At the Wright Foundation, we transform lives from the inside out through education, training & coaching, and research & thought leadership.

Who we are :

The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a 501(c)3 non-profit with three divisions. We focus on using cutting-edge social and emotional intelligence to activate leaders who help contribute to a 200-year vision of a world that works for everyone.

The Foundation includes three divisions:

  • Wright Graduate University for the Realization of Human Potential delivers M.A. and Ed.D. degrees and plus graduate certificate programs in transformational leadership, transformational coaching, and social and emotional intelligence. Wright Graduate University is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). The University provides a performative learning environment and synthesizes the best theories and methodologies related to the enhancement of human potential—ancient Greek philosophy to modern-day existential philosophy; develop­mental, Adlerian, humanistic and positive psychology; educational theories from Dewey to Vygotsky to Mezirow; current research in neuroscience, and behavioral economics. Read more about Wright Graduate University’s programs and mission at www.wrightgrad.edu. Wright Graduate University’s history, accreditation, and approvals can be found on its website.
  • Wright Living, the non-credit division of the foundation, is where clients engage in applied coaching and seminars in social and emotional intelligence to leap ahead in their careers and lives, and make a positive contribution in their sphere of influence whether that sphere is a corporation, a family, a community, or society at large. The unique yearning-based learning approach applies both traditional and cutting-edge human emergence technologies to personal development, career, relationships and parenting, leadership, and more. Get started with these programs here.
  • The Human Emergence Group, our business division, brings our innovative curriculum into companies and organizations to empower individuals to be change-makers where they are, to take responsibility for their leadership, and to have a positive impact in their organization no matter what their role or level. Offerings from this division include workshops and training in social and emotional intelligence, executive or professional coaching, consulting, and more. Learn about HEG’s work here.

As a Foundation, our mission is to live radiant, authentic lives, and to support others to unleash their potential by consciously engaging in their own transformation and leadership for the advancement of humanity and conscious, sustainable living on the planet. We ignite possibilities for thousands of people, nationally and internationally, by creating connection, nurturing vision, and driving contribution, one person at a time, from the inside out.

Creating Connection – Most people think emotions get in the way of relationships, but research shows that all emotions, when responsibly expressed, strengthen relationships. In fact, 90% of our students find that the ability to connect with their emotions is critical to having satisfying relationships.

Nurturing Vision – Many people think that achieving goals and amassing wealth lead to happiness and the good life, but the fact is, orienting toward and pursuing a meaningful vision for ourselves, meeting our deepest yearning and desires, is a key factor in living a fulfilling life. Nearly 90% of our students have found more fulfillment by developing greater vision.

Driving Contribution – Most people believe that you need to have a formal leadership role in order to lead, but the fact is, you are leading all the time. We see leadership as the capacity of every person to influence the thoughts, feelings, and actions of others – whether you are in a business meeting, a family dinner, or even in the audience of a presentation.

Media Relations:


From our dedicated professional staff to our adjunct faculty members who are distinguished professionals in their fields, our team works to bring you great results!


Dr. Bob Wright


Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized author, speaker, educator and visionary known for his witticisms. He co-founded Wright to teach people to develop their vision, fulfill their dreams and start giving back to the world.

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Dr. Judith Wright

Dr. Judith Wright


Dr. Judith Wright is hailed as a peerless educator, world-class coach, exemplary lifestyles expert, inspirational speaker, best-selling author, and corporate consultant. She is often called one of America’s Ultimate Experts.

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Barbara Burgess

Barbara Burgess


Being the Chief Vision Realization Officer, Barbara is responsible for designing & leading the strategic vision for Wright. Barbara is a corporate consultant, coach, & trainer in the areas of transformational leadership, marketing, & employee empowerment.

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Mike Zwell, Ph.D., PCC


Mike is a Professor, Co-Founder and Chancellor of the Wright Graduate University. He leads and manages Wright’s advanced personal growth groups and oversees the coaching staff. Mike also serves as managing director of Wright’s consulting arm.

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Kate Holmquest, MA


As campus director, Kate is responsible for making sure WGU runs smoothly, from students’ experience in their courses, to accessibility of the library, to making sure WGU meets all the expectations of regulators, from Wisconsin to Washington, D.C.

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Dr. Gordon Medlock


Dr. Gordon Medlock is a Senior Coach at Wright. He specializes in helping individuals clarify their unique talents and to discover career and life opportunities where they can create value and experience deeper levels of personal fulfillment.

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Gertrude Lyons

Dr. Gertrude Lyons, PCC


Dr. Lyons specializes in coaching in and speaking about and parenting to mothers, potential mothers, and families.

