Founding Members

Founding members

We are proud to introduce the founding members of the Actionsmith Network, whose combined experience is unparalleled. Each member is steeped in the LTR approach and committed to helping leaders in the social sector build the capabilities and relationships needed to drive societal change and renewal. Over the next two years, we will grow the network, building a more diverse group of coaches, mentors and facilitators—and bringing along new talent through our educational program.

Iris Lee Bagwell

Iris Lee Bagwell, M.Ed., is the founder of Optio Associates LLC, a Boston-based consulting firm offering coaching, training, and facilitation for leaders and teams in the corporate, nonprofit, and political sectors. With a focus on building relationships that work, Iris has over 40 years of experience helping individual leaders, pairs, teams, and organizations. Her relationship-based model integrates her early work as a psychotherapist with the work of her colleagues in the field of systems change, including thought leaders like Diana M. Smith, Chris Argyris, and David Kantor. Iris has a demonstrated ability to help leaders and their teams come together to make meaningful and lasting change. Her corporate clients include high tech companies, professional service firms, healthcare companies, financial service firms, and pharmaceutical companies. Her nonprofit clients include pioneers in education reform, venture philanthropies, and political campaigns. In 2007, Iris created a product called Campaign Leadership Coaching™—a powerful program for leaders of political campaigns with a proven track record of reducing staff turnover, accelerating leadership development, and enhancing the pace and quality of decision-making. In addition to extensive post-graduate training, Iris holds a bachelor’s degree cum laude from Tufts University and a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Northeastern University.

KFlynn_BIOKathryn Flynn

Kathryn Flynn is a Senior Partner at New Profit, a venture philanthropy firm that invests in social innovations breaking down barriers to economic and social mobility. Before joining New Profit, Kathryn spent over 10 years at the Monitor Group helping to build the firm’s leadership capabilities through its Organizational Dynamics and Change program. Kathryn brings a narrative approach to her executive coaching, focusing on how leaders read the people around them and how this affects their ability to work effectively with and through others. Through in-depth coaching, she helps leaders see and break out of the self-defeating patterns that prevent them from mastering their most important leadership challenges. Kathryn also designs and leads leadership retreats and developmental programs, helping leaders work together to identify and exploit their strengths while seeing and transforming any limitations holding them back. She received her AB from Wellesley College and underwent 10 years of rigorous training as a coach while working and studying with Diana M. Smith, the founder of the Actionsmith Network.

Claudia Levy

As an independent consultant and executive coach, Claudia Levy advises leaders on organizational development and transformation, leadership development, team effectiveness, and productive communication. Early in her career, Claudia worked with the Monitor Group for 20 years, first as a strategy consultant with governments and public organizations in Latin America and Russia, then with corporate clients in Europe and North America. In 2002, Claudia became a leader of Monitor´s Organizational Development Group within the firm’s Human Assets and Talent Management Team. In her current work, Claudia helps leaders and their teams map their behavioral tendencies, develop more flexible leadership styles, and build stronger relationships at all levels. She is especially effective in helping leaders navigate high-stakes situations requiring a keen understanding of issues around culture, gender, religion, and race. Claudia has a dual degree in Languages and Political Sciences from Universidad de los Andes and a master’s in Latin American Literature from Universidad Javeriana, in Colombia, her home country. Besides Spanish, her native language, she is business fluent in English and French, speaks conversational Italian and basic German. Claudia lives in Madrid with her husband and two sons.

PMacArthurPhilip W. McArthur

Philip W. McArthur is a principal and co-founder of Action Design LLC, specializing in organizational learning and professional development. For over 25 years, Phil has helped leaders get results by building effective teams, collaborating across organizational boundaries, transforming difficult relationships, and promoting innovation and change. He is a master at leading workshops and retreats on how to manage difficult conversations and build effective relationships, and he regularly coaches and advises leaders on their development and on how best to design and lead complex organizational change efforts. He has taught executive education programs for Harvard University, Stanford University, Columbia University, and Boston College. He has worked with clients in financial services, information technology, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing and consulting, as well as nonprofit organizations in the performing arts, education, the environment, workforce development, and microfinance. Phil is a contributor to Peter Senge’s Fifth Discipline Fieldbook and The Dance of Change, Joseph Raelin’s The Leaderful Fieldbook, and the Sage Encyclopedia of Action Research. He has published research on leadership in high-reliability organizations and helped design the first volume of Activating the Fifth Discipline. He is a founding member of the Society for Organizational Learning. Phil received his BA degree from Antioch College in Political Science and Environmental Science. He was trained as a family therapist at the Family Institute of Cambridge, and received his master’s and doctoral degrees in Counseling and Consulting Psychology from Harvard University.

