Our People

The Kotter Team

We share a common purpose: to see more leadership from more people and make our client organizations and ourselves better day after day.

Meet The Team

John Kotter

Chairman

Regarded by many as the authority on leadership and change, John P. Kotter is a best-selling author, award-winning business and management thought leader, business entrepreneur, and Harvard Professor. His ideas, books, and company, Kotter, help mobilize people around the world to better lead organizations in an era of increasingly rapid change. Professor Kotter’s MIT and Harvard education laid the foundation for his lifelong passion for educating, motivating, and helping people. His award-winning articles in The Harvard Business Review have sold more reprints than any other author’s, and his 2012 article, “Accelerate!” won the McKinsey award for the world’s most practical and groundbreaking thinking in the business/management arena. His books have reached millions, and have been printed in over 150 foreign language editions. His 1996 book, Leading Change, was selected by Time magazine in 2011 as one of the 25 most influential business management books ever written. To supplement his books and expand on his ideas, Kotter has released several videos on his teachings, many of which are accessible to anyone interested in his work via YouTube. Kotter’s research and pursuits in education, business, and writing have earned the respect of his peers, helped transform organizations around the world, touched countless lives, and still inspires others to adopt his methods and spread the word. He continues to work tirelessly to achieve his vision of “millions leading, billions benefiting.” Professor Kotter is a proud father of two and resides in Boston, MA with his wife.

Why did you decide to work at Kotter?

I didn’t decide to work here. I decided to help found it. It’s not unlike having children: once you do there’s no giving them back, and you wouldn’t want to, anyway.

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

That’s hard to say now because we’re getting an increasing stream of significant impacts. In our first year or two, it would have been easier to say; today, it’s hard to pick out one. For each client the impact is huge for the people in the organization and for their customers. That’s like asking me which child is my favorite.

Who is your favorite leader?

My favorite leader in the last 50 years is Nelson Mandela because he had every right to be very angry at being imprisoned for 27 years and to take that out on the white South African population but instead he rose above all that and used a variety of leadership actions that achieved something close to a miracle of pulling the populations together in a way that was needed to build the country.

What’s got you thinking right now?

I’m interested in brain science and what it can tell us about how to meet the most difficult challenges that organizations and senior executives are facing right now. My thinking was accelerated by conversations I had with our President, Russell Raath, followed by discussions with my old friend, Professor Richard Boyatzis, of Case Western University, who is a collaborator and author on emotional intelligence books and articles.

Share something about you that would most surprise people.

I came to Boston to go to MIT to become a physicist.

Rick Western

Chief Executive Officer

Rick is the CEO of Kotter, responsible for the company’s short and long term strategic direction as well as day-to-day management decisions. During his tenure, Kotter has more than doubled in size. Prior to joining Kotter, Rick had a 37-year career at EY (Ernst & Young), serving in multiple senior leadership roles and assisting Fortune 500 companies with strategy execution and operational performance improvement. For more than a decade, Rick was a Managing Partner in a highly successful $3B functional unit and $700M geographic business unit. He later led a 4-year, large-scale internal change initiative to develop and launch the firm’s globally consistent talent development process, EYU, after which EY was recognized in 2009 by BusinessWeek as the “Best Place to Launch a Career.” Finally, Rick was a Global Client Service Partner, responsible for all services to large, multinational clients, including overseeing the merger integration of a $7B acquisition. Rick is passionate about leadership and navigating the complexities of transformational change. Rick and his wife, Terri, are the proud parents of two grown children and two granddaughters. Rick lives in Florida but is based out of the Cambridge, MA office.

Why did you decide to work at Kotter?

I joined Kotter out of sheer luck and good timing. I had met Dr. Kotter 20 years earlier and became a disciple of this works. At the exact moment I faced mandatory retirement from EY at age 60, John was looking for a CEO to help him grow a consultancy to have a much greater impact in the world. I’ve been having so much fun ever since that it doesn’t even feel like work.

What motivated you to pursue consulting your chosen profession?

I did not pursue consulting – it pursued me. I began my career as an auditor and quickly found much greater satisfaction in helping clients solve difficult challenges than identifying errors in their financial records.

Flashback to when you were 10 years old. What do you want to be when you grow up?

When I was younger (16 not 10), I wanted to be a high-school band director. I loved the large-scale teamwork of 100+ young people creating inspiring music and intricate and precise drill formations.

What are your superpowers?

I have been an effective leader throughout my life, admittedly based more on instinct than scholarly aptitude. I have a knack for helping people get the most out of themselves.

What’s got you thinking right now?

With the onslaught of Covid-19, our world has never needed more leadership that it does today. We are surrounded daily with brilliant examples and unfortunately some tragically bad examples as well. The human consequence of effective leadership has never been clearer.

Share something about you that would most surprise people.

My wife and I binge watch Hallmark movies, because of their relentless and predictable positivity.

Kathy Gersch

Chief Commercial Officer

Kathy brings over 25 years of executive level experience to Kotter. She has led teams in strategic planning, change leadership, business development, marketing, branding, merchandising, website development, product management, business analytics, finance, operations and administration. As one of the Founding Members of Kotter, Kathy has worked across multiple industries while at Kotter to help lead their transformation efforts. She has worked in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia in sectors including Consumer Products, Manufacturing, Retail, Energy, Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Aerospace, and Financial Services.

Prior to joining Kotter, Kathy was a Vice-President at Nordstrom, Chief Marketing Officer and Retail GM at Drugstore.com and Beauty.com, and an Executive Vice-President leading Marketing and Merchandising at GiftCertificates.com. In addition, Kathy led a consulting firm that focused on senior executive consulting in strategic online and offline marketing, web strategy and re-design, channel strategy, business planning, capital sourcing, new venture development, market entry strategy, mergers and acquisitions, turnaround, and general business challenges.

Why did you decide to work at Kotter?

John Kotter and I created a shared vision of what Kotter could be to impact the world for over five generations of leaders.

What challenges do you most enjoy helping your clients solve?

Creating an organization that truly has the ability to innovate on itself on an on-going basis to position the company for success long term despite changes that may come outside and inside the company.

Flashback to when you were 10 years old.

What do you want to be when you grow up? A football player or a lawyer like my dad.

What are your superpowers?

Multi-tasking and future vision.

What’s got you thinking right now?

Projecting evolving change creating a series of “new normals” for business globally.

Share something about you that would most surprise people.

I have 4 kids and 2 dogs!

Tanya Kruger

Chief Financial Officer

Tanya is a seasoned finance executive with over 20 years experience in the strategic, operational, and financial management of various businesses. Prior to joining Kotter, Tanya was the Chief Financial Officer for Lockdown Networks where she completed three rounds of private equity financing and was responsible for all legal, financial, human resource, and administrative functions. Beginning her career at Ernst & Young, she later served as the senior finance executive at Digeo, Inc., CFO for Skyway Luggage Company, and VP of Finance for the Aviation Communications Division of AT&T Wireless Services. A certified public accountant in the State of Washington, she received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Concordia College.

Why did you decide to work at Kotter?

I decided to work with Kotter initially because it seemed like an interesting challenge. The more relevant question is: why do I decide each day to stay? It is still an interesting challenge, but there are many interesting challenges to pursue. I stay because I believe in the mission of our firm and I get to work with colleagues who also believe in it. We help organizations and individuals lead better – especially in times of change – and, in so doing, create a better world. We do it because we believe that so much more is possible.

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

Helping someone, somewhere grow a business that creates opportunity for individuals and communities.

What in your background helps you in this job?

The years I spent helping tech start-ups. The energy and excitement of building a great business with superior products and managing through the day-to-day ambiguity prepares you for just about anything.

What’s got you thinking right now?

