Local author starts ‘The Conversation’ at library

Williston resident Agnieszka Perlinska (above) recently co-wrote 'The Conversation' with her business partner, Chip Chapados. (Observer courtesy photo).
Williston resident Agnieszka Perlinska (above) recently co-wrote ‘The Conversation’ with her business partner, Chip Chapados. (Observer courtesy photo).

By Heleigh Bostwick

Observer correspondent

November 14th, 2013

Locals in search of a practical road map to take charge of their lives, personally and professionally, should head to the library next week.

On Nov. 16, the Dorothy Alling Memorial Library is hosting a book launch for “The Conversation: Simple Truths to Make Life Work” co-written by Williston resident Agnieszka Perlinska and her business partner, Chip Chapados.

“This is definitely not a typical leadership management book, but is written for everyone, from management leaders to lay people,” Perlinska said. “The book is for any adult or young adult interested in personal growth and gaining a new, different perspective on themselves.”

Originally from Poland, Perlinska came to the United States as a foreign exchange student, but was unable to return due to conflict in Poland. She eventually went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in American Studies, as well as Master’s degree and a PhD in comparative literature.

In 1989, she moved to Vermont and began teaching at Norwich University, where she met Chapados, and switched careers from literature and culture to organizations and psychology of leadership.

“Chip and I were both adjunct professors in the social sciences department—and that’s where the first conversation happened,” Perlinska said.

The conversation she’s referring to was the first of many about how to live the best life possible, and it became the basis for their book, “The Conversation.”

Perlinska and Chapados are now co-principals of Leadership Performance Initiatives, a group that focuses on leadership management and organizational improvement. The pair has been working together for more than 20 years.

“In the book, I wanted to convey the models about human character and growth managing behavior that we use in our consulting practice with leaders and management teams,” she said. “People are always intrigued by our approach, so after one of our workshops in 2000 I said to Chip, ‘It’s time to write a book.’”

“I’m glad it’s done and I’m excited to share my book with others,” she said. “I hope the journey is meaningful to other people and they find inspiration to improve their lives, too.”

Although the book started out as a business management tome, the response to the first draft was that it was “kind of boring,” Perlinska recalled.

“I had written the introduction as a story and people said it was so interesting, so I rewrote the whole book as a story,” she said.

Perlinska credits Toastmasters of Greater Burlington, a group designed to help people develop public speaking skills, with helping her find a voice.

“I joined about five years ago and found that when I was sharing personal stories during my speeches, people were much more engaged,” she said.

At the book launch, Perlinska and Chapados will each read an excerpt from “The Conversation” and invite attendees to join the conversation about one of the central ideas in the book, character and the pursuit of happiness.

“Understanding character is critical to our well-being because our character directly influences how we seek meaning and happiness in life,” said Perlinska.

The launch is set for Nov. 16 from 1-2 p.m.

To learn more about “The Conversation,” visit