We’ve all had our “aha” moments, those epiphanies, great and small, that somehow light our way.
For Iris Ioffreda, one of those moments came some 20 years ago, and it was, by her estimate, a pretty big one. In fact, it led her to a new career.
Ioffreda, founder and principal of OLA Consulting, is now an organization consultant and leadership coach. But before that, she was in leadership roles herself, and over the years she noticed that something wasn’t working as intended.
“I had been in several different general management roles and had focused on trying to make things work better from a process perspective—trying to create good systems,” Ioffreda says. “And, you know, people kept mucking it up.”
That’s when she realized that “there’s more to this puzzle than creating great systems and setting up frameworks and structures, and that success or failure always came down to the people aspect.”
Ioffreda found that missing piece—call it the human element—by enrolling in Georgetown’s organization development program (now called Organization Development Consulting & Change Leadership) in 2002. It gave her the “people-oriented tools that I didn’t have before and an understanding of the complexity of organizations and the organizational levers that help move the needle in a positive direction.”
She founded her consulting practice in 2004. Over the years, she has worked with state, federal, and local governments; nonprofits big and small; colleges and universities; and a variety of corporations.
In 2010–11 she completed the Leadership Coaching program to further explore the human dynamics of running an organization.
“The coaching program is the crown jewel at Georgetown,” Ioffreda says. “It’s a fabulous program because it’s so transformational. It requires deep self-reflection and personal growth, and helps you develop a really strong coaching skill set.