Part of this curiosity springs from the diversity of our consultants’ academic training and interests, which ranges from economics to psychology, public health, anthropology, systems engineering, business strategy and communications. Building on an academic heritage that values inquiry and integrity, we ask tough questions using structured, carefully crafted tools, and work hard with our clients to uncover realistic and accurate answers. We test our methods and ideas in real world applications, and invest in continuous research and methodological improvement. We believe deeply in learning, and are committed to equipping our clients with the skills and insights to sustain change and increase organizational adaptability once our work is complete.
Learn more about our consultants and our strategic partners below.
Debbie Bing, President and Principal, began at CFAR as a Project Consultant in 1998, became an Associate in 1999, and a Principal in 2006. Her assumption of the Presidency in 2016 represents the shift to CFAR’s Second Generation of Leaders. Debbie is also a member of CFAR’s Board of Directors and co-leads the firm’s Family Business and Owner-led practice group. As a second-generation owner of CFAR, she draws on personal experience in working through the dilemmas of strategy and succession.
Debbie views conflict as a useful starting point for a productive exchange about organizational priorities and performance. She has led negotiation teams in the Middle East and in Eastern Europe, and uses that expertise to help business leaders and executive teams in family businesses, entrepreneurial organizations, universities, associations and foundations to build collaborative approaches to their most pressing business challenges. She is especially skilled at helping clients make decisions and implement change in highly politicized, emotionally charged environments as they manage the multiple pressures of mission, performance, culture, competencies and competition. Her methodology brings all appropriate players into the process of generating options, making decisions, and committing to a plan so that they “own” the solution.
She is an experienced speaker and has presented to groups including the Family Firm Institute, the Council on Foundations, the International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations (from which she won The Bridger Award in 2008 for her paper, “Crowding Out the Space: The Weakness of a Strong Leader”), the Northeastern University Center for Family Business, the Healthcare Business Women’s Association and numerous Boston area business groups. In October 2014, Debbie was honored as a Fellow of the FFI, from which she earned both the GEN and Advanced Certificates in Family Business Advising. In addition, she has been published in People & Strategy Magazine, and has had several articles in Family Business Magazine. She is member of the Board of Directors of E4TheFuture, a Fellow of the Family Firm Institute, a member of the international board of the Family Firm Institute, a member of the Professional Advisory Committee of the Boston Foundation, and an adjunct faculty member at D'Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University.
Debbie holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Peace and Conflict Studies from Haverford College and a Master's of International Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University.
Nancy Drozdow, Founder and Principal, is a member of both the firm’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee. She leads CFAR’s Family and Owner-led Business practice and has been instrumental in the development of CFAR’s approach to strategy. Nancy is nationally known for her expertise as a thinking partner to leaders, successors, and successor candidates across the family enterprise. Nancy helps her clients creatively identify and test options, and then make hard choices working through the structures, processes, people, and metrics that can enable or stand in the way of productive action.
Nancy is a founder of the Family Firm Institute, a global resource created to provide interdisciplinary intelligence, education, and professional development to educators and professionals serving the family business and family wealth fields. She is an FFI Fellow and served on the organization’s original Board. She is past President of FFI’s Mid-Atlantic chapter. Nancy won the 2012 Richard Beckhard Practice Award from the Family Firm Institute, which annually honors a founding member and distinguished practitioner in the family enterprise field, recognizing outstanding contributions to the field of family business practice.
Nancy has lectured widely on topics such as risk, competition and growth, governance, succession, exit and continuity, and leadership and organization development. Her work and ideas have been published in the business press including Sloan Management Review, Business Week, CEO Magazine, Family Business Magazine, the Journal of Management Consulting, Family Business Review, the New York Times among other publications.
Nancy earned a Bachelor of Arts in History from Penn State University and holds an MBA in Strategy from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Carey Gallagher, Principal, is a member of CFAR’s Healthcare Group and Change Implementation practice. Her work in healthcare has spanned academic medical centers, community health systems, post-acute organizations, foundations, associations, and medical specialty societies. Carey brings 15 years of experience to helping healthcare organizations succeed in shifting from legacy practices based on increasing volume, to a future where value directs needed change.
Carey is skilled at analyzing complex dilemmas and identifying levers that accelerate change initiatives within an organization’s existing culture. Her work focuses on practical solutions, helping clients engage and unite diverse stakeholders in small shifts that measurably improve performance and productivity, and foster innovation.
Carey is an experienced speaker and author, and has presented to the executive track of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association, the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) program, and to the Alliance of Independent Academic Medical Centers, among other audiences. She serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Healthcare Management, has co-authored several series in the Wharton Healthcare Quarterly, and has published a report on increasing the effectiveness of small-scale interventions in the Wallace Foundation’s Knowledge Center.
