Personal and Professional History
I’ve collected experience throughout my life that has resulted in a successful holistic consulting practice. When I was eight years old, my father decided he was going to start grooming me to be the third generation to run the family business: a midwest chain of clothing stores. As the eldest child, I went along with the plan. Then I got to the University of Wisconsin—where I majored in Spanish and Russian—and I made different plans. I was going to be a linguist, lead an international life, and save the world.
I have, in fact, led an international life. After I graduated, I worked as a trilingual translator at the United Nations, then lived and worked in China, India, and Morocco. While the “save the world” scenario hasn’t exactly come to pass, I have been a trainer and consultant for over 30 years in the United States, Europe, India, Africa, Canada, Mexico, People’s Republic of China, Myanmar, Singapore, Malaysia and the Middle East.
Living in other cultures has revealed parts of myself I never knew existed. I discovered, for example, that I have a “Chinese way” of being, thinking, processing, knowing. It’s a rhythm that emerges in ways that aren’t required of me to function here in the United States. I believe this “Chinese way” makes me a more patient and attentive listener. It also reveals valuable new perspectives that Western-style thinking doesn’t always produce.
Eventually I returned to the family business for seven years as CEO. It was an invaluable experience during which I gained a great deal of insight about the dynamics of family businesses. I learned, for example, what it’s like to have one’s mother for a boss. It was a challenge for both of us to work together in this power relationship, but we worked hard at it and we got there. The result for me is a deep understanding of the CEO role that lets me say to clients, “I know exactly what you’re going through—and what you need to do to make it work.”
All along, I’ve suspected the truth: that my calling lies in working to help others. To that end I’ve earned a Masters in Community Psychology from Marist College and completed my Ph.D. in Human and Organizational Systems from Fielding Graduate University. I’m a former board member and past chair of the board for the NTL (formerly the National Training Laboratories) Institute of Applied Sciences and have served on numerous boards of community organizations. I’m a member of the Organization Development Network and the Future Search Network. And I’ve built a consulting practice that allows me to draw on my expertise in intercultural communication, leadership, gender and cultural difference issues, and family business management.
When prospective clients ask me to describe my approach, I tell them that I’m a hands-on kind of person. Not just my hands—yours too. Whether I’m consulting, coaching, or conducting a training program, I actively engage clients in the process of identifying and removing barriers to their success. If my client is an organization, then the entire organization gets involved. I’ve learned that this inclusive, collaborative approach significantly strengthens clients’ ability to succeed over the long term.
The links below will lead you to more detail about the work I do.