We're serious about changing conversations around the world.

Jackie and Cheri have been friends, colleagues, and co-authors since 2004. They were brought together by a passion for the positive affect Appreciative Inquiry (AI) was having on their lives and their clients.

Cheri and Jackie started out to write a book to make two simple Appreciative Inquiry practices—generative questions and positive framing—readily available for anyone to improve their wellbeing, relationships, and workplace success. After that, they were quite excited to see Conversations Worth Having: Using Appreciative Inquiry to Fuel Productive and Meaningful Engagement become an Amazon bestseller in the first month of publication and a Berrett Koehler Publisher bestseller within the first year, and a request for a second edition in 2022. They never imagined what would follow.

During the first six months, someone emailed them asking, “Do you offer training?” Jackie and Cheri looked at each other and said, “We could do that.” And the Conversation and Strategic Conversations Bootcamps were created. Then, they were asked, “Do you offer certification? My colleagues and I would like to add this training to our list of workshops we offer.”  Again, Cheri and Jackie said, “We can do that. It’ll help spread these practices faster!” And the CWH Certification program was created. This lead to partnerships with The Center for Appreciative Inquiry and the Cooperrider Center for Appreciative Inquiry.

In May 2022, the first CWH Trainers retreat was held at Highland Lake Cove in Flatrock, NC. The CWH Purpose, Vision, Mission, Values, and Operating Principle were finalized. Trainers supported one another’s growth through workshops, marketing ideas were shared and generated, and games and additional products were created. 

It has grown, with people asking, “Do you do this? Can we do this?” and the answer continues to be, “We can do that as long as it serves our purpose and aligns with our mission, vision, and values.” From the outset, our business model has been collaborative. As of the end of 2023, thousands of people around the world have been introduced to the practices and more than 75 people have been through the CWH Certification training. CWH is now being taught and shared in North, Central, and South America, Mexico, Europe, China, India, Australia, and New Zealand, and we are just getting started!

A Movement Begins to Grow!

Almost everyone involved with our community sees the game-changing potential of CWH. A lot has been created because of their generous and brilliant work and ideas. Our certified trainers either have their own consultancies where they are using CWH or they use CWH in their full-time positions at their organizations. And a small core team of us are holding the center to support this movement.

CWH Institute is born! 

Jackie and Cheri had resisted formally creating an organization, and eventually it became evident that with the help of Melissa and Kelly an organization was emerging. For two years, the four created a foundation for CWH Institute to operate as a hub to support conversations worth having around the world.

In June of 2024, Melissa moved on to start her own company, Appreciative Inquiries, with the goal of bringing positive practices and leadership development to young people. We will continue to partner with one another, support the growth and outreach, helping one another flourish so that all those we touch might flourish.


Other CWH Milestones

  • Conversations Worth Having has been translated into Spanish and Chinese.
  • The Focus Book series has two books: CWH for Clinicians, Case Workers, and Coaches, co-authored with Michael Emmart and Laura Torres and CWH in Healthcare co-authored with Elizabeth Warner and Fasiha Haq. The healthcare book has been translated into Dutch.
  • To support practice and learning, we initiated two free learning opportunities. Monday Kickstarters (MK) began during the pandemic and is now hosted by Sylvette Wake and Kelly Stewart. Our Learning Labs feature trainers and other experts in a conversation worth having about using CWH in diverse situations and challenges. Outcomes from MK can be read in our blog and outcomes from the Labs can be seen on our YouTube Channel and read on our blog.
  • We developed Shift This!, a card game (played much like Apples to Apples). It makes learning how to ask generative questions to create a positive frame fun and sticky.
  • Sylvette Wake, Toni Benner, and Fasiha Haq worked with us to design the CWH WoJo, a workbook/journal to support new communication habits.
  • Sylvette Wake and Fasiha Haq worked with us to develop the CWH Jingle and a clever video, both created by Sylvette's nephews.
  • The CWH Communication Assessment, developed by Matthew Cole, Toni Benner, Michael Emmart, Jackie, and Cheri, is being piloted and will be available through the website.
  • The Institute for Just Outcomes through Conversation, was created by Michael Emmart and Toni Benner,   Jackie, and Cheri. It was founded in partnership with the Fowler Center at Case Western Reserve University, the birthplace of Appreciative Inquiry.

Please learn more about each of these amazing and talented people on Our Team page.

CWH Institute is committed to changing the conversations around the world. We are joining with others to create a world where every living being flourishes…we simply need to have conversations that lead us there! Please consider joining us.