I’ve been thinking about how technology will re-shape the human experience in the next 5-10 years – and the inevitable consequences on society. How technology will change our usage of energy and the subsequent impact on net energy exporters as more countries become energy independent. What opportunities artificial intelligence will generate. How longevity will change how we live our lives, including how we navigate our careers and fund retirement.

Share something about you that would most surprise people.

Growing up in Montana, I have a deep love for the outdoors. My heart will always be in the Montana Rocky Mountains and some of the very best moments of my life have been spent sore and mosquito bitten after a long day on the trail backpacking to a crystal clear mountain lake.

MICHAEL ABRAMS

Affiliate

Over an 18 year career, Michael has been a management consultant with McKinsey and Accenture, before moving to work in boutique firms. His consulting style is tailored to the needs of different clients and highly collaborative. In his experience, building sustainable change requires co-creating with client leaders, so they ‘own’ the result.

Michael works with businesses at the intersection of strategy, organization, and leadership. His client experience is concentrated in Technology (Google, EMC, Mendix), Life Sciences (Thermo Fisher, Astra Zeneca, Elekta), and Energy (Siemens Energy, PPL, Vattenfall), with some work in financial services and retail.

Michael earned a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. He is based in Stockholm, Sweden, and is originally from Philadelphia.

MAURIZIO AGRESTA

Affiliate

Maurizio grew up in Italy. He received a law degree from Fordham University and an advanced degree from New York University. Maurizio is retired from United Parcel Service (UPS), where he spent almost 25 years in finance, legal, and public affairs functions. Currently a part of the Kotter team, Maurizio engages with clients to find solutions to challenges and helps create the dual system that Dr. Kotter advocates. Maurizio is fluent in Italian and Spanish.

Maurizio is based out of Atlanta, GA.

VANESSA AKHTAR

Director

With a doctorate in Sport & Performance Psychology and over a decade of consulting experience, Vanessa Akhtar has built her career on optimizing human performance. She has worked with organizations around the globe, spanning a variety of industries – including oil & energy, healthcare, education, pharmaceuticals, non-profits, consumer products, advertising, and philanthropic foundations. Previously, she taught at Boston University and worked with teams, coaches, and athletes – ranging from youth through to professional and Olympic-level – to help individuals reach the top of their game.

As a Director at Kotter, Vanessa has two main areas of focus. She works on our most complex engagements, walking alongside clients in their transformation efforts. Additionally, she collaborates with Dr. John Kotter and a core team to drive our Research + Development efforts. She is passionate about helping individuals, teams and organizations thrive – through the use of research-backed, human-centric approaches.

Vanessa is based out of the Cambridge, MA office.

What challenges do you most enjoy helping your clients solve?

It’s less about the specific challenge for me. Anything that requires people to change their behaviors to drive better outcomes and create a better place to work gets me energized. What’s most enjoyable for me is when I get to work with senior leaders who are deeply invested in the work, and open to really push themselves to show up and lead in new ways.

Flashback to when you were 10 years old. What do you want to be when you grow up?

A stuntwoman. I was a serious gymnast at the time and was pretty much fearless. My mom wasn’t so excited about the danger associated with that career path, to say the least.

What are your superpowers?

Empathy (which allows me to build trusting, authentic relationships), organization (oh-so-exciting, right?), and my ability to stay calm even in the most challenging situations.

What’s got you thinking right now?

Carrying through from our research and writing of our most recent book, Change, I’m continually interested in how human nature impacts how people react to, experience, and lead through the complexity and uncertainty we’re all facing every single day. This thinking has expanded beyond just our work with clients, and colors so much of how I view the world and my own experiences in it.

Share something about you that would most surprise people.

I absolutely love to read as a way to wind down, even though I have dyslexia.

JARVEAL BAKER

Senior Consultant

Jarveal cultivates human and organizational potential using a combination of interpersonal, analytical, and problem-solving skills and consulting and entrepreneurial experience. He offers clients a results-proven ability to apply strategic initiatives that propel organizations to exceed their organizational and development goals. Jarveal has a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and an MBA from Florida A&M University. He spent 7 years working in consulting for Deloitte and EY (Ernst & Young) in New York City before creating an online firm that provided career advice and information to students and professionals. Most recently, Jarveal served as a Professional Development and Career Consultant at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before joining Kotter. In his spare time, Jarveal enjoys traveling internationally, watching interviews on YouTube, and roller skating.

What’s got you thinking right now?

With my most recent experience being in higher education, I am thinking about the future of education and how colleges will have to shift their offerings to stay relevant with the ever changing job market.

Share something about you that would most surprise people.

I helped my best friend get on the TV show The Bachelorette.

Why did you decide to work at Kotter?

I decided to work at Kotter because it is at the intersection of consulting and leadership which are two things I am passionate about.

What is your proudest moment?

My proudest moment thus far was creating a successful travel business that inspired over 200 people of color to see the world and create lifelong memories.

What challenges do you most enjoy helping your clients solve?

I really enjoy helping clients and their employees reach their fullest potential.

TIM BAREFIELD

Affiliate

Tim has spent the last 22 years in leadership positions in organizations where leading change has been a critical role. As a Managing Director at Kotter, Tim serves as the lead relationship manager for client engagements and is actively engaged in the outbound efforts to introduce Kotter’s capabilities to prospective clients. Tim’s experiences in a variety of functional senior leadership roles (Head of B2B Sales and Marketing, Head of Human Resources, Head of Operations, and CEO) across a number of industries (finance, hotels, retail food, internet, insurance brokerage, and technology) has provided him with the opportunity to see and lead change efforts in a number of different industries. Tim received a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla (now Missouri School of Science & Technology) in 1983, an MBA from Rockhurst University in 1987, and an A.M. in Psychology from Harvard University in 1997.

Tim is based in Westchester, New York.

SKYLAR BARRON

Consultant

Skylar serves as a Consultant at Kotter, where she supports a wide range of clients in achieving their goals and successfully navigating their transformation journey. Prior to joining Kotter, she had a diverse work background– from event planning to social media marketing, to public relations writing and communications consulting. Her unique work experience allows her to understand the importance of adaptability, change, and most importantly, effective communication. Skylar empowers our clients and helps them realize they are all capable of leading and managing change.

Skylar graduated early from Bentley University, where she majored in both Information Design and Corporate Communications, and American History. She is also a member of Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society.

Skylar is based out of the Cambridge, MA office.

What motivated you to pursue consulting? 

I was motivated to pursue consulting because it seemed to be the perfect fit for my analytical, yet creative brain. Consulting focuses heavily on problem-solving, but it is not always about the numbers. It is; however, always about the people. Consulting provides a quintessential balance between human connection and the business world, which is exactly what I wanted.

What are your superpowers?

Empathy, confidence, leadership, and a great sense of humor.

What is or would be your personal motto?

I can’t say these are my own words, but the words I live by are: You’ve always had the power, you just had to learn it for yourself.

What’s got you thinking right now?

101 Essays That Will Change the Way You Think– and that’s exactly what this book did. These essays helped me realize that too often we get so fixated on the past and anxious about the future, that we rob ourselves of the opportunity to live in the present and enjoy the now. We all deserve the privilege to appreciate where we are at and live in the moment.

Share something about you that would most surprise people.

I am incredibly creative! From writing poetry to film photography to editing videos – you name it, I love it. Creativity is my favorite form of therapy.

ALEX BEDARD

Marketing + BD Associate

Alex serves as a Marketing & BD Associate at Kotter, with the goal of creating seamless connections between the two departments, and is always striving for new ways to make Kotter more efficient. He specializes in organizing internal processes and evaluating inbound interest in Kotter’s services. Before joining Kotter, Alex graduated from Bates College and has gained experience working in Investment Banking as well as for pre-revenue tech startups.

Why did you decide to work at Kotter?

