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Testimonials & Events

Wind River

Jun 11th, 2016Comments Off on Wind River

Expert Guidance

For a number of years, we struggled to align the structure our organizational design to meet the business strategy at Wind River. We invited Michael and his team to conduct a deep analysis of our strategy, intended business outcomes, and current organizational design.

The Brainard Strategy Team offered expert guidance on aligning our organizational structure to our business strategy and executing our organizational transformation with minimal disruption to our business. From the onset, our Executive team felt very comfortable with the direction and facilitation that Michael and team provided. The Brainard Strategy Team’s support throughout the process was exceptional.

Duncan MacMurdy
VP Worldwide of Human Resources
Wind River

MobileIron

Jun 11th, 2016Comments Off on MobileIron

Energizing For Our Management Team Rather Than a Drain on Them

MobileIron was seeking a partner to design and facilitate a strategic planning process that would be leveraged for several purposes. Michael Brainard and his team designed a custom, inclusive, and holistic planning process that was “right-sized” for our situation.

I have leveraged large strategy firms in the past and can say the Brainard Strategy process is substantially different for four specific reasons. First, Michael listened and built a framework that drove inclusiveness and a collective understanding of our challenges. This was fundamental in enabling the changes we need to implement as a team post planning process. Second, the process was developmental in nature. Many leaders on our team have become “rusty” or have been “less than” strategic relative to previous processes.

The best practices, activities, tools, and templates allowed us to move fast and to create learning around strategic planning that a “do it for us” firm might not have offered. Third, the process and the engagement was very practical and applied. Michael was able to touch on the “why” or the theory and then move us rapidly to a practical outcome around that segment. Finally, the process was iterative. We would do “short sprints” on a strategic question and then re-visit that topic 2-3 times as we refined our thinking. This was unique to my team and me, as we were not focused for 1-2 weeks deeply on a single challenge. Brainard Strategy used this innovative approach to drive comprehensive strategic planning around our most critical areas.

This process was energizing for our management team rather than a drain on them. MobileIron will continue to leverage Brainard Strategy relative to strategic planning, leadership development and organizational development.

Barry Mainz
President and CEO
MobileIron

Mater Dei

Jun 11th, 2016Comments Off on Mater Dei

Unmatched by Any Other Consulting Firm

We thoroughly value and appreciate the experience we’ve had working with Brainard Strategy. Our Program Directors and Department Chairs have now completed the ELEVATE Program, and we cannot say enough about the curriculum, the pacing of the program, and especially our facilitator, Tacy Riehm.

The professionalism of this company is unmatched by any other consulting firm we have worked with. Each step of the way, we’ve been supported by Kay, Jillian, Sarah, Anne, and Grant — they’ve asked for our feedback to ensure we get the results we were looking for, they’ve worked with us to meet our (often-changing) needs, and when we needed more emphasis on industry-related themes and examples, Brainard Strategy worked to ensure we got what would serve us best. We look forward to a long-lasting partnership with Brainard Strategy and continued implementation of their programs.

Mrs. Charisse Kitsinis
Assistant Principal/Personnel and Faculty Services
Mater Dei High School

Paul Hastings LLP

Jun 11th, 2016Comments Off on Paul Hastings LLP

The End Result is Exactly What We Need

It has always been a challenge to find thought provoking, innovative partners to assist us in our development needs for all levels of leaders, ranging from C-Suite to entry-level managers. It’s especially challenging since our leaders are also highly educated with multiple demands, resulting in limited amounts of time to obtain development. Given this, the impact must be timely, relevant, thought provoking and meaningful.

I have worked with Brainard Strategy for over 10 years in two different organizations of highly educated, results oriented leaders. Brainard Strategy has been a tremendous partner to collaborate with us to formulate and deliver meaningful leadership, coaching, and other development programs.

Their flexibility to customize programs which fit our unique cultural and industry needs while delivering educational and coaching programs on up-to-date and/or proven leadership behaviors, methodologies, and best practices to optimize organizational performance, is like no other consulting firm I have partnered with. Brainard Strategy’s Team understands our time is limited, so we engage in the planning process thoughtfully and in an organized manner with frequent communication to ensure our needs are understood. The end result is exactly what we need: stronger leaders and coaches to optimize our organizational performance.

Nori Ebersole, Chief Talent Officer
Paul Hastings LLP

Dreamhost

Jun 11th, 2016Comments Off on Dreamhost

What Questions We Should Be Asking Ourselves

In the process of establishing company objectives and goals, Brainard Strategy helped our company realize we are not structured correctly for success. We walked away from our time with Brainard clearly understanding our goals, how to achieve them, but more importantly how to structure our business for the future. Our consultant seemed to know what questions to ask, but also what questions we should be asking ourselves. We are excited about the changes we have been making, and look forward to a time of strategic growth as a result of our time with Brainard Strategy.

