Emily Axelrod

    Chicago, Illinois, USA

    BK Expert
    Community Member Author

    Emily M. Axelrod is co-founder of The Axelrod Group, Inc. Emily and Richard contributed to The Change Handbook and The Flawless Consulting Fieldbook and Companion.

    Who are Dick and Emily?Dick and Emily Axelrod have been together for more than forty-five years. They met in 1967 in Pusan, Korea, where Dick was serving in the US Army as a signal officer and Emily was teaching children at Pusan American High School. Friends often ask, “Was it like MASH?” MASH was not far from the truth. They soon fell in love and were married in September of 1968. Since then, they have raised two children, Heather and David, and became the doting grandparents of Zach and Andy. Along the way, they formed the Axelrod Group, Inc. in 1981, a consulting firm that pioneered using employee involvement to effect large‑scale organizational change. While they bring different perspectives to their work, they are totally aligned when it comes to wanting to leave the world a better place than they found it.What do you get when you combine Dick + Emily?During their life together, they have had many dinner conversations about the best way to improve the world. Dick has believed that if you could bring dignity into everyone’s work experience, where people knew their voices counted and their hearts and minds were engaged in the work, there would be positive impacts on families and ultimately the society as a whole.Emily would counter that the way to improve the world was to improve families because strong, healthy families are the cornerstone of society. With Dick and Emily, you get an unusual combination of a kid raised on Chicago’s South Side (Dick) and someone who brings her folksy southern wit and spirit to the work (Emily). You get the discipline of Dick’s engineering-based education from Purdue University and a master’s in business from the University of Chicago and Emily’s grounding in physical education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, along with the heart of a family therapist (master of social work) from Loyola University Chicago.Dick’s early experiences in his father’s model airplane factory and at General Foods—one of the first companies in America to use self-directed work teams—had a great impact on him. Emily’s roots in Wilmington, North Carolina, gave her a sense of community and how people in communities work together for the common good.Recognized worldwide, they have received awards from Benedictine University, the University of Chicago, and the Organization Development Network.Throughout the years they have shared what they know by teaching others at American University, Benedictine University, Columbia University, and the University of Chicago, to name a few." />

    You Don't Have To Do It Alone

    What if you could make collaboration an asset in your work and your life?

    Collaborative Loops

    from BK Fast Fundamentals

    Let's Stop Meeting Like This

    Is it possible to hold meetings that actually maximize productivity?

    The Conference Model

    from BK Fast Fundamentals

    Let's Stop Meeting Like This (Audio)

    Is it possible to hold meetings that actually maximize productivity?

    Emily Axelrod provides the following services:

    • employee engagement
    • organization design
    • strategic planning
    • speaking
    • training and coaching
    • sustainability

    Emily Axelrod's clients include:

    American Management Systems
    Bell South Telecommunications
    The Boeing Company
    British Airways
    Chicago Tribune
    Cincinnati Bell
    Coca Cola
    Corning Incorporated
    Detroit Edison
    Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield
    Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut
    Erikson Institute
    First Union Bank
    Ford Motor Company
    Harley Davidson
    Helene Curtis
    Inland Steel
    Inova Health Care

    John Deere and Company
    Kaiser Permanente
    Leeds University
    Mercy Healthcare Sacramento
    Moore Corporation Ltd
    Multicare Health System
    Naperville District 203 Schools
    National Association of Security Dealers
    Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission
    Novartis Pharmaceuticals
    R.R. Donnelley and Sons
    Reichold Chemicals
    SBC Ameritech
    Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America Inc.
    United Nations Development Fund
    Vancouver Coastal Health Authority

    Please contact for more information:


    "We replaced our stalled change effort, marked by employee withdrawal and resentment, with an Axelrod-coached effort, driven by employee commitment and enthusiasm. The tangible results of this change? Twenty-six supply-chain improvement projects went into high gear, which have netted us millions of dollars in savings. From working with The Axelrod Group, I've learned that when people put their own thumbprint on a change process, selling them on the benefits of the process isn't necessary. They own the work."
    Joe Aresto, Director of Supply Chain Management, Detroit Edison

    "The Axelrod Group approach is not for the weak of heart. Trusting in the wisdom of your organization takes courage. The results, however, are worth it: deep, sustainable performance improvement delivered by a committed workforce."
    Meta Dooley, Vice President, Strategic Development & Business Planning, MultiCare Health System

    "For the past five years, we have been able to reverse a downward performance trend, and have gotten back to an average annual growth rate of 18 percent. Much of our success is due to The Axelrod Group's Conference Model® approach. It not only works, but it complements our other management and leadership tools as well."
    Mike Freeman, Hewlett-Packard

    "I am impressed with Dick Axelrod's directness and honesty. People learn as a result of being in his presence and watching him work with others."
    Helen Lingham, Manager, Leadership and Organization Development, Fraser Health Authority, Canada

    "I'm lucky. I learned from Dick Axelrod while he sculpted Terms of Engagement, and had the distinct pleasure of using his concepts to guide my work with large groups, as well as to partner with Dick as Empire started on it's quest to be a successful e-business. Now when I have a roomful of bright people, I know how to draw upon their collective wisdom to create better solutions than any of us could have conceived individually. Using Dick's engagement principles, voices emerge, direction takes root, and behavior changes right away."
    Scott Gassman, Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield

    Emily has not added any photos.