Robin Denise Johnson earned her doctorate in Organizational Behavior at Harvard. She wrote an award-winning dissertation on diversity, work-life balance and empowerment. Her other degrees are in International Relations and World History from Brown University, and an MA in Social Psychology from Harvard. She integrates her research-education with her professional experience in her multicultural leadership development programs. She is a keynote speaker, executive educator, business school faculty, author and coach – working with people managers and leaders in major corporations, non-profits, and academia. She continues to work with UCLA-Anderson and UVA-Darden, and was a visiting professor with Ozyegin Graduate School of Business in Istanbul, Turkey. Prior to graduate school she worked overseas in international finance with Chase, McDonald’s Corporation, and Lloyds Merchant Bank.
Robin Denise Johnson was born and raised in Washington, D.C. and attended McKinley Tech High School. She worked summers at the Smithsonian Institute, went overseas for the first time as an AFS exchange student in Belgium where she attended the Koninklijk Atheneum in Tielt, Flanders, Belgium and returned to Brown University to complete her undergraduate university studies. She has maintained her strong commitment to intercultural understanding throughout her career. As an African American female child of Civil Rights activists, she is also committed to diversity-inclusion for personal as well as equity reasons. As part of her work-life balance she is a dancer, developer of Cardio-Tribal Style (CTS) dance, director-choreographer of Zaltana, and a founder of the Desert Dance Collective in southern California.
Robin has been called a Renaissance woman. She is a naturally interdisciplinary – bringing together and synthesizing ideas from her wide ranging interests and experiences.
Hood to Harvard – growing up in Black DC and attended Ivy-League universities. As a result she is comfortable with a people from a range of socio-economic and educational strata.
Local and Global – interested in the environment and life in the desert of California where she lives and has traveled, worked, or lived in 69 countries at last count. While fluent in her native tongue – English – she also speaks-studied several other languages (French, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Malay, and Turkish) and continues to listen-dance to world music.
Research and Practice – committed to making quality research useful for practicing managers.
Numbers and People – ex-finance professional for 10 years and multiple statistics classes – using number to help people quantify their contributions to their organizations so they stay motivated by being able to mark their progress. Metrics motivate!
Business Creative – Dance of Leadership was born by combining insights from the dance arts with her business school teaching.
Corporate/NonProfit/Education – working in all three areas of practice when it comes to teaching people to be both kind and effective at work.
Expressive Introvert – by personality an introvert who is selectively sociable and is also comfortable speaking-teaching large groups as she is one-on-one.
Learner and Teacher – from childhood loved learning new ideas and sharing them when it would assist others.
Grounded and Spiritual – raised southern baptist (preacher’s kid) with a deep interest in healthy living, world religions-spirituality (new thought), daily meditation (Vipassana) and esoterica (studied psychological astrology, kabbalah, numerology, and tarot).
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing“
Many people say that people should focus on one thing – get in a lane and stay in it. I disagree – for me. I cannot imagine my life without the full and glorious range of experiences and encounters I have had by being open to the world’s diversity. I believe life is a journey – not just a goal or destination. And I enjoy that journey. From my perspective AND is in our DNA. I am open to the AND.
Dr. Robin brings compassionate clarity to her work – Compassionate because of her deep understanding from her own life experience, her strong soft skills, and her commitment to inclusion; Clarity by grounding the relational skills she teaches in research that results in effectiveness and engagement. She has written books, videos, CDs, and online assessments to support her workshops and programs, including:
Dance of Leadership: A creative and interactive video assessment delineating five leadership styles that helps you decide which style(s) resonates most with you, and situations in which each is most effective.
Empowered Leadership: Using the behaviors-based Leadership Trait Questionnaire, that helps you assess your propensity to seek position power, do work well, and relate respectfully with others. Then she explores decision-making biases, differentiates between achievement and perfectionism, and provides behavioral guides for building trust.
Career By Design (CbD): Tips and tools for re-inventing, re-focusing, and rebalancing work-life that help you find the career activities that blend your personality, strengths, skills, and values. The CbD matrix focuses attention on activities that contribute to professional-personal goals.
Cultural Competence: Gain insight into your cultural intelligence, understand inter-cultural communication styles, and explore effective strategies for interacting with others.
Multicultural Teams: Teams achieve their clear-engaging mission when leaders create and sustain an environment that leverages perspective diversity. This how-to class addresses team design, going from conflict to collaboration, and learning/practicing culturally competent feedback. In live sessions she uses her Gamma video case.
Six Secret Soft S.K.I.L.L.S. (Effective leaders use): SKILLS is an acronym for what you will learn and why these are the secret to leadership success: Solution-seeking, Kudos, Inclusive behaviors, Listening, Learning and S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals.
Decoding and Strategically Using Assessments: The Birkman Method: Articulating your needs, motivating interests, and stressors; MBTI: Understanding your cognitive decision-making style and communication patterns; and Lominger VOICES 360 Feedback: Measuring competencies.