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Deborah Ferro Burke, PhD

office 413-637-2888, mobile 413-281-9148
216 Hubbard St., Lenox, MA 01240

Deborah Ferro Burke, PhD, is an experienced organizational consultant, coach and professor who specializes in organization effectiveness and change, leadership development and high-stakes decision-making.

Consulting: 1990 – present
Conduct all aspects of organizational consulting at the enterprise, business, function and team level through my own firm, The Berkshire Institute for Action Learning, and with Culture Change Consultants (specialists in safety culture change) and GE HR Solutions (organization development and HR consulting to GE businesses and partners). The work typically includes conducting assessments and focus groups, interpreting qualitative and quantitative data for understanding and application, planning and delivering meetings and coaching sessions, and communicating results. Examples of projects and clients:

• Planning and conducting Work-Out – several GE businesses
• Applying GE Work-Out to other organizations – Praxair, Cytec, private technology firms, Simmons Graduate School of Management (Dean’s staff)
• High stakes decision-making – GE Power Systems, Capital and Aerospace; private technology firms; Town of Lenox; Trinity Church (Lenox)
• Merger and acquisition integration and decision-making – GE Capital, Power Systems
• Teamwork and learning styles for Six-sigma black belts – GE Plastics
• Culture Change for Quality – GE Power Systems
• Culture Change for Safety – GE Power Systems, United Technologies, C N A Insurance, General Motors (Canada), Toyota (America), Dow-Corning, JS Huber, Dexter Non-Wovens
• Change Acceleration Process – GE HR Solutions, Capital and other GE businesses
• The human and organization side of change management – Six Sigma Academy, Praxair
• Leadership and professional development – C N A Insurance, ATI Technologies
• Planning and starting a new business – private client group
• Board governance and decision-making – ISMETA (International Somatic Movement and Therapy Association), Literacy Network of South Berkshire, United Cerebral Palsy (Berkshire)
• Strategy and planning – GE Power Systems, United Cerebral Palsy (Berkshire), Episcopal Diocese of Western Mass, Trinity Church (Lenox), private technology companies
• Action learning approach to teamwork, leadership and decision-making – C N A Insurance, Jewish Family and Children’s Services of Greater Boston
• Shadow consulting and coaching of peers on their client projects

Coaching: 1990 – present
Work confidentially with executives in new positions, professionals at career inflection points and entrepreneurs and individuals facing tough work problems. Use personalized dialogue approach incorporating the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory, Emotional Intelligence (EQi2), Kolb Learning Styles Inventory, Forum “Influence” and other reflective approaches to build on strengths and lead to successful strategies and actions.

Corporate work — General Electric: 1984-1990 (reverse chronological order)
• Work-Out programs manager, GE Power Systems: Initiated, developed and delivered Work-Out in this $15-billion, 15,000 person business:
o Built working partnerships with external consultants and internal managers and participants; rapidly built effective partnerships with new external consultants when the first team was replaced. Selected and introduced new consultants to one another and prepared them for large scale meetings (3 days, 125 employee participants)
o Engaged 5 business managers in cooperating in this effort, despite their competitive instincts, through persistent confidential conversation and negotiation; coached teams and managers during these 3-day meetings
o Adapted lightly sketched Work-Out methodology to the needs of this business, making adjustments on-the-fly
o Conducted benchmark organization effectiveness assessment using previously developed methodology, innovatively using qualitative analysis software
o Facilitated both break-out and whole group sections of Work-Out sessions
• Human resources manager, GE Corporate Audit Staff
o Conducted all HR, coaching, evaluation and development activities as part of VP’s staff. CAS is the primary pipeline for developing high-level business leaders for GE (and also for other global companies). Over time, the CAS graduate pool supplies more than 30% of GE officers, including the current Vice Chairman/CFO.
o Developed and conducted the first ever GE Work-Out session, with external consultants and internal participants
• Program manager, GE Management Institute at Crotonville
o Developed and delivered Corporate Entry Leadership Conference II: week-long residential program for 5-year professionals to develop business fluency; based on GE corporate customer, financial and interpersonal values, 12-20 times per year;
• Ran, tested and redesigned curriculum for effectiveness, redesigned program protocols and communication with supporting businesses
• Developed customized influence/interpersonal relationship feedback instrument and database
• Was primary instructor: set context, linked topics, oversaw instruction, defined and evaluated final team projects; delivered human values section
• Led team of more than collaborating university professors, consultants, staffers and service providers
• Managed liquidating budget in excess of $1-million
• Introduced personal computers to enhance learning and lower delivery costs
o Seconded to GE Industrial and Power Systems to conduct organization effectiveness study, Schenectady, NY
• Developed and executed methodology for focus group interviews and data analysis to determine how this $15-billion global business of 15,000 employees worked after drastic downsizing; delivered feedback to VP’s staff, individual general managers and their organizations; recommended high leverage improvements. Conducted project in close collaboration with internal communication manager. This work developed a new model in GE for participative qualitative assessment of business effectiveness.
o Participated in design and delivery of the first action learning Business Management Course (month-long residential program for rising general managers), developed business case, coached participant team on their consultation and recommendation to GE Aerospace business executives
o Contributed to the team that developed and delivered Corporate Entry Leadership Conference I for new college hires

