By Megan E. Hogan

Q&A With Crossland CEO and Founder, Teri Riddle

Alignment
Leadership
Healthcare
Nonprofit/NGO
Enterprise

Teri Riddle explains how her unique life experiences prior to starting Crossland have had an unexpected impact on the firm's success, and why Crossland stands out among its peers.

Q: Tell us about your professional background before founding Crossland.

A: Before going back to school for my executive MBA in 1995, I was the CEO and president of Hospice of Cheshire County in Keene, New Hampshire, where I had the privilege of working with individuals and families at one of the most intimate times in their life. I think my experiences at Hospice, and previously as a nursing home administrator, have served me very well throughout my career, and continue to affect the way I work today.

As a transformation partner, Crossland often witnesses people’s feelings of loss as they try to navigate through organizational change—many people equate change with loss and everyone reacts to loss differently. So, having a foundation of understanding about how people respond to loss and change is fundamental to what the Crossland Group is today.

I also learned about the importance of always being your authentic self. When you are working with people who are dealing with life and death issues, you have to have the courage to be honest and straightforward—these are people with no time to waste. This is a lesson that has carried over to all other areas of my personal and professional life: it takes authenticity and transparency to gain and keep trust.

Q: How did Crossland get its start?

A: I decided to start my own company because I wanted to act upon the ideas I had about working at the intersection of the private/public sector. At the time, I was working with The World Bank Group and IBM through another firm. I felt so strongly about the impact these two organizations could have on understanding the nature of private/public sector dynamics that I took an equity loan on my house to initially assume the World Bank contract, and shortly after that negotiated the IBM contract to build up my own firm.

Q: What makes Crossland different than other consulting firms out there? Why do your clients choose you?

A: One of the biggest things that differentiates Crossland is that instead of prescribing answers and recommendations, we work side by side with leaders and teams to co-create solutions. We start our work from the inside of an organization and then move outward—we take the time to get to know an organization and its people, so that what you get from us is customized—not cookie-cutter.

Another key distinction you get when you work with us is our dedication to building capability. Instead of looking at our work with a client as an indefinite engagement, we hang our success and integrity on the knowledge that everyone involved in the transformation process has learned along with us, and have the capability to sustain the change they helped to bring about without us.

Q: What’s the value in being a woman-owned company?

A: For the most part, the value is not in being woman-owned, it is about being a fair and authentic leader that people want to be around—one is who is there to help them make a real difference that improves the bottom line or social condition.

Q: You’ve worked all over the world. What benefit is your global experience to your clients?

It’s true. The Crossland team has worked on every continent (except Antarctica!). There are a number of ways in which this on-the-ground global experience enhances our work. For one, we are adept at understanding differences and we value the diversity of culture and perspective in our global clients. This understanding allows us to help other clients that want to “go global,” by providing insights into how globalization (and the flatter world) can impact their business or organization.

Another key benefit of having worked with such diverse groups of people is that it has increased our ability to broker relationships among companies and organizations across all kinds of divides, including the public and private sectors—something we find ourselves doing all the time.

“Teri’s leadership style is to listen—both down and across an organization. In doing so, she becomes aware of blockers and obstacles to change.”

Dr. Frannie Léautier

Former Chief of Staff to the President

World Bank Group

About the author

Megan E. Hogan uses her communications, editorial, and research skills to bring clarity, substance, and consistency to the diverse collateral of mission-driven organizations.

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