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Bakelaar December board profile

Hello visual community! What a wonderful gathering of amazing people. I’m very grateful to have been welcomed into this community and am glad to offer what support I can for the practice.

Over the years I have been involved in many endeavors that all relate back to creating positive community, wellness and understanding. That has taken the form of my parish ministry as a pastor, my teaching roles in an urban high school and for 27 years as an adjunct professor in the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State, and various nonprofit board roles at local (homelessness and food), national (flood relief and church work), and international (refugee resettlement) levels.

I first encountered visual practice while attending Systems Thinking conferences with the Pegasus / Peter Senge group. I asked a recorder at one of the meetings “where can I learn to do this” and was off to Grove with David Sibbet, Tomi Naigroth and Rachel Smith. From there I became part of a team for an NCDD conference pulled together by Stephanie Brown, where I met others who encouraged me to join the IFVP. That led to Austin and coming onto the board. During these years on the board I’ve moved into a technical role working on the website and also on the Institute and the 2019 Conference in Montclair. I bring visual practice to Montclair in summer electives and in 2020 a visual practice course will be added to the regular semester in our graduate program in Organizational and Public Relations. Because of my PhD work in communication I have an interest in putting some solid academic footing to our practice, and as President of the Institute will be working on that along with other scientific, educational and charitable projects. I bring visual practice to all of the contexts I work in, and generally do one “gig” every month or two for a nonprofit project.

One of the successes in this was with the national flood relief nonprofit I work with: the director was trying to figure out how to help people understand what to do in the midst of “disaster fog” and we sat down and sketched out the problem, which then went to the wonderful Bruce Van Patter and became a series of handouts that are used by FEMA in threatened communities. I’ve also become involved with the GLEN, a project of David Sibbet and Gisela Wendling focused on global learning for organizational development. I look forward to making whatever contributions I can as a board member and IFVP participant as this amazing practice and community continues to grow and impact organizational processes globally.

On a more personal note, my wife Carol is an MSW LSW drug counselor; we have three grown children and live on the “Jersey Shore” with our rescue pit Petey. We love being grandparents to Angela, who shows up often in my zoom profile picture.