Mike Marois and Michael Ayers founded the organization which has become The Commonwealth Practice LLC. While Mike Marois may still have occasional involvement, Michael Ayers is the primary player at this point.
Prior to founding The Commonwealth Practice, I worked in the information systems arena for 25 years. That included work first at Hennepin County, then at Target Stores, and finally at 3M Company ending in July of 2002.
In the last ten years, I have moved away from the technological side to the organizational development side. That is, I've been working with the organizational side of building systems rather than actually doing the hands-on building. This largely resulted from the discovery at that point that the problem lay not with the software and the computers and the programming languages but rather with the people using those tools. The move essentially was a shift from designing systems to designing the people that design the systems. That work has included staff development, competency modeling, workforce management ... a variety of topics in that realm.
For the better part of five years, my work focused on leadership development in two divisions of 3M Company: the information technology group, focused on mid-level managers; and the research-and-development group, focused on de facto leaders in a large cross-disciplinary technology exchange group. I was part of a team that had the chance to work with eight-to-twelve people at a time, totaling about 45 people in the first group, then 175 in the second group.
I am certified to use virtually all of the Lominger Ltd. suite of tools (now part of Korn Ferry), including Career Architect, Organization Architect, Recruiting Architect, VOICES 360-feedback, and more.
I teach a required course at Hamline University (St. Paul, MN) in the Graduate School of Education (for administrators, for teachers, and for teachers moving into the administration ranks as principals and/or directors of special education).
Until March of 2002, I had the pleasure and challenge of serving for six years as the Chair of the Board of Directors of Tasks Unlimited, a Minneapolis-based non-profit working on behalf of clients in recovery from mental illness and traumatic brain injury. After leaving that board, I joined the board of another non-profit, Family Networks, which worked primarily with children with mental illness. After a half-dozen challenging years serving as the Chair of that Board, we merged it into a larger non-profit. And I moved on to service on the board of charter school. Unfortunately, that school closed at the end of 2011. It's amazing what you can learn in merging and/or closing a non-profit!
My wife Judy and I met in high school, got married in college, and have been married for forty-some years. We have two daughters, one living in Minneapolis and the other in San Diego. One works in a local hospital and enters the Physican's Assistant program at St Catherine University in the Fall of 2013. We take care of her and her husband's two sons during the week. The other works from home as a reference attorney/editor for a large publishing company while periodically re-locating, as her Navy husband is transferred from one duty station to the next.
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