FOUNDER & CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
After five years doing politics in Washington, DC, six months in Uganda in 2013 gave me a fresh perspective on America. Deeply concerned by the rancorous division I'd find back home, I wrote It's Time to Listen. That message jumped over the ocean and was printed in dozens of major newspapers across the United States from the Miami Herald to the Oklahoman. Emboldened by the resonance of such a simple idea, I launched Listen First Project to encourage conversations that bridge divides. I'm deeply thankful for the dozens of leaders and partner organizations who have joined the Listen First movement as well as the thousands who have signed the Listen First Pledge. Together, we will rebuild civil discourse and bridge divides one conversation at a time.
CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER
The 2016 presidential election left me deeply discouraged thinking about the future of America. Then I started business school and heard about Listen First. For the first time in months, I had real hope for our country. I'm personally inspired by our message and see it inspiring hope and behavior change in people nationwide. Listen First will heal America.
CHIEF LEGAL OFFICER
I am committed to LFP because I believe listening, and the understanding that comes from listening, is essential to our political discourse and social interactions. LFP is committed to supporting and expanding the opportunities for us to listen to one another.
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
"Why can't people just get along?" is a question I have been asking myself far too many times in recent years. People are different, and different isn't bad. I believe the most important step towards accepting and honoring differences is to listen. I want to help people listen.
Graham Bodie, PhD
I have devoted my professional life to the study of listening. That does not mean I always do it well. Movements like LFP provide everyone with an opportunity to practice one of the most necessary yet underappreciated life skills, listening to others who do not fully see the world as you do. By exposing myself to different opinions, ways of thinking, and experiences, I believe I develop into a better person.
OPERATIONS & EVENTS
One of my best friends and I have exact opposite views on politics and religion. Yet we manage to sit down and have conversations towards understanding each other's perspective. While we don't often alter our core beliefs, we agree to respect each other and, most of all, continue to love each other. If we can do it, so can everyone else by choosing to listen first!
I joined LFP after meeting Pearce in business school and hearing his passion and message. America is at a turning point in our ability to effectively engage with and consider the opinions of those with whom we disagree. LFP provides a mission and vision to improve that discourse and I joined the organization to further that cause.
I believe it is our responsibility to make the world a better place. A most foundational way to accomplish this is by revitalizing how we communicate with each other. The Declaration of Independence states "all men are created equal." This demands we respect and listen to all our fellow citizens. I hope my children see civil discourse restored in their lifetime, that will make this world a better place.
Self-preservation and the expression of personal opinion often lead to listening with the intent of forming a rebuttal, rather than an understanding of how and why an individual has come to dissimilar conclusions from the same idea. By bettering our ability to listen, we will grow stronger as individuals, communities, countries, and humanity as a whole.
I've seen colleagues with unpopular perspectives shamed in the workplace and classroom, any dissension from the prevailing view considered crazy. That's not okay. Listen First reminds all of us to have a little humility and grace with those who see the world differently.
The Listen First message is critical for everyone in any relationship. After first joining as a Duke intern, I'm now here to spread it across campuses and beyond. As Dale Carnegie says to leaders, "Listen first. Do not resist, defend, or debate. Try to build bridges of understanding.”
I joined LFP because our country is in desperate need of rational conversations between people who fundamentally disagree. In today's world, we have an increasing ability to isolate ourselves from opposing viewpoints and dissenting opinions. Listen First challenges us to move outside of the echo chambers we have created and actually engage with other opinions by listening to them, not talking at them.