Energized: By Human Connection

My husband and I are preparing for an extended vacation and made a quick trip to the store to pick up a few things for the trip and a few basics for the remainder of the week we are here.

We were barely in the store when the call to prayer sounded.  (Which means that for the next 30 minutes we are free to wander around the store, but we can’t receive any assistance from the staff or checkout.)

After gathering all that we needed we joined a group of families in a semi-circle around a produce weighing station, which was already surrounded and now three layers deep.

As a western woman, I still struggle to understand the rules of engagement in these settings.  (Whatever you do -don’t look the men in the eye and don’t smile at them.  And although the women may make brief eye contact and are gracious, they don’t always speak the same language.)

So as I looked for a place to focus, a little girl with enormous brown eyes and tiny pigtails spotted my husband and I.  (She reminded me of Boo from Disney’s Monster’s Inc. movie.)

Putting the HUMAN back in Human Resources

This is the third post in our series:  What does HR Really Stand For:  Human Resources or Human Remains?

Kevin KennemerAs I thought through this series, I reached out Kevin Kennemer because I knew that he had both the passion and the data to make the case that Great Workplaces enjoy a significant competitive advantage over their competition.  Kevin is a Great Workplace Advocate, and the founder of The People Group, a firm dedicated to transforming companies into winning workplaces. He works with CEO’s of small and medium sized businesses to create work environments built on trust, respect and dignity.  Kevin holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Management.  This is what Kevin had to say:  

What does HR really stand for: Is it Human Resources or Human Remains?

Over a year ago I met with a group of people about an upcoming speaking engagement.  As we discussed the focus of my presentation I said, “it’s about putting the Human back in Human Resources.”

Immediately one of the men in the group got really quiet and after a few minutes he said,

I have been in HR for several years, I’ve attended tons of seminars and I’ve NEVER heard anyone talk about the HUMANS.

In the past few months as I’ve been publishing stories and lessons in an ongoing series about “The Real Housewives of Expat Men”, this subject has come up again.

The examples below are real and come from people employed with several different organizations.


  • Organizations that notify their people of life-altering changes with a two-sentence email with no details and no timelines, let alone any discussion, questions or answers.
  • Annual reviews that are delivered over a computer instead of by a live person, evaluating the recipient on objectives they were never told they had and leaving no opportunity for discussion.
  • Bosses that make decisions about their employees lives, don’t communicate those decisions and when they are asked about them, then play the blame game pointing fingers at the titled leaders above them.
  • Families that are days away from finishing their time overseas and have sold things, packed, said tearful goodbyes to friends, and have families at home excitedly waiting for them, that are notified two days before they are scheduled to leave that they won’t be going home now.  And as each day goes by their expected departure date continues to change.
  • HR never responding to emails or phone calls and then one day emailing the office and getting a response that says, “Today is my last day, I quit.”
  • Companies that emphasize that their policy is to make sure that EVERY exiting employee receives a survey when they leave the company – no matter why they leave.  However, when a boss fears the information an exiting employee will share, that survey is never given to the exiting employee even when they ask HR for it.
  • HR admitting that the exit surveys that are received are rarely looked at or used to evaluate leadership and organizational development opportunities.

Those stories make my heart ache.  So I reached out to friends with HR Backgrounds that are Consultants, and Leadership Experts and asked them three questions:

Conversation Safari Workshops

Our Signature Workshop

Our shaking world desperately needs us to learn how to dialogue, research, think critically, collaborate and problem solve WITH those that think differently than we do.

A CONVERSATION SAFARI  provides that uncommon opportunity by merging the adventure of a real Safari with a Conversation.

Conversation Safari


  • A group of participants from opposing viewpoints attend a workshop together.
  • Each one chooses to bring a spirit of curiosity instead of judgment.
  • In small groups, each one takes turns listening to others and then sharing their stories and convictions unapologetically and with great passion.
  • Participants leave those conversations and examine their own hearts and motives, and dive into history to learn from the past.
  • And then come back to share what they’ve learned and seek to better understand.

Transforming judgment and division into an adventure that fuels problem solving.

I confess that I’m the sort of person that gravitates towards my own tribe.  I consciously seek out interactions with people that I perceive to be like me and I imagine that most people are like this.  Going where they fit in.