I was initially drawn to Kotter by its approach to long-term change solutions. However, what really drew me to Kotter was the excitement and passion every employee spoke with during my interview process. I knew Kotter was where I wanted to be.

What’s got you thinking right now?

‘Your Inner Fish’ by Neil Shubin. In his book, he outlines the biological links between fish and man through evolution. It’s truly fascinating to be the number of links that can be made between two species that on the surface share very little until you take a closer look.

Share something about you that would most surprise people. 

In my spare time, I help coach a club swim team in Seattle. As someone who swam competitively through college, it’s the perfect way for me to still be involved in the sport.

Flashback to when you were 10 years old. What do you want to be when you grow up?

When I was 10 years old I wanted to be a baseball player or a zookeeper.

What is or would be your personal motto?

“If you’re going to do something, do it right.”

DAVID CARDER

Managing Director

For over 15 years, David has worked with global clients to accelerate the execution of their business strategies and drive the development of their top leadership talent. As a Managing Director for Kotter, David serves as the lead consultant on a number of KI’s largest client engagements and has worked across a range of industries including energy, healthcare, financial services, defense and aerospace, and non-profit. Throughout his entire career, David has focused on unleashing the potential of leaders to drive organizational transformations. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from William Jewell College, and a Master of Arts degree in Organizational Communication from Northern Illinois University where he received the school’s top honor for excellence in graduate study.

David is based out of the Cambridge, MA office.

Why did you decide to work at Kotter?

Throughout my career, I have studied and followed Dr. Kotter’s work. I was struck by the recent innovations the Kotter team had been pursuing – building on his research – and achieving results with clients that were beyond what I had seen any consulting firm achieve. I wanted to work in this nexus between John’s work and achieving this kind of true impact for companies and the leaders who guide them.

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

With an Italian utility, through KI’s process, we were able to directly drive over 130 million Euro in new revenue and ensure the long-term success of over 15 “go-live” implementations of a transformative, industry-leading SAP system. Based on our work, the company received the award for top change implementation across Italy for 2016.

What in your background helps you in this job?

My entire career has focused on unlocking the potential of leaders to drive organizational transformations. Before joining Kotter, I focused for over 15 years on equipping leaders – on a large scale – to behave differently, work together in new ways, and accelerate the realization of their business strategies. I’ve been able to draw on the facilitation, coaching, design, and advisory skills I was able to hone over those many years, and apply them directly to Kotter’s work with clients.

What’s got you thinking right now?

I’ll admit that I’m inspired by where John’s thinking is going around the connections between brain science and what we’ve seen create the greatest breakthroughs in our process with clients. We’re linking the hardwiring of the brain neuroscience ideas of “Threat/Survive” vs. “Opportunity/Thrive” to our focus on building a network of volunteers within an organization — fueled by a Big Opportunity and a “want to/get to” perspective. The connections and innovations are continuing to emerge throughout our day-to-day work with clients.

Share something about you that would most surprise people.

I sang for a number of years in a 30-member auditioned chorus in the greater Boston area, focused on “seven centuries of choral traditions” from early music from the 1400’s, through contemporary pieces only recently published.

PAT CORMIER

Affiliate

Pat has over 25 years of experience in the areas of sales, marketing and change leadership. Drawing from her extensive background she has designed and facilitated leadership programs as well as strategy and innovation workshops for clients such as Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi Pasteur, Dell, Boeing, and PepsiCo. Her experience spans manufacturing, Business-to-Business, and Business-to-Consumer environments, as well as a wide range of industries from retail to aerospace, technology and healthcare. Her engagements have spanned the globe, working with diverse international markets throughout Europe, Asia, and Latin America.

Pat is based out of the Cambridge, MA office.

NANCY DEARMAN

Affiliate

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 serves me well in my current role at Kotter and for the boards on which I sit.

MARTHA DEERY

Principal

Martha serves as a Principal at Kotter, where she helps clients accelerate their strategies to achieve, and exceed, the results they seek. Throughout her career, she has led cross-disciplinary programs and teams across industrial product design and engineering; brand strategy and design; UX strategy, and digital development. Martha also was a founding member, operational leader, and coach in the SPRING social impact accelerator. She brings a human-centered design approach to our work here at Kotter. Her current focus spans across change leadership, change management, and digital transformation.

Martha holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English and American Literature and Language from Harvard University, and a Master’s Degree in Environment and Development from the London School of Economics.

Martha is based out of the Cambridge, MA office.

Why did you decide to work at Kotter?

Dr. Kotter and our whole team bring a very special mindset to the field of change. No matter the project — whether it’s an M&A integration, a digital transformation, or a culture change — our principles and our methodology help deliver very real profit and people impacts. We get to help people and teams realize profound capabilities in their organizations and themselves, often in very short bursts of time. And, because of the depth of our partnership, we’re often celebrating there right there, with them too. It’s not easy (its change, after all) but, when you do it the Kotter way, the impacts can be awesome. I mean awesome in the awe-inspired, sense of the word.

What challenges do you most enjoy helping your clients solve?

Mindset shifts! I love helping clients and teams break through self-limiting beliefs. That can be at the individual and the organizational level. There’s this glimmer in a moment when a client, and a team, first start to believe that change is not just possible: it’s completely within their power and in their reach.

What are your superpowers?

Empathy, humor, curiosity, and grit.

What’s got you thinking right now?

How wonderful it is to be able to think — and how often we forget to do just that. I think the world would breathe a little easier if we would all just take the occasional moment to silence our devices and our egos, and just have a think.

Share something about you that would most surprise people.

I was a nationally-ranked Latin scholar when I was a teenager. I’m dead certain this has come in useful in my life and career. It’s just a bit hard to say, precisely, where… and no chance I can say it in Latin, these days.

LESLIE ZEMNICK FØLSGAARD

Principal

Leslie is a team leader focused on developing the skills and know-how of those around her. Whether working with Hollywood stars, Heads of State, or Fortune 500 CEOs, Leslie brings the same solutions-oriented focus to her engagements. With a background in advertising, as well as running her own consulting practice, Leslie’s operational experience spans from on-the-ground, high-tech product launches in Cairo and Addis Ababa, to setting consistent ‘intentional culture’ in a corporate office launch expansion across the United States for a leading real estate company.

Leslie enjoys learning about new industries while leveraging her unique combination of corporate experience and human capital development expertise. As a Senior Consultant for Kotter, Leslie is focused primarily on amplifying the internal strengths of her clients by employing the Kotter methodology to maximum effect. She has worked in North America, Asia, Africa, and Europe in sectors including Advertising, High-Tech, Consumer Products, Manufacturing, Energy, Government, Cosmetics, and Real Estate.

Leslie is based out of Washington, DC and New York.

What are your superpowers? 

Unlocking the human potential that exists within all organizations and individual teams. I am often described as a “People Whisperer” by those who know me best.

What challenges do you most enjoy helping your clients solve?

I love unlocking the potential within an organization. From our Organizational Network Analysis, we uncover leaders that people turn to for inspiration, encouragement, and support. Typically, these people span all layers of the organization. I love highlighting unexpected leaders, allowing more voices to be heard, and crafting new opportunities.

Flashback to when you were 10 years old. What do you want to be when you grow up?

A spy! Inspired by Carmen Sandiego and Nancy Drew, I loved solving puzzles and making up mysteries with my cousins. I like to think my love of solving puzzles continues with my current client work.

What’s got you thinking right now? 

We live in a world that is changing faster than ever, requiring leaders to react quickly to stay ahead of the curve. Governments and corporate leaders need to rethink, among many things, historic supply chain relationships, and energy resources, ushering in an era where we begin the process of moving from Just in Time to Just in Case.

Share something about you that would most surprise people.

I almost went to art school! I have a strong love for the arts, and a deep passion for painting, but eventually my love of math won the battle. While studying business administration, minoring in discrete methods mathematics and art studio, I stumbled into leadership development and operational excellence – and I couldn’t be happier.