Ed Wesley
Director, Organizational Development and Learning
Dreamhost

The New Home Company

Mar 16th, 2015Comments Off on The New Home Company

A Vital Part of this Evolution

We partnered with Brainard Strategy to ensure, that while our organization was experiencing significant growth, our executive team was fully aligned with our culture and continuing to progress towards its strategic objectives. Brainard Strategy created an environment that allowed us to be open, honest and constructively challenge each other for the greater advancement of the team. We left the off-site as a more cohesive unit, standing firmly behind our mission, vision and values. Brainard Strategy was a vital part of this evolution of our team.

Larry Webb, CEO
The New Home Company

Behr Paint

Mar 16th, 2015Comments Off on Behr Paint

Catalyst for Change

Brainard Strategy exceeded our expectations assisting us in implementing our first executive leadership development program. The Executives who participated in EXCELerateSM grew significantly as leaders through this robust and vigorous development program. They actively engaged with one another to form new and deeper relationships. Through their Action Learning Projects they researched, created and presented innovative solutions to current strategic opportunities. Brainard Strategy’s EXCELerateSM program has been a catalyst for change in our organization. We have already seen the impact it has had on our executives’ direct reports and are excited to watch the impact continue long after the program concludes.

Jeff Filley, President
Behr Paint

Toyota

Jun 19th, 2014Comments Off on Toyota

Cultural Fit, Subject Matter Experts

After our engagement scores were revealed in 2012, we developed a talent management strategy that was looking to align our organizational systems with best practices in management techniques. At the core of this new strategy, we implemented a performance management toolkit, that required excellent training in how you set clear expectations and objectives, how to engage performance feedback, how to coach and develop and how to have ongoing discussions to both motivate and give critical feedback to employees.

The consultants that we chose to deliver this project had to be the right fit culturally, subject matter experts in talent management practices, and have the kind of agility to discuss the topics to our highest Executives all the way down to first time supervisors. The first sessions were to be the most critical, since these were the very beginning of our 3-5 year talent management strategy.

Michael Brainard and Andrew Johnson were able to absolutely exceed our expectations. They clearly demonstrated subject matter expertise in all areas of performance management. They demonstrated from the very beginning a true partnership and were able to change the content in real time to meet the demands of every class they engaged in for nearly 625 of our Executives and managers.

Steve Thorne
Organizational Development Manager

Western Digital

Apr 17th, 2014Comments Off on Western Digital

Why Choose Brainard Strategy?

At Western Digital (WD), we were embarking on a journey of transformation. Our core markets were changing and the rate of change was accelerating; new competitors were appearing in the marketplace nearly on a daily basis.

In addition to external changes, we had new executive leadership and a general climate of uncertainty, and change. Although the deep cultural roots of how we managed and behaved had made us extremely successful, we knew past practices would not get us where we needed to be for success in the future. We recognized that in this rapidly changing landscape, we needed to do things differently to maintain our leadership position in the market. We weren’t certain where to begin, and any discussion of change ended with no real commitment or plan. We needed help.

As we were at the start of our three-to-five year strategic planning process design, we reached out to our network, receiving multiple referrals to Brainard Strategy. To successfully lead a discussion with the highest executives in our division, it would be extremely important that the consultants had the right cultural, intellectual and personality fit.  Our initial meetings with Michael told us we had the right team. Michael effectively combines strategy development and deployment to lead organizations that are looking for practical, pragmatic help. He has the confidence, knowledge and presence to go toe-to-toe with C-level execs.

Brainard Strategy partnered with our executive team to clarify and refine our Mission, Vision and Strategic Objectives. The process was practical, yet clearly grounded in the best ideas from traditional strategic planning processes.

Michael pushed us to set up SMART goals and define our goals via tactics and metrics, using an easy-to-apply Performance Scorecard. Our team defined this scorecard together, and ingrained much more productive behaviors in reporting our scorecard performance as a result.

Brainard Strategy’s consulting support around Strategy Development/Alignment has enabled us to refine and clarify our thinking, and surface and address key strategic questions, thus achieving greater levels of goal alignment, execution and accountability than we have had as an executive team.

We are so pleased with the results of the Strategic Planning Engagement that currently we are considering Brainard Strategy to address some of our Human Capital Development needs — they will be the first consultants we call when future needs cannot be met in-house.

