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Meet the team

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Michelle

CEO.

Breakthrough Coach. Org Culture Geek.

Secret weapon:


Michelle gets at the heart of complex leadership challenges, surfacing unspoken conversations in ways that bring healing and possibility.




Specializations:


Executive leadership. Leadership teams. Human centered change management. Organizational culture. Facilitation.




Her story:


Michelle founded Leading Elephants to provide a proof point that achieving great impact and caring for the humans involved don’t have to be exclusive. As CEO, she champions the head, heart, and backbone method across our practices and directs the organization toward its human centered mission. Prior to forming Leading Elephants in 2010, Michelle served as Senior Leadership Director for The Broad Residency, a fellowship program designed to place, train and develop talented leaders in urban education. In this role, she designed the Residency’s comprehensive leadership curriculum, led a team of transformational leadership coaches and managed communities of practice to support residents in maximizing their impact and development. Michelle began her career at PwC where she was one of only two women partners in the Firm’s US Mergers and Acquisitions practice.




When not at work:


Michelle lives with her husband and twin boys in Charlottesville, Virginia. She is obsessed with farflung global adventures and thrives on the adrenaline rush of a good skydive or powder day on the slopes.





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AmbeR

Managing Director.  Strategic Leader.  Jane of All Trades.

Secret weapon:


Amber turns messy, ethereal ideas into concrete, achievable realities.




Specializations:


Heart-centered, systems level leadership. Strategic planning. Complex organizational change. Operationalizing and impact monitoring.




Her story:


As Managing Director at Leading Elephants, Amber helps to extract the magic in human-centered leadership and create products that meet the array of organizational needs. Prior to working at Leading Elephants, Amber served as a leader in several capacities at Achievement First. In her early years at the charter management organization, she led a team of data strategists and supported many cross-cutting initiatives. Later, Amber served as a chief of staff in the COO Office. Amber has also served as a coach, strategy consultant, and interim Chief of Staff with charter networks across the US. Amber’s early career was as an economic consultant at Analysis Group where she supported expert witnesses testifying in corporate litigation.




Amber is passionate about:


Helping leaders thrive. She was first exposed to the transformative work at Leading Elephants as a coachee, and she loves to share how her ongoing journey toward greater human-centered leadership enriches her life.




When not at work:


Amber is based in Menlo Park, California. She loves her family, travel, her faith, and good food. And (to the chagrin and begrudged appreciation of her recipients!), she enjoys infusing work with cheesy memes and impromptu celebrations.





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Marion

 Coach. Community Builder. Working Group Magician.

Secret weapon:


Marion helps teams and leaders to embrace difficult conversations and see new paths forward - together.




Specializations:


Heart-centered, systems level leadership. Strategic planning. Complex organizational change. Operationalizing and impact monitoring.




Her story:


As Managing Director at Leading Elephants, Amber helps to extract the magic in human-centered leadership and create products that meet the array of organizational needs. Prior to working at Leading Elephants, Amber served as a leader in several capacities at Achievement First. In her early years at the charter management organization, she led a team of data strategists and supported many cross-cutting initiatives. Later, Amber served as a chief of staff in the COO Office. Amber has also served as a coach, strategy consultant, and interim Chief of Staff with charter networks across the US. Amber’s early career was as an economic consultant at Analysis Group where she supported expert witnesses testifying in corporate litigation.




Marion is passionate about:


Helping leaders thrive. She was first exposed to the transformative work at Leading Elephants as a coachee, and she loves to share how her ongoing journey toward greater human-centered leadership enriches her life.




When not at work:


Amber is based in Menlo Park, California. She loves her family, travel, her faith, and good food. And (to the chagrin and begrudged appreciation of her recipients!), she enjoys infusing work with cheesy memes and impromptu celebrations.





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Miwa

Coach. Trainer.  Talent Guru.

Secret weapon:


Michelle gets at the heart of complex leadership challenges, surfacing unspoken conversations in ways that bring healing and possibility.




Specializations:


Executive leadership. Leadership teams. Human centered change management. Organizational culture. Facilitation.




Her story:


Michelle founded Leading Elephants to provide a proof point that achieving great impact and caring for the humans involved don’t have to be exclusive. As CEO, she champions the head, heart, and backbone method across our practices and directs the organization toward its human centered mission. Prior to forming Leading Elephants in 2010, Michelle served as Senior Leadership Director for The Broad Residency, a fellowship program designed to place, train and develop talented leaders in urban education. In this role, she designed the Residency’s comprehensive leadership curriculum, led a team of transformational leadership coaches and managed communities of practice to support residents in maximizing their impact and development. Michelle began her career at PwC where she was one of only two women partners in the Firm’s US Mergers and Acquisitions practice.




When not at work:


Michelle lives with her husband and twin boys in Charlottesville, Virginia. She is obsessed with farflung global adventures and thrives on the adrenaline rush of a good skydive or powder day on the slopes.





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Deirdre

Consultant. Operationalizer.

Secret weapon:


Amber turns messy, ethereal ideas into concrete, achievable realities.




Specializations:


Heart-centered, systems level leadership. Strategic planning. Complex organizational change. Operationalizing and impact monitoring.




Her story:


As Managing Director at Leading Elephants, Amber helps to extract the magic in human-centered leadership and create products that meet the array of organizational needs. Prior to working at Leading Elephants, Amber served as a leader in several capacities at Achievement First. In her early years at the charter management organization, she led a team of data strategists and supported many cross-cutting initiatives. Later, Amber served as a chief of staff in the COO Office. Amber has also served as a coach, strategy consultant, and interim Chief of Staff with charter networks across the US. Amber’s early career was as an economic consultant at Analysis Group where she supported expert witnesses testifying in corporate litigation.




Amber is passionate about:


Helping leaders thrive. She was first exposed to the transformative work at Leading Elephants as a coachee, and she loves to share how her ongoing journey toward greater human-centered leadership enriches her life.




When not at work:


Amber is based in Menlo Park, California. She loves her family, travel, her faith, and good food. And (to the chagrin and begrudged appreciation of her recipients!), she enjoys infusing work with cheesy memes and impromptu celebrations.





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our community

At Leading Elephants, we expand the community of support to bring diverse and technical skills to complex challenges.  Where appropriate, we partner with other organizations to help our clients receive help they need most.

Meet our

Collaborative partners

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Partners

Academic Strategy and Implementation Partners

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We seek to provide a seamless experience when our clients engage multiple partners.

We work to jointly scope an initiative and what is needed.  Often, our partner will bring deep expertise and technical credibility and will facilitate meetings and advise on the “what” of an initiative.  Leading Elephants may support in the initiative design, stakeholder engagement, cultural healing, leadership coaching, and other elements of the “how” experience.
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See how Leading Elephants works with our partners to meet each organization's unique needs.

Case Study 1

Our Client's

Story

A Charter Management Organization located in the North East came to Leading Elephants for help with:

  • merging three organizations into one

  • navigating a redesign of their central office 

  • redesigning their academic team

What Leading Elephants Did

  • Facilitate merger conversations

  • Develop the change management plan

  • Reconstitute the leadership team

  • Advice the new COO & CAO in day to day leadership

What Our

Partner Did

  • Create a new academic model

  • Select curriculum

  • Develop consistent academic practices

  • Advise the organization design of the Academic Team