• Communication programs manager, Ordnance Systems, Pittsfield, MA
o Won corporate award in “business realities” for producing orientation video
o Coached general managers on more effective internal business communication
o Initiated and led Ordnance communication council
o Participated in business-closing communication for Transformer business
o Introduced personal computers, analyzed employee databases to improve management practices

• Relations Management Program participant (20 months), Ordnance Systems, Pittsfield, MA
o Held college recruiting, professional compensation, communication and community relations positions; introduced personal computers to HR function; taught HR course for line managers
o Attended Relations Management Program and other corporate courses at Crotonville in consulting practices, labor relations and negotiation, communication, advanced human resources practices, business practices

Earlier corporate work:
• Moran, Stahl and Boyer: Area Consultants, corporate relocation specialist
• PepsiCo, human resources analyst
• Continental Grain, personnel administrator
• New York Foundling Hospital, child development specialist
• Staten Island Advance, reporter

Academic work:
• Associate Clinical Professor, Lally School of Management and Technology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY and Hartford, CT, 1995-2002
o Taught organization behavior to MBA students
o Dean search committee
• Visiting lecturer, SUNY Levin Institute China Management Program, 2005-2006
• Mentor-instructor and advisor to program director, Undergraduate Practices Opportunities Program (UPOP), part of the Gordon Engineering Leadership Program at MIT, 2004-present

Pro Bono experience:
• Board of Advisors, Miss Hall’s School, Pittsfield, MA 2011-present
• Town of Lenox Affordable Housing Committee, founding member, 2008 – present
• Lenox Affordable Housing Corporation (501-c3 advocacy group), founder 2008 – present
• Smith College alumnae survey, 2008
• Natural Resources Damages Fund Volunteer Review Task Force (Housatonic River PCB community impact settlement), member, 2006
• Town of Lenox Economic Development Committee, member, 1996
• UCP (United Cerebral Palsy – Berkshire) advisory board, 1996-present
• Literacy Network of South Berkshire – tutor, board member, chair (3 2-year terms), member finance committee, 1992-2007

Fielding Graduate University, Human and Organization Systems, PhD 2009
• Dissertation: “Looking For Interrelationships In Business Practice And Management Theory”
• Presented at Chaos Network, Albany America Society for Training and Development, Consulting Alliance, Warren Bennis’ leadership seminar at the Cape Cod Institute
Columbia University, MBA 1983
• Concentrated in organization behavior and human resources
• Harriman Scholar at the American Assembly on innovation
• Member/officer, ORSA-TIMS
Bank Street College, master’s level work
• Ford Foundation public policy internship at Coalition for Children and Youth, Washington, DC, 1977
Smith College, AB 1973
• Majored in government, with special interest in the American founding period
Linton High School, Schenectady, NY, 1969

• Contributor to The GE Work-Out: How to implement GE’s revolutionary method for busting bureaucracy and attacking organizational problems – fast!; Dave Ulrich, Steve Kerr, Ron Ashkenas, McGraw-Hill, 2002.
• Commentator, Guardian Life Small Business Research Institute

Professional memberships and affiliations:
• Consulting Alliance, board member, programs chair (Albany, NY, area)
• Women Entrepreneurs in Science and Technology (Greater Boston)
• Berkshire Entrepreneurs Network, board member
• Chaos Network program committee, presenter
• Organization Development Network