The Woodlands Group is a personal and professional learning community.  Its members work with public and private organizations, consulting with leaders in corporations and agencies all over the world, focusing on issues related to individual, organizational and societal change.  Collectively, we have published numerous books and articles on organization and societal change.  We have been meeting four times a year since 1978 for personal learning and professional development.  Some meetings have taken the form of pro bono consulting with various leadership groups and organizations, including the Cherokee Nation, the Mayor and top executives of the City of Atlanta, the Whidbey Institute, the Office of the Governor of the State of Georgia, several MIT innovation forums, the Harvard Principals Project, the Brigham Young University football team.


Pat McLagan

My passion is creating the "new" organization: one that is appropriate for today's rapidly changing and more networked world of work--customer focused, adaptive, financially successful, participative -- where formal leaders play a high value adding role and people doing the work are productive, engaged, collaborative, and growing. My books include Unstoppable You: Adopt the New Learning 4.0 Mindset and Change Your Life, Change Is Everybody's Business, The Age of Participation: New Governance for the Workplace and the World.  I have worked on large scale change programs in businesses and agencies in the US and globally.

Paul Gustavson

Paul Gustavson is President of Organization planning & Design, Inc. He has consulted for over 40 years to Fortune 100 companies in the areas of Strategy, Organization Design, Change Management and Leadership Development as well as being involved with more than 50 start-ups during this period of time. He has served as an advisor or Board member for numerous organizations.   He is a recipient of the prestigious Marriott School of Management’s William G. Dyer Distinguished Award.  Paul’s work has been featured in over 50 books, magazines and periodicals. He co-authored a popular book “Running into the Wind, Bronco Mendenhall, Five Strategies for Building Successful Teams” ,  “The Power of Living by Design” and “A Team of Leaders, Empowering every member to take ownership, Demonstrate Initiative and Deliver Results. Paul and his wife Kris Anne live in San Jose, California.

Peggy Hutcheson

Peggy's expertise as an organization development consultant, facilitator, and trainer helps businesses, government and non-profit organizations to establish strategic Human Capital plans, align individual capacity and organizational goals, and determine learning and knowledge management needs for the organization.  She is passionate about projects that focus on identifying competencies needed for a changing business environment and meaningful employee career paths.  She partners with a technology company to build solutions that use competencies as the basis for human resource functions including career development, performance, compensation, and job descriptions. Peggy was founding partner of The Odyssey Group, whose Coaching in Business program was recognized as one of the top ten new leadership development programs by Human Resource Executive. She uses her professional skills as a volunteer with a global engineering association to promote innovation and competitiveness in this country. Peggy is a speaker and author, having co-authored Helping Employees Manage Careers, published more than a dozen articles, presented a half dozen invited webinars, and authored two e-books.

Ann Herrmann

Ann is passionate about helping thinkers, thinking teams and thinking organizations get better results and performance through better thinking and learning. As an author, thought leader, keynoter and researcher, my work is specialized on the practical application of neuroscience, learning and ongoing thinking research using our HBDI database of over 1.1 million thinkers from around the globe.


Nancy Robert

Award-winning innovator and senior executive experienced in strategic planning, research, marketing, and the development and implementation of products and services in health care and technology sectors.  Consistently successful in analyzing market opportunities and leveraging business innovations to create partnerships that benefit product/program development, market positioning and organizational capabilities. 


Mark Rhodes

Mark is a consultant specializing in Strategy and Organizational Design.  His  expertise includes the development of organizational metrics such as the “Voice of the Customer” and “Voice of the Workforce” as key steps in assessing and correcting strategic direction.  Mark developed a breakthrough methodology for defining the attributes and design elements that best correlate to high performance for organizations including Fortune 500 companies, Native American tribes, non-profit organizations and sports teams. He received his graduate degree from Harvard in Social Psychology, where he worked with Robert F. Bales, one of the forefathers of the organized study of group dynamics.  He loves to read and learn about the discipline and history of Strategic Thinking, as well as anything he can find on the brain and the way people make decisions. He lives in Chapel Hill, NC where he coaches baseball, runs, and enjoys life in a college town with his wife Lori and UNC junior son Quinn.


Nena Backer

As Principal and Owner Backer Designs, Nena provides innovative learning experiences to leaders at all levels in organizations.  She conducts assessments, facilitates, and is a coach and advisor to senior leaders and groups who need to solve complex problems across organizational borders.


