The Founder Who Discovered You Can’t Learn about Leadership Without Focusing on Yourself

Center for Values-Driven Leadership Doctoral Program, Leadership, Values-Driven Leaders

Sanchez-Greenberg, with colleagues at a pre-pandemic meeting.

Laura Sanchez-Greenberg had an MBA and a background in helping companies grow when the company she was leading was sold; she quickly lined up an executive leadership position at a brand name e-commerce firm, but consulting requests kept coming her way. To her surprise, she found she had a full slate of clients waiting for her.

Seven years later, Sanchez-Greenberg’s firm Verde Associates is a leading Chicago organizational development consultancy serving fast growing, entrepreneurial firms and their CEOs. In the last year, eight of her clients made Inc’s fastest growing companies list, and a third of the founders she and her team coach are on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list.

“For the first handful of years, I thought this was a lily pad,” says Sanchez-Greenberg of the company she founded, “I kept thinking it was temporary.”  Now she can’t imagine doing anything else. Much of her time is spent coaching founders and CEOs to develop as leaders and to improve the organization’s systems, design, and team dynamics.

“Work doesn’t feel like work,” she says. “My life purpose is leaving things better than I found them. I have built a job and organization where the work is a vocation – and helps amplify my and my partners’ life purposes. Helping people be better leaders, lead better lives. If I help a CEO be a better leader, I see the impact beyond the person in front of me – it’s helping them help the 200 or 300 people that work for them lead better lives, do better work.”

When she includes the CEO’s employees, their families, and the work they’re doing in the communities, Sanchez-Greenberg says the significance of doing the best work possible with each of her clients is elevated as the work has impact way beyond the engagement at hand. It can touch and impact hundreds, if not thousands, as impact trickles outside of her work.

Extending her impact

Class of executive doctoral students professional women

Sanchez-Greenberg in a PhD course last fall.

It was a desire to extend her impact and further elevate her work with her clients that led Sanchez-Greenberg to consider earning her Ph.D. She wanted to have access to the latest research into effective leadership and was eager to do her own research as well.

She found that opportunity in Benedictine University’s Ph.D./D.B.A. program in values-driven leadership; but she also found something else. “I did not expect the focus to be on my own leadership, as much as I expected it to be a program about leadership,” says Sanchez-Greenberg. “But you can’t really learn about leadership without being a good leader.”

Balancing company leadership, a young family, and a doctoral program isn’t easy. “I tend to pick the difficult path,” laughs Sanchez-Greenberg. In her work, she often helps busy CEOs balance demanding schedules, redefine success, and learn to interact with others more mindfully. Now, she’s turning that lesson on herself. “I’m trying to savor the learning.”

Thankfully, the program’s curriculum is already proving useful within her company. “My work is my passion, and this helps me do my work better,” says Sanchez-Greenberg. “It helps me help people better. It’s an accelerant.”

Sanchez-Greenberg will be a panelist at our next online information session for the Ph.D. program in leadership. Follow the link to learn more about Chicago’s leading executive doctoral program and register to attend.

Previous ArticleNext Article