Carey is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. She has been recognized with the Regent’s Award for Early Career Healthcare Executive and she currently serves on the executive committee of the Greater Philadelphia chapter, HLNDV. She also serves as an Advisor to the Management Consulting program of the Fox School of Business at Temple University.
Carey earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Georgetown University, and holds a Master’s of Business Administration with a concentration in International Business from the Fox School at Temple University.
Thomas Gilmore, Principal and one of CFAR’s five founders, consults to significant changes in complex organizations, often in connection with leadership transitions. He has written extensively on issues of leadership, large group engagement processes, reorganizations, downsizing and team building.
Originally trained as an architect, Tom brings a different perspective to the process of analyzing organizational problems and drafting solutions. He is an expert at seeing the links between the whole and the elements of an organization—ranging from the business fundamentals evidenced in the hard data—to the psychodynamics among individuals on the executive team faced with tough, far-reaching decisions. His particular specialty is leadership transitions, and he has worked with corporations, universities, liberal arts colleges, foundations, associations and healthcare organizations to help them to seize leadership transitions as a major strategic opportunity to strengthen the organization.
Tom is a prolific writer. It is his natural impulse to extract lessons from the particulars of a client situation and express them in a form that can be shared with other CFAR consultants, clients and the greater world of business thinkers. He is the author of Making a Leadership Change, cited by Frances Hesselbein—former CEO of the Girl Scouts and Founding President of the Drucker Foundation—as “the best book I know on this subject…I use it today—the most helpful gift I know for a leader in transition.”
Tom is a Senior Fellow the Wharton School and in the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, Population Health Associate at the Jefferson School of Population Health, and is a faculty member in the Consulting and Coaching for Change Program offered by Oxford and HEC. He is one of the founders and a member of ISPSO (International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations), serving on its board for three years.
Tom earned an A.B. from Harvard University in Roman History and Literature and a Master of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania.
Larry Hirschhorn, Principal and one of CFAR’s five founders, is a recognized expert on the psychodynamics of organizations, and has consulted to executive teams in a broad range of industries, helping them refine their group process so they can make better decisions. Trained as an economist, Larry's consulting approach is grounded in the realities of the client's business model, their interest in identifying avenues to profitable revenue, and the relationships between behavior, group dynamics and business success. He has developed many of the proprietary tools the firm uses to help clients develop strategy, implement change, and improve collaboration. He is a prolific writer, with four books and many articles in scholarly and consumer business publications to his credit. In 2008, he won the 2008 Eliot Jaques award from the Society of Consulting Psychology for his article, "The Fall of Howell Raines and the New York Times." He is a member, founding member and former president of the International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations.
Larry earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Brandeis University and a Ph.D. in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is an adjunct faculty member in the School of Human and Organization Development at Fielding Graduate University, an affiliated faculty member in the school of Organization Dynamics at the University of Pennsylvania, and a former adjunct professor at the Wharton School. He is the author of The Workplace Within: The Psychodynamics of Organizational Life (1988), Reworking Authority (1997), Managing in the New Team Environment (2002) and Beyond Mechanization: Work and Technology in a Post-Industrial Age (1984).
Katelyn Husereau, Senior Manager, brings a breadth of experience to her work at CFAR. With roots in event management, operations, and marketing, she is skilled in stakeholder engagement, strategy development and execution, and design of educational programming. She focuses on the intersection of the hard and soft challenges facing her clients, attending to how relationships and analytics combine to create successful or not so successful outcomes.
Katelyn was most recently the Assistant Director of the Center for Family Business at Northeastern University. In this role she had responsibility for Center operations, as well as the Center’s program design strategy, where she focused on expanding the educational experience of family business members, increasing participation in Center programs. She also assisted in the facilitation of the Family Business Peer Group that is offered to members of the Center, where family members discuss their pressing issues with peers in a safe and confidential setting. In addition to her work with the Center for Family Business, she supported other centers within the college with budgets, developing funding strategies, and strategic planning. She has presented to several family business classes at Northeastern University, at the 2015 Global Family Firm Institute Conference, and at the 2017 Global Family Firm Institute Conference on the intersection of entrepreneurship and family business as an opportunity for next generation engagement.
Katelyn holds a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication and Marketing from Franklin Pierce University, as well as Certificates in Meeting and Event Management and Advanced Management Studies, and a Master of Business Administration all from Northeastern University.
