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Rebecca Emerson tapped to amplify impact of OCL

OCL Team | Oct 11, 2018

Growing non-profit strengthening communities across the U.S.

ST. LOUIS — October 11, 2018 — Our Community Listens, a non-profit dedicated to building more caring communities through life-changing programs that improve interpersonal relationships, has named a new executive director, Rebecca Buell Emerson.

“We are thrilled to have found Rebecca to guide Our Community Listens in becoming a nationally-known organization that touches lives and improves communities. Her education and experience, leadership capability, passion and compassion will serve the organization well as it grows to meet the needs of our troubled world,” said Bob Chapman, Our Community Listens board member and CEO of Barry-Wehmiller, the St. Louis-based global manufacturing firm which designed, for the business setting, the groundbreaking course on listening skills and relationship building that Our Community Listens offers at no charge through communities.

Buell Emerson’s career spans more than a decade of service to communities through educational partnerships and programs that promote personal growth opportunities. Prior to joining Our Community Listens, Buell Emerson served as Executive Director for School and Community Partnerships for St. Louis Community College, where she successfully established a dual enrollment program thereby expanding college enrollment opportunities for high school students. She had previously help build a similar program while serving as System Director of Dual Credit and Transfer for the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) in Versailles, Kentucky.

“Getting to serve and support Our Community Listens teams across the nation is a life calling,” said Buell Emerson. “Learning to authentically listen with the other person’s needs in mind creates empathy, connection and understanding. It is at this point that relationships, homes and communities are healed. I am humbled and thankful to steward Bob and Cynthia Chapman’s vision for creating a more caring world.”

In 2008, after witnessing the profound positive impact that a Barry-Wehmiller University course designed to develop business leaders was having on team members’ personal relationships, Cynthia Chapman told husband Bob of her desire to share the special “life-changing” course outside the walls of Barry-Wehmiller. Thus, Our Community Listens was formed to bring those same transformative experiences to a wider audience.

Today, Our Community Listens offers public classes in seven states, supports several private/internal programs, and serves an alumni network of more than 7,000. Police departments, firefighters/EMS teams, school districts, city government organizations, health clinics and more are among the groups which have implemented Our Community Listens practices to better connect with and serve their constituents.

“Our goal is to spark a caring revolution,” shared Buell Emerson. “My dream is that we empower people and communities to truly listen, learn and lead from a place of true empathy and care.”

Buell Emerson has completed doctoral coursework in international leadership through Johnson University, has master’s degrees in Church and Community Ministries and Marriage and Family Therapy from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and bachelor’s degrees in Journalism and Broadcast Communications from Wayne State College.

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