Our Team

Strategic Initiatives has assembled an international cadre of seasoned practitioners and thought leaders from which we constitute our project teams. Through these relationships and connection to their organizations, we have access to proven expertise in a broad range of areas. Below please find a sampling of our  consultants.

Donald M. Norris
, Ph.D. is President and Founder of Strategic Initiatives, Inc. Don has 35 years experience as a thought leader and expert practitioner in leading and navigating change, crafting and executing strategy, strategic marketing, and organizational transformation. His clients include hundreds of corporations, colleges and universities, and associations. He has published 20 books and monographs that continue to set the gold standard for transformative, strategic change. Dr. Norris has co-authored a number of seminal publications on analytics: “Action Analytics: Measuring and Improving Performance that Matters in Higher Education,” EDUCAUSE Review; “What Every Campus Leader Needs to Know About Analytics,” and A Toolkit for Building Organizational Capacity in Analytics.” Dr. Norris has been active in the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP) for over 30 years. He has co-authored a series of books and monographs for SCUP that have dramatically influenced the field of Strategic Planning over the past thirty years: A Guide for New Planners (1984), Transforming Higher Education: A Vision for Learning in the 21st Century (1995), Unleashing the Power of Perpetual Learning (1997), Transforming e-Knowledge: A Revolution in Knowledge Sharing (2001), and A Guide to Planning for Change (2008). Don was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by SCUP in 1994. He has pioneered a number of leading edge technologies in strategy, innovation, and change management. He is currently leading the Cooperatory™ initiative at Virginia Tech which will serve as a nexus for the entrepreneurial innovation resources and experiences at the University and expose Tech students and alumni to crowd-sourcing-and-funding approaches to entrepreneurship. He holds and B.S, in Engineering Mechanics and MBA from Virginia Tech and a Ph.D. from the Center for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Michigan.

Rob Brodnick
, Ph.D. Rob brings the best of thought-leadership and practice-leadership to help organizations spark thought and ideas, design and achieve their future vision, and navigate change as they focus, strengthen, and transcend current limitations. He catalyzes conversations that change the future. His work focuses on three practice areas: strategy, innovation and design, and facilitation of all kinds. He has worked in the fields of strategy, innovation, and organizational change for three decades and holds special skills in innovation and organizational development, design, and intervention. Rob's Ph.D. is in Psychoeducational Processes from Temple University.

Joseph (Tim) E. Gilmour
, Ph.D. is a Principal with Strategic Initiatives and President Emeritus of Wilkes University, which he served for 11 years. Dr. Gilmour is known as an innovative leader who has championed transformation and a strong performance excellence culture throughout his career. His over 40 years of experience also include serving as Provost at Northwest Missouri State University, Vice President for Strategic Planning at Georgia Tech and Executive Assistant to the President of the University of Maryland College Park. He has served on numerous Boards including the National Total Quality Forum, Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Pennsylvania and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.

Paul Lefrere
, Ph.D. is a Principal with Strategic Initiatives, a Senior Counselor with the firm Images (UK), and Professor at Finland's Centre for Vocational Education at the University of Tampere. He is a recognized expert in innovation and futuring and has shaped many European Union-funded projects using open technologies. He is also widely recognized for his insights and consulting skills on knowledge creation and management, knowledge services, reusable knowledge objects, and web-based learning services. Dr. Lefrere completed a distinguished career with the British Open University and Microsoft (where he had senior roles). He has participated in a range of strategic planning projects for Strategic Initiatives. 

Linda L. Baer
, Ph.D. is an Advising Principal with Strategic Initiatives. She currently is serving as a Senior Fellow with Civitas Learning. Dr. Baer has served over thirty years in numerous executive-level positions in higher education including Senior Program Officer in Postsecondary Success for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs in the Minnesota State College and University System, Senior Vice President and Interim President at Bemidji State University. She presents nationally in academic innovations, educational transformation, the development of alliances and partnerships, the campus of the future, shared leadership and action analytics. She and Don collaborate on breakthrough practices in analytics, strategic planning, and the transformation of higher education.

Richard L. Byyny, M.D. - Chancellor Emeritus of the University of Colorado Boulder
leader and innovator in medical education and clinical practice, active in International Health and Education, at UC Boulder championed a range of realignment, reinvention, and resource reallocation activities

Samuel A. Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. - former president of UT San Antonio & Eastern Michigan Univ
courageously pursued innovation in the face of considerable organizational inertia, internationally respected as an innovative leader who is expert in the leveraging of technology, metropolitan universities, developing organizational capacity, and leading change

Michael Speziale, Ed.D. - Vice President, Wilkes University, partner in MIDA Learning Tech 
new program development and deployment, the establishment of innovative partnerships, strategic planning, educational technology integration, professional development, research, assessment and data analysis

Michael Leardi - President, Strategic Business Advisory, LLC
expert on measuring and enhancing institutional efficiency and productivity through deployment of a widely admired Cost of Education Model, whose findings can be leveraged to achieve efficiencies, reallocate resources, realign program priorities, and support program and process reinvention needed to establish long-term financial sustainability

J. Wade Gilley, Ph.D. - former president of five institutions including the Marshall University
turnaround expert for institutions in trouble, admired for his innovation, 16 books and hundreds of articles in journals and newspapers

David Hollowell, DFP - 30 years experience as chief budget officer and chief planning officer
responsible for all business and administration functions: finance, information technology, administration, facilities, business services, planning, and budgeting, widely admired for his innovative approaches to leveraging technology and innovation 

Ann Hill Duin, Ph.D. - Professor at the University of Minnesota
higher education administrative roles including Vice Provost, Senior Associate Dean, Associate Vice President for Information Technology, CIO and focus on business intelligence and academic analytics, scholarship on emerging technologies and shared leadership

Nick L. Poulton, Ph.D. - President Emeritus of the Texas International Education Consortium
40 years experience in planning, research, and academic leadership positions in American higher educational and in international educational settings, seasoned project manager and planner for international learning initiatives

Richard Katz, MBA - President of Richard N. Katz & Associates
consults on institutional and educational strategy, technology, and on performance management (governance, planning, measurement, assessment) with governments, corporations, and colleges and universities worldwide, served on more than 20 corporate, university, and association governing and advisory boards, internationally known speaker

Mark A. Olson - President, Alliance Consulting, LLC
senior industry executive with campus, corporate and association experience, highly skilled in system strategy, development and deployment, enrollment management, student support/success and analytics - published widely on strategic issues relating to higher education business, finance and technology

Tapio Varis, Ph.D. - Emeritus Professor at University of Tampere, Finland
emphasis is on global learning environments and transitions between K-12, higher education, and employment, a recognized expert on entrepreneurship and innovation in developed and developing countries

Stacia Aylward, - CEO,  Zelos, Inc.
skillful process and meeting facilitator and seasoned strategic planner in higher education, state and local government, and association settings

Senthil Nathan, Ph.D. - Founder, EduAlliance, UAE
seasoned in strategic planning, program development, innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership development in international settings

Susan Poulton - Founder, Door 44
digital media and communications strategist, working with for-profit and non-profit sectors to meet content, outreach, and audience building goals, former VP for Digital Media at the National Geographic Society and content professional at AOL, strong storytelling, communications, and production background