A visit to the Workplace Bullying Institute and WBI University

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.

8 responses

  1. I am so appreciative of the works of everyone connected with this cause. You helped me out by just being there at a time when I really needed support in dealing with work place bullying. Thank You!

  2. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” (most often attributed to Margaret Mead)

  3. Thank you so much for all the work that you have been doing. You probably saved me from insanity and my family from desperation.

    The living hell that I’m is not over yet, but now that I understand the issue I can and am fighting back. It takes a toll, and I’m not sure of what the final result will be, but at lest I can live with myself by saying that I have tried.

    Best regards,

  4. Pingback: A visit to the Workplace Bullying Institute and WBI University (via Minding the Workplace) « Bullying, Mobbing and Harassment, Real Solutions!

  5. Just some of the biggest problems I have had/have throughout this ongoing nightmarish journey of psychological harassment and bullying that followed sexual assault perpetrated by my Supervisor which ultimately caused serious health ramifications, are: a) having anyone help me in the face of a person who abused his power to control the workplace; b) having the psychological and health effects of the abusive behaviour understood and feeling useless as I suffer through those health issues; c) having those in a position to assist and rectify the situation abdicate their responsibilities especially when I had hoped positive change would result; d) having the perpetrator and the legal system and those who make assumptions/conclusions without factual information blame the target and perpetuate lies, misconceptions as well as stigmas associated with psychological injury; e) living with the guilt of not acting sooner and potentially assisting others because of that action; f) finding people, (aside from my mom and one doctor), in a position to affect positive change who have the time and compassion to simply actively “listen” and realize we know what we’re talking about, that it isn’t “just in our minds,” that we’re telling the truth; g) having enough overall mental and physical strength, endurance and articulation to explain exactly what happened and how it affected not only my life, but that of my family; h) the hopelessness that became ingrained in the workplace coupled now with inability to contribute positively to the quality of life of loved ones and other bullied individuals; i) finding justice; j) inability to recover from PTSD and the depression that followed. Like I said, these are just some of the problems but with people like the Namies and their contributors, with organizations like the WBI, its University and the education it imparts, those who are taking notice (and taking the courses), and the wonderful people who have been through what I have been through wherein we can empathize with each other…there very well could be more inroads. I absolutely agree that prevention is the goal and where there exists those of us who need help, it is most encouraging to learn that people do understand and that maybe we can help, having already “been there”. Isn’t that why we’re all here; to understand each other, to help each other, to improve ourselves and contribute to the same goal in others, to make the world a better place to live in? Bullies didn’t get the memo! Thank you Namies, WSI, and my fellow targets for sending it to them…and for believing us, and in us.(And to the person who posted by the name of BMROSANTOS and anyone with the same sentiment, we’re all behind you; you’re not alone. Just know that. I hope things have improved and I know what you mean…I’m in the process of “trying” to do something about it and therefore can also live with myself). Sorry this was so long. Thank you for listening.

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