Linda May, Principal, is a member of CFAR’s Healthcare group, and has focused on the development of CFAR’s change implementation methods and tools. She has helped a broad range of healthcare, foundation and corporate clients design and work through messy, complex change initiatives.
Linda is particularly adept in settings where people feel overwhelmed or stuck. Her logjam breaking optimism is one of her strongest project management skills—as is her ability to tap into the natural rhythms and drivers of the client setting. Trained both as a journalist and an anthropologist, Linda sees patterns and themes where on the surface others might see only isolated events.
Linda is an experienced presenter and has spoken with clients before audiences including the University HealthSystem Consortium, the American Hospital Association, and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.
Linda holds a Bachelor of Arts/Plan II Honors Program from the University of Texas, and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania.
Kyle McCracken, Manager, began his career at CFAR as an Analyst, an entry level, two- to three-year position. In 2019, he became the first person in CFAR’s 30-plus-year history to make the leap from Senior Analyst to Manager. His unique progression through CFAR gives Kyle a distinct advantage as CFAR helps clients appreciate and leverage generational perspectives in their workforce. He is passionate about examining the interplay between human behavior and business to help his clients solve complex challenges.
Kyle has worked with clients across a broad range of market sectors, including family and owner-led businesses, higher education institutions, nonprofit organizations, biotech, and healthcare. He has worked alongside leaders in these industries to help them navigate leadership transitions and development, strategic planning initiatives, organizational change, complex governance issues, and culture challenges.
Kyle holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Psychology from Penn State University and will begin an advanced degree program in 2020 while continuing his work at CFAR.
Sara Miller-Paul, Coaching Practice Manager, Consultant, and Facilitator, is based in the greater Boston area. In addition to her client-facing roles, she has also served as Richard Levin & Associates’ Managing Director—overseeing a number of marketing and operational initiatives, and striving to understand the needs of potential clients in order to connect them with the best coaches, consultants, and facilitators. A graduate of the Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program and an MBA at the Heller School for Public Policy (both at Brandeis University), Sara devoted her graduate fieldwork to a diversity of competencies: education, data analysis, and human resources policy research.
As a coach, Sara prioritizes developing trusting relationships with her clients, such that shared goals and challenges alike can be approached with understanding and strategic savvy. She enjoys helping clients find creative solutions that position them for success.
Sara has previously worked in Providence, Rhode Island in a collaboration between Brown RISD Hillel and the Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP), as well as with organizations such as the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, BIMA at Brandeis, and a women’s shelter abroad. She has a B.A. from Brandeis University, where she studied Music and Near Eastern & Judaic Studies. Sara has also completed the “Facilitation for Community Engagement” training through Essential Partners.
Malachi O’Connor, Principal, has worked for more than 20 years with senior executives in a broad range of for-profit and non-profit organizations. He works with leaders to implement systemic changes that strengthen cultural values while measurably improving performance and productivity. He has worked in many industries, including health care and life sciences, insurance and financial services, foundations, and higher education. He is co-leader of the firm’s Life Sciences practice area, and has contributed significantly to the development of CFAR’s change methodology.
Trained as an ethnographer, Mal helps organizations meet the challenges of changing behavior in the service of new strategic imperatives. This makes him particularly attuned to how people think—to why and how differences matter, and to the impact those differences have on achieving desired results. He works with clients to harness the often-tacit beliefs and assumptions of employees, managers and leaders, working with—rather than against resistance—to generate improved performance. His work has included strategy and system-wide strategic change, board and executive development, team building, mergers and acquisitions, restructuring, performance management and the business case for cultural diversity.
Mal is an experienced speaker and meeting facilitator. He has spoken to both large and small executive audiences in corporations, trade associations, executive education programs, and industry and other business groups. Some of these include The Conference Board, the American College of Healthcare Executives, ELAM, The Healthcare Business Women’s Association, The National Center for State Courts, Yankee Alliance, the American Pediatrics Association, as well as the leadership teams of numerous CFAR clients.
Mal holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Fairfield University, and a Ph.D. in Folklore and Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a member of the International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations, ACHE Massachusetts, the American Folklore Society, and NEHI, and is a faculty member in the Program in Organizational Consultation at the William Alanson White Institute.
