November 6, 2009
Tiffany von Emmel
I am the founder of Dreamfish. Dreamfish is a global work cooperative. We are building a new world of work for a thriving world.
A social innovator of collaboration for sustainability, my life mission is to connect. I believe connection to each other, the environment, and ourselves is the key to thriving in a participatory world.
How I foster connection depends. I am pragmatic, geeky, optimistic third generation entrepreneur of a bootstrapping German-Irish-Chinese family. I often am knee-deep in social software design and community development at Dreamfish. I enjoy working with groups of entrepreneurs and change agents. When not dreamfishing, I like to facilitate small groups of MBA students at Stanford, direct experimental performance with engineers, and design thinking with groups of scientists in the wilderness.
I have had a very lucky life. I have worked across borders of multiple cultures and work worlds, wealthy and poor, abled and disabled. I was the first person to go to college in my family. I started work young, first in my family's manufacturing company, then in Jewish theater in L.A., directing musical productions. In my 20's, I was in New York City, on the startup team of National Business Network. NBN was a trailblazer in advertising which aggregated over 100 grassroots B2B media buys, empowering grassroots media to compete with national media. Our team sold NBN to 3M, moved to California and formed Dow Harris, to consult on the turn from traditional media to networks. Living fast, I then slowed to find meaning and life purpose. I became immersed in East Asian practices, mentored by Wataru Ohashi. Working on systems and networks at the individual level, I taught somatics of relationship for groups, and then organizations. In 1994, I combined my two interests to found The Empowerment Place, a continuing education company, which served thousands of professional adults in mid-life transition, funded by a marketing network of small businesses.
In the late 1990's, I faced my biggest challenge, a life-death encounter with chronic illness. This experience of disability with having been steeped in somatics led me to challenge dominant mental models about the people side of the sustainability movement - how we engage diversity and enable all people to participate in the global economy. Since then, I have lived in San Francisco and Berlin, earned an MA in Organization Development and a PhD in Human and Organizational Systems at Fielding Graduate University. I facilitate for Stanford Graduate School of Business’, currently in Women in Management. I live in San Francisco with my German partner, Dietmar Brinkmann, and dog, Mimi von Ridges.
In 2006, I founded Dreamfish to create a work cooperative for all, where we can realize our dreams and create a sustainable future. With Dreamfish, I am realizing my personal dream to support the livingness of life.