Our People


H. Skipton Leonard, PhD

Master Action Learning Coach,
Principal and Managing Director

Dr. Skip Leonard has been conducting Action Learning and training Action Learning coaches since 1999. In addition to being an Emeritus board member of the World Institute for Action Learning, Dr. Leonard is also a Professional Faculty member at Johns Hopkins University, Carey Business School. Trained as a social and organizational psychologist, Dr. Leonard has devoted his career to helping individuals, teams, and organizations achieve their goals and accomplish their missions by learning how to be more adaptive, creative, and innovative. A thought leader and noted authority on Action Learning and leadership development, Skip has coached and trained thousands of executives, managers, and professionals. Prior to helping found the World Institute for Action Learning (WIAL), Skip was a Vice President and Executive Consultant with Personnel Decisions International (PDI) serving in the capacity of GM as well as head of the assessment and coaching practices in PDI’s Washington, DC office. Dr. Leonard has consulted with numerous Fortune 100, 500 and Global 1000 companies such as Pfizer, Microsoft, Target, Wells Fargo, American Express, AstraZeneca, Boeing, Bechtel, Chrysler, Dell, NCS-Pearson, and SAIC. He also has experience with NGO’s such as the IMF and World Bank as well as US government organizations such as NIH, the US Army, the United States Postal Service, GSA, USDA, and GAO. Dr. Leonard received his doctoral and undergraduate degrees in Psychology from New York University and Middlebury College respectively. Dr. Leonard is a licensed psychologist in the state of Virginia and served his country as an officer in the US Army. A leader in his profession, Dr. Leonard is a Fellow in the American Psychological Association and Past President of the Society of Consulting Psychology. He was also the founding editor of a peer reviewed journal, Consulting Psychology Journal. Over the years, Dr. Leonard has received many awards including the Chairman’s Award for Innovation (PDI), The Founders Award by NYU, and a special commendation for leadership and commitment to the Society of Consulting Psychology. Dr. Leonard has over 100 books, book chapters, articles, and professional presentations to his credit.

What clients and colleagues have said about Dr. Skip Leonard on LinkedIn


Arthur M. Freedman, MBA, PhD

Master Action Learning Coach, and Head,
Organizational Change Practice

In addition to being a head of Learning Thru Action’s Organization Change practice, Arthur is a board member Emeritus for the World Institute for Action Learning. Dr. Freedman earned both his BS and MBA at Boston University’s College of Business Administration and his PhD in Personality and Clinical Psychology at the University of Chicago. In addition to being a Professional faculty member at Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School, he is also a Visiting Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania.

Arthur has been conducting Action Learning and training coaches since 1999. A thought leader and noted authority on organizational change, Dr. Freedman has consulted with government, non-profit, and commercial organizations throughout North America as well as Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, Germany, Russia, Vietnam, Singapore, and Zimbabwe.

Dr. Freedman is a Fellow of the Society of Consulting Psychology and Division of International Psychology of the American Psychological Association. He is also a Past President of the Society of Psychologists in Management. A winner of the prestigious Harry and Miriam Levinson Award for Exceptional Contributions to Consulting Psychology he is also the recipient of the RHR International Award for Excellence in Consulting Psychology. Dr. Freedman is the author or co-author of over 125 books, book chapters, articles, and professional presentations.


Joanne Irving, PhD

Certified Action Learning Coach, and Director
Internal Action Learning Coaching Programs

Joanne Irving is a Certified Action Learning Team coach and consulting psychologist with over 25 years of experience facilitating personal, team, and organizational change. Dr. Irving manages multi-team Action Learning projects for LTA under contract to corporations, businesses, governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations, and not-for-profit organizations. With over 20 years of managing developmental programs,  Joanne understands the planning and logistical challenges and issues that are so critical to a program’s success. Joanne has served on the Board of the World Institute for Action Learning and was the Director of that organization’s annual professional conference  (Forum) for two years.  Dr. Irving is also Founding Partner of  the Chrysalis Group, an organization that provides  individual coaching, counseling, and organizational consulting services.

Dr. Irving has consulted to a broad range of organizations including Fortune 500 companies such as Microsoft and Hewlett Packard, healthcare organizations such as Sutter Health and Atlantic Health Systems, utilities such as Arkansas Cooperative Electric, non-profit organizations such as the United Mine Workers Health Care and Retirement Funds and Humane Farm Animal Care, professional trade associations such as the Special Libraries Association,  as well as a number of family owned businesses, government contracting and professional service firms with regard to issues such as team conflict, organizational and leadership development, critical problem solving, and employee relations/performance.

Dr. Irving has a Bachelor’s of Arts degree from Tufts University where she graduated summa cum laude and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Maryland. Her academic training—grounded in group dynamics, intergroup relations, and individual functioning included research in the areas of service delivery systems, consumer satisfaction, program evaluation, and organizational culture analysis. Joanne is also certified in Cultural Transformational Tools and the Hogan Leadership assessments. She is a member of the American Psychological Association, the Society of Consulting Psychology, the International Coaching Federation, and the Society for the Advancement of Consulting.


Carole Lyles Shaw, MBA

Certified Action Learning Coach,
Senior Coaching Associate

Carole has over 25 years experience as a consultant in change management, leadership development and team development and is founder and President of the Columbia Resource Group. Her clients include the World Bank, Deutsche Bank, Social Security Administration, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Department of Commerce, Pearson Publishing, and other government and commercial clients. Carole is certified as an Action Learning coach (CALC) through the World Institute for Action Learning.

In addition to earning an MBA from Columbia University, Carole has pursued advanced graduate study in organizational behavior at George Washington University and in public policy at the University of Southern California. She is a sought after presenter and teacher in the areas of Organizational Development, leadership, and virtual team performance.

Carole brings a wealth of experience to Learning Thru Action. Prior to launching her consulting firm, Carole served as an HR executive for Citicorp as well as Program Director for the master’s programs in human resources, organizational development and leadership development at the Johns Hopkins University School of Professional Studies—Graduate Division of Business and Management. In these positions, she taught and developed many management development programs that linked organizational objectives at a strategic level with pragmatic, high impact HR programs and systems. In her private time, Carole is also an artist who exhibits in the U.S and overseas.