Category Archives: Organizational Development

ITL Year in Review – 2021

As we close out 2021, we have much to celebrate in the Institute for Transformational Leadership (ITL). Looking back on the year, we are grateful for our community of transformational leaders: students, graduates, faculty, and staff working to create a more sustainable and compassionate future during these challenging times. 

We have done a lot in ITL this year.  We are so pleased to share these highlights:

ODCCL – The Organization Development Consulting & Change Leadership (ODCCL) program has a new name and has been redesigned to meet the moment – where concepts of work and workplace are being reimagined, where diversity, equity & inclusion and OD have become inextricably intertwined, and where OD learning and practice can be maximized via multiple modalities.

Health & Wellness Coaching – The Health & Wellness Coaching program continues to train pioneers in this emerging field – now accredited by both the International Coach Federation (ICF) & the National Board of Health & Wellness Coaching (NBHWC). We are also launching an important partnership with the Georgetown University School of Medicine using health & wellness coaching to empower unhoused populations in DC to make progress towards better health. 

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) – The ITL DEI program completed cohorts 12 & 13 in 2021. We piloted new content on polarities as a way of offering students another lens through which to view DEI work. This highly sought-after program teaches the leadership skills and insights needed to support a strategic, sustainable approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion management while utilizing knowledge of oneself as an agent of change in the workplace. 

Facilitation – Our Facilitation program is leading us into the complexity and opportunity of facilitating in the hybrid workspace in addition to creatively designing for and facilitating human connection both in person and virtually. 

Leadership coaching – In 2021, we trained 5 cohorts of Leadership Coaches while launching a redesigned curriculum that prepares coaches to support and develop leaders to lead in the complexity of today’s world.  This year we partnered  with multiple organizations as a key part of a strategy to create a culture of coaching from government agencies to nonprofits and foundations.  

Professional Training Programs – We launched six new workshops in 2021:  Culturally Competent CommunicationBody Intelligence in LeadershipFrom CDO to COO: The Business of DEIEntrepreneurial Leadership CapacityCourageous Leadership in Action: No One Said It Would Be EasyBuilding Inclusive Workplaces through the Lens of Women’s Leadership

Faculty Training – We partnered with Georgetown’s Elizabeth Stanley, PhD, author of Widen the Window, to learn about how trauma might show up in our classrooms and how to teach and facilitate in a trauma-sensitive way.

Events- We celebrated the graduation of 760 students representing 31 cohorts across our five certificate programs, and the ITL Network convened our graduate community in a dynamic and moving virtual conference in November.

Partnerships & Training – We showcased our expertise in Leadership, Coaching, DEI and Organization Development through partnerships with the Department of Veterans Affairs Whole Health, AARP Purpose Prize, Georgetown University School of Medicine, USAID, the U.S. Air Force, and the National Forum for Black Public Administrators. 

As 2021 comes to an end, we wish you much love and peace!

Creating Equitable Organizations

This post was shared by Bill Pullen, MCC, Academic Director in Georgetown’s Institute for Transformational Leadership (ITL), based on his interview with Minal Bopaiah on the ITL Podcast.

Minal Bopaiah is a graduate of ITL’s Executive Certificate in Organization Development Consulting & Change Leadership program.  Her recent book Equity has inspired us to think differently about how to create inclusive organizations.

Minal’s parents immigrated to the United States in 1976 as medical doctors who had residencies in Brooklyn, New York. After years of living in Brooklyn, they moved out to Staten Island and started their practice. They lived the American Dream – work hard and success will come. But Minal Bopaiah, author of Equity: How to Design Organizations Where Everyone Thrives, knows that hard work isn’t all to her parents, her, or anyone else’s success story. System support is also necessary for anyone’s success. System support can come in the form of organizational policies and procedures, the ability to pursue higher education, access to healthcare, and more. Seeing how systems create or inhibit equity is vital to leaders who want to create organizations where everyone thrives. The belief that rugged individualism or that success is garnered to people merely because they worked hard to get it is fundamentally false.

Understanding the difference between equity and equality is essential to creating systems where everyone can thrive. While equality is when everyone receives the same things regardless of differences, equity is when people get what they need according to their difference so they may participate fully and can succeed. In short, equity embraces differences while equality doesn’t. Neither are bad and determining whether equity or equality is the proper course of action in the attempt to provide an environment of opportunities comes with understanding how those differences impact the ability for individual and systematic opportunity and success.

