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kristin oberdorf, principal at kotter


Kristin Oberdorf


As a Principal at Kotter, Kristin helps leaders navigate transformational change in a rapidly-shifting world. She coaches leaders to harness the untapped potential that already exists within their organizations and to mobilize a focused, energized workforce to relentlessly deliver impact. Her work connects the innovative expertise of front line employees with the implementation at scale of strategic business priorities. Kristin’s career has been driven by a commitment to social impact, leveraging private-public partnerships to drive progress in various sectors around the world, including education, healthcare, government performance, and homelessness. Kristin received a dual Bachelor’s Degree from Michigan State University in International Relations and Social Policy and a Master’s Degree in International Education Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Kristin is based out of Chicago, IL.


Why did you decide to work at Kotter?

After years of facilitating hyper-focused change projects, I wanted to help leaders achieve more long-term, sustainable change at scale. Kotter’s work attracted me because it is about building a sustainable ecosystem of change that incorporates the business and human aspects of change unlike any other. Also, achieving change can be hard, confusing, and even frustrating for some. But for the Kotter team, there is tremendous passion and fun in the work, and I was thrilled to become a part of that.

What challenges do you most enjoy helping your clients solve?

Helping leaders focus on critical, seemingly intractable challenges and then activating the untapped potential within their organization to solve them. When all levels of an organization are given permission to innovate and are motivated to act, I believe anything is possible.

What’s the biggest transformation/impact you have seen come true?

Time and again I’ve had the opportunity to watch leaders unleash their teams to pursue and then achieve seemingly impossible results. When a team sets an impossible goal and then exceeds it, you can literally see the transformation happening in front of your eyes at the personal, team, and organizational levels. It never gets old.

What’s got you thinking right now?

How is making transformative change happen different and also similar in the public and private sectors? I’m interested in what the two sides can learn from each other and how we can facilitate that exchange and partnership. Perhaps leveraging the efficiency and agility of the private sector with the service-oriented mission and sheer scale of the public sector could help drive meaningful progress in solving the critical societal issues of our time.

Share something about you that would most surprise people.

I served in the Peace Corps in Benin, a francophone country in West Africa. I taught secondary school English and my favorite part of my service was organizing a weekly Geography Club for my students to start learning about how much of the world there is to see and explore!