GAURAV GUPTA

Director

Gaurav has a passion for translating strategy into successful implementation and for developing learning-focused teams. Gaurav has worked with clients in industries as diverse as food and beverage, oil and energy, healthcare, chemicals, and finance. Gaurav draws on his extensive global (having worked in over 10 countries) and diverse functional experience in collaborating with business leaders to develop and implement effective transformation efforts. Prior to joining Kotter, Gaurav lead the operations for the European office of Stroud International, a management and operations consulting firm. Gaurav combines his passion for international development and education in serving as an executive board member for a non-profit, Medic to Medic, that sponsors medical students in Uganda and Malawi. Gaurav holds a Bachelor of Arts in Physics from Middlebury College and a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering from Cornell University.

Gaurav splits his time between Washington, DC and Delhi, India.

BRITTAINY HALL

Senior Consultant

Brittainy has achieved success serving as a trusted advisor within Kotter’s consulting practice. She earned her Master of Arts degree in Organizational Development with a focus on Leadership Development from Trevecca Nazarene University. She is skilled in program management and assisting organizations in developing and scaling their strategic goals within various industries. She has experience in driving behavioral change adoption and sustainability to help transform organizations. Brittainy’s focus areas are managing stakeholder relationships, accelerating organizational change through people development, and business process design and optimization. Brittainy provides creative and innovative ideas that position leaders to successfully reinvent and reimagine their strategic operations.

Brittainy lives in Nashville, TN where she continues to serve her community by volunteering at various local non-profits.

Why did you decide to work at Kotter?

Simply put – because of one of our principles, Head + Heart. I have worked in the non-profit sector, specifically in Youth Development, for most of my career. In this space, I used a lot of my “heart” to drive the work that I was doing on a day-to-day basis. However, I recognized that in order to truly have impact and success you also have to utilize the “head” as well. There has to be a balance of both and I believe Kotter embodies that to the fullest.

What is your personal motto?

Si vis amari, Ama which is Latin for, If you want to be loved, love.

What’s got you thinking right now?

The Career Thrivers Podcast, specifically the episode entitled Strengths Based Leadership & Living, has me thinking about how true leaders birth more leaders. Leadership is a relationship and if that concept is lost along the way then it will never work.

Share something about you that would most surprise people.

I have been a professional makeup artist for almost 11 years and have worked with some pretty cool people over years.

ADAM KATZ

L&D Marketing Manager

Adam is a results-driven marketer with experience across several verticals, including politics, branding, entertainment and technology. Prior to joining Kotter, Adam served as Chief Operating Officer and Executive Producer of a boutique advertising agency in Los Angeles. He brings deep expertise in B2B and B2C product marketing and campaign management. He is thrilled to join the team at Kotter!

What’s got you thinking right now?

Given our turbulent sociocultural environment these days, leadership we can believe in is more paramount than ever before. As we strive to keep up with exponential change, we can seek out opportunities to create a positive and meaningful impact on the world around us.

Share something about you that would most surprise people.

On my honeymoon, my wife and I swam with manta rays, walked into a volcano, and drove down the steepest road in the country.

What motivated you to pursue consulting / marketing / accounting / your chosen profession?

Marketing is all about storytelling and communication. As an avid storyteller, I’ve always loved reading, film, and good conversation. These days, listening and learning are such an important part of interacting with those around us.

What are your superpowers?

Thinking outside of the box, building capable teams, innovative storytelling, and positivity!

What is or would be your personal motto?

A chef friend recently shared a wonderful motto he lives by, “love all, serve all.” I’ve found it to be a very meaningful personal philosophy.

MARIA LEISTER

Associate Director, BD Leadership Development

Maria brings many years of experience in designing and leading in-person and distance-based initiatives that help organizations integrate interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches to solving complex issues. Maria is the Associate Director, BD Leadership Development at Kotter, translating Kotter research into powerful learning experiences and sustaining transformation with each client by leveraging leadership development content. As a faculty member at Harvard Medical School’s multidisciplinary Global Mental Health program, Maria teaches Human Rights at the intersection of the right to health, policy, and justice to leaders from government, international, non-profit, and humanitarian organizations.

Prior to joining Kotter, Maria was the director of a legal clinical program at Harvard Law School. At Harvard, she was instrumental in the design and implementation of leadership and coaching programs, mentoring initiatives, and fellowships. She has consulted with organizations like the International Rescue Committee, Girls Inc., and several international and national government organizations. Specifically, she has designed and facilitated leadership programs for UNICEF, which continue to be used by UNICEF for staff in disaster and emergency settings. Formerly a Harvard University Fellow, Maria holds a BA in Philosophy from Elizabethtown College and a Juris Doctorate degree from IU Bloomington.

Maria is based out of Kotter’s office in Cambridge, MA.

What motivated you to pursue leadership development in your chosen profession?

My students at Harvard Law School motivated me to pursue leadership development. I noticed the death of leadership skill-building at law schools. While law schools did a fabulous job of training would-be lawyers, there was a lack of leadership skill-building. While doing research on leadership, I noticed that so many professionals lacked the leadership skills needed to lead people and organizations. My desire to help others build their leadership grew, which is why I decided to dedicate myself to developing leaders.

Flashback to when you were 10 years old. What do you want to be when you grow up?

I wanted to be a scientist or a lawyer. I actually became that lawyer that I had dreamed about when I was 10 years old! I’m still working on figuring out how I’m going to become that scientist someday.

What are your superpowers?

I can make a pretty decent loaf of sourdough bread!

What’s got you thinking right now?

I think a lot about how adverse life experiences have the capacity to create opportunities for transformative change in the lives of individuals and within organizations. Specifically, I have been reading about the internal and external forces that move us to act in ways that serve our growth or seek to destroy us. The resilience and post-traumatic growth in individuals who have experienced traumatic events inspire me because it shows that potential exists for incredible transformation.

Share something about you that would most surprise people.

My native language is Korean, which is something that surprises most people I know. Although I have lost most of my Korean language skills, I am currently relearning it with the goal of being able to speak Korean fluently again within the next couple of years.

IRA MARTIN

Affiliate

For over a decade, Ira has helped global clients develop their organizational culture and drive the development of their leadership talent as they strive for excellence. As an Affiliate for Kotter, Ira supports Kotter’s most complex engagements, partnering with clients in their transformation efforts. Ira has experience working across a broad spectrum of corporate, military, health, academic, and athletic environments. In conjunction with his consulting experiences, Ira has spent time in the classroom at institutions such as Boston University, The United States Coast Guard Academy, and Connecticut College teaching business and psychology courses.

Ira holds a master’s and a doctoral degree from Boston University in Performance Psychology and Human Development and is a Certified Professional Coach through the Institute for Professional Excellence Coaching. Ira has a passion for building strong relationships with individuals and creating an environment that promotes reflective dialogue and active learning to empower movement and growth.

Ira is based out of the Cambridge, MA office.

EMILY NEMECEK

Consultant

As a Consultant at Kotter, Emily actively engages with clients in a wide array of industries, helping to foster a productive environment for strategizing and enacting change. Prior to joining Kotter, Emily interned at JumpStart Inc., an economic development and venture capital nonprofit, and served as a graduate assistant at the Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit. She has also worked and interned at prominent cultural institutions such as the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and the Museum of the City of New York. Emily is a double alumna of Case Western Reserve University, with both a Masters in Nonprofit Organizations and a Bachelors of Arts in Economics with minors in Art History and History.

Emily is based out of Westchester County, New York.

What’s got you thinking right now?

After reading Priya Parker’s The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters this summer, I find myself thinking more and more about the intention behind in-person gatherings as they slowly start to return. What do we want to get out of attending a work meeting, concert, or other event in person? What don’t we miss about these gatherings, and how can we mitigate unnecessary components of pre-Covid gatherings?