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Jillian Eichel, MA, MEd, PCC


Jillian is the Program Director, Director of Coaching & a Senior Coach at Wright. She trains Wright’s coaches & program leaders, leads several weekend trainings & oversees student services. She is responsible for developing the current Coaching curriculum.

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Geroge Miller

George Miller


Being a Coach, Trainer and Marketing Specialist at Wright, George is on his edge, devising ways to bring Wright’s services to individuals and the greater public.

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Rachel Zwell


Rachel is a core coach in the Year of Transformation program. She is an emergence coach specializing in empowering individuals to increase their fulfillment & satisfaction in their lives, to achieve their professional and personal goals.

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Beryl Stromsta, MSW,MEd


Beryl is a Senior Coach at Wright. She serves as a group facilitator on many of Wright’s weekend trainings and coaches individual clients and students in both our introductory and advanced personal growth groups.

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Dr. Phil Blue


Dr. Philip Blue is a coach the at Wright Foundation and Professor of Applied Neuroscience at Wright Graduate University. He completed his PhD in cognitive neuroscience at China’s top university, Peking University, after attending Carleton College and conducting neuroscience research at the University of Chicago.

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Our clients are everyday rebels, ranging from CEOs to artists, stay-at-home moms to award-winning physicians – those constantly striving for the deeper truth.

They live courageously with heart, follow their yearning, go against the grain for the right reasons. Going beyond the status quo and doing the things their hearts demand of them. They make waves, rock the boat, live to their highest. They can’t be found in flocks.

They are the ones committed to bringing out the best in themselves and the people they lead.




I couldn’t do what I want to do on this planet without knowing how I feel and who I am. Nobody can.


I wanted to have an edge in human relationships because that’s what it’s all about, after all.


Through this coaching, I have a great family and a successful career – the best of both worlds.  

Our Chicago Campus

In the heart of Chicago, right off Lakeshore Drive and a few blocks from the Magnificent Mile, feel free to stop by anytime for a coaching session, a course, or just to say hello.

445 E. Ohio St., Suite 300, Chicago, IL 60611


Our Wisconsin Campus

Our Wisconsin training facility, and the campus of the Wright Graduate University for the Realization of Human Potential, is nestled among 80 acres of restored prairie and oak savannah in southwest Wisconsin.

N7698 County Highway H, Elkhorn, WI 53121


Thomas S. Terry , Chairperson

tom.terry@wrightfoundation.org terrygroup.com

Thomas S. Terry is the Founder and CEO of The Terry Group, which advises executive teams on strategy, governance, and leadership. Tom is a fully credentialed actuary and an active leader in the actuarial profession in the U.S. and abroad. He currently serves as president of the American Academy of Actuaries and is a frequent speaker on social and financial security systems. Tom has been instrumental in the formation of the Graduate studies program.

Dr. Stan Smith , Treasurer

stan.smith@wrightfoundation.org smitheconomicsgroup.com

Dr. Stan V. Smith is a nationally renowned economist and financial consultant trained at the University of Chicago. He offers economic analysis in simple terms that any trier-of-fact can understand. As an expert consultant to plaintiff and defense attorneys representing clients in Federal and State courts, he provides testimony and litigation support services in evaluating damages.

Stan has developed state-of-the-art econometric analysis models to analyze economic and financial issues and has consulted for firms such as Sidley Austin, Kirkland & Ellis, Jenner & Block, Schiff Hardin and Wildman Harrold in Chicago, as well as thousands of other prominent firms nationwide.

John Davidoff , Board Member

john.davidoff@wrightfoundation.org missiondriven.net

John Davidoff is the founder and CEO of Davidoff Communications, a national strategic planning and marketing communications consultancy. Founded in 2005, Davidoff Communications leads businesses, associations and nonprofits with its proprietary Mission-Driven™ branded methodology to increase mission impact, drive revenue, and build meaningful relationships with members, donors, partners, sponsors and other stakeholders. Davidoff Communications provides strategic planning, thought leadership, marketing communications, conference management, donor marketing and alternative revenue development services.

Bringing over 30 years of local, national and global experience to the table, Davidoff Communications has served clients including BlueCross BlueShield, State Farm Insurance, Anheuser-Busch, ComEd, P&G, American Cancer Society, Ocean Conservancy, Smithsonian, Monterey Bay Aquarium, and many more.

