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Meet the Instructors


Werner Erhard 


Werner Erhard is an original thinker whose ideas have transformed the effectiveness and quality of life for millions of people and thousands of organizations around the world. For nearly 40 years he has been the creator of innovative ideas and models of individual, organizational, and social transformation. His work has been the source of new perspectives for thinkers and practitioners in fields as diverse as business, education, philosophy, medicine, psychotherapy, developing and emerging countries, conflict resolution, and community building. Erhard has created new ways of seeing things in areas where progress has stalled or where breakthroughs would make a significant difference. A majority of the Fortune 100 companies and many foundations and governmental entities have used his ideas and models. Fortune magazine’s 40th anniversary issue (5/15/95), in examining the major contributions to management thinking, recognized Erhard’s ideas as one of the major innovations of the last few decades.

While he may be best known to the general public for applications derived from his models (including The est Training started in 1971 and replaced in the mid-1980s by The Forum), currently Erhard commits his time and intellectual effort almost exclusively to the academic world. Some of his recent research, writings, lectures, and courses can be found on his Author Page in the Social Sciences Research Network (SSRN). About The Forum, Social scientist Daniel Yankelovich said of a study he conducted of participants of The Forum: “Several of the study’s findings surprised me quite a bit, especially the large number of participants for whom The Forum proved to be ‘one of the most valued experiences of my life’. This is not a sentiment that people, especially successful, well-educated people, express lightly.”

Werner Erhard is largely self-educated, albeit with tutoring from some important thinkers of his time – Richard Feynman, Michel Foucault, Humberto Maturana, Sir Karl Popper, and Hilary Putnam, to name a few. Philosopher Michael E. Zimmerman said of Erhard, “He had no particular formal training in anything, but he understood things as well as anyone I’d ever seen; and I’ve been around a lot of smart people in academia. This is an extraordinary intellect I saw at work”. In recognition of his humanitarian work around the world, in 1988 Erhard was awarded the Mahatma Gandhi Humanitarian Award.

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Michael C. Jensen


Dr. Michael Jensen joined the faculty of the Harvard Business School in 1985, founding what is now the Negotiations, Organizations and Markets Unit in the School. He became Emeritus in 2000 when he joined The Monitor Group as Managing Director of the Organizational Strategy Practice, and was Senior Advisor 2007-2009. He served on the faculty of the William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Rochester, from 1967 through 1988 where he was LaClare Professor of Finance and Business Administration when he left. He founded the Managerial Economics Research Center at the University of Rochester in 1977 and served as its Director until 1988. He is Past President and Fellow of the American Finance Association and Past President of the Western Economic Association International.

Professor Jensen earned a Ph.D. in Economics, Finance, and Accounting and an M.B.A. in Finance from the University of Chicago in 1967, and an A.B. degree from Macalester College. He was awarded honorary Doctor of Laws degrees, Docteur Honoris Causa, by Universite Catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, July, 1991; by the University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland, December 2000; by the William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, June, 2001; by the University of Toronto, June 2005, and by Georgetown University, May 2011. He was named Honoris Causa Professor by HEC Business School, Paris, France, Nov. 2006. He was awarded the 2007 Herbert Simon Award for outstanding contributions to business research by Rajk Laszlo College, Budapest, Hungary. In May 2009 he was given the Lifetime Achievement Award for Contributions to Research in the Field of Financial Intermediation by the Financial Intermediation Research Society. He was awarded the Morgan Stanley-American Finance Association 2009 Award For Excellence in Financial Economics and selected the National Bureau of Economics Research, Harvard Business School and the U. of Rochester Simon School of Business as recipients of the $200,000 total cash grant. In May, 2011 he was awarded the ‘Economics for Management Lecture Series IESE-Fundacion BBVA Prize.

Professor Jensen is the author of more than 100 scientific papers, in addition to numerous articles, comments, and editorials published in the popular media on a wide range of economic, finance and business-related topics. Most of his papers are downloadable from his SSRN Author Page. He is author of Foundations of Organizational Strategy (Harvard University Press, 1998), and Theory of the Firm: Governance, Residual Claims, and Organizational Forms (Harvard University Press, 2000). He is editor of The Modern Theory of Corporate Finance (with Clifford W. Smith, Jr., McGraw-Hill, 1984) andStudies in the Theory of Capital Markets (Praeger Publishers, 1972). His book co-authored with Kevin Murphy and Eric Wruck, CEO Pay and What to Do About It: Restoring Integrity to Both Executive Compensation and Capital-Market Relations will be published by Harvard Business School Press in 2014.

In 1973 Professor Jensen co-founded the Journal of Financial Economics with Eugene Fama and Robert Merton, serving as Managing Editor from 1977 to 1997, when he became Founding Editor. From 1992 through 1998 he served on the steering committee of the Mind Brain Behavior Initiative at Harvard University (a Harvard interfaculty effort to bring together a wide range of scholars interested in understanding the limitations of the human brain and its role in generating counter-to-self-interest human behavior). In 1994 he co-founded and is currently Chairman ofSocial Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. (SSEP) which is devoted to the electronic publication of scientific working papers in the social sciences ( Since 2003 Jensen has been a member of the Barbados Group, a worldwide think tank of more than a dozen scholars, including philosophers, economists, psychologists, technologists, and educators to develop the ontological foundations of leadership and performance.