Jim Murphy
President, Western Digital

Modern Analytics

Nov 19th, 2012Comments Off on Modern Analytics
James Wheeler
COO, Modern Analytics

Jennifer’s coaching skills help me create my own solution to challenging business situations.  She understands the complexities in networked business environments, and balances active listening with powerful questioning approaches to help me uncover my own solutions.  After working with her on a challenge I find that I have thought through the problem from multiple perspectives and created concrete action steps that move me towards my objectives.

Chicken of the Sea

Nov 19th, 2012Comments Off on Chicken of the Sea
Shue Wing Chan
Chief Executive Officer
Chicken of the Sea

Michael’s coaching helped me see how to further my impact as a CEO throughout the organization. Michael is clearly knowledgeable about how to run complex business operations and how to strategically leverage value within them.  This combined with Michael’s emphasis on leadership self-reflection and understanding from others’ perspectives, I have learned how to drive greater shareholder value.

Chicken of the Sea

Nov 19th, 2012Comments Off on Chicken of the Sea
Shue Wing Chan
Chief Executive Officer
Chicken of the Sea

Our executive team already knew many of the pieces of the strategic plan, but we were missing a cohesive approach. Michael Brainard facilitated strategic planning sessions with our executive team in which our ideas, visions, and desired states were aligned with 1, 2, and 3 year goals. Michael helped us identify tactics that will drive the execution of the goals and metrics for a system-wide dashboard. As a result of this process, we now have an integrated approach to our strategic plan linked to an identified execution strategy that we can cascade throughout the company.

Big Brothers Big Sisters

Mar 29th, 2012Comments Off on Big Brothers Big Sisters
Brent Rivard
Chairman
Big Brothers/Big Sisters of San Diego County

The Big Brothers/Big Sisters (BBBS) is a non-profit organization who, like many others, has been forced to change the way we operate in significant ways recently. Our board had the need to refine and clarify our strategy for the coming years. Michael was able to design and facilitate a process whereby our board could rapidly and pragmatically share ideas and come to a focus that will prove incredibly valuable for the communities we serve. Brainard Strategy has partnered with our organization for a couple of engagements and has donated their expertise to help us in very valuable ways. We have appreciated their professional services support and our staff and board have very much appreciated their expertise, customer service and willingness to support our organization.

Deborah Condon
President, CEO
Big Brothers/Big Sisters of San Diego County

Big Brothers Big Sisters is delighted to welcome Michael Brainard to its Board of Directors. Michael has been an incredible facilitator for the past few years to help our organization become more laser focused on setting strong realizable agency goals and objectives. Short term results of his guidance include our agency doubling the number of potential Big Brother candidates in 2013; which means many of the hundreds of boys waiting an average of 18 months for a Big Brother will get a Big Brother will wait no more. Michael’s commitment as a Board Member is to use all his talents to continue moving children off our waiting list. He believes all children who need and want caring adults in their lives should have them.

National Human Resources Association – Orange County, California

Nov 14th, 2011Comments Off on National Human Resources Association – Orange County, California
Tom Koch
President, National Human Resources Association – Orange County, California

“As President of the National Human Resources Association in Orange County, California I couldn’t be more delighted  with the results of our most recent Professional Development Workshop. We partnered with Michael Brainard of Brainard Strategy. The feedback from the  almost 30 participants was stellar. The overwhelming consensus was that Michael  knew the content cold; presented it an interactive, engaging and thought  provoking way, and that people got great value and actionable content that they  could immediately take back to their companies.

NHRA-Orange County has worked with Michael and Brainard Strategy before and  from those experiences has come to know that this is the high level of  performance, delivery and value at which he consistently works. We give a  strong recommendation to him and Brainard Strategy.”

 

ConAgra Foods

Sep 10th, 2011Comments Off on ConAgra Foods
Dennis Obrien
President
ConAgra Foods
Omaha, Nebraska

“Our business was in massive change as we have been less than one year post an acquisition, many jobs were being consolidated and moved back to the mid-west from California, and our competitive pressures were as severe as they ever had been. We were forced to re-organize while needing to maintain very key talent and teams, we were re-energizing or deciding on resource allocation that was very different than prior years with lower performing brands, and we were trying to maintain our position with well performing brands while our budget was tightening. Our business situation could best be described as chaotic.

We met Michael as a part of our re-structure planning and he was quickly able to assess our business conditions accurately and offer a set of steps that were actionable and impactful. He partnered with me and my executive team on a series of communications plans, he partnered with our HR function on plans for our “impacted” and “surviving” talent and teams, and devised a knowledge transfer plan to enable a smooth business transition for very key functions. Michael met with dozens of executives, delivered dozens of customized change management type of workshops and wrote countless drafts of communications with me and my team for all stakeholders. The change process we focused on was one of “building agility” rather than getting through some set of events… This approach was helpful for our executives and managers far beyond the “chaotic” times we were in. I have since had Michael in for many other types of strategic and operational challenges and his breadth of experience is something I value.”

