Ryan Pickens was born and raised in the inner city of Atlanta, Ga. He received a degree from Vanderbilt University in Human and Organizational Development and a Masters's degree from the California Institute of Integral Studies in Organizational Development and Transformation. His degrees emphasized strategies for empowering people and creating healthy and sustainable organizational cultures. He also has had training outside the academic arena in executive coaching, systemic management, technology of participation, results-oriented variable pay systems, sociocratic methods, synergic inquiry, conflict resolution, ADHD management, the power of intention and ritual.
His work experience over 28 years includes working in nine different business arenas that range from the restaurant industry, to social work, to sales in a Fortune 500 company, to teaching in higher education. From 2001 to 2011, Ryan taught full time in the business department at Mars Hill College facilitating classes that included: Organizational Development and Change Management, Group Dynamics, Leadership, and Communication, Principles of Management, Leadership Strategies, Principles of Marketing, and Decision Making and Theory. Before joining CMW, Ryan served as a Strategy and Organizational Development Specialist for the Small Business Technology Development Center serving business clients of all sizes and industries throughout the 28 WNC county region. Over the years, Ryan has also been a successful social entrepreneur managing two limited liability companies focused on real estate development and property management, plus an organizational consulting/coaching practice while teaching at Mars Hill College.
Ryan’s focus with organizational clients centers on creating strategic plans and action implementation charts, with training in emotional/social intelligence, participatory management processes, authentic communication, leadership development, team empowerment, and decision analysis. His overall mission is to help organizations create conscious cultures that drive better results. His theoretical orientation is eclectic (drawing from both western and eastern sources), but is primarily cognitive, which means changing the way people feel, act, and create reality by helping them transform the way they think. Ryan believes it is important for organizations to practice the five disciplines of learning organizations while utilizing other progressive management strategies to empower the workforce and create a culture of ownership.