It all began with ‘How Might We’.
Pepper Bullock began his executive coaching practice in 2007. A few years later he expanded his practice to facilitate Design Thinking for clients. The outcomes of Design Thinking are more innovative, transformative, and impactful compared to traditional brainstorming. Facilitating client’s ideation sessions became a natural complement to executive coaching.
Pepper’s client list continued to grow and many of his coaching conversations were on the porch of his home in Serenbe or on extended walks on trails in Chattahoochee Hills, where it seemed easier for clients to gain perspective on unpacking challenges and creating solutions. Pepper and his wife Gwen began to dream of ‘How Might We’ create a space specifically designed to improve the client experience in Serenbe. There seems to be power in this bucolic setting to disconnect from the tyranny of the urgent and connect with one’s best thinking.
Ten years later in 2017, Gwen and Pepper visited a vineyard in the Hemel & Aarde Valley of South Africa, which in Dutch means “Heaven & Earth”. The name of the vineyard was CREATiON (with a small i). That afternoon the Bullocks knew that creativity could be enhanced when making our I smaller. The concept of new beginnings, creations without a dominant I, led to CREATiON becoming the name of our client experience. The naming of CREATiON gave power to our dream.
Learfield, the premier sports marketing service for colleges and universities was one of Pepper’s core retainer clients. Learfield’s executive vice-president, Roger Gardner began to consider early retirement. Roger and Pepper dreamed of working together. When Roger transitioned from Learfield, he enrolled in Stanford’s Executive MBA program and upon completion went on to get dual certifications in transformational coaching and facilitation from Georgetown University. Together the Bullocks and Gardners began to dream of creating a client-centered venue to enhance the journey of transformation.
On October 29, 2017, The Power of Place shifted from a conceptual theme to a commitment. On that Sunday morning, Cheri and Roger Gardner watched a clip featuring Serenbe on Sunday TODAY, with Willie Geist. They decided to ‘put a stake in the ground’ for our shared dream of CREATiON. With no business plan, but with a vision of what’s possible, the Gardner’s purchased the double lot at 10603 Serenbe Lane. This became the first of four CREATiON sites which became the 100-acre campus for Destinations at CREATiON and The Academy at CREATiON.