ConAgra Foods

Sep 10th, 2011Comments Off on ConAgra Foods
John Jakubek
SVP, Human Resources
ConAgra Foods
Omaha, Nebraska

“Our strategy was unclear and the lack of alignment across departments resulted in negative business outcomes. Brainard Strategy came on board and partnered with us to create and implement an executive strategy that has made us more successful and effective than ever.”

Mitchell

Sep 10th, 2011Comments Off on Mitchell
Jack Farnan
SVP, Human Resources
Mitchell International, Inc.
San Diego, California

“We have a new CEO and new ownership group, and we were just completing a year focusing the senior management team on external matters. As a management team we thought it prudent to challenge ourselves around these key questions: 1) Is the culture we have the culture we need for the future? 2) Are our values still a fit for who we are and who we would like to become? I knew that Michael Brainard was the only facilitator to help us to wrestle with these questions, and that if we did not leverage Michael, then the conversation could get muddled and there could be no clear implementation that would result from the conversation.

Michael and I had worked on goal setting and goal cascading in the past. While the OGTM process is still a part of Mitchell International five years later, what stands out most is Michael’s ability to facilitate a senior group. Michael, our CEO, and I collaborated on the agenda and Michael interviewed us prior to our session. During our session Michael was able to get us all to a common point of understanding of culture, the interaction of culture and performance, and the importance of values in the development of a new culture. We had many action-able strategies to validate and drive the values through our management practices and talent systems. Michael is unique among Management Consultants in his depth and breadth of expertise on organizational issues. Michael’s facilitation skills and pragmatism have brought about positive culture change for Mitchell International.”

Mitchell

Sep 10th, 2011Comments Off on Mitchell
Jack Farnan
SVP, Human Resources
Mitchell International, Inc.
San Diego, California

“After interviewing several consulting firms to assist us with developing a strategy for aligning objectives across the corporation, we selected Michael Brainard at Brainard Strategy. Michael worked diligently with our executive team and helped us to develop a process that has been operational now for three years and becomes more ingrained with each passing year. The results that Michael achieved with us exceeded our expectations allowing us to implement an objectives-driven culture within the company. Michael does an outstanding job of bringing the right blend of current business thinking and operational practices to the table which contributes to his success and ultimately the success of his clients”.

Sequenom

Sep 10th, 2011Comments Off on Sequenom
Alisa Judge
Vice President, Human Resources
Sequenom

“As our business changes the pressure on our leadership team to continuously improve is ever more critical. We sought customized 360 feedback and a development process. We believed that an off the shelf 360 would not meet our needs, as we needed to specifically define the unique competencies required for our leaders. In addition, we did not need a web site or book to offer development, we needed a trusted local resource to interpret the feedback and offer action-able, just in time learning tailored to each individual executive.

Brainard Strategy had partnered with us for strategic planning and they had done our employee engagement survey every 18 months. Michael and Jennifer were able to quickly and practically build an executive competency model for us that was easily validated. We then created the items, scale, open ended questions, and report format that would meet our needs. Their platform and expertise in crafting the assessments are truly unique in this now commoditized industry. In addition to creating the assessment and managing the process, Michael and Jennifer offered an emotional intelligence assessment, a personality assessment, and an assessment of cognitive style to those executives who wanted to go through a broader assessment. They were able to do this because these assessments are a part of Jennifer Konkin’s dissertation. We truly appreciate that Michael, Jennifer and the team at Brainard Strategy are partners in learning and always striving to learn and grow; they practice what they preach. Lastly, Michael and Jennifer delivered the feedback in the spirit of growth and development and our executives reported that this type of process was among the richest of its kind they have ever experienced.”

Sequenom

Sep 10th, 2011Comments Off on Sequenom
Alisa Judge
Vice President, Human Resources
Sequenom

“We have grown very rapidly over the past 12-18 months, primarily organically, and we had a very strong sense that our growth had impacted our culture. A primary concern for our senior executive team was to proactively shape our culture during our high rate of growth and diversification rather than watching some issues arise un-checked. We worked with Brainard Strategy to better understand the aspects of culture that were measure-able and action-able. We wanted to understand our culture and it’s impact on our people, business processes, and performance. We engaged Brainard to work with us to create a customizable Organizational Survey Process. This process was highly tailored to our org while encompassing a holistic view of culture generally. Brainard worked with our steering committee and our senior mgt team to ensure solid design, data collection via the web and action-able reports. We will continue to partner with Brainard well after the data has been reported to continually enhance our culture and business performance.”

