About Us and Dragons
We exist to support healthy change in the human systems that we all live in. We have a particular focus on the world of teams and organizations. They impact us in so many ways. Organizations that are both productive and engaging for their employees and customers serve will serve their owners and communities as well.
On behalf of that purpose the Center for Human Systems offers consulting, training, and coaching designed to take leaders, managers, and organization development practitioners to higher levels of expertise and success.
Michael F. Broom, Ph.D. is an Organizational Psychologist who for over 40 years has helped all types of organizations increase their productivity and employee engagement through…
- Strategic Planning for a clear sense of vision and focus
- Team Building for fully coordinated work efforts
- Conflict Management that turns power struggles in synergy
- Performance Management for responsible and motivated employees
- A Diverse Work Force which can meet the needs of a diverse market place
- Positive, Stimulating Cultures that support learning and productivity
Dr. Broom is a powerful executive coach, organizational process consultant, and trainer. His philosophy is to…
- Work with clients to identify and resolve their own issues
- Leave clients with higher skills levels than they previously had
- Build high levels of productivity through powerful relationships of reciprocal influence
- Empower clients to self-discover their own inherent excellence
He has been a full-time and part-time faculty member of the Johns Hopkins University Graduate Programs in Applied Behavioral Science. A past member of the board of directors of the NTL Institute in Applied Behavioral Science, Dr. Broom has chaired that organization’s Transformative Social Change Committee. He was recently on the Board of Trustees of the national Organization Development Network. He also has been adjunct faculty at Georgetown University, American University, Fielding Graduate University, and Morgan State University teaching courses in human and organizational development.
Dr. Broom is author of Power, The Infinite Game,co-authored with Dr. Donald Klein and The Infinite Organization which celebrates the positive use of power in organizations.
In 2015, he was honored the national OD Network with their Lifetime Achievement Award!
Dr. David Shelor has spent the past 25 years dedicated to helping individuals, teams and organizations identify core strengths, connect with deep values and develop leadership competencies, transforming these resources into concrete actions and sustainable positive change. As an organizational leader, coach and consultant, Dr. Shelor understands deeply that every significant achievement happens in teams, from raising a child to landing people on the moon. He is skilled in helping leaders grow their own abilities to build and motivate highly effective and innovative teams that bring benefit to their stakeholders, organizations, communities and themselves. He knows from experience that when leaders understand themselves and their influence, when team members are heard and empowered, and when organizations connect with their values and strengths and focus their efforts, they are collectively unstoppable in changing the world.
An ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA), Dr. Shelor has coached leaders and consulted with organizations in a variety of sectors, including nonprofit social services, the arts, primary, secondary and higher education, government, business and religious organizations. He holds a Masters of Science in Positive Organizational Development and Change from Weatherhead School of Management at Case-Western University in Cleveland and is a certified executive coach. He is also founder and owner of Florentica, LLC and a trainer and board member of the Center for Emotional Intelligence and Human Relations, providing emotional and social intelligence training for leaders.
Vicki Cotter M.S., SPHR, CPCC, ACC, has coached, trained, facilitated and developed leaders, leadership teams and individuals at all levels in organizations large and small, public and private, and in the US, Europe and Asia. She is known for her fierce courage and ability to speak the truth.
Vicki has spent much of her career in internal OD roles in banking, healthcare, consumer electronics, and manufacturing and technology. In her partnerships with business leaders, her focus on human systems has been instrumental in the improvement of business results. She is currently Principal and President of Keep it Simple, LLC, an organizational and talent development consultancy.
Vicki has a Master of Science in Human Resource Management, and holds the designation of Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). She is a certified coach with credentials from the International Coaching Federation and The Coaches Training Institute. She is also trained in the neuroscience of coaching and leadership, and on the faculty of BEabove Leadership, where she teaches advanced coaching skills.
Tony Bennae Richard is a change agent and disabled veteran who served in the United States Navy for twenty-four years as a hospital corpsman, healthcare administrator, and organization development consultant. He has led, designed, and participated in numerous leadership, organizational change, organizational equity, inclusion and justice initiatives, and change experiences. Under the womentorship of Dr. Alice Cahill (CAPT, Retired), he designed and facilitated countless leadership and facilitation courses, interventions initiatives that improved the effectiveness and efficiency of Naval Medicine. While still on active duty, he imagined a world absent of injustice, wars, fragmented relationships, broken bodies, and wasted human capital.
This vision, mixed with a unique blend of personal and professional life experiences, formal and informal education, and extensive exposure to different cultures and people, gave birth to The Bennae Group, which provides customized experiences that increase the health and effectiveness of individuals and the systems in which they live, work and play.
By delivering interventions that leave participants affirmed, challenged and changed, he works with individuals and organizations committed to doing the heart work, and hard work, of culture change and transformation. He has considerable experience with executive coaching and supporting leaders and their teams with their organizational change and improvement efforts.
Tony is a member of the National Training Laboratories (NTL); board member of the Educational Training and Development Alliance; adjunct faculty member with the Georgetown Organization Development Certificate Program; and holds life memberships in Kappa Kappa Psi and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
Kristen Vondruska is Owner and Co-founder of Overt Resolutions Group, LLC. She is passionate about partnering with executives and teams to propel powerful and sustainable organizational change. She brings
over 23 year’s experience as a leader of human systems and now chooses to focus her expertise supporting clients in achieving their goals. Her contributions span the non-profit, for-profit, and government arenas. She served as an internal consultant standing up the first office in the Army Medical Department dedicated to individual and collective growth that made meaningful and lasting change possible. As a consultant for The Center for Human Systems, Kristen designed content for an interactive educational application targeted to improve participant recall of course material by leveraging technology and educational principles. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia and a Master’s degree from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. She finds inspiration for her life’s work at home as a proud wife and mother.