Lynn Oppenheim, Principal, is one of CFAR’s five founders and is a member of the firm's Board of Directors. She has more than 25 years of experience in consulting across a range of issues and clients. She is known for the breadth of her experience, her pragmatism, and her respect for deeply held client values. While she has worked in many industries, her recent work has focused on academic medicine, whose leaders face numerous challenges including support for their most talented contributors despite declining funding, providing the highest quality of education, and balancing integrated care in tertiary and quaternary care environments. She has experience with the broad spectrum of issues these complex organizations often face relating to strategy, quality improvement, change implementation, and collaboration. A scientist by training, Lynn is dedicated to helping organizations build capacity and speed innovation while meeting business demands and fulfilling mission. Her particular skills include strategy with top teams, in which she helps leaders assess options and set direction; initiative design, in which she guides clients on how to pull people and resources together to effectively support change efforts; and executive coaching, in which she works one-on-one with leaders facing critical decisions.
Lynn has spoken before a wide range of client audiences including the American Association of Medical Colleges, the Healthcare Business Women’s Association, ELAM, and the Healthcare Leadership Network of the Delaware Valley (ACHE chapter).
Lynn holds a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin.
Todd Smith is a seasoned consultant who has worked with family and owner-led business for over two decades in the areas of governance, education, strategy, and communication improvement. With a large and diverse client list spanning numerous industries, Todd brings deep experience in strategy, process improvement, and organizational alignment to his client engagements.
Todd’s unique perspective has been honed over hundreds of engagements with large and mid-sized family enterprises. In addition to working as a family business consultant, Todd served as EVP of Strategy & Governance within a complex multi-generational family office. He understands the complexity of working with numerous advisors from various industries, having coordinated such groups through large company sales, real estate management changes, trust company restructuring, and a variety of related projects.
He is a skilled facilitator, able to adapt quickly to a variety of business and interpersonal challenges as they arise. He enjoys assisting families in successfully managing the competing demands of running a thriving business enterprise while maintaining family cohesion and ensuring longevity.
Prior to focusing on family businesses exclusively, Todd spent many years consulting with Fortune 100 companies in the areas of strategy and process. His desire to provide a more meaningful impact within his clients led him to take a role managing the consulting practices for Eide Bailly LLP for many years, during which time he served a diverse and successful group of family business clients.
Todd has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Government from Minnesota State University, Moorhead.
Helping clients address difficult strategic and organizational challenges often results in leadership transitions for key roles. These moments of change carry with them tremendous opportunity as well as significant risk. Replacing a leader and/or enhancing a leadership team requires a strategic, client-centered approach combined with a deep understanding of the organizational environment and meticulous execution of the craft of executive search.
CFAR has a longstanding strategic alliance with Isaacson, Miller (www.imsearch.com), a premier executive search firm dedicated to recruiting transformational leaders for mission-driven organizations. For more than thirty-five years, Isaacson, Miller has been committed to supporting the civic sector – helping academic and clinical medical centers, universities and colleges, foundations, cultural institutions, environment and conservation organizations, advocacy groups, research institutions, associations, and other nonprofits strengthen and diversify their leadership and thereby increase their societal impact.
Our firms share a commitment to strengthening the civic sector and a dedication to intellectual rigor through client-centered approaches based on collaboration and continuous learning. Over many years, we have drawn upon each other’s expertise and counsel. Through our strategic alliance, we leverage the expertise of both firms to help our clients navigate through critical leadership transitions.
Isaacson, Miller works with client organizations to recruit for a range of positions, including:
— CEOs, presidents, chancellors, executive directors
— Provosts, deans, heads of schools, academic leadership
— CFOs, CIOs, and other administrative and functional leadership
— Advancement and development professionals
— Clinical, research, and administrative healthcare leaders
— Board members and trustees
Headquartered in Boston with offices in Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, DC, Isaacson, Miller serves mission-driven clients throughout the US and across the globe.
Richard Levin & Associates is one of the most recognized names in executive coaching (http://www.richardlevinassociates.com/). Through their unique catalytic coaching process, their experienced team of coaches strives to educate, inspire, advise, and inform–igniting the spark that motivates effective leadership. Through honesty, integrity and a steadfast display of respect, Richard Levin & Associates (RLA) has earned the trust of clients ranging from family businesses and non-profit organizations to global corporations, government agencies, and professional firms.
The consultants at CFAR and the coaches at Richard Levin & Associates guide and advise senior executives on the fundamentals of organizational leadership and high performance, especially in the digital age when print, broadcast, and social media are converging in remarkable ways. Helping executives tell their company’s story, define their personal brand, clearly communicate their vision, and guide their employees to new heights of success strengthen an organization’s capacity to lead transformative change.
Together, Richard Levin & Associates and CFAR help effect change and enhance performance while sustaining the distinctive culture and values of the organizations with which we work. We help develop executives into motivating, inspiring and successful leaders and create high performing organizations.
organizations to go to the next
level—not to fix a known problem,
but to redefine. They give you a
new lexicon, new language and
new ways of thinking."