Previously, John served as Vice President for Event Marketing and Sponsorship for DDB, Senior Vice President for Marketing for General Growth Properties, Senior Vice President for Sales and Marketing for Omnicom’s Radiate Group and CEO of Entertainment Marketing, Inc.  John is a regular contributor to The Non-Profit Times and is a public speaker, profiling leaders and characteristics of Mission-Driven organizations.

John is a founding board member of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential. He has served as a student-leader at Wright since 2005, and is a currently a senior leader and coach. He also sits on the boards of the Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Chicago Sunday Evening Club and Ithaca College Alumni Association.

John lives in Evanston with his wife Jacki Davidoff. They have two sons, Josh and Jasper.

Pam Noble , Board Member


Pamela Noble joined The Christopher Group in 2020 as the Consulting Services Division President, Managing Director, and Chief Human Resources Officer. She brings over 20 years of comprehensive human resources leadership to The Christopher Group. Former CHRO and talent succession lead, she has built Human Resources departments as true strategic business partners; strengthened corporate-wide employee engagement; led diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives; and become a trusted advisor with a reputation of high personal integrity. Her perspective plays a key role in defining and implementing new people policies, processes, and training at TCG while working directly with clients on their executive coaching and consulting project initiatives.

Prior to joining TCG, she was senior vice president of Human Resources and chief engagement officer at Asurint, responsible for designing and delivering the company’s human capital strategy focused on energizing the employee experience and driving business outcomes. During her tenure at Asurint, she helped position the company to win the NorthCoast99 Award, which recognizes great places to work for top talent.  She also brings previous executive experience as global director of organizational development and internal communications at Lincoln Electric; global vice president of Human Resources at AkzoNobel; senior vice president of Talent, Succession, and Performance Management at National City Bank; Director of Human Resources at Agilysis, and vice president of Strategic Staffing, Training, and Management at Citibank.

Pamela is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in Transformational Leadership and Coaching from Wright Graduate University, where she earned her Master’s degree. She also earned her Bachelor of Economics from Howard University. Originally from Chicago, Pamela and her husband Macke (a Year of More Graduate) live in a suburb of Cleveland, OH. Pamela enjoys attending her college-aged children’s sporting events, hiking, bike riding, and skiing in her free time.


Karen Wilson Smithbauer , Board Member

karen.smithbauer@wrightfoundation.org kcwf.org

Karen Wilson Smithbauer is an educator, businesswoman, and philanthropist from Grosse Ile, Michigan. Following ten years of teaching early childhood and elementary education, she joined Central distributors of Beer, Inc., one of the largest Anheuser-Busch beer distributorships in the U.S. She served in diverse positions ranging from office manager to trucking operations owner to CEO and Chairman of the Board until her retirement in 2007.

She has since established the Karen Colina Wilson Foundation, focusing on women’s and children’s health, welfare, safety, well-being, and development; endowed a chair for brain cancer at the Cleveland Clinic; and received the Woman of the Year Award from the American Association of University Women. In addition to being on the board, Karen is a Co-Chair of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential Capital Campaign Committee.

Rich Lyons , Board Member

rich.lyons@wrightfoundation.org lyonscg.com

Rich is the founder of Lyons Consulting Group (LCG). He is responsible for leading the company’s strategy and vision as well as working closely with customers. He brings over 10 years of experience in IT consulting and over 16 years of experience in business development. He spends the majority of his days with LCG’s customers.

Prior to founding LCG, Rich served as Vice President of Sales for divine, Inc. in Chicago, responsible for the firm’s largest and most profitable professional services region, generating over $40M annually. He served in that same role as part of marchFIRST and Whittman-Hart. He joined Whittman-Hart in January of 1995.

Rich graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BSEE from the University of Michigan and holds a M.B.A. from J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.

Rich serves as a senior consultant, adjunct faculty, and executive coach with The Wright Business Institute, where he teaches courses on leadership and teamwork, sales, and communication. As a coach, Rich is excellent at holding big visions for his clients, helping them to identify blocks, and finding innovative solutions to help them develop and grow to their next level of success, achievement and contribution.

Perhaps most importantly, Rich is happily married and the proud father of two daughters, Morgan and Hannah. He is also an avid golfer.

Sahar Malik , Board Member


Sahar Malik is an Engagement Manager in the Heidrick & Struggles Chicago office and a member of the Healthcare Services and Life Sciences Practice. Sahar brings 11+ years of experience in executive search and leadership advisory, with expertise in CEO/President level and Board roles across Biotech and Pharmaceuticals, Life Sciences Tools and Diagnostics, Medical Devices and Technology, Healthcare Services, Healthcare Information Technology and Digital Health.

