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About Ivy Gordon


I'm Ivy Gordon and I am a member of Beta Prime and I am a Vistage Chair, which means that I coach and consult to a bunch of CEO's and presidents of mid-sized businesses who then meet with each other as a peer advisory group.

MSOD was a really important change for me in my life, I had sold a business and was retired and realized I wasn't done. I was working for a non-profit. I was doing development work. I met a man who said, "God, why are you doing development work? That is really hard to do" And I said, "Well, I really don't want to do that, what I really want to do is work with non-profits and enter at a high enough level to make a difference" and he said, "Oh, you want to be in OD?" And I said, "what's OD?" And within two weeks I was enrolled in Pepperdine and through Pepperdine I met one of the faculty members, the guest faculty Tony Petrella.

Tony was what I call a consigliere to executives of major corporations, what he really was, was trusted advisor. I got pretty close to Tony and I told him when I grew up I wanted to be him and I am.  I'm really a trusted advisor to people who run organizations and my goal in doing all of that is to help them create cultures where people really want to work and impact their community and do good things for the planet. It's amazing, the people who have been attracted and have joined me on this journey for fifteen years.

The legacy I'm really proud of is, in the last fifteen years I've worked with about a hundred leaders and executives and I had a philosophy that my groups and my practice was going to be based on love. These are type A personalities and all over the place and they have big important jobs and what I hope people remember is the community that we built, the vulnerability that people came into the relationship with us, the humility, the fact that they realized that our groups were a refuge and a safe place and that we always had their back. I'm incredibly proud of these members who have achieved tremendous business success, some of whom started from scratch and sold their businesses for three hundred million dollars but that's not the legacy. The legacy is about how they care about their people and how they relate to each other.

My future yearnings for the next five to ten years is to live into my vision, which is helping people see a bigger picture.  I do that in my organizational development work, I also do it through my photography. I see photography as for a purpose, I want to work to help people gain awareness of issues that I think are really important in our time. I'm very attracted to sexual and domestic violence awareness and I'm doing some projects about that. I travel to a lot of third world countries and I see the devastation that climate change is making on communities and I really feel that this is a time that all of us have to have our awareness and social conscious, to really do good. Photography is activism, it's our photo journalistic roots and I'd love to build skills so I can be better at it.

There's no program like this. This is a really deep dive into learning about yourself and learning about others and the faculty is amazing, your fellow students and your cohort is amazing. These are life long relationship that you make. I was very privileged to meet our founder, Pat Williams, And I was privileged to be in his learning group and he's the one who created the concept of a long gray line and I'm really proud to be a part of it.

When I knew that the conference would be in San Diego, which is my home town, I thought about all the amazing people who have gone through this program and wouldn't it be cool to tell their stories and to use those stories to celebrate them and to highlight the work that they do and also to attract new students that may not think about what they could gain out of a program like this. So, it started out in my mind as simply taking photographs and then I thought, "Wow, we really have to do video. The whole world is about video and storytelling and then we have to build a website," and it grew and it grew and it grew and I reached out to Outside the Lens, I'm on the board, and Elisa said, "Oh, you got to work with Drew" And that's how you came into the project and then my friend, Janet.

We can't be good at everything and I'm a novice about lighting and studio work. I mostly shoot in natural light out in the world, so, Janet and I partnered together and you joined us and the interns joined us and I thought that would be awesome for them to get the experience to meet the alums and I'm really excited and I hope it spreads. Pepperdine has lots of different programs and I think this is a unique concept. We're not going from beautiful shots, we're not going for headshots, we're really trying to find the authentic person because that's what this program is all about, authenticity. So, here we are!