About Us


Michelle James
CEO/Chief Emergence Officer

Michelle James is a pioneering creativity catalyst who has been using universal creative principles and the process of emergence as the basis for her work with thousands of people - individuals, corporations and communities - since starting her first business in the mid-nineties. Michelle’s passion is infusing creativity and imagination into current knowledge and information systems for individual, organizational and social transformation. Her commitment is to cultivate and focus creativity, aliveness and meaning in the workplace as part of the emerging, holistic new work paradigm - one where creativity, service, purpose and commerce are  linked.

Michelle provides generative processes, a grounded framework, whole-brain integrated learnings, and novel experiences to allow organizations to naturally co-create what is essential for them to remain consistently vital, resilient, and innovative in rapidly changing times and environments. She developed the Creative Emergence Process, Principles and Practices - which is both a framework and integrative approach for creatively unfolding what's next within an individual or system.  Known for her original and richly textured dynamic learning environments, Michelle presents at learning and creativity events internationally. Her original programs and techniques have been featured in telesummits, podcasts, newspapers, books, and on television. She is one of the pioneers in the fields of Applied Creativity, Applied Improvisation and Somatic (body-centered) Creativity.
Michelle founded The Center for Creative Emergence based on her experiences with the natural creative emergence process that unfolded over time in her personal journey, as well as and years of work with and study of various facets of creative process. The Creative Emergence Process, Principles and Practices are based on years of work with clients in which certain themes, patterns and self-organizing principles showed up in every emergent creative process. She later discovered a coherent fit with this process and what she learned studying process work, depth psychology, systems thinking, complexity sciences, organizational development, and improv theory.

Before founding the Center, Michelle owned and operated a creative services/marketing firm followed by an organizational development and training company. Prior to that, she spent a few years spear-heading innovative projects while working in communications, sales, marketing, and the media, including co-establishing a newspaper (where she got her taste of entrepreneurship and never went back). In these worlds, she learned first-hand how creative environments function and thrive. Also informing Michelle’s work is her experience and education in creative processes and techniques, brain research, organizational change, group process work, depth psychology, integral theory, emerging group/system dynamics approaches (such as holacracy, appreciative inquiry, world cafe, open space, futuresearch, polarities, psychodrama, dialogue, participative design), accelerated learning, the arts, movement, bodywork, mythology, improv theater, systems thinking, consciousness studies, storytelling and the complexity sciences...and  transformational experiences in her life. Her degrees are in English Literature and Communications Studies with years of diverse post graduate study.

Michelle performed full-length improvised plays with Precipice Improv for 10 years through 2010, and currently performs Playback theater with Virginia Playback Theatre. She is an abstract painting artist, and is a CoreSomatics Movement and Bodywork Master Practitioner. CS is an psycho-physical creative healing modality. She founded and ran the Capitol Creativity Network in DC since 2003, and in 2014, started the Cville Creativity Network in Charlottesville, VA. In 2008, Michelle was recognized for Visionary Leadership in Fast Company's blog, Leading Change. She produced and curated two Creativity in Business Conferences in Washington, DC. She developed and hosted the first online Creativity in Business Telesummit with creativity thought leader-practitioners from all over the world, and curated an accompanying ebook, Navigating the new Work Paradigm. Michelle is currently writing a book on creativity facilitation called Pattern Breaks: A Facilitator's Guide for Cultivating Creativity, and developing a Whole-Brain Creative Facilitation Certification Program. 

Creative Associates: Cocreators and Collaborators

The Creative Associates have expertise and years of experience in a variety of disciplines including applied creativity, innovation, organizational development, organizational change, management consulting, leadership development, expressive arts, visual communications, and neuroplasticity among others. All are are well established, seasoned professionals. The group consists of entrepreneurs, consultants, leaders, visionaries, change makers, and educators who own and operate successful businesses in their fields. Based on the scope and needs of your project, we assemble the team who can best serve you.