Professional summary

Shem Cohen works with leadership teams to develop and execute winning strategy and successfully lead change.

Over the past 20 years Mr. Cohen has served as Socio-Technical Systems adviser and change agent for C-Suite executives and teams, Ambassadors and former White House executives; helped large organizations create national/global scope strategy and change; environmental groups launch significant growth; and many small-mid size and family businesses re-position themselves for success and/or bring peace to their workplace.

Mr. Cohen's methods are profoundly successful across industries, helping clients develop more profitable, higher-performing organizations by tapping the collective knowledge, skills, experience, interests and passions

Engagement overview

Consulting Phases:
- Set Goals, Contracting
- Discovery
- Design
- Implementation (meeting design, facilitation; consulting and coaching, as needed)
- Documentation and Metrics
- Track Progress, Adapt
- Closure/ Re-contracting


• Del Monte Foods
• Perkin Elmer
• Heineken USA
• Church and Dwight
• Xerox Corporation
• Marriott
• Compaq
• Cellular One
• Pepsico
• Lucent Technologies
• Towers Perrin
• Thomas Publishing

• The Federal Reserve Bank
• Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
• Chase Manhattan Bank
• JP Morgan Chase
• Soros Fund Management
• Chubb Insurance
• Credit Agricole Bank
• GE Capital

• The United Kingdom Mission to the United Nations
• The British Consulate-General
• New York State Department of Labor
• NY State Department of Education
• NY State Department of Transportation

• Iowa Health System
• Capital District Physicians Health Plan
• Doylestown Hospital
• North Country Behavioral Healthcare Network

Small-Mid & Family Business
• The American Taekwondo Association
• AmeriBag, Outspoken Media
• DragonSearch Marketing
• Oxclove Workshop
• Big Shoes Media
• Embossed Graphics
• Paper House Productions
• Medrex Ltd
• Snowman’s Oil and Soil

• Meyer Suozzi English and Klein
• Maynard
• O’Connor
• Smith & Catalinotto, LLP

• Civil Service Employee Association

• National Parks Conservation Association
• NY/NJ Harbor Restoration Coalition

• Washington Public Radio
• Rural Opportunities Inc.
• National School & Community Corps
• Rural and Migrant Ministries
• Family of Woodstock
• The HOPE Foundation
• AmeriCorps
• Singapore National Employer’s Federation
• Women’s Studio Workshop
• Hudson River Clearwater
• Hudson Valley Technology and Commerce

• State University of New York
• Albuquerque Public Schools
• Sisters of the Holy Names
• Northeast Parent and Child Society
• Culinary Institute of America
• United Methodist Camps
• New York State Center for School Safety
• The Masters School
• Poughkeepsie Public Schools
• The Bennett School
• Rockefeller College


Should age be a real factor in our decision? No - proven talent, leadership capabilities and peer/customer credibility with a healthy dose of passion and drive are better criteria in which to rest a decision.

If we decide to go ahead with the hire, how can we make this transition smoother? - Face to face, roll up sleeves and shape crucial understandings/agreements with top leadership and peer... Read more

1) Establish a project leadership team consisting of those leaders (cross boundary) with the expertise, authority, information, access to resources and with formal/informal connections into key stakeholder groups that can make/break the design and/or implementation; 2) Once the overall project is mapped, widen the circle to involve managers and employees who can add expertise/info, who have a stak... Read more

"How can I set their KPIs without knowing their roles, gain their respect and lead this new team through a turbulent time in our organization?" - As it stands now, you can't. If you attempt to do so without engaging in your own discovery process (listening and learning) and engaging the team to build mutual understanding re: charter, requisite skills, roles, inter-dependencies, how you can best s... Read more

Tough spot, but not unusual. There are a few approaches, depending on the political climate/culture.

1) Talk with your peers and explore the option of a 'confrontation' meeting - better if scheduled as something informal, a private dinner or lunch together, some pre-meeting coaching re: diplomacy and developing a strategy to broach the topic and surface the issue would likely be helpful;

2) If ... Read more

Having been called in on many occasions to remedy situations as you describe - a common by-product of many new cross functional teams and most organizational systems that are somewhat 'silo'd' by function/expertise - the best solution is also the one that develops the team for high performance.

Facilitate the development of:

1- A collective Global view of the system (organization and wide... Read more

I concur with my colleagues recommendations above. 360 instruments are meant as learning tools, the true value tapped through learning/development conversations between manager-employee (and any outside assistance via performance/leadership coach). The tool itself is useless (at best) by itself/not employed as designed. As with any metric, the greater risk one introduces, the less useful the to... Read more

Form follows function, structure needs to support the business plan/resources. Operating leaner, while necessitating structural trade-offs, doesn't have to also mean losing'DNA sequences' if leaders focus on identifying desired capability and value; map this across current structure/capabilities/resources; determine how/where to best develop said value and develop clear metrics to track progress... Read more

Please see 'Successful Execution on Strategy and Change: Generate Focus, Commitment and Action throughout Human systems" here: .. Read more

From this overview, core leverage areas to set new trajectories:

1) Strategic: build common ground on direction - across key players and/or the entire board. The organization needs a strategically cohesive leadership body. The most important questions seem to be - Do other board members share these strategic concerns? Are these differences re: direction being addressed productively by the boa... Read more


You helped us move forward when it was difficult to do so and pave the way for achieving even more than we anticipated

The Federal Reserve Bank

You were able to tailor the project to our specific requirements, familiarising yourself with the ways we work and steering our discussions to an ultimate, productive outcome. I will certainly recommend your services highly as a facilitator

The UK Mission to the United Nations

Many disparate people ended up on the same page. It was nothing short of miraculous.

Oxclove Workshop

I recommend Shem Cohen for any project where high participation and responsible action make a difference.

Marvin Weisbord, Co-Director Future Search Network

I am particularly impressed by your ability to quick-study our organization and culture, and then to customize a venue to lead us to a plan for improving both… I believe that your efforts have invoked a positive change that will be long lasting. I am grateful.


I truly appreciate the impact you had on my life and the company.

The American Taekwondo Association

I am truly grateful for your abilities as a consultant who could not only analyze the critical issues hampering a more effective organization, but to then bring all the elements to the table and seemingly without effort, cast a strategy that has subsequently led to one of the most synergistic relations in the organization's history.

The National Parks Conservation Association

Thank you for helping us through a rather difficult and complex transition and helping us achieve so much progress in so little time.

The UK Mission to the United Nations

This initiative has been successful beyond our wildest expectations.

The Federal Reserve Bank

From a dangerously under-performing company, this campaign returned us to profitable operations and almost doubled the highest level of profitability previously attained. I can't thank you enough for your contribution to this remarkable turnaround.

Medrex, Ltd