David Whitfield Ed.D., Co-Founder

As an executive leadership consultant, I focus on working effectively with culturally different others. I coach leaders like you toward rejuvenating your leadership's gifts, skills, and talents, experiencing more ease in cross-cultural settings. My best days are facilitating a process to help you increase comfort with culture and its impacts in your organization. With over two decades living and working in Europe, I have remarkable cross-cultural leadership experience where I have implement and facilitated complex strategies. With enthusiastic clients we:

  • achieve higher levels of awareness and cultural competency
  • demonstrate profound levels of listening thus increasing trust
  • modify ways of thinking and acting to build in adaptation in your cross-cultural strategies
  • create the path for desired organizational change

Together, we assemble a tool kit of new moves helping you to dance with difference more powerfully.

My interest in leadership started as a sharecropper's son. I witnessed leadership at its lowest skill level: coercion. Knowing leadership had deeper and broader application, I began to focus on creating an awakening. I work to inspire you and invite leaders to lead from the heart first and then consult the mind: an approach that offers incredible insight for intercultural leaders. I grew up working with intracultural difference, starting with my 11 siblings. Though we had the same biological parents, we were different: some were tall, some short; some had light skin, others not so light. Some of us were industrious; others not so. In our family the skills necessary to work with difference and commonality were organic. It's analogous to being accustomed to listening to and dancing to the same type of music; meaning, if I heard the blues, I knew how to move to the rhythm; the beat may have differed, but I followed the cadence with ease. And my sensitivity toward my siblings too, was organic, unconscious. Once outside the family however, the music changed; my sensitivity also had to change. Plus, I needed additional skills and a different level of sensitivity, everything was new and unfamiliar.

I continued watching leaders after I left home at the age of 13, walked away from the plantation, leaving my siblings, my significant others behind. I got on a "learning autobahn and fast," full of ruts, holes, and other impediments; I navigated many crucibles along the way; some very dangerous and difficult; others were exciting—significant sources of learning about leadership. The learning contained skills and talents that were influential in how I danced the different dances and how I work with clients like you.

I had to foster my leadership, therefore I focused on me. It may sound counter-intuitive and yet I submit this is just what is needed now. I worked to gain clarity about my thoughts, ideas, preferences, and continue to study where my culture starts and stops. This is a crucial step in building cultural competence. To determine when another culture is diverging from mine, I need to be able to identify and understand how my culture shows up in my leadership and to sense when it is not working for another and shift. Here are a few steps in my process: seeking an understanding of who I am; taking stock of what I believe in, what I stand for, and why am I here on earth: leadership essentials. Working on me has been instrumental in understanding, working with, and being interculturally sensitive to those who differed from me.

The foregoing guided me, assisted me, and to a degree programmed me to achieve the following:

  • earn a commission from the U. S. Infantry Officer Candidate School;
  • receive an education to include a doctorate in organizational leadership from the University of San Francisco;
  • attain fluency in three languages, which fed my success as a trainer and consultant in an international bank in Frankfurt, Germany with some 44 different nationalities in its workforce;
  • worked with several NATO partners: Germany, England, Iceland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, and Greece;
  • facilitated my thinking as a professor in the graduate schools of Boston University, The University of Oklahoma, Chapman University, Walden University, Gonzaga University.

I also take pride in being an engaged and participative global citizen.

Here is the more traditional list of degrees, awards, etc.

Education:


University of San Francisco, San Francisco, California
Doctorate in Organizational Leadership

The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
Certificate in the Social and Behavioral Sciences

Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana
M. A. in Executive Development in Human Services

University of San Francisco, San Francisco, California
B.S. in Business Administration-Operations Management

Certificates:

Qualified Administrator: Intercultural Development Inventory, Portland, OR 2010

Cultural Detective Facilitator Certification, Cultural Detective, Berkeley CA,- 2011

Train-the-Trainer: Emotional Intelligence and Diversity (EIDI), Emotional Intelligence and Diversity Institute, UCLA Conference Center, CA, 2007

Facilitator, Dynamic Facilitation, Port Townsend, WA, 2007

Awards:

Teaching Excellence: Chapman University, 2002, award based on student evaluations

Client Testimonials

"One of the most valuable aspects was the great stories that developed our depth of understanding while relating them to our lives and to what was being presented. David's story from childhood was very touching—what a great man!"