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Guest Speakers: Bruce Bond and Erik Olsen, Co-Founders of Common Ground Committee

Host: Ian McDermott, Founder and Chief Executive of International Teaching Seminars (ITS), Dean of Innovation & Learning

Description:  With polarization dominating public discourse, can we find a path back to the common good? Hear from Bruce Bond and Erik Olsen, Co-Founders of Common Ground Committee. CGC inspires and motivates the public to find common ground and reduce incivility and polarization for a stronger nation. They do this by demonstrating how influential people of opposing views can unexpectedly find agreement without compromising core values.  Free of political agenda and financial influence, Common Ground Committee has a singular focus on bringing light, not heat, to public discourse.  The concepts shared are equally applicable to finding common ground when working with challenging dynamics within enterprises and families.

During our two-part series we will explore the ten attributes of a Common Grounder and how to put them to work.  We’ll learn new ways to set the example for productive discourse and behaviors. Hosted by PPI Dean of Innovation and Learning Ian McDermott.

Introduction to Our Guest Speakers

Erik L. Olsen is co-founder and chief financial officer of Common Ground Committee, Inc. (CGC) a 501(c)(3) that inspires and motivates people to search for common ground. CGC accomplishes this by bringing together people with opposing views can find agreement without compromising core values. CGC also provides tools that allow its audience to measure how effectively political leaders demonstrate this behavior.

Mr. Olsen has more than 30 years of experience in the field of investment management and economic consulting.  He most recently served as the Managing Partner of CataMetrics Management which provides investment services and publications to investment advisory firms nationwide. Mr. Olsen specializes in macroeconomic analysis and policy issues.  He has served as the principal for an office of supervisory jurisdiction for Omni Brokerage and has served on investment committees for a variety of investment and fund management firms. He was a founder of LHO Group, an economic consulting and financial management firm that provided advisory services to investment managers and other financial institutions.

Mr. Olsen also serves as the chairman of the board of trustees of the Daycroft School Foundation, which supports education for children and young people in a Christian Science environment.

Mr. Olsen earned a BA from Principia College and an MBA from the Anderson School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles.  He is a resident of Wilton, Connecticut.

Bruce Bond is Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Common Ground Committee, a citizen-led nonprofit whose purpose is to bring healing to the challenges in America of polarization and incivility. Free of political agenda and financial influence, Common Ground Committee has a singular focus on bringing light, not heat, to public discourse. Its primary work is bringing prominent leaders with opposing views together in public forums and podcasts to find common ground. Forum panelists pairs have included such notables as John Kerry and Condoleezza Rice, Barney Frank and Larry Kudlow, and Michael Steele and Donna Brazile exploring issues ranging from taxes to race to American foreign policy.

Common Ground Committee is also the creator of the Common Ground Scorecard, a tool for voters that identifies the degree to which candidates for political office are likely to reach across the aisle to get things done.

Prior to full-time dedication to Common Ground Committee, Mr. Bond established a reputation as an accomplished business leader. He spent 20 years at Gartner, the highly-respected IT research and advisory firm. For 10 years, he was a member of Gartner’s Executive Management Team that ran the research business for the firm across five continents. Prior to assuming management positions, he was one of Gartner’s most respected and in-demand IT industry analysts.  His early career was spent in technical, service and management roles in tech start-ups. 

Mr. Bond serves on the Board of Trustees for Principia College in Elsah, Illinois and the Principia School in St. Louis, Missouri.

He is a graduate of Princeton University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Politics and was a national class cross-country runner.

He and his family reside in Somers, New York.

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