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Faculty in Executive Learning and Organizational Change exemplify the philosophy of the program by bridging scholarship and practice.

ELOC is led by a team of scholar-practitioners, representing diverse expertise and experience within organizations and academic disciplines.

Our expert adjunct faculty hold executive positions or lead consulting practices in organizational change, talent management, human capital strategy, leadership development, learning, organizational design, executive and leadership coaching and strategic planning.

Instructors

Michelle Albaugh

Michelle Albaugh

Michelle Albaugh is a highly regarded leadership and effectiveness coach. She joined the LOC faculty in September 2015 after earning her PhD in Human Development & Social Policy from the Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy. She received a bachelor’s degree in music from DePaul University.

Michelle spent the first 10 years of her career working for a startup in the telecommunications industry, first in a technical capacity and then in establishing client relationships and crafting creative communication solutions for business and government, before shifting to academia. Her research thus far has centered on life narratives at the intersection of personal faith and political ideology.

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Jeff Merrell

Jeff Merrell

Jeff Merrell is Associate Director of the Master's Program in Learning & Organizational Change (MSLOC). Jeff leads the educational technology strategy for MSLOC and the program's use of social collaboration and social media technologies. His professional background includes experience as both a consultant and corporate leader in organizational learning and knowledge management.

He was founder of Purple Line Associates, a consultancy and research practice established in 2001 to help organizations define knowledge sharing and collaboration strategies and to implement new technologies and practices. His past consulting work included projects for global leaders in the pharmaceutical and retail industries as well as not-for-profit and federal government organizations.

 

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Megan Redfearn

Megan Redfearn (SESP)

A graduate of Northwestern's MSLOC program, Megan researched how the practice of improv translates to leadership in the workplace. Since then, she has focused her work on academic and leadership development as Director of Faculty and Doctoral Student Affairs in the School of Education and Social Policy and as a coach and Instructor in Northwestern’s Leadership Certificate program. As a consultant for Business Improvisation, Megan has facilitated improv-based learning interventions related to leadership, sales, change readiness, and communication for a variety of Fortune 500 companies and top MBA programs. Megan has over 12 years of experience coaching, teaching and performing improv in Chicago. She studied improv and writing at The Second City and iO training centers and performs with the veteran group Virgin Daiquiri.
Kimberly Scott

Kimberly Scott

Kimberly Scott is Assistant Professor and Director of the Master’s Program in Learning & Organizational Change (MSLOC) at Northwestern University. She came to Northwestern with over 10 years of management and consulting experience in a variety of mid-sized and Fortune 500 companies. Her work focuses on improving workplace environments and practices that foster employee wellness, learning and success.

She has designed and taught courses that include learning and performance improvement, leadership development and change management. As an independent consultant, Dr. Scott has designed leadership development and organizational change initiatives in addition to coaching leaders and action learning teams.

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Ryan Smerek

Ryan Smerek

Ryan Smerek has researched, taught, and published in the areas of learning and new executives, decision-making, innovation, and organizational learning. He is the author of Organizational Learning and Performance: The Science and Practice of Building a Learning Culture. In the book, Ryan explains mindsets that foster learning, how “big picture thinking” or understanding the “why” behind our actions fosters learning, and the social norms needed to foster innovation and creativity.

Before coming to Northwestern University as Assistant Professor and Assistant Director of Academic Affairs in MSLOC, Ryan taught organizational behavior at Hiram College. He also worked at Denison Consulting — a culture and leadership assessment firm in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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Teresa Torres

Teresa Torres

Teresa Torres is a product discovery coach who helps teams gain valuable insights from their customer interviews, run effective product experiments, and drive product outcomes. She teaches teams how to connect the dots between their research activities and their product decisions. Before becoming a coach, Teresa was VP of Products at AfterCollege, an Internet startup that helps college students find their first job. She was CEO of Affinity Circles, an online community provider for university alumni associations and a social recruiting service used by Fortune 500 companies.

Teresa has a BS in Symbolic Systems from Stanford University and an MS in Learning and Organizational Change from Northwestern University.

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Coaches

Judah Kurtz

Judah Kurtz

Judah Kurtz is a trusted advisor, coach, strategist, and consultant who is passionate about driving transformative growth and sustainable change.  With a career spanning over 25 years, Judah has partnered with mid- and senior-level leaders and their teams across multiple global industries and sectors, through his internal organizational work, external consulting roles at Accenture and BPI group, and nearly 20 years in private practice.  He brings deep expertise in coaching, leadership and team development, learning, and strategic change, with a concentrated focus on helping his clients uncover their hidden potential and barriers to success to facilitate meaningful, high-impact outcomes.

