Hi I work with organizations to help them learn and get smarter and better at what they do. I am a chronic puzzle-solver and a lifelong learner. I pride myself in my ability to unpack complicated problems and simplify them so that they are understandable and easier to analyze.
Over the years, I have learned that people know what they should do. They have the answers, they just need to take the time to reflect and find them. When I work with others, I listen, ask questions, and help them find the solutions within themselves and their environments.
Dialogue is the best way to accomplish this. Open and thoughtful interaction with peers helps managers tap into their hidden reservoirs of knowledge, while they also benefit from the wisdom of others. Peer Learning Groups provide the opportunity and framework for this essential dialogue.
Trained as an economist and a business manager, I believe that my experience with a variety of different endeavors has deepened my understanding and enriched my work. I have been an organizational development expert, a university professor, a social investor, an international consultant and an executive coach. At this point, it is hard to label myself, which I think is a good thing. What is constant is my passion for learning, discovery and doing what makes sense. I read, I think, and I question. I believe in taking the time to do something right. I also recognize that each failure helps me learn how to improve.
Among other projects, I currently manage The Microfinance CEO Forum, a learning and sharing platform for chief executives of microfinance institutions worldwide. I also coach and mentor clients in the US and globally. You can find me on LinkedIn and Twitter, on a hiking trail, in a yoga class and with my choir.
Deborah Spring Laurel
I have been a workplace learning and performance improvement consultant to managers for many years. I am the President of Laurel and Associates, Ltd., a certified woman-owned small business that is dedicated to building managerial, employee and training competence on a national and global level. I taught for the Executive Management Institute in the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business for 30 years. My Master’s Degree is from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The goal of any curriculum I design and deliver is to build the participants’ confidence in their own competence. They come to a class with knowledge, skills and experience. I feel that the value of training lies in the opportunity it offers for them to focus on what they normally have no time to consider and to remember what they once knew and have since forgotten. Of course, it is important that training also provides new knowledge and skills that the participants can practice in the classroom, so they will feel comfortable using them back at their worksites.
Managers need face-to-face training to develop and strengthen the interpersonal and leadership skills that will help them succeed. I have noticed that classroom training is most effective with an intact group. The group leaves the training with a common language and commitment that is compatible with their organizational culture.
However, it can be difficult and costly for an organization to schedule facilitator-led training for an intact group. That is why The Peer Learning Institute model is so attractive. Managers share their experience and build their knowledge and skills as they bond with their peers.
On a personal note, you can find me happily pulling weeds in my garden, attending theatre events, walking by the lake, kayaking, or reading in my favorite rocking chair with a cat on my lap.