Frances Johnston, Ph.D.
Frances Johnston is a world-renowned scholar-practitioner, researcher, and co-author of the Harvard Business Press book, Becoming a Resonant Leader. Over the course of her 20+ year career, she has become a trusted mentor and advisor to C-level executives and top teams across a broad range of organizations and sectors—including many of the world’s biggest and most well-known companies: UniCredit Group, Viacom, Unilever, Merrill Lynch, and Unisys. She has also worked with the United Nations Development Programme and consulted to government leaders around the globe on issues of inclusion, post-conflict organizational development, and community leadership.
Fran’s fascination with group development and deep commitment to organizational growth enables her to create real connections with those she serves and catalyze transformational change in large systems. She’s done it worldwide in a variety of complex contexts and approaches, including: 6,000 business line leaders in a global energy company; 1,000 community and government leaders in post-Khmer Rouge Cambodia; 50 physician leaders in a regional health system; 25 managers of her local food co-op; and with one incredibly competitive Division I college basketball coach. Fran sees the potential of any group or individual to make a difference with their leadership to change the world, and her fundamental belief in human possibility and profound capability to understand an organization’s complexity, set her apart as an effective leader of leaders.
Fran is noted for her ability to make sense of a system’s complexity and to design elegant solutions. Her interventions leverage the organization’s strengths while engaging emotional commitment. One of Fran’s core design principles is to develop increased capability of leaders and other internal players to sustain change after Teleos Leadership Institute leaves the engagement. This means that leaders often get individual-level coaching and support to help them own and facilitate their organizational change efforts. She does this through designing events that align and connect top teams with their organization and other stakeholders.
The daughter of documentary filmmakers, Fran grew up in a world of exploration, creativity, and curiosity. By the time she reached college at the University of Pennsylvania, Fran had channeled that curiosity into the study of group dynamics and group development. She was a leader on her field hockey, track and rugby teams, and she used her experience as an athlete to figure out how and why teams behaved the way they did. That curiosity continued to grow throughout her career. She earned a M.Ed. in Sports Psychology and a Ph.D. in Adult and Organizational Development, both from Temple University. She designed custom executive education programs at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School before joining the Hay Group, a global management consulting firm focused on organizational change. Finally, in 2002, she joined with Annie McKee to start Teleos Leadership Institute to create a resonant consultancy that “walked its own talk.” Emotional intelligence and resonant leadership are Fran’s passion, and Teleos Leadership Institute enables Fran to apply her expertise for even greater impact.
Her past experiences are in the ground she stands on, and everyone who meets Fran can feel how grounded she is. She has a bold, confident personal and professional mission: to make profound and enduring positive change in human environments and, therefore, the world. She truly believes that any system can change once it finds the will to do so. Her development as a scholar-practitioner includes thorough study of Gestalt theory—a theory of psychology applied to organizational development that gets to the root of personal and organizational potential and mobilizes energy to change. She is a long-standing faculty at the Wharton School’s Aresty Institute of Executive Education and a senior associate/faculty of the Gestalt International Study Center in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where she teaches their flagship course for senior executives. Previously, Fran taught at Temple University, Philadelphia College of the Sciences, the Community College of Philadelphia, and the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland.
Fran and her partner Laura have two children, Lucas and Miguel. They live in the eclectic enclave of Mount Airy, Philadelphia, a complex and interesting beehive of community activity—just the kind of place you’d expect to find Fran.
Resonance or Dissonance: A Leader's Choice
We're Wired for Hope
Beyond the Pink: Wake Up Calls and What I Learned from Cancer
October 27, 2011
Entertaining Justice: Judges with Emotional Intelligence
May 5, 2011
Gratitude: The Parent of All Virtues
December 22, 2011
BROOKINGS INSTITUTE OF EXECUTIVE EDUCATION
Resonant Leadership and Resilience for Federal Employees
Closed to the Public
May 14, 2012
Fran Johnston on Resonant Leadership and Emotional Intelligence
Fran Johnston talking with Karen Edelman of Forbes Conferences and Speakerblast on Resonant Leadership and Emotional Intelligence.
Fran Johnston explains the positive impact of utilizing your personal power.