Noonan PhotoWilliam Noonan

Bill Noonan, Ph.D., is an educator and consultant with an international practice serving both corporations and nonprofit organizations. His practice includes executive coaching, facilitation, developmental workshops, and the design of web-based learning programs. For the past 20 years, Bill has worked around the world with leaders, teams, and organizations undergoing significant transformation and turmoil, helping people learn how to navigate and lead contexts that are constantly changing. As an associate of Action Design, Bill has developed deep expertise in organizational learning and professional development. He was also the lead content expert for the innovative digital course Forging Breakthroughs with Peter Senge produced by Ninthhouse, an internet-training company. In collaboration with the Harvard Business Review publishing company, he designed two web-based programs, Productive Business Dialogues and Managing Difficult Conversations. He is the author of a number of articles on organizational defensive routines and the book, Discussing the Undiscussable: A Guide to Overcoming Defensive Routines in the Workplace, published by Jossey-Bass in 2007. He received his master’s degree from Harvard University’s Divinity School and his doctorate from the Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley where he studied both psychology and religion.

BPattonBruce M. Patton

Bruce Patton is cofounder and Distinguished Fellow of the Harvard Negotiation Project, founded in 1979 to improve the theory and practice of negotiation and conflict management. Working alongside Roger Fisher, Bruce pioneered the teaching of negotiation at Harvard Law School as Thaddeus R. Beal Lecturer on Law, and continues to teach students, executives, and diplomats from around the world. His commitment to helping people realize their full potential is unparalleled as is his experience and talent as an educator, advisor, and coach. At Harvard Law School, he has cultivated several generations of new talent, many now leaders in the field as academics and practitioners. Patton is also a founder and director of Vantage Partners llc, a global consulting firm that helps companies drive business results by improving how they negotiate and manage their most critical relationships (internal and external). Bruce has contributed to the resolution of many intractable public conflicts, including the Boston Public Schools–Boston Teachers Union contract; the 1980 U.S.–Iran hostage conflict; working in Central America to improve the Arias Peace Plan, for which Costa Rican president Óscar Arias won the Nobel Prize; and helping all parties in South Africa to structure the constitutional negotiations that led to the end of Apartheid. Today he works with future Palestinian and Israeli leaders. A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, Bruce co-wrote the seminal book Getting to YES: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In. More recently he co-authored the New York Times Business Bestseller Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most.

BPutnamRobert Putnam

Robert W. Putnam is a founding partner of Action Design, a consulting firm specializing in organizational learning and professional development. He works with senior executives to develop effective leadership groups, facilitates conversations across organizational boundaries, and consults on organizational change. He has worked with leading companies in such industries as healthcare, financial services, software, pharmaceuticals, and consulting, as well as in the social sector. Bob also teaches in executive education programs offered by leading business schools including Columbia, HEC Paris, MIT, and Oxford. Bob is a co-developer of action science, an approach to inquiry that emphasizes knowledge for action. He co-wrote the book Action Science with Chris Argyris and Diana McLain Smith. He has written several articles on reflective conversation, action science, and organizational learning. Bob earned his doctorate in Counseling and Consulting Psychology from Harvard University. He holds a degree in Political Science from Syracuse University and was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow in Political Science. Before beginning his doctoral studies he was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Costa Rica and worked at a human-services organization in Boston. Bob and his wife, Elisabeth, live in Newton, Massachusetts.

