The Midwest Facilitation Network (MFN) is a not-for-profit, volunteer, professional service
organization founded by Sue Leonard of Amoco Corporation and Paul
Collins of Jordan-Webb in September of 1992.
The organizers received
such positive feedback from the first conference that they expanded
the planning committee and agreed to produce additional conferences.
This extended planning committee (Board of Directors) is continuously
defining and developing a non-traditional, non-hierarchical organization.
To date, the MFN has
produced 41 full-day Facilitator Conferences and 6 Professional
Skills Development Workshops. The first conference was hosted
by Amoco Corporation in January of 1993. These events continue
to provide valuable experiential learning, sharing and networking
opportunities for people who facilitate work teams or who manage
and employ facilitators.
Over the years, MFN's
distribution list has grown from 125 to to over 1200 people including
management and staff from Fortune 2000 companies, consulting firms,
educational institutions, government agencies, military installations
and independent consultants.
There are no membership
requirements or fees and the structure of the organization and of
the board is non-traditional and non-hierarchical.
MFN is self-funding
in that the fees collected at events are used to support current
and future events.
MFN strives to present
programs about facilitation or related to aspects of facilitation
that would be of interest and value to a wide variety people who
use facilitation in their work. The "membership" includes
people who facilitate in private, public and non-profit sectors
in areas that include organization development/transformation, strategic
business/marketing planning, information technology planning, scientific
research, leadership/management development, new product development,
quality management, human resources, military planning, environmental
planning, advertising and marketing research - to name a few.
Generally, between 40
and 80 participants attend each event. However, our May 1999
Conference at Motorola and our January 2000 Conference at De Paul
University each had over 100 participants.
Much of the MFN’s success
must be attributed to the people and organizations that have provided
facilities and resources for our conferences and workshops.
A host organizations'
primary contribution is to provide meeting facilities and specific
resources for the events:
Some host organizations
have been willing and able to contribute more. For organizations
willing and able to contribute other resources, including:
- a main meeting room
- one or more breakout
- usual and customary
a/v services and/or a/v equipment (overheads, flip charts, screens,
tables, microphones, projectors, etc.) - MFN has access to much
of this equipment
- dining area for
continental breakfast, lunch, etc. (usually in one of the conference
- a conference registration
- a materials display
In turn, MFN provides the
host with an number of complimentary or reduced price seats at the
event. This number is determined by agreement, in accordance
with the level of the partners' contributions to the event.
- absorbing the cost
of the reproduction and mailing of conference announcements
- reproducing conference
- absorbing the cost
of continental breakfast and an afternoon snack for event participants
- absorbing the cost
of lunch for event participants
may also wish to provide a presenter for the conference.
All of the planning,
organizing, publicizing and production of these events is done by
MFN members. The hosting organization's participation in the planning
& production of the event or in preparing a presentation is
welcome, but not mandatory.
One of the major sponsors
who has contributed resources to MFN is Nightingale-Conant, of Niles,
Illinois. Nightingale-Conant has been a supporter of the MFN
since its inception in 1992. The company is the largest producer
and distributor of instructional and motivational audio and video
tapes for Personal and Business Development, Wealth Building, Sales,
Mind Technology, Health & Wellness and Spiritual Growth.
The organization also provides Coaching Services and also has a
full-service Speakers' Bureau. Since MFN's first conference
in January 1993, Nigitingale has provided MFN with the vast majority
of the products that have been distributed to participants as door
prizes. For more information about N-C, visit: http://www.nightingale.com
Other significant sponsors
have included MG Rush Systems, University Associates and Mindware.