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Nancy Dearman


As a founding member and owner of Kotter, Nancy brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to serve the company’s vision of helping millions of people to become better leaders. Over the past 25 years, Nancy has held various senior leadership roles within the organization and its predecessor, including CEO from 2010 to 2014. She is currently a Kotter affiliate where she provides assistance in assessments, publishing and organizational issues. Nancy developed several websites that present John Kotter’s model on leading change and developed multiple partner relationships that distribute John Kotter’s concepts through corporate training programs, video production, and the web. She conducted in‐depth interviews with high-level executives from Fortune 500 companies to inform the research, advising, and seminar work conducted by John Kotter. Prior to Kotter, Nancy served in marketing and market research roles in several companies and as a statistician in the U.S. government. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, a Master of Arts in Statistics from The George Washington University, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

She lives in Sarasota, FL with her husband where they enjoy occasional visits from their two grown children.


Why did you decide to work at Kotter?

I actually did not have much of a choice. John Kotter is my husband and in 1991, he persuaded me to leave my job at a major financial company to manage the growing business, then called Kotter Associates.

What is the biggest impact you’ve seen take place at a client?

I was thrilled to observe the successful (and fast) transformation of a major pharmaceutical manufacturing plant that was struggling to meet both regulatory requirements and the world’s dire need for its products into one that won the highest praise from regulators while meeting the world demand and saving many lives.

If you weren’t working at Kotter, what would you be doing instead?

I’d be spending even more time with my volunteer work supporting brain health research and reducing the societal stigma associated with many brain conditions. I’m on the Board of an organization, One Mind, that is trying to change the culture of brain researchers to one in which broad data and information sharing across many kinds of brain diseases and conditions become the norm. I’m also on McLeans Hospital National Council and one of our major efforts is to reduce the stigma associated with brain diseases.

What is your proudest moment?

My proudest moment was about a year after I stepped down as CEO at Kotter to see the company thriving under new leadership and realizing that what we had started would continue to grow and help many people around the world…because so much more is possible.

What’s got you thinking right now?

I’m thinking about the changes that the pandemic has wrought and how people have coped in good ways to create better ways of doing things. It impelled Kotter, where we had been discussing moving our Leadership Development programs to a virtual environment, to speed up that process and create more robust offerings along the way. It accelerated our adopting more sophisticated technologies and processes for facilitating groups of people scattered across time zones to execute their strategic imperatives. And it is causing us to rethink how we and our clients use office space once we return and even if we return.

Share something about you that would most surprise people.

Working for Kotter, one wouldn’t guess my background is in math and statistics. But I find the discipline I had to acquire to study those areas successfully serve me well in my current role at Kotter and for the boards on which I sit.