As adjunct faculty at Northwestern, he teaches and coaches students in the executive education (ELOC), master’s degree (MSLOC), and organizational and leadership coaching certificate (OLCC) programs. 

Judah holds both a master’s degree in Learning and Organizational Change and bachelor’s degree with honors in Psychology and Organization Behavior from Northwestern University.

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Cassandra Mitchell

Cassandra Mitchell

Cassandra Mitchell uses her executive coaching and organizational consulting skills to develop great leaders and teams. Cassandra has provided executive coaching, needs assessment, leadership development, and program design and development services for many large corporations and organizations. Prior to consulting, Cassandra worked for Bank One in a variety of positions including as the first vice president and national learning design manager. Prior to Bank One, Cassandra worked in training and organizational development at Loyola University and Medical Center, impacting employee and student development.

Cassandra is an adjunct professor at MSLOC at Northwestern. In addition, she is adjunct coaching faculty for the Kellogg School of Management.

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Kathleen O'Connor

Kathleen O'Connor

Kathleen O’Connor is an independent consultant specializing in the identification and development of leadership talent. She has more than 20 years' experience in corporate education and organizational change as an external consultant and previously as an internal consultant at Hewitt and Motorola.

O'Connor has personally coached hundreds of leaders from a variety of functions, nationalities and roles. In addition to coaching individual leaders, O'Connor advises organizations on broader strategies for identifying and developing high potentials, as well as designs and facilitates programs and resources for developing targeted leadership skills.

She earned a BBA from Notre Dame and holds a Master’s Degree in Education (Organization Development and Workplace Learning) from Northwestern.

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Debbie Plager

Debbie Plager

Debbie Plager is the Vice President of Talent & Organizational Development for HUB International - an International Insurance Brokerage Firm.  As the head of Talent, Debbie and her team are accountable for designing and supporting the overall employee experience and providing strategic organizational consulting.  Debbie leads the coaching service at HUB and provides internal coaching for executives and executive teams.  Prior to HUB, Debbie was the Global head of Talent at Relativity (a rapid growth technology company) and an Assistant Vice President and Sr. HR Business Partner with Unum Group. 

Debbie is an ICF Accredited Coach and is certified in several assessments including the Hogan Leadership Suite and Change Style Indicator.  Her expertise and interests include organization and leadership development, executive and team coaching, culture transformation, and creating and driving people-related strategies.  

In addition to several years as an internal executive coach, Debbie has her own external coaching practice, The Plager Group | Elevating Performance through Purpose.  

Kelly Ross

Kelly Ross

Kelly Ross is a coach, learning strategist and facilitator with global experience. Kelly’s work is in leadership development and talent management. Kelly brings experience working in more than 20 countries, with individuals and organizations across industries and sectors, and nearly a decade of experience at McKinsey & Company.

Career changers or professionals in search of the right next step may work with Kelly as they navigate the path of deciding what is next. Expatriates often value a thought partner like Kelly, who “gets” the complexity of living and working abroad. Kelly holds a large number of coaching and leadership assessment certifications through the International Coach Federation, MBTI, Hogan, and more.

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margaretsullivan

Margaret Sullivan

Margaret Sullivan is an independent coach and consultant specializing in helping individuals, groups, and organizations identify, clarify, design, and implement effective, sustainable paths forward. Prior to launching her practice, she was the Senior Advisor – Organizational Effectiveness at Wiss, Janney, Elstner and Associates, Inc. She began her career at Accenture as both an internal and external consultant. Her expertise and interests include organization and leadership development, knowledge sharing, community building, sustainable changes, and career transitions. Margaret is certified in facilitation, career coaching, Hogan Assessments, and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Her coaching training includes Co-Active Coaching (CTI), Immunity to Change, Quiet Leadership (NeuroLeadership Institute) and EQ-i (High Performing Systems).

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karenterry

Karen Terry

Formerly an award-winning writer and video producer, Karen redirected her career mid-life to focus on coaching and adult human development. She enjoys helping people fashion lives that they love and are proud to lead, and is fascinated by the story of how we become the people we are. Karen earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and her first Master’s degree from Northwestern University. She earned her subsequent Master’s degree and doctorate from Wright Graduate University for the Realization of Human Potential. Dedicated to fostering the systems and conversations that support adults to stay meaningfully engaged in the world, Karen also serves at The Village Chicago, a non-profit committed to helping Chicagoans successfully navigate the new longevity.

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