Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

conversational leadership

our purpose

who we are




blake quote

Who We Are

The Institute comprises a circle of experienced practitioners who bring their own distinct approaches to conversational leadership. They have created programs, workshops and coaching assistance for individual leaders and groups both inside and outside organizations. For more detailed information on each member, please click on the image.


David Whyte has written extensively on the nature and importance of courageous conversations as a way of more fully engaging with our work, our relationship partners and our deepest desires. A poet, author, lecturer and Associate Fellow at Said Business School, University of Oxford, he has developed a significant body of work on creativity and organizational development. His pioneering work in the area of courageous conversations has brought him into some of the top organizations and executive education programs in the world. Read more.


Craig Fleck’s twenty year career consulting to business, education, healthcare and non-profits has held common threads of developing leaders, cultivating organizational learning and implementing generative changes across diverse sets of stakeholders. His experience with this broad base of clients has heightened his respect for leaders confronted by today’s pressures and deepened his commitment to the power of courageous conversations to steward more vital organizations. Read more.

   Mitch Saunders

Mitch Saunders has worked closely with pioneering individuals and organizations in the corporate, public and nonprofit sectors for over 25 years. The ones who see things differently, and are crazy enough to think they can change the world. Mitch spent his formative years in the concrete jungle of Los Angeles. Growing up amidst constant multicultural tensions and violence, he learned at an early age how to sense and influence what's emerging around him. Read more.

   Libby Wagner

Libby Wagner is one of the only former poetry professors warmly invited into the boardroom. A trusted advisor for presidents, CEOs and executive directors, her work has shaped the cultures of numerous Fortune 500 clients, including The Boeing Company, Nike, Philips, ST Microelectronics, Diageo and Costco. Using her unique approach, programs and seminars, Libby empowers those with whom she works to clearly articulate what they want, why they want it, and how to ask for it, creating the poetic difference. Read more.

   Walter Berghoef

Walter Berghoef initially employed his business studies degree to the domain of marketing communication. From there, he moved to consulting, working in various capacities, including a focus on identity and corporate strategy. For the past decade, he has been developing his own approach to culture, leadership and ‘working together' issues, and currently offers a broad variety of programs as an independent, with the HartWerken Groep and in association with the Dutch management develop center De Baak. Read more.


Maryliz Smith has been bringing her unique style of music and insight into the world for many years. When she brings her signature of music into the domain of organizations, she asks age-old questions of identity in work, relationships, and self. She is an independent coach, international performance artist, composer and community leader. Her presentations take many different forms, from keynote talks at conferences to residential retreats. She forms longstanding relationships with individuals and communities who learn, through her work with the language of music, processes that guide and model how leaders can be most resilient while facing challenging questions.
Read more.