What is your proudest moment?

During my third year of undergraduate studies, I participated in the year-long General Course program at the London School of Economics where I served as President of my study-abroad class of 300+ students. After a successful year of advocating on behalf of the General Course students and fostering a tight-knit community through smaller events, my term of office culminated with hosting a gala to celebrate our successful completion of the year. While this was my proudest singular moment as President, I remain close with my study-abroad friends and look forward to meeting up in-person soon!

What motivated you to pursue consulting?

My desire to create impact has always gone beyond serving a single organization. Throughout my academic career and early work experiences, I was constantly volunteering or working with several organizations at a time to expose myself to different experiences. I was motivated to pursue consulting as a career after working with organizations in a consultant-like role while completing my Masters in Nonprofit Organizations. My favorite project was with EDWINS Leadership and Restaurant Institute, a Cleveland-based social enterprise dedicated to supporting the successful reintegration of formerly-incarcerated adults, where I helped scale the organization’s positive impact through the launch of a culinary incubator space.

Share something about you that would most surprise people.

While at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, I would assist in giving tours to Grammy-award-winning musicians and Rock Hall inductees. I know an infinite amount of rock music fun facts and continue to gather more through reading musician autobiographies.

Flashback to when you were 10 years old. What do you want to be when you grow up?

I wanted to be a fashion designer! While this is no longer my calling, style and aesthetics remain important in how I present myself and my work.

JOE OTTINGER

Affiliate

Joe Ottinger has over 25 years of operating leadership and management consulting experience having worked with highly successful global 1000 and rapidly scaling middle-market companies.  The focus throughout his career has been on scaling companies with a focus on strategic growth, improved operational execution, leading change, and up-skilling leadership to address the demands of growth.  Joe was one of the co-founders of Kotter International.  Subsequently, Joe started his own management consulting and training firm focused on scaling middle-market companies.  Joe is an author and thought leader in the areas of business value creation, strategy execution, innovation, and leadership.  He is a graduate of Harvard Business School and Cornell University.  Joe lives in Seattle with his wife and has three grown children.

LAURIN PARTHEMOS

Principal

With a background working across the Finance industry, from Commercial to Investment, Laurin has advised CEO and Senior Leaders on the acquisition process, operational excellence, lending, and financial performance. Blending her financial background with her education in Marketing, Laurin brings a unique perspective to her consulting clients – focusing not just on the end result, but how to achieve lasting success. Never accused of being the shy one in the room, Laurin is excited to bring her entire self to her work here at Kotter. With a history of leadership and planning, she applies Kotter’s 8 Principles to every aspect of her personal life as well.

Laurin is based out of New York.

Why did you decide to work at Kotter?

Coming from an analytical background, I have seen far too often the focus on “did we hit our milestone” versus “did we achieve our goals”. With investors and senior management teams focused on achieving prescribed metrics and deadlines, the ability to achieve sustainable results often falls by the wayside.

I was drawn to Kotter by their unique methodology behind Change and their holistic approach in helping clients in achieving lasting results. Kotter champions Change by focusing on an often overlooked but crucial factor: People.  Short-term fails but long-term focus works

What is your proudest moment?

My proudest moment is always raising needed capital for charities within my community, such as the Ronald McDonald House, through the New York Junior League. I spent 4 years helping to organize an 800+ black-tie gala to bring needed resources to underprivileged women and children in NYC.

Flashback to when you were 10 years old. What do you want to be when you grow up?

Astronaut! I have always been fascinated by the unknown.

What’s got you thinking right now?

Technological advances and how they are shaping our society. Specifically, the intersection of technology and biology. Nanorobots, 3D Bioprinting, and beyond – what are the improvements they can make on the human experience, and at what cost?

Share something about you that would most surprise people.

Growing up, I spent most of my time playing in a boatyard. I learned how to sail as a child and began racing when I was 7 years old. I eventually became a coach during my college career, which is an unbeatable summer job.

KATY PAUL-CHOWDHURY

Affiliate

As a Kotter team member, Katy combines strong creative skills with 20 years of change consulting, writing, research, and teaching experience, to help organizations drive effective change, tell their most important stories, and engage stakeholders through results-focused projects, impactful events, and internal/external communications.

Katy has worked closely with leaders and teams, helping clients drive change in a range of different situations, including rapid-cycle performance improvement, strategic transformation, acquisition integration, and leadership development. Her experience spans a variety of change methodologies, and industries including healthcare, financial services, manufacturing, and cultural/not-for-profit.

She is the founder of a company focused on professional business writing, helping organizations to develop strategies, communications plans, and documents in support of sales, marketing, and major change initiatives. Katy also spent 6 years teaching in the MBA program of a leading Canadian business school, specializing in major consulting- and research-related project courses.

She holds a BComm from Queen’s University and a PhD in Strategic Management from the University of Western Ontario.

NICK PETSCHEK

Director

As a Director at Kotter, Nick draws on his wide skill set to help organizations formulate and achieve their strategy and culture goals. Nick aids clients in surfacing the delta between organizational aspirations and reality, closing that gap together.

His career journey has been one of constant curiosity and learning. From the awe-inspiring circus to the nimble world of unicorn startups, to the process-oriented United Nations, he has tackled challenges related to telling a compelling story and envisioning a new future, scaling, sustainability, and culture transformation. His clients have ranged in size and industry, with a focus on technology and government.

Nick holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He also holds a dual Master of Arts degree in International Affairs from The Fletcher School and Urban Planning, both from Tufts University.

Why did you decide to work at Kotter?

Having spent time inside organizations and in consulting, I knew I wanted a place that joined the wisdom of decades of research, passionate people, and a propensity for action and innovation. I found that (and more!) at Kotter.

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

Working at a meditation center, running an expedition in the Amazon, or hosting a YouTube cooking show.

Who is your favorite leader/leadership expert?

I really enjoy the nexus of traditional business and leadership research and the new opportunities provided by big data and scientific methods. We need both. In that vein, right now I’m appreciating the work of Adam Grant and Philip Tetlock.

What’s got you thinking right now?

I’m very influenced by ideas from the “future of work”, design thinking and positive psychology. Specific books that had a recent impact on me are Superforcasting and Reinventing Organizations.

Share something about you that would most surprise people.

I worked in a circus. Seriously.

YULIA PITERKINA

Administrative Associate

Yulia was born in Moscow (Russia),  spent most of her childhood in Mumbai (India), and currently resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She is fluent in Russian and English and can converse in French. Yulia has a masters degree in Economics and diverse experience working in different spheres including IT, consulting, and interior design. In her free time, Yulia enjoys hiking, traveling, and exploring new places, and always appreciates a good detective story. She is the proud mother of 3 amazing gentlemen and the happy owner of a small Cairn Terrier named Ozzy.

What’s got you thinking right now?

Right now I am passionately exploring the world of sailing, learning the tricks of operating a sailboat, and charting my next adventure.

Share something about you that would most surprise people.

Most people are surprised to find out that I never knew how to ride a bicycle until few years back.

What is or would be your personal motto?

He, who does not knock, cannot enter. He, who does not try, does not succeed.

RUSSELL RAATH

Affiliate

Russell is an Affiliate with Kotter. He is also the lead consultant on some of KI’s major client engagements. Russell has over 22 years of experience working with the teams and leaders of some of the world’s most recognized and reputable companies. Educated in South Africa and having lived around the world, Russell is passionate about helping to reshape how complex organizations deliver exceptional results with individuals who thrive in their work.

Russell is based out of New York, NY.

