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Workshop Faculty

Philip McArthur

Philip McArthur is a partner and cofounder of Action Design.  For over twenty years, Phil has helped senior executives get results by building effective teams, collaborating productively across organizational boundaries, transforming difficult relationships, and implementing change. In addition to executive coaching, facilitating executive retreats, and consulting on organizational change, he conducts professional development workshops on creating productive conversations and building effective relationships in organizations. He has taught executive education programs for Boston College, Columbia University, and Stanford University. His clients include non-profit organizations as well as companies in a broad range of industries including pharmaceuticals, financial services, information technology, manufacturing and consulting.

Phil is a contributor to the Fifth Discipline Fieldbook and The Dance of Change, by Peter Senge et al. He also helped design Activating the Fifth Discipline, Volume 1, a multimedia CD-ROM on improving organizational decision making through dialogue and systems thinking. He is a founding member of the Society for Organizational Learning.

Phil earned his masters and doctorate in Counseling and Consulting Psychology from Harvard University, and was trained as a family therapist at the Family Institute of Cambridge. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with his wife and two sons. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Robert Putnam

Robert W. Putnam is a partner and cofounder of Action Design. He works with senior executives to develop effective leadership groups, facilitates conversations across organizational boundaries, and consults on organizational change. He also conducts executive education and professional development workshops for leaders and agents of organizational learning and change. He has worked with leading companies in a broad range of industries, including pharmaceuticals, financial services, information technology, medical devices, and consulting.

Bob is a co-developer of action science, an approach to inquiry that emphasizes knowledge for action.  He is co-author of the book Action Science with Chris Argyris and Diana McLain Smith.  He has written several articles on reflective conversation, action science, and organizational learning.

Bob earned his doctorate in Counseling and Consulting Psychology from Harvard University.  He holds a degree in Political Science from Syracuse University and was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow in Political Science.  Before beginning his doctoral studies he was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Costa Rica and worked at a human services organization in Boston. Bob lives in Newton, MA with his wife and son. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Iris Bagwell

Iris is an executive coach and organizational consultant in Winthrop, Massachusetts. She is the Founder and Principal at Optio Associates LLC, a consulting firm offering coaching and leadership development to a wide variety of clients in corporate, nonprofit and political settings. Iris has over forty years of experience working with individuals, pairs, teams and organizations with a focus on building relationships that work. She has had the opportunity to work with outstanding thought leaders like Chris Argyris, David Kantor and the partners at Action Design. She is a frequent trainer in the field of organizational learning, including serving as Senior Faculty at the Action Design Institutes.

Through Optio Associates, Iris offers coaching (individual, relationship and team), training and facilitation. Her work draws deeply on nearly two decades focused on developing leaders in business settings enhanced by her past experience as a psychotherapist. Her corporate clients can be found in high tech, professional services, finance, academic, healthcare and pharmaceutical areas. Her nonprofit clients include pioneers in education reform, progressive political campaigns, and other organizations with an emphasis on entrepreneurial leadership.

Starting in 2004, Iris became increasingly involved in the political process. In 2008, she began to design an offering now called Campaign Leadership Coaching. This innovative offering pairs Iris’s experience as a leadership development coach with her campaign experience to create a vibrant, powerful, customized program that can reduce staff turnover, accelerate leadership development, enhance the pace and quality of collaboration and decision-making, and enable leaders to spend less time while being far more effective dealing with difficult interpersonal issues.

Iris holds a Bachelors Degree cum laude from Tufts University and a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology from Northeastern University in addition to extensive post-graduate training.