David Kubacki '92 Uses the Power of Play to Solve Problems

Archmere alumnus David Kubacki '92 facilitated a LEGO SERIOUS PLAY workshop for the Class of 2024. His company ViaDel Consulting Group works with teams to enhance their productivity. He shares his experience in using play for team building and self-reflection. 
Earlier in October, Archmere alumnus David Kubacki '92 facilitated a LEGO SERIOUS PLAY workshop for the Class of 2024. His company, ViaDel Consulting Group, works with teams to enhance their productivity and creativity. One of the ways they do this is through LEGO SERIOUS PLAY! Their work was featured on NBC10. David also gave a very compelling TEDx Talk on the merits of this creative and fun work. 

How did you get started in LEGO Serious Play? 

I loved LEGO sets/bricks as a kid, but when I started collecting them as an adult, I came across a set on the LEGO website called the “LEGO(r) SERIOUS PLAY(r) Starter Kit - so I bought it - and inside there is a booklet that tells you that the set is intended for use by LEGO SERIOUS PLAY Facilitators - so I Googled that, and about 6 months later went through the training to become a Certified Facilitator for LEGO SERIOUS PLAY. Since then it has become the cornerstone of my consulting practice. I’ve worked with large corporations like M&T Bank, small nonprofits, faculties/staff, students, and even families. The youngest participant I’ve had was a 10-year-old in a family session I did with Peter Slease’s (’92) family - the family sat around the kitchen table with me Zooming in on the laptop and built models to explore how the pandemic has changed their family life. The oldest participant I’ve had was an 85-year-old woman who had never touched a LEGO brick in her life - but after the session, she wrote me such a nice note about how much she loved it!

How was your workshop was beneficial to the freshmen class today? 

LEGO SERIOUS PLAY is incredibly valuable to any participant that can comprehend the concept of metaphors and storytelling…so the youngest student groups I’ve worked with is middle schools - so freshmen fall right into that perfect age where they benefit from the “playing” - it turns out that using your hands to create things unlocks your mind and imagination and gets your thinking more deeply about any subject you’re asked to consider. So my plan with the freshmen class was to get them thinking about how the pandemic has affected their Archmere experience. And we did some builds about their biggest academic challenge, and their “COVID nightmare situation”…but we ended by thinking about a "silver lining” that they’ve uncovered during COVID. So I think the freshmen had a chance to open their minds to possibilities and have fun communicating their dreams and fears - but by doing it while “playing”, they are far more likely to share more than they would if they were asked a question by a teacher or counselor. We started the session by building a duck, which reminded the students that they are different and independent, and ended the session by building an Auk, which reinforced the importance of the Archmere community and that they can always rely on each other.

How has your Archmere education prepared you throughout your career? 

I credit Archmere with much of my success! Specifically the Archmere writing program, and I had many opportunities to learn about public speaking. I think the ability to effectively communicate orally and in writing is SO important. Archmere also gave me a moral basis to live a life based on values rather than chasing down money and material success. I spend over a decade of my career working at Nativity Prep in Wilmington, dedicating my life to helping low-income students and families. In my sophomore year at Archmere (1989), we started the Community Service Club; this is in a time before Community Service was built into the program. My Archmere friends and I thought we wanted to create more opportunities for service - that need to give back has stuck with me my entire life. 

Do you have any advice for current Archmere students? 

I was lucky enough to be presented with an honorary doctorate and act as the commencement speaker at DeSales University in 2015 - I received this honor for the work I did as the President of Nativity Prep. I presented the graduating seniors with 4 pieces of advice and I think I’d give the same ones today: read, volunteer, live life passionately, and always be grateful. I think reading is one of the most important ones: I used to tell our students at Nativity that they should read because reading gives you power – the power to deduce, the power to use your imagination, the power to form your own opinions.
Is there anything else you'd like me to share that isn't covered by these questions? 
A few years ago I also worked with the Archmere Juniors using the GALLUP CliftonStrengths assessment - a tool that all Archmere students take as part of their college preparation activities. Coming back to Work with Archmere students is one of my favorite things to do professionally.
I’m also on the Alumni Council - I think it’s my 7th year on the Council and I just finished a term as the President of the Council in 2018.
I’m still friends with several of my Archmere classmates and not a single year has passed in the almost 30 years since graduation that I haven’t visited campus - Archmere can be a powerful support community professionally and personally. I also wouldn’t be the man I am today without my wife, Grace, and daughter, Olivia (Future Auk - Class of 2033), who challenge me to grow and improve every day!

Pietate et Scientia

Archmere Academy is a private, Catholic, college preparatory co-educational academy,
grades 9-12 founded in 1932 by the Norbertine Fathers.