Esther Derby

Esther Derby

Consultant, Advisor, Speaker

I draw on four decades of experience leading, observing, and living organizational change. I work with a broad array of organizations. My clients include both start ups and Fortune 500 companies.

Based on experience and research, my approach blends attention to humans and deep knowledge of complex adaptive systems.

I have been called one of the most influential voices within the agile communities when it comes to developing organizations, coaching teams, and transforming management. My work over many years has influenced coaches and leaders across many companies.

Jerry Weinberg exposed me to experiential training in 1991. Since then, I’ve applied experiential learning and adult learning theory to create high-impact workshops. I runs two of the most sought after trainings for leaders seeking to apply systems thinking and congruence to their work. Through mu work, I’ve influenced a generation of leaders in companies across the world.

My Background

I started my career as a programmer. However, over the years I’ve worn many hats, including business owner, internal consultant and manager. From all these perspectives, one thing was clear: individual, team, and even organizational success depends greatly on the work environment and organizational dynamics. As a result, I have spent the last twenty-five years helping companies shape their environment for optimum success.

In 1997, I founded esther derby associates, inc.

I’ve learned a lot about how organizations work through observation and action research. My formal education includes an MA in Organizational Leadership and a certificate in Human Systems Dynamics.

In addition, I participated in several workshops at the NTL Institute for Applied Behavioral Science.

Starting in 1991, I studied and worked extensively with Jerry Weinberg. In 1999, I participated in Jean McLendon’s Year-long program exploring the Satir Growth Model.

In 2000, I was one of the original founders of the AYE Conference. This ground breaking conference had no powerpoint, and no lectures. All our sessions were half-day experiential explorations of topics related to working effectively in software organizations.

In 2002 Norm Kerth, Diana Larsen, and I started the Retrospective Facilitator’s Gathering (RFG). RFG used Open Space Technology as an organizing principle. Our format was the inspiration behind the unconference model used at Coach Camps and many other conferences.

I have served two terms on the Board of the Agile Alliance.

I live in northern Minnesota, not far from the shores of Lake Superior. I enjoy all our seasons, cooking, and making garments that have pockets.

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