Dr. Jensen has served as consultant and board member to various corporations, foundations and governmental agencies and has given expert testimony before congressional and state committees and state and federal courts. He currently serves on the Advisory Boards of ESADE Business School and the Gruter Institute For Law and Behavioral Research and is a Board Member of Conscious Capitalism. He has lectured widely at seminars, meetings, conventions and educational institutions. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Professor Jensen’s major research interests now include “The Ontological Laws of Human Nature”, “A Positive Model of Integrity”, “A Positive Theory of the Normative Virtues,” “Being A Leader and the Effective Exercise of Leadership: An Ontological/Phenomenological Model”, and “A Value-Free Approach To Values”.

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Steve Zaffron 


Steve Zaffron is CEO of Vanto Group, a consulting firm specialized in the design and implementation of large-scale initiatives to elevate organizational performance. He has worked with organizations in different industries worldwide including Walgreens, NASA, Reebok, BHP-Billiton, Dalmia Group (India) Petrobras (Brazil), and Polus Group (Japan).

As an internationally respected leadership authority, Steve Zaffron is noted for his provocative new perspectives on breakthrough performance, organizational change, transformational leadership and integrating competitive advantages. He has been a guest lecturer at universities in the US and Europe including Harvard Business School, Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester, Marshall School of Business at USC and Erasmus University (Holland).

In The Three Laws of Performance: Rewriting The Future Of Organizations And Your Life (co-authored with David Logan), Steve articulates a new theory about what underlies breakthrough performance while sharing over 20 years of direct experience supporting companies to generate unprecedented business results while empowering its employees and stakeholders through the emergence of leadership beyond title, authority or position. The book sets the foundation for a new type of organization.

The approaches and methodologies he has developed for Vanto Group have resulted in a unique range of consulting services focusing on breakthrough performance through the creation of strategic partnerships that cross silos and even historical divides. Vanto Group’s signature is the emergence of leadership that transcends position, title, or even authority.

Steve is also a board member of Landmark Worldwide, Vanto Group’s parent company, and during his tenure as head of the R&D team, he was accountable for the development of Landmark’s programs and the training of Landmark’s senior faculty.

Steve Zaffron holds a Master’s degree from the University of Chicago and graduated magna cum laude from Cornell University.

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Jeri Echeverria 


Dr. Echeverria served the twenty-three campus California State University (CSU) system as its chief academic officer until 2010 when she retired.  As Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, she participated in the national movement to increase graduation rates in higher education, championed a statewide initiative to improve the experience of students transferring from community colleges to four-year universities and colleges, as well as advocating for the quality of academic programs offered to the largest cumulative student body in the nation, the CSU.

Dr. Echeverria currently offers the Leadership Course to doctoral students in two of California’s doctoral programs for educational leaders.  Her goal is the transformation of education and educators, and she focuses her current efforts in California.  Another of her current commitments is leading Lecole: A Learning Community for Ontological/Phenomenological Education, a group of faculty who are committed to introducing the Leadership Course and its distinctions to higher education.

In addition, Echeverria is frequently invited to offer lectures, workshops and coaching on leadership in higher education at universities and at meetings of professional organizations.  She serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Education Delivery Institute (working with the Education Trust to improve graduation rates in the United States); Radio Bilingue Advisory Board (working in the American southwest to enhance information and news provided to Spanish speaking listeners); and theUniversity of Nevada’s Basque Studies Advisory Board (working to expand and maintain the scholarship of an internationally acclaimed Basque Studies program).

A native Californian born to Basque immigrants, Echeverria grew up on a sheep ranch in Southern California.  She earned her bachelor’s degree in History and Humanities at the University of California, Irvine, and completed her doctorate in History at the University of North Texas.  An expert on Basque settlement in the American West, her publications include: Home Away from Home: A History of Basque Boarding HousesPortraits of Basques in the New World; and Home Off the Range: Basque Hotels in America.  Echeverria has also published numerous articles and chapters on Basques and is frequently invited to speak on related topics.

Professor Echeverria began her academic career in 1988 when she joined the Department of History at Fresno State.  She later served as Chair of the History Department, as Associate Dean of the College of Social Sciences, and as Associate Provost before being appointed Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

As Provost at Fresno State, Dr. Echeverria played a leadership role in strategic and academic planning, expanding graduate and joint doctoral programs, supporting student success initiatives, addressing gender and equity issues and diversity hiring, planning for instructional technology, and developing systems to expand grant and contract activity.

Dr. Echeverria has spent the better part of the past four decades in education – both as a professor and in administrative positions, and has found that offering the Leadership Course has been one of the highlights of her teaching experience.

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