence the developments that take place. We are not just concerned with transferring educational content, but in fostering transformative learning experiences. The concurrent events and excursions along with our seminars foster experiential learning; they mutually inform the instructional content by expanding horizons, creating unique encounters, opening up novel possibilities outside standard routines & patterns.
It is through these processes and in these settings where you will have the time and space to discover, document, attend, concern, envision, project, and assess facets of your institution’s identity, meaning, and trajectory. In the retreat mode of our seminars, you will get to experience other communities and connect to local businesses that you haven’t encountered before; with the goal that you will reflect upon the local in new ways, learn how to archeologically document & map your surroundings, thus discovering new outlooks to engage your own institutions.
You’ll find that these lessons are applicable to your own identity and to your own community connections, and realize the value of place; where you are situated is not merely accidental or trivial to who you are but an essential part of it. Your institution is a unique instance in a local constellation, and this setting informs the significance of your identity and the operations by which you connect to your partners.
Jon is a problem solver, a solution creator, and a contemporary philosopher (no, not the university sort around in a tweed jacket with chalk stains on it … he’s the kind who enjoys tackling big systems and big problems confronting businesses, communities, societies and such by applying philosophical frameworks and concepts to analyzing modern day problems and opportunities … and if he can do it in a pub or with a bourbon in hand, all the better!).
In the world of business, Jon has worked in the credit union/non-profit financial services industry for 15 years, filling posts across the organizational strata from front line operations, to system operations, to business technology management, product development, and platform selection.
Jon has founded and operated two consulting and professional services firms within the credit union and community financial institution industry. He has served organizations across the US, assisting them with development of technology and business strategies, walking alongside them as they execute and implement various components impacting their identity. He’s engaged in public speaking on topics of technology as a means of autonomy and local innovation, local financial institutions and the sustainability of communities and economies, differentiating operations, opportunity amidst disruption, and has guided numerous institutions through critical initiatives and core changes to their strategies and operations.
As a side project, Jon has also served (and continues to engage) faith communities, and is continually examining the potential for community flourishing via cooperation of churches, non-profits, financial institutions, and other types of organizations.
Jon holds a B.A. in Philosophy from University of Colorado, Denver, and a M.A.R. in Philosophical Theology/Philosophy of Religion from Yale University.
Daryn is an educator, a discovery facilitator, an interpreter of culture, a student of history for its effect on future possibilities, and an advocate for local institutions and missional identity. He develops intellectual frameworks for the flourishing futures of various communities, believing that we, and those to whom we will bequeath our institutions/identities, can be enriched via careful concern for our craft in everyday life and work.
Often, this crafting is done from the perch of one of his favorite great examples of this trend: the local, craft microbrewery.
Daryn holds advanced degrees from Yale University and Boston College in the academic fields of History and Religion. In the useless (I mean university) realm, Daryn has received numerous awards and grants for his research projects—including from the International Scholarship Foundation, the Social Science & Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Governor General of Canada—and won Boston College’s award for college teaching in 2015.
Before spending 9 years in various facets of higher education, curriculum development & the educational tutoring industry, Daryn also accumulated experience working in the sectors of non-profit operations and social services case management, as well as in retail customer service.
Daryn has a passion for education that harvests insights from multiple spheres and overflows the confined spaces of school settings.
He has a deep investment in catalyzing the flourishing of crucial and vibrant community institutions—educational, philanthropic, faith-based, civic, athletic and financial—how these institutions are influenced by cultural trends and how, mutually, they can meaningfully contribute to and benefit from their local environments.
A passionate exhorter and phenomenologist of image, identity, aesthetics, fashion, communities, and individual/institutional existence, Bryan nurtures notable interests in the ways our material life (the clothes we wear, the buildings we inhabit, the things we use) impact who we become; he is currently publishing a book on this topic that marshals the latest research and analysis for application to a number of realms.
Also of interest to him is the relevance of broad cultural phenomena, such as the generational situation, to how we do business.
Bryan adapts cultural interpretation to the success of “holistic business,” refusing to acquiesce to stale dichotomies of business and other concerns, social, philosophical, or communal.
As a teacher, philosopher, and phenomenologist, Bryan enlarges the range, meaning, and significance of the terms and language we use in business and explodes business clichés with uncommon verve.
Having earned two master’s degrees from Yale University and his doctoral degree at Oxford University in the UK, Bryan teaches philosophy of business, along with other philosophical/ religious studies at the University of Pittsburgh, Greensburg campus.