Leadership Consultant & Guru

The buck stops here!

Leadership Consultant and Guru

Leadership Consultant and GuruThe buck stops here! I work with organizations, leaders, and staff on how to get unstuck and become brave enough to make hard decisions and overcome the challenges that occur with organizational change; developing and implementing strategies on how to make DEI (diversity, equity and inclusiveness) part of the organizational fabric; fostering a culturally-competent work environment; and successfully introducing leadership transitions and succession.

My approach to consulting is rooted in creative, design thinking. I become my client’s thought partner. We brainstorm strategies that will lead the organization to develop a successful plan of action. Throughout the process, I serve as a coach and sounding board to leadership and also staff.

Leadership Consultant and Guru

Like a guru, I serve as a guide to support leaders successfully navigate their roles, drawing upon my extensive experience as a leader; I can provide concrete examples of how I resolved challenges or created opportunities for change. I encourage my leader clients to accept the authority of their leadership, to build teams, and learn how to inspire staff involvement on their journey to becoming more resilient and transformational leaders capable of leading across lines of difference.

My methodology as a consultant draws upon my skills as an anthropologist and researcher. I review existing policies, value statements, and publications. I visit the site to observe the environment, cultural dynamics, and human interactions. I interview representatives of people at every level—sometimes including the janitorial staff in order to understand the organizational culture. I ask hard questions about inclusiveness, commitment to equity, diversity breeches, the presence of micro-aggressive behavior, unconscious bias, gender bias, and sanctions for those who violate core values. The data derived from this process informs my development of an action plan or set of recommendations and strategies to resolve issues.

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Dr. Irma McClaurin has held numerous leadership roles and acquired a diverse leadership background and diverse skills in human talent management, budgeting, athletic contract negotiations, crisis management, and disaster recovery. She was the 15th president of Shaw University, its first permanent woman president, and led the institution through tornado recovery. After Shaw, she became a senior faculty member at the Federal Executive Institute (FEI) teaching leadership education. FEI was founded in 1968 by Executive Order of then President Lyndon B. Johnson to provide senior federal executives with professional leadership education, development and coaching. While at FEI, McClaurin taught hundreds of senior federal executives representing agencies such as the CIA, NASA, DoD, DoT, DoE, the Navy, FEMA, Veteran Affairs, and many others. She was appointed Coordinator of the USAID Leadership Program and was responsible for designing custom leadership curriculum for four USAID programs: Emerging Leaders, Leading Teams, Leadership, and SES. Her role also included executive coaching and writing the federal vendor contracts. While at FEI, McClaurin also trained international leaders as well. As the Associate Vice President and founding Executive Director of the University of Minnesota’s first Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC), she provided the leadership to complete a community-based University research center, which included renovation of a 21,000sf derelict shopping center, a community engaged strategic planning process, and federal grant writing. Under Dr. McClaurin’s direction, UROC was completed in 15 months, the building renovation was named a finalist in the “Best of Real Estate Awards,” and she co-authored a $2.8 million federal ARRA grant for Broadband Access, which supported 11 community-based computer centers for three years.

Other Services:
Speaker and Facilitator
Diversity Strategist
Writer and Editor
Executive Coach
Research, Audits & Evaluations
Immigration Asylum Expert Witness


Irma McClaurin successfully navigated the University of MN and the Northside of Minneapolis, simultaneously!!, to create UROC when sane folk thought it couldn’t be done and crazies thought it shouldn’t. UROC is the first ever meaningful, positive University presence in that community. It is hard to imagine an assignment too big, difficult or complex for Irma.
I am a fan.

Fred Easter, Educational Management and Fundraising Specialist; former President and CEO of The City, Inc., an alternative school in North Minneapolis

Fred Easter
Educational Management and Fundraising Specialist,

Irma was a visionary leader who facilitate the formation of a diverse and transparent collaboration between the University of Minnesota and a diverse low income community. She effectively created opportunities and pathways for residents of the community to obtain employment with the University at the UROC center. Irma’s integrity and respect for the residents of the UROC neighborhood restored the communities trust in the University of Minnesota which they had previously distrusted. She brought creative and innovative programing to UROC that provided residents exciting opportunities for new learnings.

Sherrie Pugh, President, Orlando. Charles Foundation & former Executive Director of the Northside Residents Redevelopment Corporation

Sherrie Pugh
President, The Charles Foundation
Dr. Irma McClaurin, Associate VP & founding Executive Director of the University of Minnesota's Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROCO) before renovations 2009
Dr. Irma McClaurin, Associate VP & founding Executive Director of the University of Minnesota's Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROCO) before renovations 2009
Dr. McClaurin, Senior Faculty at the Federal Executive Institute, founded by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968 by Executive Order, and Coordinator of the USAID Leadership Programs