Susan Smith Kuczmarski
Susan Smith Kuczmarski

Dr. Susan Smith Kuczmarski is a well-known authority on values-based leadership. Her areas of expertise include: How Culture and Values Impact Innovation, Building Innovation Leadership, and New Leadership for an Innovative Edge. She currently teaches “Creating and Leading A Culture of Innovation” in the Executive Program at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. In addition, she teaches “Entrepreneurship” at Loyola University Chicago in the pre-collegiate Summer Scholars Program. She also serves as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Chicago City Day School.

Trained as a cultural anthropologist, Dr. Kuczmarski has extensively researched how leadership skills are learned. She specializes in developing innovative leadership programs; conducting ethnographic, qualitative research; creating energized teams; guiding shared leadership; and understanding organizational culture, effectiveness and change. Known for her interactive teaching style, cutting-edge material, and audience-connection, she offers seminars on the characteristics of successful leadership for corporate, non-profit and educational groups. Her leadership training champions six innovative leadership qualities—humility, transparency, compassion, inclusiveness, collaboration and values-based decisiveness. She nurtures a leader’s skill set, which specifically includes serving others, knowing self, finding common ground, letting creativity reign and rooting for others.

She is the author of five award-winning books, including the pioneering, Values-Based Leadership (co-authored with Tom Kuczmarski in 1995), which launched the values in the workplace movement. She co-authored Apples Are Square: Thinking Differently About Leadership, which was selected by Fast Company Magazine as a “2007 Best Business Book.” In 2012, global leader, Deepak Chopra, wrote the Foreword to the Second Edition of Apples Are Square. Enthusiastically received, Apples Are Square was printed in various languages, including editions in China, Taiwan and South Korea. Her best-selling, The Sacred Flight of the Teenager: A Parent’s Guide to Stepping Back and Letting Go, received the prestigious “Seal of Approval” Award from the National Parenting Center and a Book of the Year Award from ForeWord Magazine. Her most recent book, Becoming A Happy Family: Pathways to the Family Soul, published in 2014, serves as a guide to find the “sticky glue” that supports the family bond and deepen connections across the family network, which is today refreshingly diverse in membership and structure. She lays out six vitamins or strengtheners—humor, emotion, acceptance, renewal, togetherness and struggle—and ten tangible tools to help families think and do differently.

The author of numerous newspaper and magazine articles, Kuczmarski holds a Doctorate in Education and two master’s degrees from Columbia University in New York City, where she was named an International Fellow and a Fellow of the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). She has a BA from Colorado College, where she returns to teach leadership. A lively radio and television guest, she has appeared on the Today Show and is widely quoted in print, including Fast Company, The Wall Street Journal, Investor’s Business Daily, CNN Money, and The Hindu. She has been listed in the Who’s Who in the World for 12 years, and included in Outstanding People of the 21st Century, 500 Leaders of World Influence, and International Who’s Who of Professional and Business Women.

Dr. Kuczmarski began teaching in 1975 at Columbia University, followed by teaching positions in education, sociology and anthropology at University of Illinois Chicago, Dominican University, Concordia University, Northwestern University, Colorado College and National-Louis University, where she taught students in the graduate level master of education program. She has worked at the United Nations, served as the Associate Editor (Book Reviews) of the Journal of International Affairs, and held leadership positions with the World Studies Data Bank, the Academy for Educational Development, and the Constitutional Rights Foundation.

She speaks on the topic of leadership around the world and on issues devoted to the contemporary family. Her research, writing, books, speeches, seminars, teaching, and pragmatic consulting have made her one of the top experts in the fields of leadership and family.

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