Stew Liff

Stewart Liff is an internationally-recognized expert on performance management (including visual performance management), human resources management and team development. He shares his expertise as a consultant, an educator, a speaker and as an accomplished author of seven books.


Donna Mcnamara

Donna consults with organizations to improve business results through learning, leadership and organization development.  As the former Vice President of Global  Education and Training for Colgate-Palmolive Company, she developed Colgate’s world-wide learning strategy, designed the company’s business goal alignment process, built leadership capability in accelerating effective change, and worked in over 50 countries of the world.  Donna is a past national president of the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), a recipient of the Gordon M. Bliss Award for distinguished contribution, and a former member of the Society’s Board of Directors and Board of Governors.  Currently, she serves on the National Nuclear Training Accreditation Board for  the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations, is an Advisory Board Member for the Chief Learning Officer doctoral program at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and is a Trustee of the College of St. Elizabeth.  


Dana Gaines Robinson

Dana Robinson founded Partners in Change, Inc. in 1981 and served as its President for 27 years. She is a recognized leader in the area of performance technology, and has assisted hundreds of HR and Learning functions to transition from a traditional and tactical focus to a performance and strategic focus.  With Jim Robinson, Dana has co-authored seven books, including the first book ever published on the subject of performance consulting.  The third edition of Performance Consulting was released in the Spring of 2015.  In total, books by the Robinsons have sold more than 200,000 copies and have been translated into 22 languages.  Dana has received numerous awards including the Distinguished Contribution Award from ATD.  Most recently, Dana has partnered with the Handshaw organization in Charlotte, NC to build capability to market, sell, deliver and expand the performance consulting services developed by the Robinsons.  Handshaw is now the sole provider of these services and Dana has retired.  She lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.


Jim Robinson

Jim retired from Partners in Change, Inc. in 2008. He grew up in western Massachusetts and attended the University of Massachusetts.  After graduation he served as a pilot in the US Air Force, including a tour in Korea. Upon returning to civilian life, Jim gained his business experience when managing several cooperatives for Agway, Inc.  In 1969 Agway selected him to be its first Training Director.  As training director he became involved in the early field trials of behavioral modeling for supervisors.   In 1975 Jim joined DDI where he created Interaction Management, a program that has developed the leadership skills of over five million managers and supervisors.  Jim and Dana were married in 1982.  In 1984 Jim joined Partners in Change, a consulting firm which Dana created to assist Human Resource and Learning functions to become more strategic and linked to the business needs of their organizations.  Jim and Dana are most known for their work in Performance Consulting and Strategic Partnering.  They have authored six books.  In 2012 Jim and Dana moved to Raleigh, NC.  Jim now is active in Raleigh SCORE where he mentors new business startups. He enjoys taking courses at the local universities and attending the ballet and theater in Raleigh.

Steve Campbell

Steve is Vice President of Organizational Development & Executive Talent for UPS. For over 25 years, he has worked in learning and organizational effectiveness both as a consultant to Fortune 500 firms and as an internal practitioner. His experience includes leading successful projects domestically and internationally in organization design, talent management, performance, M&A, and transformation. Steve is a graduate of Loyola University in New Orleans and holds an MBA in Finance and Organizational Behavior from Tulane University. He and his wife Susi live in Atlanta with their three children.


Richard Feller

Richard Feller

Richard Feller, CEO of a new residential build company which builds multi-million dollar, green certified, homes in the Washington, D.C. area.  Former faculty member and Dean at the college and university level.  Organizational strategist and change executive at a Fortune 50 company, and who worked with the CEO of a Fortune 250 company to transition the organization from a $500 m loss and near bankruptcy to being awarded the Turnaround Company of the Year award. 

Lonnie Emard

Lonnie Emard Pic 2019.jpg

Lonnie Emard worked for 18 years in the Information Technology organization for Amoco and 15 years for BlueCross BlueShield South Carolina Information Systems combining his technical knowledge with a unique set of organizational design, human capital and business strategy capabilities to become one of the nations leaders in the field.

 His background and experience, coupled with an ever-growing national skills gap, lead to his founding of a non-profit organization called IT-oLogy, where Lonnie served as President for 8 years.  For the last 3 years, Lonnie has spent significant time assisting the US Department of Labor in its expansion of Registered Apprenticeships as a Subject Matter Expert, including assistance to over 10 American Apprenticeship Initiative grantees and the National Governor’s Association.

 Finally, Lonnie was an Academic All-American in baseball at Northwest Missouri State University and from 1992-2008, coached high school boys basketball recording over 300 wins in 17 seasons.