||It has been suggested that this article be merged with Werner Erhard and Associates and Erhard Seminars Training. (Discuss) Proposed since January 2015.|
|Headquarters||San Francisco, California|
|Harry Rosenberg, director, CEO;Mick Leavitt: President|
|Products||The Landmark Forum, associated coursework|
|Revenue||USD$77 million (2009)|
Number of employees
|Subsidiaries||The Vanto Group (formerly Landmark Education Business Development or LEBD, from 1993 to 2007)
Landmark Education International, Inc.
Tekniko Licensing Corporation
Rancord Company, Ltd.
The company started with the purchase of intellectual property based upon Werner Erhard's est training seminars. Landmark has developed and delivered over 40 personal development programs. Its subsidiary, the Vanto Group, also markets and delivers training and consulting to organizations.
Landmark's programs have been categorized by some scholars and others as religious or quasi-religious in nature. Landmark and many of the company's customers deny such characterizations, while some researchers question that categorization as well.
Landmark Worldwide LLC was founded in January 1991 by several of the presenters of a training program known as "The Forum". Landmark purchased the intellectual property rights to The Forum from Werner Erhard and Associates and used that as the basis for its foundation course named "The Landmark Forum", which has been further updated over the years. It has since developed around 55 additional training courses and seminar programs throughout 20 different countries around the world.
The corporation was originally registered as Transnational Education and changed its name to Landmark Education Corporation in May 1991. In June 2003 it was re-structured as Landmark Education LLC, and in July 2013 renamed Landmark Worldwide LLC.
According to Landmark, Werner Erhard (creator of the controversial est training which ran from 1971 to 1984 and from which the forum was derived) consults from time to time with its "Research and Design team". Terry Giles is Chairman of the Board and Erhard's lawyer.
According to Landmark it is a "for-profit company 100% owned by approximately 530 employees through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) and similar international plans. The organization's executive team reports to a Board of Directors that is elected annually by the ESOP." In addition, its subsidiary, the Vanto Group, focuses on marketing and delivering training and consultation services to corporate clients and other organizations.
- Business consulting
Vanto Group, Inc., founded in 1993 as "Landmark Education Business Development" (LEBD), a wholly owned subsidiary of Landmark Worldwide Enterprises, Inc., uses the techniques of Landmark to provide consulting services to various companies. The University of Southern California (USC) Marshall School of Business carried out a case study in 1998 into the work of LEBD with BHP New Zealand Steel. The report concluded that the set of interventions in the organization produced a 50% improvement in safety, a 15% to 20% reduction in key benchmark costs, a 50% increase in return on capital, and a 20% increase in raw steel production. LEBD became the Vanto Group in 2007.
- Licensing intellectual property
Tekniko, Inc., formerly owned by Werner Erhard, was the successor organization to Transformational Technologies, which was incorporated in 1984 by Erhard and management consultant James Selman.[better source needed] Tekniko Licencing Corporation, a California corporation owned by Terry M. Giles, later acquired this technology. In 2001 Landmark Education formed Tekniko Licensing Corporation, a Nevada corporation, which purchased Tekniko Technology from Giles' company.
The Landmark Forum
Landmark's entry course, The Landmark Forum, is a prerequisite for the majority of their other programs. The course varies in size between 75 and 250 people, and is arranged as a discussion where the course leader presents certain ideas and the course participants engage in voluntary discussions applying those ideas to their own life. Rules are set up at the beginning of the program, such as strongly encouraging participants not to miss any part of the program. Attendees are also urged to be “coachable” and not just be observers during the course.
Various ideas are presented, asserted and discussed during the course. For example, the course maintains that there is a big difference between what actually happened in a person’s life and the meaning or interpretation they made up about it, and that human behavior is governed by a need to look good. Another tenet of the course is that people pursue an "imaginary 'someday' of satisfaction", and that people create meaning for themselves since "there is none inherent in the world". The course also maintains that people have persistent complaints that give rise to unproductive fixed ways of being, but that people can “transform”, by a creative act of bringing forth new ways of being, rather than trying to change themselves in comparison to the past. Course participants are encouraged to call people they know during the course, with whom they feel they have unresolved tensions, and either be in communication with the other person or be responsible for their own behavior.
An evening session follows closely on the three consecutive days of the course and completes the Landmark Forum. During this final session, the participants share information about their results, and bring guests to learn about the Forum.,
In his review of the Landmark Forum, New York Times reporter Henry Alford wrote that he "resented the pressure" placed on him during a session, but also noted that "two months after the Forum, I'd rate my success at 84 percent." Time reporter Nathan Thornburgh, in his review of The Landmark Forum, said "At its heart, the course was a withering series of scripted reality checks meant to show us how we have created nearly everything we see as a problem …I benefited tremendously from the uncomfortable mirror the course had put in front of me."
In 2004, France 3 aired a television documentary on Landmark in their investigative series Pièces à Conviction. The episode, called "Voyage Au Pays des Nouveaux Gourous" ("Journey to the land of the new gurus") aired during prime time, a first for the show, and was highly critical of its subject.
Shot in large part with a hidden camera, the episode was an expose of sorts and had filmmaker Laurent Richard attend a Landmark course and visit their offices. In addition, the program included interviews with former course participants, anti-cultists, and commentators including the then vice-president of the Parliamentary Commission on Cults in France, Jean-Pierre Brard, as well as Catherine Picard, Jean-Pierre Jougla, Jean-Marie Abgrall and Gilles Bottine, the secretary general of MIVILUDES. Landmark left France following the airing of the episode and a subsequent site visit by labor inspectors that noted the activities of volunteers, and sued Jean-Pierre Brard in 2004 following his appearance on the show.
The Pièces à Conviction episode was uploaded to a variety of websites, and in October 2006 Landmark issued subpoenas pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to Google Video, YouTube, and the Internet Archive demanding details of the identity of the person(s) who had uploaded those copies. These organizations challenged the subpoenas and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) became involved, planning to file a motion to quash Landmark's DMCA subpoena to Google Video. Landmark eventually withdrew its subpoenas.
Some scholars have categorized Landmark and its predecessor organizations as new age, self religion or a new religious movement. Other observers have noted relationships between the training programs and religion or a spiritual experience, including a lack of religious elements in the programs and the compatibility of the programs with existing religions. Others, such as Chryssides, classify Landmark as either quasi-religious or secular with some elements of religion. Various governments have also classed Landmark and its previous iterations as new religions and some have classified it as dangerous (although various scholars have disputed this characterization). or commented on characteristics shared with such groups without labeling it as a cult. Landmark has denied that it is a religion, cult or sect.
Journalist Amelia Hill with The Observer witnessed the Landmark Forum and concluded that, in her view, it is not religious or a cult. Hill wrote, "It is ... simple common sense delivered in an environment of startling intensity." Karin Badt from The Huffington Post criticized the organisation's emphasis on "'spreading the word' of the Landmark forum as a sign of the participants' 'integrity'" in recounting her personal experience of an introductory "Landmark Forum" course, but noted, "at the end of the day, I found the Forum innocuous. No cult, no radical religion: an inspiring, entertaining introduction of good solid techniques of self-reflection, with an appropriate emphasis on action and transformation (not change)".
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