About Me

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

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.

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