Jill Birch

Speaker, L&D


Jill Birch

Leadership and Organizational Change Expert

How will we create better leadership for our future? Dr. Jill Birch answers this question – and many more – in her captivating and customized presentations designed to inspire change, build leadership capacity,  and drive competitive advantage.

Jill has spent the past five years studying relational leadership – a new way leaders achieve results that contribute to more collaborative and healthy organizations. As she was conducting her research, Jill walked the talk, experiencing first-hand the many sides of leadership as a CEO and C-Suite executive.

After leading a $40 million business unit, she developed and facilitated leadership programs for Fortune 500 companies and international not-for-profits. Her new research draws on story making, visual thinking, and meaning making. Her fresh approach resonates amongst leaders, teams, Boards and human resource professionals: leaders who are looking for impactful and innovative ways to approach leadership development.

In her engaging talks, Jill begins with a relational framework that focuses first on others, and then moves to developing empathy, becoming more ethically attuned, and unlocking vulnerability to inspire team work and nurture culture.

Jill is the founder and CEO of BirchGrove Inc., a holistic learning platform of keynote presentations, programs, and bespoke consulting that offers leaders a new way to think deeply about how they define the work of leadership, and how they develop and relate to others. She has spoken to thousands of leaders around the world, and provided consulting support to the high-tech, energy, finance, telecommunications, professionals services, education, health and not-for-profit sectors.

She holds a PhD from Griffith University in Australia, and an MA from the University of Toronto where she researched how CEOs learn to lead, and how they learn to learn. She is also a Certified Association Executive.


Relational Leadership: From Shatterpoint to On Point

All leaders want to succeed in the disruptive world we now find ourselves. But the ways of leadership have changed; and the problem is that leaders haven’t changed fast enough with them. What we need is to harness shatterpoints. These no turning back moments of change, move us to being on point in our way of defining, mentoring and enabling contemporary leadership.

Shatterpoints facilitate deep questioning about our fundamental leadership beliefs. For too long, we have been asking classic “W” questions about leadership: who leads, what they lead, when, where and why. While these questions will always remain vital, they are not enough anymore. Relational leaders need to ask a new question: “how”. How leadership happens is the least understood and least researched. It’s what’s missing in leadership vocabulary. It’s what I’ve dedicated my research to understanding and practicing.

This presentation explores a “P3” framework by unpacking the principles, processes and practices of relational leadership. Beginning with the 5 key “hows,” participants will see the benefits of focusing on others, upholding ethics, making sense of our complex world, and learning 7 processes and 5 practices.

Make no mistake: relational leadership is results driven and change maker obsessed. It’s not about becoming everyone’s “best friend” or being “nicer” as the title might suggest.

When we know how leadership happens, we can change ourselves. When we change ourselves, we can change our organizations. And when we change our organizations, we can change our world.

The Power of the Pivot: The Right Change Story, at the Right Time, with the Right People

Our disruptive world is too complex for the massive, “bulk change” efforts of days gone by. In their place, one of the most widely acknowledged new leadership skills is the power of the pivot. Pivoting is a departure from the unwieldy direction leaders often receive to create “transformational change”. This presentation will explore 7 key pivot points of change ranging from penetrating wicked problems to elevating performance and making strategic leaps. Leaders will explore how to recognize, assess, and process these pivots to formulate agile, strategic action.

As they pivot, leaders will be equipped with 7 different kinds of story making that can be harnessed to accelerate the performance and team cohesiveness required to achieve results.

5D Leadership in the Digital Age

In a recent HBR study, 90% of executives said that they believed their businesses were being disrupted or reinvented by digital business models. 70% of those surveyed also said they didn’t have the right leader, the right skills or operating structures to adapt.

What got you here, isn’t going to get you there.

This presentation will begin by exploring the five new dimensions of leadership in the digital age. Our conversation will examine how leaders today must be present in the digital world, illustrating a new way to think about how we lead, communicate and work with teams. The discussion will also revolve around having presence in this same world that is always turned on and always listening.

We’ll showcase how successful leaders toggle between the digital and analogue dimensions of working with their teams and communities of stakeholders while harnessing technology. Jill will lead you through platforms, best practices and stories from the trenches in digital leadership from around the globe. In a world that is always turned on, always listening, participants will explore new ways to grow networks, span generational divides and, as leaders, make meaning of the never-ending information onslaught.

Living Relational Leadership: A New Way to Succeed through Results

This three-day program brings relational processes, practices and principles to life by infusing learning with experimentation, grounding curriculum within participant experience, and digitally starting where people are. The pedagogy of the program rests in three principles:

  • The need to position relationships at the center of everything we do
  • The merging of technology and innovation to achieve organizational strategy
  • The notion that persistent disruption is at the core of all that relational leaders facilitate, organize and co-ordinate

The program deepens participants’ understanding by unpacking relational practices within the context of first and second order change, disruption, social media and globalization. * Following exposure to these practices, participants will then have an opportunity to customize their new-found skills in a leadership lab that brings the learning to life through scenario creation, performances, and world cafes. Pivot points will be identified that can used successfully to breakthrough difficult impasses in organizational strategy and decision-making.

*Curriculum can be tailored to strategic imperatives.

Relational Leadership @ Work: Communicate with Confidence

Reading the room. Developing perspective. Identifying misunderstanding. Picking up signals in body language. Considering the source. Knowing when “fake news” is sweeping through the organization.

These communications practices represent only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to leading in an “always on” world. A relational leader begins by actively discovering a communication framework centering on empathy, vulnerability, observation, listening and collaborative story making practices. They continue the communication journey by working with 4 ways we balance, absorb and make meaning of our organization to achieve our strategy and mission: through political, cognitive, emotional, and cultural lenses.

To get a feel for what it’s like to develop and maintain this balance, we’ll practice “edgewalking”, a new communication skill that helps leaders get to the heart of issues while both mining and mastering context. Edgewalking takes participants both inside and outside of issues; it allows them to travel around the circumference of an issue all the while preparing them for the moment to dive into its core. Working with these practices, participants enter a living communication lab of formal and informal encounters, team meetings and full-blown formal presentations to further build upon their new-found communication skills.

Relational Team Leadership @ Work: Smashing Silos to Build Collaboration

Light a fire under your team by learning how to successfully navigate the intersection of team dynamics, strategy, organizational goals and sectoral forces to achieve performance results. We’ll examine 5 key questions relational leaders ask, work with shatterpoints (no turning back moments of change) and harness them to improve team dynamics and create greater productivity.

Rounding out this program, leaders will go beyond traditional old school “storytelling” and “story selling” and move towards story making. Participants will examine the essential properties of story making, co-creation techniques, and methods to identify and harness pivot points that lead positive change. The four key processes of story making will be explored including: penetrating context, appreciating power and politics; guiding, coaching and monitoring conversations; and developing holistic team meeting strategies. Drawing from their  own, and shared experiences, leaders will collaborate to create 7 different types of organizational stories.

This session will provide team leaders with hands-on skills to facilitate collaboration within and across teams while achieving results, developing deeper community and building culture.