Archive for the ‘Gonneke Spits’ Tag

Gonneke Spits

Gonneke Spits, one of the founding staff members of est discusses the original est Training in this video on the Werner Erhard Video site.

Gonneke Spits

Werner Erhard Northern Ireland

Werner Erhard in Northern Ireland: Werner Erhard developed the Ireland Initiative for the Mastery Foundation in 1999 in collaboration with Peter Block as a three-day conference to bring together a broad base of community leaders already working on peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland. The Mastery Foundation continues to lead this course in places where religious differences are a source of conflict, including Northern Ireland and Israel.

Watch this video clip describing Werner Erhard’s work in Northern Ireland.

The New York Times

“For several years before his latest professional reincarnation, Mr. Erhard consulted for businesses and government agencies like the Russian adult-education program the Znaniye Society and a nonprofit organization supporting clergy in Ireland.

Enter the Harvard economist Michael Jensen. Dr. Jensen, who is famous in financial circles for championing the concepts of shareholder value and executive stock options, had taken a Landmark course in Boston at the suggestion of his daughter, who mended a rocky relationship with Dr. Jensen after taking the course herself.

“I became convinced we should work to get this kind of transformational material into the academies,” he said, adding that he considers Mr. Erhard “one of the great intellectuals of the century.”

Interview in The New York Times, November 29, 2015: “He had traveled with his Dutch-born third wife, Gonneke Spits, from Toronto to see friends, do a little business and visit his favorite chiropractor and tailor. He was also in the city to meet with a reporter — virtually the only press he has done in more than two decades.”


History of The est Training


  • In June Werner Erhard had a realization about the nature of being…
  • And in October that realization manifested into the est Training. Werner Erhard first led the est Training in San Francisco at the Jack Tar Hotel and the world of possibility was born.
  • Laurel Sheaf named as president and CEO of est
  • First est office, 2nd floor on Kearney Street in San Francisco
  • Original est staff members included Werner Erhard, Gonneke Spits, Laurel Scheaf, Jack Rafferty and Elaine Cronin
  • While only about 600 people participated in est Training by the end of 1971, it was the beginning of a movement. The beginning of people getting that what is, is and what isn’t, isn’t and you are responsible for your life. People took on making a difference in their lives, their community and the world.  Continue reading

Werner Erhard’s Influence: Individuals Making a Difference Worldwide

The est Training, created by Werner Erhard, inspired it’s participants to make a difference for people in all walks of life.  To fulfill the humanitarian motivations of these est graduates a number of non profit organizations were founded by Werner Erhard along with other original est staffers, notably Gonneke Spits. Through these non profit organizations,  literally hundreds of thousands of people illustrated  the power that “the little individual” could improve the conditions of people all around the world. ‘The Breakthrough Foundation‘ gave ‘Youths At Risk’ new opportunities in their lives, while also fostering and funding development in Africa. Millions of people committed themselves to working to end hunger throughout the world through ‘The Hunger Project‘ and its many offshoots.  The ‘Community Workshop’  gave ordinary people a new opportunity to contribute to their own communities.  These organizations, as well as the Werner Erhard Foundation, inspired est Training participants to go out and make a difference in their lives. They provided forums for individuals to make a difference worldwide. For more information about the Werner Erhard Foundation visit