|SUSAN V. BOSAK
Social Researcher, Educator, Author and Speaker,
Susan Bosak collects optical illusions. "I like optical illusions because nothing
is ever as it seems. Life is a lot like that."
The Big Picture
Susan is the creative and intellectual force behind the YOU 177 social innovation initiative. The big-picture goal is what Susan describes in her TEDx Talk as a 7-Generation World.
7-Generation Strategy draws on the long-term vision of an Indigenous concept in a modern demographic context. It's based on two decades of multidisciplinary research. It's about humanistic systems change.
Susan's research and education work connects the dots across broad themes – human development, life course and aging, health and wellbeing, education and lifelong learning, community building, communication, literacy, design, intergenerational, science and ecology. As an educator, her "classroom" stretches across the continent; she enjoys working with communities and organizations throughout Canada and the United States.
With a belief in lifelong learning, she connects with all ages – children, teens, young adults, and elders. She believes the best teachers are the ones who are always learning, which is why she's always reading, surfing the net, listening and asking a lot of questions.
She helped found the Legacy Project, an independent research and innovation group, because she feels "we're stuck in little stories. The challenges of the 21st Century need bigger stories to encourage bigger, better thinking."
The Power of Stories
As an author, Susan believes that stories, specifically what master storytellers call Grand Narratives, are one of the most powerful tools we can use to change ourselves and the world.
The stories we create and share are everything. Research in marketing, politics, and social change shows the thing is far less important than the story of the thing. Susan's 7-Generation work is about a more human story, using #ChangeTheStory.
One of her favorite ways to tell a story is through picture books. She sees an illustrated story as an art form that can reach all ages on many levels.
"Words and pictures go together so deliciously," says Susan. "It's like chocolate and peanut butter. They're great on their own, but all the better when they're together!"
In terms of picture books, there are many authors that inspire her: "Who isn't inspired by the inimitable Dr. Seuss? His brilliant use of language and the topics he tackled with flair – from the environment in The Lorax to war and conflict in The Butter Battle Book – make him a role model for me. I also admire the work of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The Little Prince is one of the multilayered kinds of books that I love. Two of my all-time favorite children's books are Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney and The Tin Forest by Helen Ward. I wish someone would read them to me every night before bed."
Susan has written several bestselling books. Dream is a story about time, legacies, and hopes and dreams across a lifetime. It's a one-of-a-kind book illustrated by 15 top illustrators from five countries. Susan not only created the vision for the book, but worked closely on all aspects of its development. "It was an amazing experience to work with all the illustrators. The creative energy was unlike anything I've ever done before. I really believe in synergy, that ideas brought together can be far more powerful than any individual's ideas."
She headed an eight-year project to develop the classic science resource book Science Is..., which has been translated into ten languages and is used in schools and universities internationally. Her other bestsellers include A Little Something and How to Build the Grandma Connection.
Her books have received many honors, including Parents' Choice, Teachers' Choice, Children's Choice, the Joan Fassler Award for an Outstanding Contribution to Literature, two Benjamin Franklin Awards, and a Visionary Award.
Susan has a diverse background. She holds degrees in English and Sociology, and the applied social science of Human Communication with a specialty in community and multigenerational issues. In addition to the social sciences, she has a background in the natural sciences.
Susan is an active member of several organizations: National Council on Family Relations (NCFR); American Society on Aging (ASA); Gerontological Society of America (GSA); International Reading Association (IRA); International Communication Association (ICA); International Listening Association (ILA); Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR); and International Society for General Semantics (ISGS).
Susan is an inspiring speaker. She talks from her heart and takes you on a rollercoaster ride of ideas.
Her work has been written up in many newspapers and magazines, such as The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Chicago Sun-Times, Dallas Morning News, Reader's Digest, and Woman's Day. She has appeared on many radio and television programs, including Weekend Today in New York.
Susan gets a lot of her inspiration from the trees surrounding the Legacy Project's idea studio, The Cedars, in Toronto, Canada. She has more books than fit on her shelves, an ever-expanding list of questions and, of course, her dreams.