Who We Are

Kay Peterson
Founder and Director
Institute for Experiential Learning

Kay Peterson is the founder of the Institute for Experiential Learning, a board certified coach and organizational development consultant. Kay lives as a lifelong learner and brings an approach of curiosity, creativity and inspiration to her clients. Her previous career roles have included: clinical nurse specialist, sales manager, start-up entrepreneur, family-business owner, CEO, and president of a healthcare and library board. It was not until Kay “learned how to learn” with Experiential Learning that the lights went on regarding how people change and develop. Now, Kay delivers a creative and direct approach to help leaders and professionals to reach their highest potential at any point in their careers within organizations that are deliberately using the power of learning and development to thrive. She applies the values and ideas of Experiential Learning with clients and in her own life.

Kay’s goal is to put Experiential Learning on the agenda of every organizational change and development effort and anyone looking to enact personal change. Her research on learning flexibility is contributing to the already vast body of evidence about the power of learning to transform lives. Together with David A. Kolb, Kay has developed a Learning Skills Profile 360° Assessment that promotes personal and professional development through by measuring skills associated with the Learning Styles of the Kolb Learning Style Inventory 4.0.

Kay is also a founder and the Co-CEO of Harlan Peterson Partners, an organization development and executive coaching firm. Kay designs and delivers custom programs for individual development and team effectiveness to support those who are working to simultaneously become more competitive and collaborative. She has worked with professionals in health care, law, service, finance, manufacturing, management, engineering, IT, education and non-profit settings. Kay also serves as a Master Coach at Case Western Reserve Weatherhead Executive Education.

Kay earned a MS-POD and MBA from Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, a MN from Emory University and a BS from Vanderbilt University. She is a Board Certified Coach and Associate Certified Coach. She has earned a Certificate in Appreciative Inquiry in Positive Business and Society Change, a Certificate for Developing Leadership through Emotional Intelligence for Coaching and Sustainable Change and is certified in the Hay Group Emotional and Social Competency Inventory and the Leadership Circle. Kay has completed post-graduate training at the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland in Gestalt Coaching, Training and Somatic Studies.  Kay completed the Coaching Program in Adult Development at the Center for Leadership Maturity.  Her current research explores the difference in individual contributors and leaders at different points in their legal careers through a lens of learning style. Her work in Experiential Learning has been published in HBR Guides, OD Practitioner and the Journal of Experiential Learning.  She has co-authored a book with David A. Kolb entitled How You Learn is How You Live (Berrett-Koehler, 2017). Kay can be reached at Peterson@experientiallearninginstitute.org.