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A McKinsey Company
A McKinsey Company
A McKinsey Company
Laura Carmichael Affiliate Advisor

For the last 15 years I’ve been inspiring top leaders to explore what it means to be a purpose driven organization not only to pivot business strategy and spur new growth but also for people development strategy during rapid change. I believe if we accept that we want to transform the world, and have the responsibility to do so, we need to ask: how do we develop leaders that can change the world?

Having worked with over 25 brands in many sectors, I’ve driven big organizational culture change projects that shifted from mindsets and behaviors that favor incremental operational change to practices for bolder, visionary transformations. From M&A integrations to emergent strategy and collaboration for innovation, I’ve designed large scale interventions to match the ambitions of leaders and organizations.

In addition to designing learning and leadership development journeys and coaching teams with relationship systems coaching, I work on aligning organizational systems like performance management, promotions and rewards to reinforce the desired transformation rather than work against it. The modern, Agile organization doesn’t benefit from trying to model its people systems on templates that are decades old. Human-centric design methodology is a way forward. I’ve found it exciting to apply my experience in design thinking to innovating organizational and leadership development.

What’s most meaningful to me is when my work contributes to help organizations build their creative capacity. I simply believe we humans are meant to be creative, and if we are not, and don’t have a sense of belonging and an outlet, we are drawn to destruction or greed, which create cycles of suffering.

Though I’m from the US, for the last 20 years I’ve been working abroad, mostly in Europe. I’ve been a “rebellious optimist” my whole life, and people often describe me as living in the future. My first career was as a classical musician. I played with orchestras like the San Francisco Symphony and worked with many living composers. Performance, presence and listening are topics in which I have deep experience. I also lectured in many universities including Harvard, Stanford, Rice, University of Chicago, USC, UC Berkely and Southampton, where I did research in collaboration. Over time I became drawn to working in the business world because of the opportunity to impact larger systems.

Though I’m known to be high energy and live with a lot of intensity, I also appreciate quiet, space and lightness in life. I now live in Utrecht with my partner Oguz and our 9 year old daughter, who has tricked me into taking tennis lessons. Aside from surfing, it’s the most fun I have being bad at something. Left to my own devices, you’d find me reading broadly on many subjects, from poetry to research papers.