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 Chicago-based 501(c)3 non-profit focused on using cutting-edge social and emotional intelligence to activate leaders who help contribute to a world that works for everyone.

Students engage in applied coaching and seminars in social and emotional intelligence to leap ahead in their careers and lives — making 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 as well as parenting, leadership, and more.

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.

The Foundation was founded by Drs. Bob and Judith Wright, whose decades of research in human development contributed to the creation and expansion of the Foundation’s programs.

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!


Mike Zwell, PhD, 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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Gordon Medlock, PhD


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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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, MA


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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Beryl Stromsta, MSW, MA


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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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 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.  

Cheryl , CEO

As CEO there has been this whole different level of visioning that has emerged for the organization and producing students who are going to go out there and change the world with the help from the Wright Foundation.

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


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.

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.

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.