I had the considerable pleasure of spending an extended weekend participating in Workplace Bullying Institute University, the intensive, small group, 3-day training and education seminar about workplace bullying led by Drs. Gary and Ruth Namie. Although I’ve been working with the Namies since 1998, this was my first visit to WBI U and to the Workplace Bullying Institute’s offices in Bellingham, Washington.
WBI U: Bootcamp for Bullybusters
Based on reviews from others and my close familiarity with Gary and Ruth’s work, I’ve been happy to tout WBI U to those who want to incorporate a deep understanding of workplace bullying prevention and response into their varied professional practices.
Now, having been a “student” at WBI U (and I have a shiny new certificate to show for it, thank you), I can vouch for it personally: This was a unique and remarkable intellectual and personal experience. Here’s why:
First, the Namies have assembled a jam-packed, soup-to-nuts curriculum about the many aspects of workplace bullying, starting with the phenomenon itself, moving into individual and stakeholder responses, and looking at future developments such as law reform. It is a very, very substantive program, built around not only the Namies’ own work, but also the extensive research and commentary that have emerged over the past couple of decades.
Second, despite the heavy-duty content, there was plenty of time for discussion. Collectively, our small group (eight in all, including the Namies) brought work experiences in human resources, science and technology, mental health, law enforcement, non-profit advocacy, hospitality management, higher education, and law. This diversity of background made for rich and spirited exchanges between participants over the course of the three-day seminar.
Finally — and this was the most personally gratifying aspect of the weekend — WBI U provided us with a chance to share our interests, stories, and experiences. The discussions went well past the designated meeting times, extending over dinners, coffee, and drinks. When people come together to immerse themselves in a topic like this one, bonds form quickly and ideas begin to hatch.
A visit to WBI
I also visited the WBI offices in Bellingham. Some have the misleading impression that WBI is a huge monolith, perhaps because WBI has become so visible and its website (link here) is packed with information. Nothing could be further from the truth! Including the Namies, WBI currently has six people on staff, and they share a cozy office setup whereby every bit of space is utilized.
In sum, North America’s leading organization devoted to stopping workplace bullying is comprised of a small collection of talented, dedicated individuals located in one compact floor of office space. It’s a testament to the power of individual commitment and intellect that this modest entity has had such a significant and positive influence.
Gary, Ruth, Sean, Jessi, Dan, and Dave, a big thank you for being such wonderful hosts for WBI University.