HOLGER RATHGEBER

Affiliate

Holger is perhaps most widely known as the co-author of the best-selling book, Our Iceberg is Melting, and subsequent fable, That’s Not How We Do It Here!. Holger has over 15 years of experience as a facilitator working with organizations to help them implement their strategies. He has designed and delivered many leadership team interventions to drive effective strategy development, alignment, and execution in some of the most challenging business scenarios including acquisitions, radical shifts in the go-to-market model and strategy, and turnaround transformations. Holger holds a degree in Economics from the University of Stuttgart-Hohenheim.

He is based out of Wiesbaden, Germany.

RACHEL ROSENFELDT

Director, Strategy and Operations

Rachel has worked with Dr. John Kotter since before Kotter was founded. Kotter’s work delivers business-changing – and often life-changing – impact across industries and across the world, which is what she finds most inspiring. In her current role, Rachel lives the mission and vision of the company by building strategic, meaningful client partnerships and bringing the Kotter brand to market. Rachel has always believed, and will always believe that together, so much more is possible.

Rachel is based out of the Cambridge, MA office.

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

I could name a million things I would love to do: be a programmer, an architect, an interior designer. But what I would probably actually be doing is volunteering more time at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The Museum is my home away from home, and if I weren’t working at Kotter, I would be spending as much time there as possible.

What challenges do you most enjoy helping your clients solve?

One of the most fun elements of my job is putting together very complex puzzles. In every situation, there are any number of moving parts that must be considered and carefully evaluated or negotiated. But, at the end of the day, human nature is always at the core, and it’s the challenge of getting to the heart of why something is happening that is so gratifying to solve. Because, if you can get at the why, the solution is so much more lasting.

What in your background helps you in this job?

My previous life as an owner of a luxury wedding planning firm honed my abilities to remain calm under pressure and see each challenge as an opportunity for a creative solution. Not only was I steeped in the day-to-day aspects of running a business – from marketing to contract negotiation to budgets and accounting – I was also at the epicenter of one of the most spotlighted moments in a family’s life. Someone once told me, “Nobody’s dead. Nobody’s dying.” I used that phrase in the most tense of wedding situations (heart attack mid-ceremony, fire in the reception, city-wide blackout anyone?) and continue to keep it as my mantra today. It keeps me grounded, and reminds me that, more often than not, things could be worse and there is most likely a reasonable solution to any problem.

What’s got you thinking right now?

As a Journalism major in college, I have a fondness for good writing and reporting. Over the past year, I have re-fallen in love with the writing and voice of Dan Rather, and currently, read his posts daily.

Share something about you that would most surprise people.

I have a penchant for reading manuals, and I love to master anything technology or computer related. When I was three, my father bought his first Apple computer. My father took me to the computer show in Boston, where he picked up his Macintosh. He brought it home, unboxed it, and tried to figure out how to turn the thing on. I walked around the back and flipped the power button, to which he asked, “How did you know how to do that?” I replied, “Elmo taught me!” And, thus began my love of technology.

JON RYLEY

Affiliate

Jon is a business leader with international experience and proven strengths in leading change, business development, marketing and customer success. He thrives in leading and developing customer-facing teams, that create a customer first culture.

Over the last 20 years he as been actively involved in transformation programs at DeLaRue (Financial Services and Banking), QinetiQ (Defence and Security), SSE (Energy), NCC Group (Cyber Risk and Assurance) and Balfour Beatty (Construction, Rail, Gas, Water and Power).

He is an active Marketer, Mountain Leader and Martial Artist and loves watching the odd game of football (soccer). Since 1997 he as been taking his customers, friends and colleagues walking in the mountains of the UK under the guise of the Trail Walking Club and as raised over £20k for Mountain Rescue.

Jon holds an MSc in Project Management from Manchester Metropolitan Business School.

CÉLINE SCHILLINGER

Affiliate

A pioneering voice in Engagement Leadership, Céline has been recognized multiple times for her large-scale innovative engagement initiatives in the corporate world. Prior to her 17 years’ experience in the pharma industry across Business Operations, Marketing, and Industrial Quality, Céline worked with communications, defense, and trading companies. Hanoi, Vietnam, Beijing, China, and Boston, USA were all once called home for her. Céline now works from France and brings her insider experience of the Kotter approach: Céline has driven a transformation movement impacting a change population of 10,000 people across Industrial Operations and Quality functions worldwide. Céline is passionate about new leadership strategies that mobilize internal or external stakeholders, enable corporate transformation, and boost business value. A TEDx speaker, Céline was awarded the Medal of the National Order of Merit by the French government in 2017 for her efforts for diversity in the workplace.

Céline is based in France.

DEB SEIDMAN

Principal

Deb Seidman has over 25 years’ experience working to enhance the effectiveness of leaders and their organizations, enabling them to execute their business strategy. She has worked with clients across a range of industries including financial services, pharmaceuticals, technology, government, and non-profit. Throughout her career, both in corporate operating roles and as an external consultant and coach, she has partnered with clients to gain insight into business challenges and opportunities, foster collaboration within and between teams, and facilitate organizational transformation. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University and a Master of Arts degree in Politics from New York University. She is an IAF Certified Professional Facilitator. Deb lives in New York City where she can be found at her printmaking workshop creating lithographs and woodcut prints.

JENNETTE SEWARD

Director of Marketing

Jennette is a senior marketing leader with an extensive track record driving demand generation and brand awareness for a diverse mix of industry-leading B2B organizations including Point B, The Walt Disney Company, Avanade, and Intermec. She’s passionate about the development and distribution of insightful, data-driven, and customer-focused content and specializes in building comprehensive marketing strategies that meet critical customer needs.

What’s got you thinking right now?

It’s a bit old fashioned, but I still read the local newspaper every morning. When I have time, I’ll read it cover to cover. Most days, I skim for three or four articles that catch my eye and read through those. It gives me the chance to take a beat and think about how my community and the world at large is influenced by change. Which is not only relevant to the work I do at Kotter, but also inspires me to carefully consider how storytelling can help drive change through challenging times.

Why did you decide to work at Kotter?

The people and the common purpose and vision.

What motivated you to pursue marketing?

Once I understood how storytelling can help connect customer needs with an organization’s purpose, I was hooked.

What is your proudest moment?

Helping to tell meaningful stories for honorable organizations.

Share something about you that would most surprise people.

My mother owned a restaurant when I was growing up, which means I can do any job in a restaurant with a fair amount of proficiency. In fact, I’m still able to carry 4-5 plates on my arm at one time. It’s a great party trick.

EVAN SMITH

Affiliate

Evan Smith has helped organizations and leaders to deliver measurable results through successful change and business growth for more than 20 years. Earlier in his career, Evan led the Quality function for a global mid-cap chemical company. He worked within the corporate Performance Management function for a U. S. regional bank during a time of restructuring, as well as a business redesign to position units to better engage and service customers within the bank’s investment services arm. Evan started his career with GE in its aerospace business, working within Information Technology.

His consulting clients have included major pharmaceutical, medical devices, financial services, chemical, automotive, technology, energy, and professional services companies, among others. He’s currently engaged with leaders to help set and execute strategy, identify and work with critical new assumptions, and test business models.

Evan earned his Masters in Public and Private Management from the Yale School of Organization and Management. He also holds Bachelor’s Degrees in Industrial & Management Systems Engineering, and in Liberal Arts, from Pennsylvania State University.

SHAUN SPEARMON

Director

Shaun helps clients successfully transform their organizations and accelerate the implementation of their most strategic objectives. For more than 15 years he has led strategic planning, process improvement and change management initiatives with clients across industries, including technology, aerospace, pharmaceuticals, retail and financial services. Most recently he developed and led the change management and communication strategy for Global Store Development at Starbucks.

Shaun is a firm believer in the power of servant leadership and its ability to create excellence in individuals and produce extraordinary results for organizations. He earned his MBA from the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business where he pursued dual concentrations in Strategy and Organizational Development and holds a BA in Business Administration from Morehouse College.