Systems are currently built and designed to work in the favor of those who have the most power. Learning to see systems can be difficult and requires looking at oneself and looking outward to understand how the self and systems interact. Think of yourself through your various identities – your race, culture, gender identity, etc. How cognizant are you of those aspects of your identity as you go about your day?

People are often much more cognizant of the aspects of their identity that are marginalized or oppressed, rather than those that systems center and therefore support. Which aspects of your identity tend to be privileged? For which ones are there consistent barriers which you must navigate?

Taking time to understand how systems have created privilege and marginalization in a leader’s own story is an important first step for any leader who wants to create organizations where everyone can thrive. Doing so helps leaders to develop “system sight” – the ability to see systems and the leader’s impact on people.

Engaged leaders should measure the success of their organization and the systems they are building not by their ability to provide infinite growth, but rather by the impact their companies are having on their employees and society. How can the power that is associated with leadership be utilized to provide equitable opportunities for all? Ask yourself, what are the outcomes that you want to see when designing systems changes? What are the observable behaviors that help produce that outcome? Are the systems rewarding that behavior and holding people accountable who actively try to derail it?

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion requires constant iteration and feedback. Engaged leaders must work with people to understand what is beneficial and what is not and adjust according to that feedback. Without this engagement, or a keen and developed system sight, diversity, equity, is ultimately unreachable.


Listen to Minal and Bill’s full conversation on the ITL Podcast: Creating Equitable Organizations. 

Meeting the Moment in Organization Development

This post was shared by the faculty of the Executive Certificate in Organization Development Consulting  & Change Leadership in Georgetown’s Institute for Transformational Leadership.

Since the 1980s, Georgetown’s School of Continuing Studies has been a leader in training Organization Development (OD) consultants & change leaders to support the changing dynamics of the systems they serve.  In 2021, this academic history has been leveraged in a redesign process to meet the moment – where concepts of of work and workplace are being reimagined, where diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI) and OD have become inextricably intertwined, and where OD learning and practice can be maximized via multiple modalities.

We are proud to reintroduce the Executive Certificate in Organization Development Consulting & Change Leadership (ODCCL).  Some key factors that set this program apart from other types of OD training include:

Diversity of Faculty

We are thrilled to bring a 12-member faculty team to this program. At least two faculty members teach each of 8 modules which gifts students with the expertise and experience of a broad range of practitioners. Our faculty bring diversity in race, gender, age, sexual orientation, ethnicity, ability, as well as in work experience. We have faculty who have worked as external consultants, as internal OD consultants, and as change leaders inside organizations. Our faculty also hail from multiple sectors — corporate, nonprofit, government, military, education, healthcare, and community organizing.

Cohort Model

Learning in community is at the heart of the program design.  Students will start and end the program in cohort with the same students who will take the entire program together. As the program is highly interactive, students will meet and work with more than 20 others who come from similar and different disciplines and backgrounds, which will deepen the learning experience.

Reflection Through Lines

The ODCCL program is greatly enhanced by five powerful themes that are woven throughout the 8-month experience.  Students will be encouraged to continually reflect on the content with the following through lines:

  1. Use of Self (including Emotional Intelligence and Embodiment)
  2. Power and DEI
  3. Polarities and Complexity
  4. Organizational Context and Culture
  5. Application by Professional Identity (external consultant, internal consultant, organizational  leader)

Multiple Modality Learning

Leveraging the lessons of 2020-2021, the ODCCL program engages students in synchronous and asynchronous modalities that maximize learning in our time apart and together. Students experience and learn multiple methodologies that support learning, dialogue and decision making — tools that can be applied to work as a practitioner.

Practical, Applied Learning

For 30 years, this has been, and continues to be, a practitioners’ program. Our faculty are all OD practitioners, and the program has been redesigned to harness the richness of the three primary streams of people this program attracts: External consultants/coaches, internal HR/OD/DEI professionals and internal change leaders. Students will be continually invited to ground what is learned in current work situations, and will benefit from hearing the perspectives of others who occupy roles different than their own. We also continue to work with real life applications of OD on current workplace challenges such as managing the polarities of returning to face-to-face work, equity and justice in the workplace, and the impact that virtual and hybrid workplaces have on engagement, supervision, management and culture. Most importantly, a cornerstone of the program is an OD project with a real client, which gives all students the opportunity to apply the learning, to work in teams, to receive coaching and support, and to learn from each other’s experiences.

