Our Mission: Challenging Leaders to Think, Be, and Do Radically Better
Who was Lee Thayer?
Often referred to as the greatest leadership coach of his era, Dr. Lee Thayer was esteemed by the most influential minds in leadership. He was considered by many as a pioneer and innovator in the leadership required of executives to achieve the highest levels of performance, working with such diverse entities as the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Office of Education, and NASA, among others.
Owing to his tremendous success leading executives out of their comfort zones to achieve their most audacious goals, Dr. Thayer became affectionately known as a “professional cage rattler.” His impactful, powerful leadership coaching stemmed from a background balanced in arts and science, a jazz musician (who played with Stan Kenton,) and his vast experience working with executives at IBM, AT&T, Westinghouse, Boeing, Curtiss-Wright, Pratt-Whitney, McDonnell Douglas, Phillips, Shell, General Motors, Sealtest Foods, Hallmark, and West Point, among many others.
With degrees in the humanities, engineering, and psychology, his other “career” as a distinguished and honored university professor both here and abroad included work with the Harvard Graduate School of Business, the University of Amsterdam, Queensland University of Technology in Australia, and the Universidad Complutense in Mexico.
At a time when many were leaning into becoming “specialists,” Lee was multi-discipline, pulling from the arts, science, history, mathematics, literature, and beyond to ensure he was exposed to as many ways of thinking as may be useful and that every valuable idea made it into his work. In addition to working with dozens of leaders across the US, he has taken his extraordinary problem-solving skills to Europe (the UK, Finland, Norway), Australia, Canada, Mexico, and China.
Dr. Thayer was the author of the groundbreaking guides Leadership: Thinking, Being, Doing and How Executives Fail, a Ford Foundation Fellow, a Fulbright Scholar, and an internationally renowned mentor to leaders at Fortune 500s with a merciless-yet-mirthful style of teaching and training.
The depth and breadth of Dr. Thayer’s life and professional experience, coupled with the depth and breadth of people he worked with, played with, worked for, and worked on, informs every element of his work and his legacy, Leadership TBD. Dr. Thayer also founded the non-profit The Thayer Institute for Performance Virtuosity, which serves as a repository for his books and materials and also works to further his mission.
Who is Joelle Thayer?
Flawless Execution. Seeking nothing less than that high standard has driven every aspect of Joelle Thayer’s education, career, and life experiences. Lee Thayer saw Joelle not only as his daughter, but as his protégé and successor, deeming her worthy of carrying the powerful torch of his work forward to impact the lives of future generations of leaders, and he invested the immense time necessary to achieve his bold vision in accordance with Joelle’s highest standards.
Achieving the highest levels of success in whatever she focused on included Joelle winning a Gold Medal in the Jr. Olympics for downhill skiing. She graduated top of her class in the field of humanities.
After studying abroad in France, she spent the next 20 years climbing to the top of haute cuisine at the world’s best hotels and restaurants. Joelle earned her chops working with world-renowned chefs, an impressive list that included the likes of Rick Bayless and Charlie Trotter. Among her highest achievements was being fully responsible for every aspect of kitchen operations in each of two hotels during the years they earned their prestigious number one Best Hotel in the World ratings by the esteemed Conde Nast.
Her fast-paced, high-pressure experiences as Executive Chef, and later as the most senior executive of Operations for the highest-end, national food distribution company used by the best chefs in the country, well equipped her for her current role working with executives.
Throughout her life and career, she was coached exclusively and extensively by her father. In fact, Joelle is the only one Dr. Thayer personally trained in his methodology, his philosophy, and the delivery of his teachings over nearly 40 years. Now, as CEO of Leadership TBD, Joelle is leveraging her experience and her father’s curriculum of personal insights to build programs that mentor others to create, and live, their own flawless leadership mindsets.
She brings a broad perspective, deep experience working alongside leaders in a multitude of verticals and fields, and the same relentless intellectual curiosity that Lee Thayer brought to coaching and leadership and expertly imparted to every leader he worked with.