Shaun is based out of Seattle, WA.

Why did you decide to work at Kotter?

I’ve always been fascinated by change, not because I love it but because it is constant. It’s perhaps one of the most predictable things in every facet of life, and yet so many individuals and organizations struggle with. Consequently, they fall short of their potential. My desire to maximize potential and elevate excellence led me to Kotter.

What is your proudest moment?

My oldest daughter was born a few weeks before my MBA graduation. When I walked across the stage to receive my degree, my daughter was in my arms and I hoisted her high above my head as I approached the center of the stage. For me, this was acknowledging that the title of “father” that she blessed me with far exceeded the credentials I just earned.

What is or would be your personal motto?

“DO, or DO NOT. There is no try” –Yoda

What’s got you thinking right now?

The COVID-19 pandemic has both accelerated and created new industry disruptions that will inevitably create opportunities. I am concerned about the related wealth disparities and learning gaps that have been created and how the private and public sectors will partner to address the challenges on the horizon.

Share something about you that would most surprise people.

My first real job when I was 16 was selling cameras at a local camera store – I’ve been infatuated with photography since and even co-authored a black and white coffee table book when I was in high-school.

GAËTAN THOMAS

Gaëtan served as President & CEO of NB Power for ten years and was appointed President & CEO of the Conseil économique du Nouveau-Brunswick (CÉNB) shortly after. He is a committed industry leader and agent of change, driven by his deep connection to customer and employee grassroots. In addition to his advisory role at Kotter, he is also a strategic advisor for the legal firm McCarthy-Tétraultand and a member of the Net Zero Advisory Body, reporting to the federal Minister of Environment.

Gaëtan earned a degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of New Brunswick. He was later awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science Degree from the same University. Atlantic Business Magazine Hall of Fame has honored Gaetan as a five-time Atlantic Region Top 50 CEO. He was the Chairman of the Board of the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO – Atlanta Region), is currently the vice-chairman for the Atlantic Cancer Research Institute board, and is a board member of Picomole and EKKO.Acadie.

NAOMI TITLEMAN COLLA

Affiliate

As an affiliate of Kotter International, Naomi Titleman Colla helps clients accelerate business transformation, focusing on culture. She is the Founder of Collaborativity Inc., a Toronto-based consultancy focused on driving progressive talent strategy in this new world of work. She has proven success leading teams and collaborating with senior executives and Boards of Directors to develop and implement creative strategies to maximize employee engagement and ultimately drive business impact.

Naomi is also a monthly contributor to the Globe and Mail’s Report on Business section and co-founder of future foHRward (futurefoHRward.com), whose mission is to engage Human Resources (HR) Leaders in driving the “future of work” agenda.
From 2010-2016, Naomi held multiple HR roles at American Express. Most recently (2014-2016), as VP and Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) of Amex Canada, Naomi was responsible for all aspects of the end-to-end employee experience for the Canadian business.

Prior to American Express, Naomi spent 10 years consulting with Financial Services Institutions, as a member of Deloitte’s Enterprise Risk Services and Human Capital practices, in New York. Naomi holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and a bachelor of commerce degree from McGill University. She is the winner of the 2016 HR Leader of the Year award (Canadian HR Awards), and the 2016 HR Professional of the Year award (National HR Awards) and was named one of HR Reporter’s 2016 Top 25 HR Professionals of the Year.

TIÊN TRAN

Manager, Operations

Tiên is the Manager Operations in Kotter’s Seattle office where she is responsible for day-to-day operations, supporting the finance team and event planning. She is currently a member of Kotter’s own Guiding Coalition, a diverse team working directly with senior leadership to drive change within the firm. Tiên has over a decade of experience in office administration, management, and operations, graduating from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and a minor in International Studies.

Tiên is based out of the Seattle, WA office.

Why did you decide to work at Kotter?

There are so many reasons why I decided to work at Kotter, but the main reasons were the passionate people, the culture that supports learning and development, and Kotter’s mission to help others. I am so incredibly grateful to be working with an amazing team and for a company truly dedicated to making this world a better place.

What is your proudest moment?

It had always been a goal of mine to take a year off to travel the world, but I either put it off or had been too scared to actually do it. In 2014 I quit my job and embarked on a year of travel, visiting 24 countries and over 65 cities throughout Europe and Asia. It was an unforgettable year of reconnecting with friends abroad, meeting new people from various cultural backgrounds, and creating memories I’ll never forget.

What in your background helps you in this job?

Having over ten years of experience in office management, accounting and finance has served me in my current role. My technical skills have also come in handy, alongside my willingness to jump in wherever a need arises.

What’s got you thinking right now?

There are so many dramatic shifts unfolding around the world right now. I find myself thinking about and grappling with the uncertainty of what’s ahead, asking the question: how can I make a positive impact?

Share something about you that would most surprise people.

I’ve completed two full marathons, eleven half marathons, two sprint triathlons, four 10K races, two Ragnar Northwest Passage races – a 200-mile team run – and, most recently, a Sprint Spartan race, which has inspired me to continue to challenge myself physically and sign up for a Super Spartan race in April 2017.

KEVIN WAITS

Affiliate

Kevin Waits is an experienced HR/OD Development professional with 30 years of experience in the HR field. After several decades spent working in various corporate environments, Kevin chose to focus his talents and energy on the work that he most loves – helping leaders and their teams become more effective. To support this work, Kevin became certified The Birkman Method, The Hogan Suite, Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI), Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, and DISC. His educational background includes a Master of Science from Georgia State University in Industrial Relations, and a Bachelor of Science in Management Science from Georgia Tech with a minor in I/O Psychology. Kevin is also a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) by the Human Resources Certification Institute and a Certified Managerial Coach by the Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State University.

Kevin is based out of Atlanta, GA.

TOM WRAIGHT

Senior Consultant

As a Senior Consultant at Kotter, Tom leads and supports our clients along their transformation journey to achieve and sustain their desired results. Tom draws on his background in leadership development, communications, risk management, and non-profit capital fundraising. In his work at Kotter, he helps clients understand the diverse ways that the impacts of change reverberate throughout organizations and how engagement and communication lead to accelerated results. Tom seeks to empower people at all levels of organizations and believes that creating opportunities for individual leadership is a key component in strengthening groups that strive for change.

Tom is based out of the Cambridge, MA office.

Why did you decide to work at Kotter?

I was first introduced to John Kotter’s work by a close friend and was quickly impressed by the approachable way he presents solutions to complex challenges. I continue to be inspired every day by my colleagues, who are fueled by compassion and a desire to learn and grow while helping others do the same.

What is your proudest moment?

Completing my college degree. I took a break from my undergraduate studies to pursue a music career, and when I returned to school I was working a full-time job while coaching two youth swim teams. It was not easy, but the experience helped frame my lifelong love of learning and education in a whole new light.

Flashback to when you were 10 years old. What do you want to be when you grow up?

When I was 10, I still wanted to be a professional baseball player. At the time, I wanted to be the next Nomar Garciaparra, the Red Sox shortstop. Right around that time, though, I discovered my love of music and started to dream of becoming a musician or music teacher.

What’s got you thinking right now?

I’m always eager to appreciate new perspectives. I love learning about how others experience the world. Recently, I read Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me. It was moving and powerful, to say the least.

Share something about you that would most surprise people.

I’m a musician – guitar, banjo, and vocals mostly. I once tried my hand at a full-time music career. We were an old-timey string band that played around the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts.

Leadership is about setting a direction. It's about creating a vision, empowering and inspiring people to want to achieve the vision. And enabling them to do so with energy and speed through an effective strategy. In it's most basic sense, leadership is about mobilizing a group of people to jump into a better future.

John KotterChairman

Careers With Kotter

If you share our vision of millions leading, billions benefiting, we’d love to hear from you! Read more about the type of roles we hire for in the section below.