Previously, Sahar worked for another large global executive search firm. In addition to her client work across the healthcare space, she was Head of Research for the Chicago Office, leading a team of sixteen analysts and associates and as a global sub-sector and key account leader. She also helped build the medical device, digital health, healthcare private-equity, and healthcare services practices at this firm.

Sahar began her career as a Research Assistant in the Economics Department at Columbia University, in Industrial Organization and Game Theory research. She graduated from Barnard College, Columbia University with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics.

Alison Denton , Board Member


Alison is an innovative executive and manager specializing in developing systems and structures that bring clarity and efficiency to changing organizations. She is passionate about and is responsible for ensuring customer success and renewals for the entire Decision Lens portfolio of Federal, State & Local, and Commercial SAAS customers.

During her tenure at Decision Lens, Alison has implemented new structures and systems for tracking customer health and engagement. She developed a holistic view of customer success metrics by integrating key systems in a new customer success management system.

The common thread throughout her 20+ years of work is her focus on serving the customer to make sure they are successful in getting the information, product, or support they need to have a positive impact in their organizations. Prior to joining Decision Lens, Alison was the Director of Facilities Planning at Arlington Public Schools where she focused on capital planning, process improvement, and public participation. She also previously worked as an information technology professional and administrator at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, IL.

Alison is currently a Women’s Leadership program member in the Wright Foundation’s SOFIA (Society of Femininity in Action). Alison and Loren are also members of the Wright Couples’ program, and the family participates in the Wright Foundation Parenting Weekends. Outside of work, Alison loves to travel to new places, read, play games, and explore the beautiful outdoors.

Dr. Don Delves , Board Member


Don Delves is a Director in the Executive Compensation Line of Business and specializes in advising family and closely held businesses. Based in Chicago, Don is a leading expert and highly sought-after consultant and speaker on corporate governance and executive pay and performance, with over twenty-five years’ experience consulting with major corporate boards and executive teams across the country. Don leads Willis Towers Watson’s Closely Held Business Practice and is a recognized expert on principles-based corporate governance, incentive design, performance measurement and value creation.

Dr. Delves is frequently interviewed and cited as an expert in major media including Harvard Business Review, Fortune, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fox Business News, The Today Show, CNBC and National Public Radio. He has testified before the U.S. Senate and the FASB on the hotly debated issue of stock option expensing. Delves’ book, Stock Options and the New Rules of Corporate Accountability: Measuring, Managing, and Rewarding Performance (McGraw-Hill, 2003; World at Work, 2006), is in its second edition and considered a “must-read” for board members, executives, and investors. Delves also published, Accounting for Compensation Arrangements, (CCH, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012) the definitive guide for accounting for stock options, equity incentives, and other forms of compensation.

In 2001, he founded The Delves Group, a Chicago-based consultancy dedicated to working with corporate boards and compensation committees to improve their effectiveness and the way they are organized and directed. Prior to founding The Delves Group, Dr. Delves was the Managing Director of the Chicago office of iQuantic, a Partner at Sibson and Company, and an executive compensation consultant with Towers Perrin. He had previously worked with Arthur Andersen & Co.

Education and Credentials 

Delves holds a doctorate in education in principles-based corporate governance from Fielding Graduate University, an M.B.A. degree in finance from the University of Chicago and a B.A., summa cum laude, in economics from DePauw University. He is highly trained in process- and principles-based leadership with certifications from the Wright Graduate University, and is on the faculty of World at Work. Dr. Delves writes and speaks regularly on management, executive pay, and governance at various organizations including the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, the National Association of Corporate Directors, the National Association of Stock Plan Professionals, and the Brookings Institute. He also teaches principles-based leadership at the Wright Graduate University. Don serves on the boards of The Metropolitan Club of Chicago, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, the Wright Graduate University, and The Advisory Council of The 100 Year Starship. He is a Certified Public Accountant and a past president of the Chicago Compensation Association.

Dave Stamm , Board Member

dave.stamm@wrightfoundation.org stammbt.com

Having started his first business in fourth grade programming Bulletin Board Systems (BBSes), working for Apple Computer as a college freshman, and then founding a computer networking services company employing college classmates while an undergrad at UW-Whitewater, Dave Stamm has always been passionate about implementing technology and serving people.  Dave is currently the CEO of two technology companies: Stamm Technologies and Stamm Media.

Stamm Technologies is a leading provider of outsourced IT services to businesses and non-profits in Metro Milwaukee and Chicagoland.  Stamm Technologies delivers “Whatever I.T. Takes!” to their clients, including: Harley-Davidson, Manpower, Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, Lubar & Co., BizTimes, Heiser Automotive Group, First Stage Children’s Theater, and many others.