Golden State Foods

Sep 10th, 2011Comments Off on Golden State Foods
Steve Becker
Senior Vice President, Human Resources
Golden State Foods

“We are a 3+ billion dollar company who is among the most values driven corporations you will ever experience. We have provided one-off training and learning solutions throughout our history, and it became clear that we needed a strategic approach to learning and development in 2009. I attended the Disney Institute, we had executives attend Ivy League programs, and we had hired firms like PDI and CCL in the past. All of these approaches were effective, but none of these solutions were right for us holistically. What we needed to do was to build a comprehensive training and development program that might include the best elements from the above firms, but one that was highly customized for us. As I began to seek advice about a resource or partner to help us to build this infra-structure I was referred to Brainard Strategy by a number of trusted colleagues.

Michael met with me and our CEO to collaborate with us relative to the outcomes and options for the process. Michael was clearly a technical expert in building and delivering corporate learning initiatives, but fit was to be critical. Additionally, we needed a web-enabled solution as our managers and employees are spread out around the globe. Brainard Strategy was selected based on our comfort with Michael and his team, their technical expertise and experience, and their flexible Learning Management System. We are just finishing design and implementation for this year long project. It is a highly complex project and we are delighted with the substance of and interpersonal interactions with the Brainard team. We look forward to a successful implementation in 2010.”

Golden State Foods

Sep 10th, 2011Comments Off on Golden State Foods
Steve Becker
SVP, Human Resources
Golden State Foods

“Golden State Foods is one of the largest diversified suppliers to the Quick Service Restaurant industry. This 63-year company is values-based and is 100 percent management owned and run. As such, GSF places a high priority on quality leadership development, which has been a strong motivator for us to establish a strategic learning and development system at our company.

In the past, we have provided training and learning solutions, but it became increasingly clear in recent years that we needed a more strategic approach to further educating and developing our leaders. We participated in the Disney Institute, Kellogg Executive School, and outsourced training to AMA, DDI and CCL. The approaches were effective to a degree, but none was right for us holistically. What we needed to do was to build a comprehensive and integrated training and development program that would include the best elements from the above organizations, but one that was more customized for us.

As I began to seek advice about a resource or partner to help us to build this infrastructure, I was referred to Brainard Strategy by a number of trusted colleagues. Michael Brainard met with me and our CEO to collaborate about outcomes and process options. Michael proved himself to be a technical expert in building and delivering corporate learning initiatives, but a ‘fit’ was critical, both technically and personally. Additionally, we needed a Web-enabled solution for our managers and employees, as they are spread out around the globe.

Brainard Strategy was selected based on our comfort with Michael and his team, their technical expertise and experience, and their Learning Management System recommendations. We are finalizing the design and implementation phases for this year-long project, and we are preparing for our initial launch later this year. It is a highly complex project, and we are delighted with the substance of and personal direction from the Brainard team. We look forward to a successful implementation in 2010.”

Biosite

Sep 10th, 2011Comments Off on Biosite
K. Blickenstaff
Chairman and CEO
Biosite Diagnostics, Inc., San Diego, California

“We had experienced less than optimal business results in 2006 and some management team conflict that was out of the ordinary, and my feeling was that our management structure and management team functioning may have been less than what it had been in the recent past. I asked Michael for his thoughts on an approach and his expertise in initiating an objective assessment of our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats if we did not change our course of action. Michael’s approach was based on solid theory, his questioning style and data collection techniques enabled people to be open, and enabled us to get a very thorough assessment that was then easy to convert to pragmatic action. The organizational and management plan of action was easy to understand and prioritized in such a way that many members of our senior management team could easily agree with and work toward.”

Biosite

Sep 10th, 2011Comments Off on Biosite
K. Blickenstaff
Chairman and CEO
Biosite Diagnostics, Inc., San Diego, California

“We realized that we just weren’t reaching the goals our team set out to attain… We were struggling to improve our sales and marketing management team’s skills and sales ability. Brainard Strategy recommended a series of assessments and interviews for our key talent. Once through the assessment he advised our executive team on ways to “map” our talent relative to our needs. We began to revise our hiring process as a means to find similar types of “smart” people whom we were always able to attract, but now we were better able to assess for “fit” with real data. We also were able to rightly move some key people into key roles and each and every person in our marketing and sales organization were given developmental feedback by our managers in a way that enabled open and “real” conversations about contribution and value. We then took our team through sales training and personal development planning activities based on the collective assessment information. Because of Brainard Strategy, our team is back on track.”

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