"What I value most about working with Dorie is her ability to coach me on how to lead more effectively, her willingness to give honest feedback to my leadership team on how to lead more effectively, her proven capability of earning the trust of the employees, management team and executives, her expertise in helping us turn our desire for changes into a well-paced implementation schedule, and her sense of humor.
If I were to summarize her contribution in one phrase, it would be: Dorie is an invaluable resource if you want to take your people and culture from good to great and build a world-class company.”
Robert Pasin, CEO & Chief Wagon Officer Radio Flyer - Chicago, IL
“This course is an integration of the best ideas of school and workplace learning. Dorie is the best! She really cares about the students and designs her class with them in mind."
Northwestern student who took the undergraduate course, “Learning Organizations for Complex Environments”
“Dorie provided a truly engaging, experiential learning environment. She kept our attention with her creative applications of concepts. I enjoyed her approach so much that I volunteered myself to assist her in teaching another class!”
Northwestern University MS LOC graduate student in “Strategic Change: Methods for Practice.”
“Thought you'd like to know your song 'It Takes Courage' that I played for my daughter at her Sweet 16 was a big hit. My friends had tears in their eyes when I was dancing with my daughter to that song. It was a moment that neither she, nor I, will ever forget. Many people complimented me on the song that I chose. The party was a success and the music was a big part of it. Thank you."
Recently, I was asked to “tell my story” by a graduate student in one of the classes I teach as part of the Center for Learning & Organizational Change at Northwestern University. This student cited the fact that when I had invited guest speakers to come and share their expertise, I had always asked them to share “how they got here,” but I had never shared my own journey. I’ll give this class credit, they sat there for longer than they expected as I touched on the highlights of my life and work “story.” Actually, to tell it out loud provided me the opportunity to gain a fresh perspective on the threads that seem to be woven so strongly through my whole life.
Exploring western Ireland 2006.
Seeing through tree root complexity at Bandelier National Forest in New Mexico.
What are the threads?
Moving a lot: from New York City to the Texas Panhandle, to Chicago, to Boston, to Washington, D.C., and more. I learned to adjust to new environments by asking lots of questions, by reaching out to make new friends, and by learning to be clear on who I was in the midst of changing landscapes.
Strong family values about spiritual integrity (“practicing what you preach”), concern for others, fairness and equality, and caring about world affairs. My undergraduate degree was a double major in Politics and Religion, which translates into “systems” and “values.”
Love of music—from both sides of the family—musical sing-alongs were one of the main ways we celebrated being together.
Appreciation of differences as a way to grow and learn—practiced in numerous ways personally and professionally.
Commitment to “sustainability” at all levels: sustainable change (taught in my course at Northwestern on Designing Sustainable Strategic Change), sustainable leadership (explored through my affiliation with Karlin Sloan & Company), personal and community (through Oak Park’s Green Blocks and my own block’s efforts to reduce our ecological footprint), and planet (through larger efforts to reduce the human impact on global warming and imbalance of natural systems).
CONSULTING Building upon my years of experience inside organizations, I now offer my expertise as an external consultant. My areas of focus will continue to be: building sustainable change efforts, supporting the development of sustainable leadership, leveraging diversity in teams, and facilitating the healthy evolution of “living systems” of all sizes and types.
To get a sense of my approach and methods, please see the page on Consulting and the Testimonial page to see what my clients have to say about my contribution.
Career background: During my years of working as an internal Human Resources or Organization Development professional or leader, I worked within:
healthcare organizations, coping with an increasingly managed care environment;
automotive manufacturing organizations, adjusting to industry redefinitions of provider excellence;
professional services firms in post-merger and pre-spin off modes;
non-profit organizations, seeking to reinvent themselves in order to survive in a down market.