Stamm Media combines rich interactive media creation, audiovisual equipment rental, and a full suite of technical services to strengthen brands and create immersive experiences. Stamm Media clients include MTV, Nickelodeon, GE Healthcare, TD Ameritrade, CVS Caremark, Turner Networks, Fox Networks, Children’s Hospital of WI, Miller Brewing, Harley-Davidson, and more.

Stamm Technologies/Stamm Media is a Milwaukee Future 50 (2009, 2014), Milwaukee Fastest Growing Firms (2014), and Best Workplaces (2010) award winner.  Dave is a prior 40-Under-40 Winner (2007) and UW-Whitewater’s Outstanding Recent Alumni Award (2010) recipient.

Dave served on the board of Volunteers of America of Wisconsin for 10 years serving in various capacities, including Secretary and Treasurer, until the organization was merged into another non-profit.  Volunteers of America of Wisconsin is dedicated to enriching the lives of elderly and disabled adults by providing affordable, quality housing and residential care while touching the spirit of those served.

Dave is currently serving on the Board of Milwaukee Film.

Dr. Bob Wright , CEO , Board Member


Considered by many to be one of the leading thinkers in human develop­ment, Dr. Bob Wright is CEO and co-founder of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to helping people bring out their best and energize their lives. He is also co-founder and Professor of Transformational Leadership at the Wright Graduate University. An internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, author, speaker, entrepreneur, consultant, and executive coach, Dr. Wright was recognized as a top executive coach by Crain’s Chicago Business. He has coached CEOs across the country from leading name public companies to entrepreneurial startups.

Dr. Wright’s revolutionary Integrative Model of Human Growth and Development provides a much needed practical application of theory into everyday life, helping hundreds of thousands of individuals to understand themselves, strategize, and take action to reach their potential. Called “the most powerful comprehensive model of its kind,” this model forms the core curriculum at the Wright Foundation. His revolutionary personal and professional training and development method­ology leads not only to significant professional success, but also to fulfillment in all life areas.
Dr. Wright has demonstrated success in a wide variety of areas. He is an outstanding radio and television personality, delivering what author Andrew Harvey calls his “hard light.” He co-authored the award-winning book, Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living. His books on purpose in business and people skills have been translated into multiple languages and sold over 200,000 copies around the world. His newest book, The Heart of the Fight, was just released in February 2016. His nationally acclaimed employee assistance and managed mental health firm, Human Effectiveness, Inc., was rated top in the nation by Mercer Meidinger Medical Audit as well as Arthur Andersen.

Dr. Wright founded the Men’s Guild, a powerful men’s organization for a new model of manhood and established Be Heard, an organization to promote environmentally conscious political action. Dr. Wright is also sought-after in the area of transformational leadership having founded the Transformational Leadership Symposium, convening experts from around the nation to recognize cutting edge transformational leaders including Brad Anderson, former CEO of Best Buy, as well as the 2011 award recipient, Dr. Muhammad Yunus.

Dr. Wright has completed a BA in Sociology, a MA in Communications, MSW in Clinical Social Work, and a Doctorate in Education, Leadership, and Change.

Dr. Judith Wright , President , Board Member


Dr. Judith Wright is the Chief Academic Officer, Professor of Transformational Coaching and co-founder of at Wright Graduate University for the Realization of Human Potential. She is also president and co-founder of the Wright Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to helping individuals bring out their best personally and professionally. She is the author of multiple books including Transformed: The Science of Spectacular Living, There Must Be More Than This, The One Decision, The Soft Addiction Solution, and The Heart of the Fight.

A pioneer in the field of human development, Dr. Wright first rose to national prominence by developing innovative education and early childhood development programs for individuals with developmental disabilities and demonstration programs for college students with disabilities. These experiences fueled her passion for developing human potential as she then applied the profound insights she discovered to the general population, spurring people from all walks of life to significant success in personal transformation and leadership development.

A media favorite, sought‐after speaker, respected leader, bestselling author, coach, educator, and corporate consultant, Judith’s work has been covered in over 1,000 media appearances, including ABC’s 20/20, Oprah, Good Morning America, the Today show, radio and television shows around the country, and magazines and newspapers around the world.

Dr. Judith Wright is the founder of the Society of Femininity in Action, providing revolutionary leadership training for women. She is also one of the country’s foremost experts on transformational leadership, having founded the Transformational Leadership Symposium, with convenes experts from around the nation to recognize cutting edge transformational leaders including Nobel laureate and congressional medal of honor winner, Dr. Muhammad Yunus.