Learn more about the Executive Certificate in Organization Development Consulting & Change Leadership  in the Institute for Transformational Leadership.  

Change Is Inevitable; Transformation Is a Choice

This post was shared by Marcia Feola, MCC, faculty in the Principles of Transformation program and the Executive Certificate in Organizational Consulting and Change Leadership in the Institute for Transformational Leadership.

In these disruptive and changing times, many of us feel the world shifting before our eyes and under our feet. As the challenges become more dramatic, we encounter our own vulnerabilities and fears.  We can let fear stand in our way, attempt to deny what is happening, become immobilized, fight with the changes, or we can transform ourselves and the organizations of which we are a part.

The journey can be both scary and exhilarating.  John F. Kennedy once observed that the word “crisis” in Chinese is composed of two characters—one representing danger, the other opportunity.


This time in history is an opportunity for transformation.  Transformation entails a letting go, a shedding of beliefs, habits, behaviors that no longer serve. This shedding, in turn, opens up space for creativity, innovation and freedom, making this an exciting time. It’s a time to reflect, to imagine a different future, to experiment with new ways.

We are all invited to engage in a transformational process. What do we need to shift, change or transform?  What are old habits, beliefs, or behaviors you wish to change? What do you want to see different in this world? How do you want to be different? What is your vision and how do you move towards it?

Are you interested in exploring the principles of human transformation at individual, group, and systemic levels? Click here to learn more about the  “Principles of Transformation” program in the Institute for Transformational Leadership.


Honoring Our Graduate Community

As 2020 comes to a close, we want to take a moment to honor the work the graduate community of Georgetown University’s Institute for Transformational Leadership has done this year to support our leaders, our organizations, and our communities.

To our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) practitioners, you have helped us see a way forward as individuals, organizations and as a nation as we grapple with injustices and inequalities.  Your knowledge and skill has been called upon to assess organizations and propose strategic solutions to long-standing issues that prevent all employees from thriving and succeeding.  You have invited us into difficult conversations and encouraged us to stay with the discomfort of this work as we examine our own biases and role in oppression.   You have used yourself as an instrument of change sharing your personal journey for the greater good. 

To our leadership coaches, you have supported leaders through the most challenging of times.  You have been there as leaders have been tested in ways that dramatically exceed the scope of any prior situation.  You coached them to think differently, act boldly and lead compassionately. You helped them build the resilience necessary to sustain themselves and their organizations for the long-term and helped them learn about themselves and leadership along the way.     

To our health & wellness coaches, you supported health and well-being during one of the most dramatic and stressful changes of our time.  You have helped clients adapt to the realities of this year by helping them to align their daily choices in this new environment with their personal values.  You have served as pioneers in a field that is emerging as a critical component in empowering patients to actively participate in their own care. 

To our Organizational Development (OD) professionals, you have paved the path for how OD will be done in the future.  The year has necessitated new ways of leading people, managing teams, and working with data.  You have exercised creativity, resilience and supported organizations in re-imagining what is possible.  You have brought optimism and compassion to help sustain organizations well into the future. 

To our facilitators, you have created a new standard in how to lead virtual gatherings.  Your design skills have been tested as you reimagined business events that connected participants’ ideas while also tapping into their bodies, spirits and emotions. You have been called upon to design and facilitate intimate personal events from honoring individual milestones to end-of-life celebrations that were once unimaginable in the virtual space.  While physically apart, your creativity, presence and grace has brought us together in meaningful ways.

Because of all of you, leaders are more reflective, compassionate and in tune with their personal wellness, organizations are better positioned to see themselves and create lasting change, our virtual gatherings are more engaging and inclusive, and individuals and systems are starting to see prevailing inequality and injustices and making strategic moves to promote diverse, equity and inclusion.  Please know that the work you do, especially in 2020, has made a difference as we all work to create a more sustainable and compassionate future.