The positions and responsibilities I’ve had include:
HR Managing Director, Business Process Outsourcing (North America), PricewaterhouseCoopers. I was responsible for the People Strategy, had oversight of “ People Transition” of three major client groups, facilitated the HR Council to develop common HR practices across client, industry and geographic groups;
Global Director of People Development, Federal-Mogul in the year following acquisition of three companies (including Fel-Pro), where I established a global advisory committee, designed “FMO University,” built the first management development track in the new organization, coordinated the first world-wide HR Conference post-acquisitions;
Director of Organization Development, Fel-Pro, family-owned premier “Top Company to Work For” moving through a shift from “paternalism to partnership,” where I led the initiative to develop a 5-Year Workforce Strategy to prepare workforce for new business requirements, coordinated executive and middle management development, trained self-directed work teams and developed new quality improvement training to meet new industry standards.
I have increasingly been asked to coach executives with whom I’m working to design a strategic change or plan leadership development initiatives, or to coach the individuals who are members of a leadership team I’m working with.
My basic approach could be described as “appreciative” and strength-based. I work with my coachee to explore (1) the values and most core sense of purpose experienced by the individual, (2) the feedback he/she has received with regard to how to be successful in his/her current work environment, and (3) how best to adjust his/her communication style or leadership behaviors in order to truly express who he/she is while at the same time demonstrating successful behaviors in the current work context.
In an effort to hone my coaching skills, I have had the pleasure of being trained by a new affiliate organization, Karlin Sloan & Company. I highly recommend Karlin’s new book, “Smarter, Faster, Better: Strategies for Effective, Enduring and Fulfilled Leadership” (Jossey-Bass, 2006).
I continue to find both satisfaction and stimulation from teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. My students gain the experience of being within a learning community, have the opportunity to explore their own related fields of interest, and learn about key concepts through a mixture of experiential activities and expert input.
Northwestern University – Center for Learning & Organizational Change, in the School of Education and Social Policy. Since 1997, I’ve taught “Learning Organizations for Complex Environments”, required for the undergraduate major of “Learning and Organizational Change (LOC),” and since 2002 I’ve taught “Designing Sustainable Strategic Change” as a required course in the MS LOC program.
“A class taught by Dorie Blesoff, Designing Sustainable Strategic Change,
lit my entrepreneurial fire!”
Northwestern University Outstanding Professor Award From the School of Education and Social Policy, 2008
"Dorie in a word"
Presented by Alternate Delivery students in 2009.
Dorie is honored for ten years of service
at Northwestern University's Center for Learning & Organizational Change
10th Anniversary Celebration
Associated Student Government Honor Roll 2008-2009
"At a university where teachers are the norm, your students have chosen you as the best of the best. You have demonstrated the ability to convey complex ideas with clarity and excitement, while inspiring a passion for learning beyond the classroom. We understand that your success in this is the product of much hard work and patience. And we lucky students at Northwestern watn you to know how much we appreciate what you have done for us."
Books I utilize for my classes are recommended reading for anyone interested in organizational learning or system-wide sustainable change:
"Leadership and the New Science" by Margaret Wheatley "The Fifth Discipline" by Peter Senge "Managing at the Speed of Change" by Daryl Conner "Managing Transitions" by William Bridges
I find truth in the sayings: “Music is a universal language” and “Music is the language of the heart.” I believe that “heart” should be included at work, and that anywhere people are changing or learning together, they can find more wisdom and intelligence when their minds and hearts are in tune.
I have been writing music since I was a young girl. I have always written best in community – by combining messages and music that tell stories, articulate common themes, relate personal experiences and express shared values. My intention is to the share the music with anyone who might enjoy it or find it meaningful.
My style is rooted in folk and country-western. I’m now more eclectic, including a pop style, gospel, light jazz, or classical when it seems right. I accompany myself on keyboard and guitar, and I love singing and playing with others. The words to the songs often come to me at the same time as the music, and lyrics continue to be an important feature of the music I offer.
I had the choice whether to develop my music separately from the consulting business or try to combine them. I am experimenting by including the musical possibilities as part of my “Consulting Services,” and am eager to hear ideas from you about what might work.