Jeff Peters is a Co-Founder of Overt Resolutions Group, LLC committed to helping professionals have a more influential, positive, and sustainable impact within their organization, profession, family, and community. He holds three master degrees including a Master of Science in National Resource Strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. Jeff has been partnering with senior executives/leaders on planned systemic change initiatives since 2005 after helping manage DoD heath care integration in the National Capital region. Between 2005 and 2016, Jeff designed and implemented institutional experiential leadership development programs in both the for-profit and government space. These programs were designed to allow participants to explore leadership skills and potential through the development of a community of peers and leaders who grow and learn together through a variety of shared experiences to gain a deeper understanding of their unique strengths, limitations, and personal influence.
Mary Orton has been helping organizations with change processes for over 20 years. For nine years she has consulted with local and federal government agencies, Native American nations and tribes, and non-profit organizations. She has a master’s degree in the constructive engagement of conflict and was adjunct professor at the Arizona State University Law School. She has authored chapters in two books, the latest published by United Nations University Press about contentious public participation processes in international waterways.
Wendy Fraser excels at understanding team dynamics and the developmental needs of leaders and people working inside organizations. She brings creative energy that is grounded in practical tools and models while working with groups to leverage their best talents toward becoming stronger. Wendy has over twenty years of organization development experience and has worked with public, private, and non-profit organizations throughout the United States and internationally. As a continuous learner, Wendy earned her doctorate at Fielding Graduate University in Human and Organizational Systems and holds three masters degrees. Wendy also likes to teach and facilitate learning with others and is a faculty member with Brandman University’s Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership program and with the University of Washington-Tacoma’s Professional Development Program. Wendy lives in Olympia, Washington with her husband and two children. She is an active volunteer in the schools and community service organizations.
Dragons are known through out the world in virtually all climates, cultures, and eras as beings with horns, claws, breath of fire, great size (some small), wondrous wings (some wing-less), and marvelous colors. These serpentine creatures forever populate our myths, legends, novels, and movies. Dragons are strong, fierce, powerful, and persuasive. As such, they are creatures of magic and power. In some Western, Christian-oriented cultures the magic and power of dragons is a masculine symbol of destruction to be slain. How ironic that it is a man’s (St. George’s) job to slay the dragons before it devours all that is feminine. In other cultures, dragons are positive symbols: Chinese dragons are symbols of good fortune. In the Aztec, Olmec, Mayan world, their dragon—Quetzalcoatl—symbolizes sustenance and re-birth. In the old Slavic world, some dragons—Zmaj —were friends of humans while others—Azdaja—were friends of witches and such. When they would fight great storms would occur.
Dragons are creation of the human psyche representing the passion, fierceness, and magic of human kind that have been repressed in the name of the rationality and civilization that are supposed to bring us peace and safety. Unfortunately, as we deny our passions, our fierceness, and our magicality, we also deny ourselves possibility: the possibility of creating human kind, our societies, communities, organizations, and families to be as healthy, productive, and engaging as we would like them to be.
The Center for Human Systems (in its vast and unbiased wisdom) is clear dragons are good or evil depending on how we are treating ourselves and others. When we treat ourselves and others well we are creatures of fertility and good fortune. As such, they are not only creatures of power and magic, but also creatures or possibility. When we treated collective ourselves poorly, the price we pay is high in discord, ennui, and poverty in its many forms. Without the dragon in us, we have no way to combat such evil.
In these modern times, our scientific method would have us be sensible people who do not believe in dragons or magic or fairies or spirits or sprites or witches or wizards or anything that cannot be observed, measured, managed, and ultimately controlled. In the place of dragons and magic, it has given us the wonders of modern technology so that I can search the World Wide Web (which, by the way, is chockfull of dragons – check any search engine), and I call you on my teeny weenie cell phone from anywhere.
Caught up in the thrall of rationality, technology, and sensible adulthood we depend more and more on these things. In the process we put aside the part of ourselves that can love wholeheartedly, that can create a real castle (from what sensible adults would call a cardboard box), that can create possibility simply from believing we can. Those things can only be done if we believe in dragons—as magic, power, and possibility.
As a symbol of possibility, when I live as the dragon I am, I end the power struggles I create when I try to prove myself. I learn from our differences rather than work to convince to you (and myself) that I am right and good and handsome. The dragon I am loves fully with total focus, consummate passion, and direct action. I am irresistible and in wonder.
Only the dragon I am listens with compassion. I hear as I understand hostility and fear to be signals of pain needing healing. Only the dragon I am turns dysfunctional groups into synergic teams appreciative of each member’s good heart, good intentions, and useful contributions. Only the dragon I am can see the systemic issues that drive organizational cultures to be blaming and dysfunctional so I can discover the levers that can most easily bring everyone to full alignment and the organization to full productivity and success.
Dragons are the symbol of the Center for Human Systems and its programs because only the dragon in us manifest and master the eight essential skills that enable us to create change within ourselves, with others, with groups, and with organizations. We are calling Dragon Principles.
Thanks to my friend Ivan Cvetkovic, a web developer, for the information about Slavic dragons.