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Pepperdine | Graziadio Business School

About Lynn Rousseau


My name is Lynn Rousseau. My cohort is prime, and my current role is I'm the CEO of The Conscious Leader, which is a business I've had for 19 years. 

Want to share about how MSOD impacted me connecting back to a thread from when I was a teenager. My family moved around a lot, and by the time we got to the last move, I was 16, and we came back to Houston and my high school, where everybody knew each other, and I didn't want to be there, so my way of coping with that was to read my mother's psychology books. I discovered them on her bookshelf, and they were fascinating.

All the other young girls are chasing boys, and I'm reading The Games People Play. I didn't think anything of it, although a friend of mine recently said, "I bet you were a marching band nerd too." I said, "No, I was in the orchestra. There's a difference." Anyway, I knew at a very young age that I was interested in business and social work. I didn't see how I could make money in social work, so I got a degree in business, and I went the business route, and I was in business management. Throughout that time, I discovered I was doing this thing called OD without knowing what OD was.

I found my way to some people who did that kind of work. I discovered there was a degree plan you could get in doing this kind of work. I very quickly got into the MSOD, and at that time, I was making a pitch to move out of my marketing management role to create an internal OD role. So, it was just in time; learn, apply, learn, apply. I was leading a large scale change effort. It really did change the course and the direction of my life to what I've been doing now for the past 19 years.

The one thing that I would want people to know about my legacy ... When I think about that question, I don't feel like I'm done. Here's how I think about that ... What has been consistent in me is this passion and pursuit of individual transformation on a spiritual, emotional, psychological, in my business life. It's an integration of all those things, and that's what I bring to my work. When I think about what gets me up in the morning to do what I do, it's that kind of transformation.

One of my clients that I worked with for 18 years, when I started with him, he was very self-absorbed sales executive. We went on this path of transformation over a three year period, and he has made a ripple effect, not only in the businesses that he leads but the society. He's done programs for refugees. He's established a facility for sex trafficking to restore teenage girls who've been part of sex trafficking. So, if you ask me about my legacy, that's what it feels like, that kind of transformational change that affects the individual, the group, the system, and the society.

Yeah, their families, their marriages, yes. All of that. Some people renew their relationships with their spouses, and some people realize they're not in the right relationship or they're not in the right career. It's all of that.

When I think about where I'm at and what I want to do next and the contribution I want to make, I want to stretch myself even farther to do ... I would say, edgier work. It's with C-Suite teams, so with the CEO and his or her team. I started doing that kind of work, and I have a longing to bring that kind of transformation to an entire leadership team and see what that does to guide them in leading cultural change in their organizations. I started doing that, and I'm challenging myself to stretch to do that and scale what I've done at an individual to the team at that level of an organization.

What I want to add about MSOD and the program, and here's some of the distinctions for me, which is what attracted me to the program. There's several times, one is that this program is in the context of business. It looks at how do you effect change with individuals, groups, and organizations and even out into society. It's that system's level thinking, and it's done in the context of business.

I just believe that that's where we can effectually change in the world because it's where people spend most of their day. The other aspect was this whole concept of self as instrument. To make sure that when I'm helping a group or a team, I'm working with them, what's going on with them, and I'm aware of my stuff, and I'm not mixing up my stuff with theirs, so I've got some clarity around that, like, 'Here's where I end, and here's where they are,' so I'm working with them.

The systems level thinking of change at an individual, group, and organizational level has been something that's a foundation in my business. It's the way that I work with individuals. So, if I'm working with an individual, I'm looking at what's going on with their team, what's going on in the culture. I'm not just working with the person. I'm working with the person inside of a system. Then when I'm working with a team, I'm looking at what's going on with them as individuals, what's happening with them as a team. How do they effectually change in the organization?

Those have been some of the key principles for me that made this program a distinguisher against any other program I looked at. And the personal transformation. The personal transformation is also a key piece of it. I can't take anybody any further than I've been myself, so that aspect of the program was really profound for me.