The Breakfast Leadership Show: Interview with Ed Oftterdinger

Ed Offterdinger is a former CEO and Managing Partner who served in senior leadership roles for 25 years and is now a leadership coach, strategic advisor and author. He is passionate about helping CEOs, executives and leadership teams shift their mindsets, perspectives and practices to do what’s best for their people, their business and society.

Ed is the co-author of a book with Catherine Allen titled, ‘‘Conscious, Capable, and Ready to Contribute: A Fable-How Employee Development can become the Highest Form of Social Contribution.” He and Allen are also the Co-Founders of AO People Partners, a leadership development and people strategies firm, where Ed also serves as Chairman. In addition, Ed is the Co-Founder and Chair of the Washington, D.C. chapter of Conscious Capitalism®, which he has helped grow into the movement’s largest U.S. chapter. He is also a Special Advisor to K&A, an executive search firm.

Ed successfully built his own career in consulting and public accounting by heavily investing in leadership and professional development for himself and others in the companies he led. He has long focused on helping others develop their professional and personal skills and believes that great companies thrive because they grow leaders at every level.

A purpose-driven, trusted confidant and thinking partner with a calm and supportive demeanor, wealth of experience, deep reservoir of practical, boardroom knowledge and strong connections to C-suites, Ed’s work is rooted in data and inspired by stories. He advises organizations and leaders on a wide range of professional development matters and short and long-term strategic business planning.

Away from work, Ed is inspired by and involved with several philanthropic causes focused on cancer research, education, and people with disabilities. A successful amateur golfer who captained the golf team while at the University of Virginia, Ed has competed at the local and national level since being introduced to the game by his parents at the age of seven.

He credits his mother and grandmother for his love of reading and writing fiction. He also finds inspiration in music. And while his tastes are fairly wide ranging, he is drawn to the music of his youth. When asked to describe his favorite music, he will frequently respond by sharing two important memories: a chance encounter with Jerry Garcia in 1978 and the opportunity to introduce Jackson Browne on stage at the 2010 Leukemia Ball.




Embrace the opportunity to grow your brand and reputation as a company that truly invests in helping employees grow their capabilities – even and especially during an employee off boarding experience. When viewed through the development lens, this is a valuable opportunity for employers to learn and improve organizational and people development practices, build brand ambassadors, and enable departing employees to reflect on gains in skills and capabilities.


Facilitate strategic conversations with senior leaders to explore and define ways conscious people development can be integrated into the culture and daily workflow to power your business, your people, and your employer brand. 


Incorporate learning and development objectives into retention activities to prepare employees for new roles and opportunities. This can be done through engagement and feedback surveys, recognition and rewards programs, promotion, succession planning, and more.

Social Contribution

“Build it so they will want to come, flourish, and stay, knowing that someday they may leave.

Thus, it is imperative to define what you want them to say about their growth experience with your organization and what you want the outside world to say about how you invest in and contribute capable people to society.”

-Ed Offterdinger & Catherine Allen
Conscious, Capable, and Ready to Contribute. (p. 173)

Integrated Capability Development and Performance Management

Integrate learning, growth, and capability development goals and activities into your performance management rather than relying on day-to-day responsibilities alone to create a more engaging, productive, and helpful process.


Adapt onboarding to set new hires up for success in a continuous learning environment through orientation activities that introduce the principles and practices that support everyday learning and development for each employee.


Integrate practices, principles, and tools to better evaluate a candidate’s orientation to continuous learning and development as a factor in their overall fit for a position. This provides:

  • Improved candidate interviewing, assessment and selection practices
  • Better candidate selections with learning and growth mindset
  • An early introduction to your company’s development culture focus


Embed messages about commitment to people development to attract your ideal candidates.