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I'm Carrie Pickett-Erway. As a social worker, my core values of justice, compassion and community are central to how I live in the world. I started my career as a community organizer and worked in philanthropy for 20+ years. I provide coaching, strategic planning, board development, Intercultural Development Inventory ® (IDI) assessments, and project work. This may include serving in interim executive roles during transitions. I'm deep into my anti-racism journey and love to find ways to support others on the path.



Strategic Planning

Every strategic plan is different, reflecting the culture and values of an organization, the population and type of community it serves, the economic conditions, and most importantly, the kind of outcomes it seeks.  While each organization is unique, there are best practices that inform the process. The Board leadership (reflective of the community) should drive a strategic planning process. Consultants to the planning process, serve as trusted guides, facilitators of discussions, and designated contrarians raising neglected questions or issues.  Consultants must also ensure progress is made, and the many decisions reached as part of the planning process are accurately recorded.  When done well, a strategic planning process is a deep learning experience for the board and staff, elevating concepts central to the organization’s identity and role. A strategic planning process typically takes 6-9 months, and includes defining key challenges and opportunities, assessing internal conditions and the external environment in which it operates.  Early in the process, we focus on calibrating the mission, vision and values.  Using data from internal assessments, field trends, peer benchmarks and stakeholder interviews.  A report is shared with the committee and used to clarify strategic goals.   Each goal is then operationalized to advance the organization’s mission over the next three to 5 years.  This is typically done through iterative sessions with a few weeks between for reflection and resting, thus avoiding “planning fatigue”.

Executive Coaching

An investment in coaching will impact every aspect of your life, personally and professionally.  It is a partnership of equals, based on the belief that all of us hold wisdom, we are smart, capable, and committed to growing and learning.  I work with people who are willing to receive feedback openly and honestly.  I help people who feel stuck, and are eager to move forward.  I work with seasoned leaders and those who are early in building their career.  Together we will explore limiting beliefs, apply new tools and practices, and build a joyful experience.  Coaching can be incredible best professional development, as it is customized and focused completely on you- your challenges, opportunities and learning goals. A coaching experience involves virtual meetings, roughly one hour in length, occurring every 2-3 weeks.  I ask for an initial commitment of six months, continuing month to month beyond this if progress is being made.  Assessments, tools, and resources are a significant part of the learning process.  Those who see the greatest benefit from coaching are the ones who prepare for each meeting, are fully present, bring equal parts humility and pride, and do the homework in between.

Learn more about my approach to coaching here.

Board Development for Nonprofits

Board members may feel they are missing opportunities to be strong ambassadors for the organization they serve.  The size of a board and term limits can make it hard for board members to get to know each other and fully engage in their role.  Taking the time to provide shared learning experiences can propel board culture and activate leadership to advance an organization’s mission.  Board sessions can be designed to educate, train, mobilize, and refresh knowledge.  Sessions can be 1 hour long, or several days.  The design of a session is specific to the needs, goals and resources available.  Topics for board development might include best practices in governance, effective partnership with the Chief Executive Officer, ambassador (fund raising) training,  inclusion and equity practices, and intercultural competency.

Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) ®

As a society, we lack sufficient intercultural tools that assess how competent an individual or an organization is in terms of working across cultures. The IDI is a cross-culturally valid and reliable measure of intercultural competence. (Hammer, 2007; Hammer, Bennett & Wiseman, 2003). The IDI assessment process produces a profile of a group or organization’s capacity to recognize and adapt to cultural differences.  The profile can also be developed for individuals allowing targeted intercultural coaching of team members focused on building self-awareness, understanding behaviors that increase cross-cultural effectiveness, and practice using these new skills. The IDI can provide a clear picture of how a team approaches cultural aspects of their working relationships.  This information informs team dynamics and supports effective engagement with cultural differences. Without systematic efforts at developing intercultural competence, our global community will continue to deal with misunderstandings, tension, and conflict. The IDI generates an individual (or a group) graphic profile of the respondent’s overall position on the intercultural development continuum.  The continuum represents a progression from a less complex, to a more complex, perception of, and experience around, cultural diversity. In general, people who have a more complex framework for perceiving and understanding patterns of cultural differences have the capacity and capability of shifting cultural perspectives and adapting behavior to cultural context.


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Having Carrie alongside our team was exactly what we needed.

We needed some help reviewing our staff roles and responsibilities; our culture and values; diversity and inclusion; and some other challenges. I knew Carrie’s experience would be perfect for us. Little did we know, as we started our work we would have a key staff person announce her departure. Having Carrie alongside our team was exactly what we needed. Her empathy and ability to engage our team in thoughtful and sometimes difficult conversations was amazing. The data she collected and analyzed from our peers regarding staffing structures was also a tremendous help and something we would not have had the capacity to do on our own. Thanks to Carrie, we have a plan for our future staff growth and we are continuing our journey around our culture and values.

—David L. Jones “DJ” MBA, CAP®
Executive Director, Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation
Carrie made it understandable and relatable to our organization. 

I had a great experience learning about the IDI® with Carrie, who is an experienced facilitator and teacher. The IDI was new to me, but Carrie made it understandable and relatable to our organization. I really appreciated Carrie's support creating both individual and organizational learning plans.

—Caroline Merenda, Chief of Staff, CFLeads
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A Partial List of Clients & Partners in Our Work

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