Renata McAllister, MA (Class of 2016)

Care Experience Practice Leader
Kaiser Permanente

As an internal OD practitioner at a large health system, it is vital that I am able to lead groups through transition, increase employee engagement, enhance communication between departments, and facilitate team development activities. All of this requires an ability to understand the nuances in the room at any given moment, acknowledge and address discomfort and conflict, and provide feedback to individuals and groups. Without the experience gained through the incredible professional practice opportunities I had during the MAOD program, I would be lost. If you want to learn how to work with individuals, teams, managers, leaders, organizations, and/or systems in a meaningful and effective manner, to inspire positive and significant change, then consider SSU’s MAOD program. You will graduate from this program as an improved version of yourself, ready to take on whatever challenges are in the world awaiting you as a change maker.

Jon Pappas, MA (Class of 1999)

Principal Learning & Development Specialist

What I like about Sonoma State's OD Program is that it emphasizes learning by doing. The learning environment is less like academia and more like today's constantly changing workplace: one day we'd write a proposal with our project teams, the next day we would clarify expectations with our client, and another day we'd actually facilitate a meeting. Stimulated by our hands-on learning, we then knew what to look for in our reading.

Danny Ceballos, MA (Class of 2010)

Independent Contractor

The program provided me with the optimal combination of skills, knowledge, and practical application that I needed for my career advancement. In fact, the month that I graduated, I accepted a Vice-Presidential position with a large successful healthcare organization an opportunity that I would not have pursued were it not for the professional confidence that I gained through the academic and internship excellence I experienced at SSU. With incredible faculty and an elegant program design that builds foundationally each semester, the program progressively challenged and rewarded me in ways that I hadn't expected. It was as if the Masters Program was custom-ordered for me based on my unique individual needs.

Ellen D. Lewis (Class of 2005)

International Development Consultant
PhD Student, Hull University Business School -
Center for Systems Studies, England, United Kingdom

As a bilingual, bicultural, mid-career professional, I was seeking a Master's program that would weave together my life experiences and knowledge with the theory, models, and personal development and result in a significant leap into the next stage of my career. SSU's Masters in Organization Development was pivotal in increasing my capacity to skillfully and compassionately support individuals, communities, and organizations solve problems through inquiry, dialogue, collaboration, and diplomacy. An additional outcome, one that is difficult to measure, is the circle of friends and colleagues who are, evermore, cornerstones to my success personally and professionally.

Lisa Nielsen, MA (Class of 2011)

Senior Consultant, People & Performance

The SSU OD program provides comprehensive thought leadership in Organization Development, yet its true differentiator is the working laboratory for process consultation provided from day one. I am continually appreciative of the core consulting skills I developed--skills that distinguish me enormously during client work. Many people exit graduate programs with a conceptual knowledge but little or no practitioner experience. Real change and transformation work require the whole body, not just the brain. With seasoned practitioners moonlighting as professors and a masterfully designed curriculum, the OD MA program is a unique learning experience that has enabled me to immediately add value and insight to client engagements and accelerate my career.

Marion Schloemer, MA (Class of 2005)

Human Resources Senior Manager
Keysight Technologies

The SSU OD program provided me with the foundation I needed to help people successfully navigate through change and transition. With the support of faculty who are also practicing consultants, the learning was always relevant and up-to-date. What I liked most about the SSU program was that I could begin using my new skill set right away. Now I help build organizational capability at the world's premier measurement company, and I can make a difference every day.

Deirdre Sheerin (Class of 2006)

CEO/Executive Director
Sweetwater Spectrum

I was already a special education teacher and private school executive director when I learned about the SSU OD program. The two-year program turned out to be perfect preparation for my dream job. As the CEO of a newly formed organization, I use the tools, techniques, system theory or leadership models everyday. The OD program's in-the-field practice combined with rigorous analysis and deep reflection accelerated my learning. The cohort structure led by seasoned, working OD professionals set the stage for collaborative, supportive, personal and professional learning. I left this masters program feeling equipped and confident to take on creating an organization from the ground up. I am doing the best work of my career.

Kara Vernor (Class of 2006)

Director of Operations Planning
Novato Youth Center

In my current position I am almost always required to work laterally--across programs, departments and organizations--and as such, I use the skills I learned in Sonoma State's OD program daily. The program taught me to identify root issues quickly, work with the momentum of the group, and both model and foster shared leadership, all of which is essential in the nonprofit sector where multi-stakeholder collaborations are more and more the norm.

Monica Sallouti, MA (Class of 1996)

Quantum Leap Consulting
Graphic Recording
Organization Development

I describe this program as a journey that took me in two directions at the same time. I took the outer, visible journey as I built my practitioner's tool kit, read voraciously and engaged with clients in real organizations. I took the inner, less visible journey as I began to trust myself as a dependable instrument and have confidence in my capacity to facilitate change in an organization.

Mary W Richardson, MA (Class of 1993)

Commissioned Minister
Congregational Transformation and Covenant Renewal

The SSU OD Program with the three-pronged approach--theory, practice, and group dynamics--gives a student a depth and breadth of knowledge and experience which is at an academic level of PhD programs in the field. The teaching is not done to you; you're immersed in a learning environment that realistically prepares you for professional practice. In Argyris' terms, this is a Model II practice. The discussions of ethics and accountability are critical to building an OD practice with integrity. And the level of self-work is central to being able to take this work into the world. I hold the SSU program as foundational to my professional development. I have carried this foundation into my consulting work, my practice of Dynamic Dialogue, and my calling to the ministry of bringing OD into the church as an organization.

Katrina Zavalney, MA (Class of 2010)

Revitalization Coordinator
City of Clarksdale

Environmental work is a passion for me, and it is a joy that I have learned OD skills to help implement environmental policies through out this global organization. As I discovered how the elements of this MA program build upon each other, I experienced valuable personal and professional development. I am more aware of systems dynamics and how to work within them gracefully and effectively. I learned how to ask questions in ways that honor others' perspective and situation, while also gaining a broader understanding relevant to systems-wide change efforts. Thank you for providing tools, models, and support through the SSU Organization Development program.