The safari’s have broken down those barriers.  They have allowed me to rub my mind with the minds of women from very diverse backgrounds.  I’ve come away knowing that I can have a deep sisterly bond with a lady from a completely different cultural, religious or racial makeup.

Please see Mark 12:30 – 31.  Conversation Safaris have helped me to actually SEE my neighbor as myself, thereby making it much easier to love my neighbor as myself.  Thereby helping me to fulfill one of the greater commandments.

Thank you for creating this amazing platform. It gives us an opportunity to share in a way that we would not ordinarily be able to.CH
A Frequent Conversation Safari Participant from Zimbabwe


Conversation Safari’s give participants the opportunity to:

  • Listen
  • Ask Why
  • Share Their Knowledge
  • Increase Understanding
  • Develop People Skills
  • Sharpen Truth Seeking and Critical Thinking Skills
  • Improve Conflict Resolution Skills
  • Enlarge Their Worldview
  • Build Relationships

Attendees often comment about how much exercise their brain gets during these workshops, and about the energy and hope they leave with.  (New perspectives,  laughter, tears, personal change, teamwork and greater understanding are all part of the experience.)

…All of which make it possible to resolve the issues that are shaking workplaces, communities, nations and our world.

I have been fortunate to attend Conversation Safari’s, where Chery has unreservedly welcomed all forms of opinions. She has brought people of different mindsets and encouraged them to admit their deepest fears and apprehensions.

At the end, they have all left feeling inspired, energized and loved. Her patience, her empathy, her desire for truth and her noble intention to help people become compassionate human beings, are important elements which are direly needed in today’s world that portrays the darkness of fear and intolerance. With her comes the sunshine of peace and tolerance in much abundance. TB
A Frequent Participant from Pakistan/Australia

This is exercise for my brain. DK
A frequent participant from Tunisia
I no longer feel alone. GN
Conversation Safari Participant from Egypt


I’m a recovering opinionista that used to really struggle with those that didn’t share my values.

As a child, I would passionately argue my convictions and not listen to those that did not share my opinions.  (Because they were simply wrong!)

As a young professional, I thought it was horribly rude for people to roll their eyes in disagreement – but the shaking of my head as others spoke – screamed how wrong they were. (And how unwilling I was to listen.)

Somewhere along the way, I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror, and I didn’t like what I saw. So I began to listen more and talk less.

Along the way I heard personal stories from people who had opposing views about some of the values that I hold most dear. Their stories caused me to deeply ponder what it was like to walk in their shoes.

And a dream began to form.

In 2012 I agreed to move to a part of the world that I had once feared.  A month later, I shared that dream with others for the first time.  A few years later that dream became a reality when women from around the world attended the first Conversation Safari Workshop.

I’ve had the privilege of participating in Chery’s programs. I am awestruck by the unique ability she possesses to successfully facilitate in-depth discussions within groups of strangers from culturally and historically opposing viewpoints. Chery is a great facilitator, communicator, listener, instructor, counselor and mentor with a passion for truth and real problem solving!JS
A Frequent Conversation Safari Participant from Jamaica


Conversation Safari’s are not liberal or conservative.  They are designed to help participants BALANCE the use of both their brain AND their heart.  Resulting a dialogue that is fueled by critical thinking AND compassion.

In every Safari:  

  • Some people start on an uninformed fence, and end up with an informed opinion.
  • Others start with one perspective and end with another.
  • And still others find that their hearts are greatly softened toward those that hold a different opinion, even though their minds still hold many of their original views.
  • Attendees leave with increased understanding, energy and hope.
I feel much lighter.MB
A frequent Conversation Safari Participant from Germany
Always so heartwarming….the way you speak and explain things, I always go away with a good,warm, fulfilling feeling.FB
A Frequent Conversation Safari Participant from South Africa

To learn more contact Chery:

Giana Consulting

Would you employ, elect or reelect someone like this?

I walked around the corner and into the office. The moment I saw her, I knew I was going to employ her. A high performing employee had referred her.   She was professionally attired, already chatting with others on the team, and I knew that she had an impressive resume.

In spite of everything that looked so positive, I kept the interview consistent with all others. And not surprisingly, she soared through the first few questions.

And then I asked my favorite one.