Reinvention: Ellen Burts-Cooper, PhD, quits data job to help employees team-build

Posted 3.1.2016

Ellen Burts-Cooper, PhDArticle excerpt from The Plain Dealer, "Ellen Burts-Cooper quits data job to help employees team-build: Reinvention" by Marcia Pledger

Improve Consulting & Training Group's President Ellen Burts-Cooper doesn't have the experience you might expect from a startup founder of a team-building company.

Rather than a background in organizational development, Cooper holds a PhD in organic polymer chemistry, an MBA and a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt certification.

Before she started the business in 2011, she was senior director of quality for PNC Bank working in both Cleveland and Pittsburgh, tying into a 14-year career of managing technical projects in the chemical, finance and IT industries. She started her career as a managing chemist at 3M in St. Paul, Minnesota.

"I never pictured I'd be doing what I'm doing now," she said. "This a total different direction from my educational background and what my experiences prepared me for," she said. But it's paid off.

Today, just five years after starting her training business, Improve boasts 63 active clients as diverse as Fortune 100 companies, small businesses and nonprofits, as it continues its mission to help people make their workplace interactions more effective and improve productivity.

So far, so good. Cooper, or members of her 7-person staff have traveled to 17 cities providing services primarily for Fortune 500 companies in the areas of workshops, speaking or consulting.

It's not as big of a shift as you'd think.


Upcoming Weatherhead Executive Education Classes with Ellen Burts-Cooper, PhD:

Influencing at All Levels: How to get work done with and through others
March 2, 2016

Change Leadership: Take a holistic approach to the challenges of change
April 12, 2016

Manager's Toolkit for Delegation, Accountability, and Results
June 21-22, 2016

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