This week marks the launch of the Kepler’s Future Search planning and organizing committee, and it’s been a highly motivating and productive start for us.
On Wednesday April 18th, a collective of intellectual and innovative minds gathered to begin drafting and constructing the foundation for Kepler’s Future Search. After a few hours of deliberation it became quite clear that the core team of contributors had begun to develop a culture of positive energy, dedication and momentum which would lead us to a highly productive and groundbreaking Future Search.
Now I’m sure all of this sounds fantastic, but you must be wondering, what is a “Future Search?”
Generally speaking, a Future Search is a collaborative, committee based conference which helps any large group, business or organization discover, tighten or reinvent itself via a highly democratic and inclusive method. The philosophy behind a Future Search is simply that the most effective means of fostering transformative and healthy change within an organization is reliant upon gathering the entire system into one place at one time. This means the very top of the organization, as well as the very bottom, and everything in between.
We originally set out to have this Future Search operate as a vehicle for the reinvention of Kepler’s as a business, but now it’s becoming clear that Kepler’s is simply ground zero for something much greater.
Yes, this will be a Future Search to help Kepler’s restructure itself, but more importantly it will be a Future Search to develop a new model for all indie bookstores across our nation, and not simply a new model for selling books, but a new model for the role of bookstores within society.
No one is sure what will ultimately come of this adventure, but one thing is clear, this is more than the restructuring of a business, this is a literary movement. It is an opportunity to push back against the depletion of culture in our country, and a call to arms for community builders and book lovers everywhere.
More to come as we progress, so keep an ear to the ground.
Kepler’s Future Search will take place July 26-28 and will bring together 70 individuals to determine the future of Kepler’s, and indie bookstores everywhere.
The Future Search planning team consists of nine intellectual, well read and spoken individuals from all different walks of life.
Alex Michelucci, Staff Leader, Kepler's Books and Magazines
Since August of 2008 Alex has served as a sociable and knowledgeable member of the Kepler's staff, responsible for overseeing operations on the sales floor and providing excellent customer service. As an active musician, performer, political activist and free thinker, Alex brings a high level of positive energy and social charisma to the table, while also providing a tactile and sang-froid attitude which facilitates more serious concerns.
Angela Mann, Youth Events Coordinator, Kepler's Books and Magazines,
Angela was born in London and sailed to the New World to join her husband, boldly going where no Mann had gone before. Before coming to work at Kepler's, she worked as a production editor for several publishing companies on both sides of the Atlantic, including Kogan Page, Sage Publications, Dale Seymour, Wadsworth, and Addison Wesley. Angela is currently the Youth Events Coordinator at Kepler's, writes Kepler's teen blog, thebookbind, and is the voice of Kepler's Teens on Facebook.
Stephanie Wright, Web Store Manager, Kepler's Books and Magazines
Stephanie Wright, aka Jenivi7 on the internet, is the current web ninja for Keplers.com, slinking undetectably among the shelves, making books appear and disappear right under customer's noses. She's also a geek and fangirl extraordinaire who resides with her husband in Burlingame where they happily dissect and nitpick movie and video game plots.
Julie Moncton, Co-Owner, All Ears Audiobooks located in San Jose
Julie Moncton was a lead engineer on the computer design team at Hewlett-Packard. In 2001, she decided to leave engineering and pursue a career around books, a lifelong passion. After a brief stint at the Saratoga Library, Julie became a co-owner of All Ears Audiobooks, an independent book store in west San Jose. In addition to reading, she enjoys running – and loves that audiobooks allow her to do both at the same time.
Michael Closson, Executive Director, Acterra
Michael is executive director of Acterra, an environmental non-profit serving the Silicon Valley that provides people with tangible, hands-on activities they can do to improve the environment. Prior to Acterra, he served as executive director of Biodiversity Northwest in Seattle, executive director of the Center for Economic Conversation in Mountain View, CA, and co-director of New Ways to Work in Palo Alto, CA. In his free time, Michael particularly enjoys hiking and backpacking in the beautiful California wilderness.
Cherilyn Parsons, Writer; Director of Development, Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR)
Cherilyn brings experience as a professional fundraiser, fiction writer, book reviewer, journalist, and activist. For three years she has led fundraising at CIR, which has grown 1000% during this time and won the MacArthur Foundation’s “genius” award for organizations. As a consultant she secured numerous large grants and gifts for clients in media, education, and social justice. A native Californian, she holds a Master’s in Professional Writing from USC. Her feature articles and reviews have been published in major newspapers and online, and she is completing a novel set in Asia.
Janis Cooke Newman, Author and SF Writers' Grotto Member
Janis is a San Francisco writer, and member of the SF Writers' Grotto, where she runs the popular Grotto Classes program. She is also the author of the novel, 'Mary,' which was an LA Times Finalist for First Fiction, as well as USA Todays Best Historical Fiction for 2006. Her memoir, 'The Russian Word for Snow,' was published in 2001, and is still in print. Her travel writing has appeared in the NY Times, LA Times, SF Chronicle, and in various magazines and anthologies.
Praveen Madan, Community Engagement Officer for Keplers2020
Praveen is a literary entrepreneur focused on building the community bookstore for the 21st century. Praveen is a partner in the award-winning Booksmith bookstore in San Francisco and the Berkeley Arts & Letters series of author events. Recently Praveen has been working closely with a group of community champions to transform Kepler’s into a next generation literary venture built around a new level of community engagement and open source innovation.
Steve Piersanti, President, Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Steve is president and publisher of Berrett-Koehler Publishers, a leading independent publisher of progressive books on current affairs, personal growth, and business and management. Prior to founding Berrett-Koehler in 1992, Steve served as president of Jossey-Bass Publishers. He began his career at Jossey-Bass in 1977 as a promotional copywriter, then served as marketing director, editor, editorial director, and executive vice president before becoming president in 1989.