Lisa Gottlieb is a social worker, local food activist, yoga instructor, and a practitioner of nonviolent communication (NVC).

Lisa Gottlieb (Photo from the Fall 2015 issue of Crazy Wisdom Community Journal)She co-founded Selma Cafe in 2009 with her husband at the time, Jeff McCabe. The weekly breakfast salon, held at their home near Eberwhite Elementary School, often featured chefs from local restaurants using locally-produced food. The breakfasts were prepared and served by a staff of volunteers, with donations accepted to support local farmers. Selma Cafe moved location in 2013 to Sunward Cohousing, after the city notified the group that the breakfasts were violating local zoning ordinances. Then in mid-2014 Gottlieb announced that the event would be taking an indefinite hiatus. The last breakfast was in April 2014.

Gottlieb is also a school social worker for the Washtenaw Intermediate School District (WISD). She provides services to students in the Washtenaw County Juvenile Detention Center, for the Ann Arbor Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program, and WAVE (Washtenaw Alliance for Virtual Education), a countywide alternative high school program. As part of her work with the juvenile detention center, she helped start a community garden located in the building's courtyard. She is a certified Kripalu yoga teacher. 

In 2014 she founded a practice group for compassionate communication (also known as nonviolent communication) in Ann Arbor.

Gottlieb lives on the Old West Side near Eberwhite Woods. Her daughter, Zoe Clark, is executive producer at Michigan Radio (NPR), and co-host of the weekly radio program It’s Just Politics. Her son, Nevon Clark, works at the Ravens Club restaurant in downtown Ann Arbor.

In the news

Meet a Customer: Lisa Gottlieb – Literati Bookstore blog, Sept. 8, 2015

Lisa Gottlieb on Compassionate and Nonviolent Communication – Interview in Crazy Wisdom Community Journal, Fall 2015

Presentation on nonviolent communication (video) – Dispute Resolution Center, Sept. 27, 2014

Selma Cafe Takes a Hiatus – Ann Arbor Chronicle, Aug. 19, 2014

Selma Cafe Secures Nonprofit Status – Ann Arbor Chronicle, Aug. 5, 2013

Selma Cafe to open for brunch at new location after troubles with city codes –, June 7, 2013

Selma Cafe Finds New Fiscal Sponsor: Artrain – Ann Arbor Chronicle, May 31, 2013

Selma Cafe halts operations after city says it violated zoning codes –, April 20, 2013

The Story of the Legendary Selma Cafe – video by Andrew Kaufman, April 18, 2013

City Notifies Selma Cafe of Zoning Violation – Ann Arbor Chronicle, April 13, 2013

Presentation at Entre-SLAM (video) – Ann Arbor Entre-SLAM event, May 2013

A Taste of Selma Cafe (video) –, April 29, 2012

The Trip for Life: Selma Cafe and Local Food (video) – The Trip for Life, July 28, 2011

Interview with Lisa Gottlieb and Jeff McCabe (video) – Jeannie on the Beat show, May 2011

Presentation at Ann Arbor greenbelt advisory commission – Ann Arbor Chronicle, Nov. 10, 2010

Selma Cafe's Farmers Fund builds hoop houses –, Sept. 10, 2010

'Locavore' food movement growing strong in Ann Arbor area – Ann Arbor News, July 23, 2009

Friday Mornings @SELMA Finds a Home – Ann Arbor Chronicle, July 29, 2009

Ann Arbor’s Selma Cafe: Open for Breakfast, Community, and Conversation – Gastronomical Three blog, Feb. 28, 2009


November 2014: Founds an Ann Arbor practice group in nonviolent communication and begins work as managing director of Compassionate Communication Ann Arbor.

August 2014: Announces that Selma Cafe will be taking an indefinite hiatus.

2009: Co-founds Friday Mornings @SELMA (later known as Selma Cafe) with Jeff McCabe, and serves as operations manager through mid-2014, when the event takes an indefinite hiatus. The weekly breakfast salon, originally held at Gottlieb's home, featured local chefs and locally produced food, with a staff of volunteer servers and donations to support local farmers.

2007: Earns masters degree in social work from the University of Michigan School of Social Work.

2000: Begins work as a school social worker for the Washtenaw Intermediate School District (WISD). Provides services to students in the Washtenaw County Juvenile Detention Center, for the Ann Arbor Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program, and WAVE (Washtenaw Alliance for Virtual Education), a county wide alternative high school program. 


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