Ready to apply? See current career opportunities and apply here.

Managing Director Roles With Kotter

About the Role

The role of a Managing Director at Kotter is equal parts business development, thought leadership, innovation expert, and engagement architect.  We work at critical inflection points for organizations and must be able to create a space for executive leadership to identify and articulate their need and develop a unique solution.

We lead engagement teams to deliver a best-in-class service to our clients.  Both internally and externally we help to identify and remove barriers, develop capacity within individuals and teams, and support and grow ideas from all levels.

Each Managing Director has different skills and strengths that they contribute to our organization and we value and celebrate each person’s uniqueness.  It is what makes us strong.  But in general, to be successful in the Managing Director role we strive to demonstrate:

  • Strong business acumen with an understanding of the market landscape of our clients; a Managing Director must be knowledgeable of current change trends in our client’s and potential clients’ industries.
  • An ability to sell solutions addressing complex client change challenges – we are selling a promise to a client that we can help them solve complex problems at speed and scale
  • A facilitation mastery with an ability to read a room, a client, a moment and know how best to be present in order to advance the client’s strategic goals
  • Deep practice and understanding of the change and leadership landscape. To serve as a catalyst for innovation a Managing Director must have a strong foundation in the global landscapes of change and leadership.
  • An ability to build relationships with authenticity and expertise such that one becomes a trusted advisor to the most senior levels of an organization

Advice to Potential Candidates:

  • It is important that you enjoy bringing the best out of others; a Managing Director must be a coach, sounding board, facilitator, or whatever role necessary to best capitalize on and unleash the potential of the team.
  • The ability to tolerate ambiguity in your work is a key to happiness in this role. Each client and engagement team is different.  There is no script.
  • A Managing Director must have an entrepreneurial spirit to thrive at Kotter – Kotter is an authentic culture supported by soul and grit – so Managing Directors must be keen to jump in and help out at all levels
  • Core consulting skills are a must; a Managing Director needs to be able to envision the possibilities of engagements and guide long-term planning
  • We are a mission-driven firm guided by our desire to have a positive impact on the world by helping people and organizations through complex change problems
  • While we enjoy a great deal of freedom and flexibility, our clients’ needs determine the amount of travel required

*To ALL recruitment agencies: Kotter only accepts agencies on our Approved Agency List. Please do not forward resumes to Kotter employees or send them to any Kotter location. Kotter is not responsible for any fees related to unsolicited resumes.

Kotter is committed to creating a diverse environment and is proud to be an equal-opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, veteran status physical or mental disability, marital status, or any other status protected by Federal, State, or local laws.

Please, no phone calls about this job posting. View our job board for all current openings.

Principal Roles With Kotter

About the Role

The role of a Principal at Kotter is the center of activity for both the client and our internal teams.

Every organization has unique challenges and we work and think both strategically and tactically with our clients to create custom solutions. Together with our client and other members of our team, we co-create the solution that will deliver the best results.

The Ideal Candidate:

  • Smart and passionate about the leadership and change landscape
  • A voracious appetite for learning with a strong foundation in change, especially Dr. Kotter’s work
  • A storyteller with the ability to engage at every level
  • A brilliant facilitator combined with strong business development capabilities
  • An inspiring leader and a good teammate
  • Strong understanding and experience leading engagements in multiple companies or industries
  • A coach and a mentor
  • The ability to manage the business operations of a project, while maintaining overall team success and workflow
  • Excellent proposal writer, with strong communication skills
  • High general business acumen for what drives success for our clients as well as how change impacts that success
  • A natural ability to build relationships, using both courage and candor in a manner that fosters credibility, trust, and opportunity with clients and colleagues
  • A collaborator, team player, and leader with excellent communication skills and a passion for all that you do
  • Demonstrated role as advisor to C-Suite

Required Skills + Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree with impressive academic record, with an advanced degree or MBA, preferred (Business, Finance or related field)
  • 7-15 years of experience / proven track record in an external consulting or business role delivering engagements. Experience with multiple companies/clients is preferred. Experience working at a top consulting firm is a strong plus.
  • Has owned a client engagement or a significant portion of a large engagement
  • Strong client management and/or senior advisory experience
  • Experience in Energy, Healthcare, Non-profit, or Education
  • Excellent written and presentation skills
  • Travel is required for this position.  The amount is based on project requirements.

*To ALL recruitment agencies: Kotter only accepts agencies on our Approved Agency List. Please do not forward resumes to Kotter employees or send them to any Kotter location. Kotter is not responsible for any fees related to unsolicited resumes.

Kotter is committed to creating a diverse environment and is proud to be an equal-opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, veteran status physical or mental disability, marital status, or any other status protected by Federal, State, or local laws.

Please, no phone calls about this job posting. View our job board for all current openings.

Consultant Roles With Kotter

About the Role

Every organization faces the challenge of accelerating change. At Kotter, we help turn it into an opportunity.

Kotter pioneered the science of change through decades of Harvard research and real-world experience. We get to the heart of business problems quickly and enable new levels of performance, leadership, and teamwork. Through our work, fundamentally new ways of working emerge, clearing a path to a shift in mindsets and behaviors.

You will provide primarly administrative support to the engagement team working on client engagements.  In doing so, you will get to see how we work with our clients in diverse industries around the world to achieve amazing results. You will work with and be mentored by a team of talented professionals. You will have the opportunity to learn and live how we work with each other and with our clients to impact people and business results.

The Ideal Candidate:

We are looking for a motivated, talented, versatile, candidate who seeks a challenging and rewarding opportunity to impact the trajectory of their career with a dynamic company that makes a difference.

We consider this an entry-level role at Kotter within our consulting engagements.  We are not looking for a specific degree or background focus. We do require stellar academic performance as evidence of your commitment to learning and your ability to achieve excellent results.  We believe your success is more dependent on your ability and desire to be a leader, contribute positively, advocate for your ideas, be part of a team, work hard, and make a difference.

The ideal candidate will have a bias for action with a track record of meeting and exceeding expectations.  They will possess strong organizational and communication skills with a proactive mindset geared toward providing solutions.  Curiosity and a hunger for learning is necessary, along with an ability to build and maintain strong relationships. Comfort with ambiguity and adept at influencing and leading others.

Primary Duties + Responsibilities:

  • Support the Kotter engagement team with the administration of activities and project management on an engagement.  Types of support provided will include but are not limited to, analytics, document preparation, digital filing/recording, scheduling, and other administrative/engagement support needs.
  • Conduct relevant research on clients and potential clients and their industries
  • Participate in meetings and research discussions; document progress and findings
  • Assist the Kotter team with preparation for, and support during, workshops, education sessions, business development, and meetings (internal and with clients)
  • Prepare client-ready materials for meetings, workshops, etc

Required Skills + Qualifications:

  • Superior research, analytical, and problem-solving skills
  • Demonstrated capabilities in teamwork and leadership
  • Ability to learn, apply, and communicate business-related concepts and ideas
  • Effective listening skills and attention-to-detail
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Demonstrated time management skills: proactive thinking and planning
  • Technology skills – Proficient in the use of Microsoft Office Suite, Google Docs, online research, etc. on various platforms and devices as well as interest in new technologies and ways to communicate
  • Willingness to travel
  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university required
  • 3.4 or higher cumulative GPA and/or Master’s degree preferred

*To ALL recruitment agencies: Kotter only accepts agencies on our Approved Agency List. Please do not forward resumes to Kotter employees or send them to any Kotter location. Kotter is not responsible for any fees related to unsolicited resumes.

Kotter is committed to creating a diverse environment and is proud to be an equal-opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, veteran status physical or mental disability, marital status, or any other status protected by Federal, State, or local laws.

Please, no phone calls about this job posting. View our job board for all current openings.

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