DMSmithDiana M. Smith

Diana is the founder and president of the Actionsmith Network and Actionsmith Inc. For 30 years Diana has studied and advised leaders and their teams on how to build relationships strong enough to master their toughest challenges. Her research-based approach zeroes in on the human dynamics of strategic choice and change in organizations. Drawing on a background in family therapy, community organizing, organizational learning, and policy disputes, Diana has a proven track record helping executives in the corporate and social sectors build relationships that allow them to put their differences to work in the service of their missions. Prior to founding the Actionsmith Network, Diana served as chief executive partner and a senior partner at New Profit, a venture philanthropy firm, and a thought partner at the Monitor Group, a global consulting firm. She has authored or co- authored dozens of articles and three books, most recently The Elephant in the Room: How Relationships Make or Break the Success of Leaders and their Organizations. She has taught at executive education programs at the Harvard Business School and Columbia University, and she has served as a guest lecturer at Harvard Law School, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has also taught as faculty at the Boston College Carroll School of Management’s MBA and Ph. D. programs. She is a founding partner of Action Design as well as a founding member of the Society of Organizational Learning. She is a member of the Academy of Management and the American Psychological Association. Diana received her BA degree from Boston University where she designed an interdisciplinary course of study called Political Writing in America. She was trained as a family therapist at the Family Institute of Cambridge and received her master’s and doctoral degrees in Counseling and Consulting Psychology from Harvard University.

BUnderwoodBill Underwood

Bill Underwood is cofounder and president of Catalyst Consulting Team, a Silicon Valley-based firm focused on organizational development since 1985. Bill coaches executives to implement key strategic initiatives and develop their leadership talent with a focus on aligning teams toward shared business results. Bill’s particular interest is in transferring people skills based in the neurosciences and organizational learning. Bill focuses on the knowing/doing gaps and applying individual’s learning and development to action. Drawing on the work of Chris Argyris, he helps executives utilize their differences to advance intelligent progress. Bill designs innovative training programs in leadership development, teamwork, vision/values and critical communication. These programs are customized for clients’ specific needs such as growing a company’s leadership bench strength. In 1994, Bill pioneered the use of web-based collaborative software GroupMind Express to augment the quality of human interaction and decision making; today, clients such as eBay, Oracle and Conoco Philips use GroupMind Express for interactive web surveys and conferences, elearning, and managing global teams. Bill draws from a background in anthropology, cognitive psychology, general semantics and organizational learning. He completed post-graduate work with Diana M. Smith in coaching and trained with Executive Arts Coaching. He has taught at university extension programs and was on faculty for the Action Design Institute. His current clients range from startups like Pivotal, Zenpayroll, to large companies like Adobe, Google, Autodesk, and NetApp.

JeffJeff Wetzler

The essential question animating Jeff’s career—whether in working with children, educators, or executives—has always been: how can we create learning experiences that are deeper, more meaningful, and enduring? Prior to co-founding Transcend, Jeff spent a decade in senior leadership roles at Teach For America, a national nonprofit dedicated to educational opportunity for all children.  For the majority of that time, Jeff served as EVP of Teacher Preparation, Support, and Development and Chief Learning Officer, where his teams focused on optimizing the training and ongoing support of TFA’s thousands of corps members nationally.  Before that, Jeff worked at Monitor Group, an international consulting firm, where he focused on adult and organizational development and created a technology product to extend the impact of learning experiences. Wetzler was a founding board member of Leadership Prep Charter Schools and currently serves on the boards of Uncommon Schools NYC, New Classrooms Innovation Partners, and the National Academy of Advanced Teacher Education.  For the past two years, Jeff has also served as a design advisor to the Achievement First Greenfield School innovation project. Jeff is a Fellow in the Pahara-Aspen Education Fellowship and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.  He earned a doctorate from Teachers College, Columbia University, where his dissertation research examined how to apply design thinking to advance innovation in education systems. Jeff earned a bachelor’s in psychology from Brown University, where he co-founded and taught extensively through Providence Science Outreach, a nonprofit that equips university students to do hands-on STEM projects with children in under-resourced schools.  During his time at Brown, Jeff also studied under Ted Sizer, whose beliefs about learning and school design profoundly shaped his worldview. Jeff lives in New York with his wife and two kids, who constantly fuel his inspiration and urgency in this work.