If suffering is an essential part of call, Jack Bender has been called to write about life at the bottom of organizations. In the midst of organizational meltdown, Bender’s sense of duty to the downtrodden was put to the test. After a chance opportunity to participate in the pilot to Parker J. Palmer’s two-year-long Courage to Teach program, he was led on a quest to discover what it takes to help institutions change and respond to the needs of people at all levels within them. His intense research involving leading edge business paradigms, spirituality, personal growth and psychology uniquely qualify him to tell a tale of individual growth against a backdrop of organizational gridlock.
Bender’s work experiences include positions of army officer, prison music teacher, mediator, cashier, laborer, salesperson, facilitator, DJ, computer programmer, writer, poet, public school teacher, speaker and heavy equipment operator. Rumors that he is The Phantom Tuba Player may have substance, but cannot be confirmed.
He has received the Army Commendation Medal, countless concert and marching band awards, and authored award-winning educational software, finally receiving the coveted title of Grandpa. Picked as a Christa McAuliffe Fellowship finalist for the State of Michigan’s Dept. of Education.
With others recognizing his gift for writing poetry, he has more recently written two poetry books and is creating a collection for a third. Bender has completed a book about eliminating poverty. Jack continues to arrange sacred music for a brass ensemble in which he plays.
Bender currently speaks, writes and mediates in West Michigan. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Central Michigan University and a Specialist in Educational Leadership from Western Michigan University, but values most his degree from the University of Hard Knocks.