Lessons learned at the 2nd Annual Consortium on Abrasive Conduct in Higher Education [CACHE]
My first documentary, Sandra’s Web, the intimate video letter from a homeless mother with AIDS left as a legacy for her daughter, premiered on HBO. A few days after the broadcast the legendary George Stoney, my beloved mentor, looked at me and essentially said, That’s nice. Now the real work begins. It was a life changing lesson he passed on to so many of us who produce social justice documentaries. So, while I was delighted to win an Honorary Webby this year for my documentary on workplace bullying, What Killed Kevin, it meant even more to me that I was invited back a second year in a row to screen the film at the CACHE colloquium sponsored by Sibson Consulting and the Boss Whispering Institute. Similar to the year before, attendees at the two-day conference held at the University of Denver School of Hospitality Management were made up of “representatives from nearly 20 institutions of higher education including faculty, HR professionals, ombudspeople, labor representatives, administrators, and researchers convened to explore best practices in addressing the problem of workplace bullying in the academy.” Continue reading →
Ken Westhues is generally regarded as the global expert on the topic of Mobbing. He weighed in publicly this week on our documentary about workplace bullying, What Killed Kevin.
“…Read Harper’s review here of Beverly Peterson’s powerful documentary, What Killed Kevin?, a case study of the difference between focusing on alleged workplace bullies and grappling instead with the complexities of group dynamics…” “…an extraordinarily important documentary…”
My ex-boss was a rainmaker and it wasn’t long before I understood why I was one of a quickly growing list of people to have had that job. I soon found myself undergoing a heart cath procedure because I’d failed multiple tests. It turned out I was actually suffering the side effects of stress and the diagnosis was that I needed to quit my job. I decided to try reasoning with upper management one more time. All I wanted was a transfer back to my old position. I will never forget that day. He readily admitted that I was being horribly abused but then he brought down the hammer. If I thought I had some kind of grounds – I should sue because if I didn’t continue on in that position I was fired. I walked away from that experience keenly aware that fear of litigation on their part may well have protected me.
I’m a filmmaker so I started making short documentaries about victim/targets of workplace bullying. Each video highlighted the impact not just on the target but often for the family. My films allowed me to speak with experts, researchers, legislators, advocates, victims/targets, alleged bullies, business & HR reps, journalists and many others both here in the U.S. and abroad. At the time few people even knew what the term workplace bullying meant. It wasn’t until I made What Killed Kevin (reviewed in the Huffington Post), for which I interviewed the alleged bully boss, that I was able to recognize how subjective and tragic many of these situations can be for everyone involved. Continue reading →