About John J. Scherer

Born and raised in Richmond, VA, John was awarded the Chamber of Commerce Junior Citizen Award when he was 15. As an amateur-and then professional-magician, he entertained people during his high school, college and Navy years.

‘Mandroop’ and Sandy

He graduated with honors from Roanoke College in 1962, majoring in History and Philosophy, holding many campus leadership positions along the way and serving as Captain of the Swim Team.

Starting a 200 Butterfly at Roanoke College

After graduation, he finished high in his class at the US Naval Officer Candidate School, and served as Combat Officer aboard the USS EATON (DD-510) in the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Caribbean Fleets, receiving commendations for his work in Anti-Submarine Warfare, Air Control, and Intelligence.  In 1966 he finished his four-year Navy tour of duty and enrolled in the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Columbia, SC.

John and his Shore Fire Control Party (he’s in the light shirt)

He again graduated with honors, and served an Internship in Norfolk, VA, where he conducted one of the nation’s first Street Ministries, doing crisis intervention work with ‘people of the night’.  From there he went to Cornell University as Lutheran Chaplain, where he created programs linking the spiritual domain with the educational and business communities.  His reputation as a facilitator of change grew, and he responded to more invitations from business and non-profit organizations for leadership seminars and conflict resolution interventions.

In 1973 John joined the Leadership Institute of Spokane (LIOS), becoming Co-Creator and Core Faculty of the world’s first purely competency-based Graduate Program in Applied Behavioral Sciences at Whitworth College.  In 1982 he founded his own leadership and organization development firm.

Addressing the Canadian Government in 2006

Since then he has worked with organizations and their leaders from around the world, including Boeing, Microsoft, GTE, Ford, Pratt & Whitney, Sisters of Mercy Health Corporation, Polaroid, AEtna, The US Army, Northern Telecom, BC Tel, CIBC, Canadian Tire, ACE Hardware, TV New Zealand, Blue Cross-Blue Shield, Netia Polska, The Government of Canada, Siemens, DHL, and many others. Each year he addresses international conferences as a keynote speaker, this year to the Canadian Government in Ottawa; business leaders in Krakow and Warsaw, Poland; and to Far Eastern organizational change colleagues at the Asian Global OD Summits in Shenyang, China, and Bangkok, Thailand, where he introduced his concepts on the integration of work and the human spirit.

Netia Polska Executive Board on the last day of their Intensive

He is a Member of The World Business Academy, The OD Network, The Transformational Leaders Council, and a co-founder of The Global Alliance.  A former Gestalt therapist, experiential education specialist, and family systems counselor, John is steeped in Eastern and Western spiritual traditions and brings that rich background to his consulting and coaching of senior business leaders.  His Executive Development Intensive (EDI), started in 1987, was among the first solo, holistic programs of its kind.  Since then, men and women business leaders from 22 countries have participated in this life-changing experience and its group version, the Leadership Development Intensive (LDI).

In November, 2007, Stephen Covey’s organization named John one of America’s Top 100 Thought Leaders for 2008 in Personal Excellence, an honor shared by Lance Armstrong, Wayne Dyer, Oprah Winfrey, Stephen Covey, Ken Blanchard and Mark Victor Hansen.

He is a pioneer in the emerging field that shares the name of his 1994 book, Work and the Human Spirit, and is the author or creator of hundreds of articles, video programs, and on-line resources in the fields of high-performance leadership development, conflict resolution, culture change, and unleashing the human spirit at work.  His chapters, ‘On the Shoulders of Giants: The Origins of Organization Development,’ and ‘The Role of Individual Development in OD’, appeared in the recent edition of Practicing Organization Development.  He has chapters in Chicken Soup for the Soul at Work, The Promise of Diversity and The Many Facets of Leadership.  His next book, Five Questions that Change Everything: Life Lessons at Work, was published in May 2009.  Over 3,000 people from around the world receive his monthly newsletter: The Scherer Leadership Report.

Standing in the intake of a Pratt & Whitney engine

In the Fall of 2008 John joined forces with Pathways Polska, a unique Krakow-based training company, combining the best of their two worlds of expertise. Since then, they have worked together with leaders from Orlen, Siemens, DHL, Netia, Unilever and other Central European companies, giving strong testimony to his mission of transforming the world at work.TM

Sharing his time between Seattle, WA, and Krakow, Poland, John has four grown children, plays the guitar, does the occasional magic show, runs or swims (he still does the butterfly) and does yoga daily, and loves to read a good spy novel.

The Warrior, John’s Favorite yoga asana


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