About Us

A bridge toward common ground.

Our Story

You, me, we…we believe the solution to our troubled world lies within each of us. Our training, offered through chapters and programs in an ever-growing number of communities, inspires improvement in how participants listen, relate, discern and communicate and nurtures their ability to connect and see things from others' perspectives.

From spouses and life partners, to parents and children, to co-workers, educators, police officers, health clinic workers, firefighters and EMS teams and others, our powerful training provides people with the tools to repair, improve or enhance any kind of relationship. By making it available in more and more communities across the world, we're enhancing personal lives while creating a kinder, more empathetic world.

… heavy emphasis on practicality. How to raise issues with your boss confidently, how to thoughtfully listen to your children and spouse, how to meaningfully recognize and appreciate your employees. It's just a shame I worked this long before learning about these tools! Greg Bunker, Dow Chemical Company/Michigan Chapter (Midland) Alumnus

United in purpose.

Our Mission & Values

We offer transformational learning experiences, to empower individuals, to strengthen relationships, and create a more compassionate world.

  • Stewardship
    We carefully and responsibly manage all that is entrusted to us.
  • Intentionality
    We are thoughtful and disciplined in our actions.
  • Continuous Improvement
    We focus our creativity on making tomorrow better than today.
  • Authenticity
    We are transparent in our actions and genuine in our relationships.
  • Trust
    We believe in the integrity and positive intentions of others.
  • Empathy
    We choose to see as others see, and feel as others feel.
  • Passion
    We are compelled by our ability to impact individuals and, therefore, the world.
… this course will help me in many ways — better relationships, less stress in life, meeting participation, better listening… Jeff, Charlotte Chapter Alumnus

A gift to share.

Our History

Bob and Cynthia Chapman

Bob and Cynthia Chapman

In 2008, global capital equipment manufacturer Barry-Wehmiller created an internal university, Barry-Wehmiller University, to help their team members become better leaders. The introductory course, Communication Skills Training, gave participants greater insight into their behavioral tendencies and how they interacted with one another. It taught them about attentive listening, the communications cycle, and effective confrontation. All of this, of course, was designed to help them become more effective leaders at work. The outcome, however, was a complete surprise! Time after time, graduates reported that the course was life-changing. While they agreed that what they learned certainly helped them in the workplace, the biggest impact from the class was felt in their personal lives. Many remarked about how it had enhanced their relationships with their spouse or their children, with some able to mend long-broken relationships or connect with loved ones for the first time ever!

Seeing the profound impact the class was having on team members lives, Cynthia Chapman, wife of Barry-Wehmiller CEO Bob Chapman, offered “We have to find a way to share this with the world!”

In 2010, Phillips LISTENS, Inc. was established by Bob and Cynthia Chapman to bring Barry-Wehmiller’s powerful and proven Communications Skills Training at no charge to communities for the sole purpose of “improving the fabric of our society.”  (The name “Phillips LISTENS” was inspired by the city of Phillips, WI, the location of the first-ever Communications Skills Training taught to community members at-large.) Eventually, as the non-profit began establishing additional chapters, its name was changed to Our Community Listens.

Today, Our Community Listens is bringing its life-changing, community-changing training to a growing number of communities across the world. Additionally, Barry-Wehmiller continues to offer the course, now called Listen Like a Leader, to its team members. And, in 2015, BW Leadership Institute was established to partner with other for-profit organizations in helping them create people-centric cultures. Listen Like a Leader is part of a suite of courses it offers.

This program will change the way I approach everything - from my marriage, to my parenting, to my other relationships, to the way I lead. Amazing content and very well done! Kevin Miquelon, St. Louis Chapter Alumnus

Meet the team.

Our Team

Facilitator Recognition | Shirley Tipton

Shirley has exquisitely served the OCL family by leading 50 CST classes, with over 850 lives touched during the last 5 years.  In recent months Shirley has led 11 professor certifications across the United States, playing a major role in the development of our new Professor Development process.  In her role as a Professor Coach, Shirley is giving her heart and brilliance to each and every professor that she leads in development.  She is always intentional to help mold our professors along the path of becoming capable and caring facilitators of the gift that Bob and Cynthia Chapman have offered to the world.  Shirley’s dedication and personal touch for each and every person whose life she touches is truly impactful, and cherished by our Team!

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  • Misty Janks Misty Janks Impact and Outreach Leader, Facilitator
  • Nina Monty Nina Monty Innovation & Quality Leader
  • Pam King Pam King Chapter Leader
  • Rebecca Emerson Rebecca Emerson Executive Director
  • Robert Martin Robert Martin Facilitator
  • Ryan Freitag Ryan Freitag Program Leader, Facilitator
  • Sarah Weisbarth Sarah Weisbarth Alumni Engagement Lead, Facilitator
  • Shara Brice Shara Brice Chapter Leader
  • Sharon Clement Sharon Clement Facilitator
  • Shirley Tipton Shirley Tipton Facilitator
  • Susan McKeller Susan McKeller Logistics Leader
  • Terry Patton Terry Patton Facilitator
Firefighters have repeated exposure to the suffering of others. And the 24-hour shift lifestyle in the close confines of a station can be challenging. Understanding the value of listening is critical within the fire service culture. Our Community Listens gives us the skill set to deal with these issues and take care of one another. Greg Bulanow, Fire Chief/South Carolina Chapter (Charleston) Alumnus
Talk to Us, We're Listening!