Ilona Birenbaum

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Ilona Birenbaum is a leadership coach with a diverse organizational development background of over 25 years. Specialties include leadership coaching, facilitation, change management, leadership assessment and development, action learning, performance management, training, strategic planning and conflict resolution. Ilona offers coaching virtually, in person or hybrid.

Ilona’s clients include AOL, Capital One, Towers Watson, Discovery Communications, KPMG, Mitre, Deloitte, Rapiscan Systems, Schusterman Foundation, Ironshore, Janelia Research Campus, Internal Revenue Service, Securities and Exchange Commission, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Amtrak, United Bank, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Small Business Administration, United States Agency for International Development, Department of Transportation, Department of the Navy, Federal Housing Finance Agency, American Institutes for Research, Conference of State Bank Supervisors, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, The Barack Obama Foundation, and many others. She is an adjunct professor and coach with American University’s School of Public Affairs’ Key Executive Leadership Program, as well as a Guide for Chief, a private network focused on connecting and supporting women leaders.

Ilona also has significant international and multicultural experience through the work that she has done in Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Bulgaria and Bolivia. She has worked in various industries, including petrochemical, technology, consulting and nonprofit.

As a leadership coach, Ilona offers her clients a practical approach to solving such issues as communication, presentation skills, leadership presence, delegation, teamwork, conflict management and strategic thinking. Through insightful questions, she helps her clients increase their self-awareness and enhance skills in managing themselves and others. Known for easily building rapport with senior executives, Ilona combines her psychology and organizational development backgrounds with her business experience in working with senior executives. As an organizational development consultant, Ilona is known for partnering with her clients to solve complex human capital challenges and develop customized solutions that will work in specific client environments.

Ilona has held leadership roles for American Management Systems (AMS) and Watson Wyatt Worldwide. As a principal with AMS and a senior consultant with Towers Watson she led multiple change initiatives, including the design and implementation of performance management systems, introduction of career development frameworks, development and leadership of train-the-trainer efforts for major change initiatives, development and management of leadership development programs within a corporate university, design and implementation of multiple employee surveys, and facilitation of hundreds of workshops, training sessions and meetings.

Ilona has been published by the Washington Business Journal, the Association of Training and Development, and Washington CEO Magazine. She is a certified facilitator of the Drexler Sibbett Team Performance Model, MBTI, DISC, Leadership Circle, Lominger’s Voices, CCL’s 360º Assessments, Hay Group’s Emotional and Social Competency Inventory (ESCI), and is an Action Learning Coach. Ilona obtained her leadership coaching certificate through Georgetown University and holds a Professional Certified Coach Certificate through ICF.

Ilona earned her Bachelor of Arts in psychology and a master’s degree in labor and industrial relations from Michigan State University. She is fluent in Russian and enjoys yoga, travel, reading and spending time with her family.

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