NewStories was born in Spokane, Washington in the last week of November, 1999. For the previous two years Bob Stilger and Robert Theobald had been working together to reframe the attention about “Y2K” – the anticipated computer glitch of catastrophic proportions when the clocks turned at midnight on December 31, 1999 to being a new century.
Bob and Robert said that technological fixes were critical, and that the deeper questions and issues were really about how we restore resilience to our communities and our lives. They used the language of new stories — asking what were the stories we wanted to be living into in the new century.
In the days before Robert’s death on November 27, 1999, Bob resigned his 25 year tenure as Executive Director of Northwest Regional Facilitators, a Spokane-based nonprofit community development corporation, and together with Robert decided to create NewStories.
In the beginning months of 2000, NewStories quickly dropped into partnership with The Berkana Institute and PeerSpirit to launch a global initiative to support leaders around the world who were standing up to make a difference in their communities and systems. From the Four Directions brought together more than 150 people in gatherings in Europe, Africa and the US with the belief that the single best way for leaders to get clarity and courage, insight and wisdom, was to be in sacred circles of conversation about their lives and their work. Drawing together extraordinary facilitators and dialogue hosts from around the world, the initiative gradually morphed into the Art of Hosting community.
NewStories was primarily a base for Bob’s work as he became drawn more and more into Berkana. By 2004 he stepped in as Berkana’s Co-President, and NewStories waited for its own new story. That showed up in 2008 when Lynnaea Lumbard asked Bob if he would consider releasing stewardship of NewStories. His answer was an enthusiastic yes, and Lynnaea began to build NewStories as a platform for exploration and illumination of the new stories than could guide us in this time of transformation.
In 2011, Berkana went into hibernation and Bob stepped back into NewStories as Co-President with Lynnaea and together, with many partners, they built the organization you see today.