OPEN Fellow – Kathleen Allen


I have a Doctorate in Leadership, an author of Leading from the Roots: Nature Inspired Leadership for today’s World, a consultant working with organizations to set 230 sustainability goals. I work in a variety of sectors including airports, helping local ecosystems create a legacy of healthy soil, non-profits working with marginalized populations, entrepreneurs experimenting with new organizational design and leadership, and women’s organization working in areas of domestic violence and empowerment.

Interests & Passions

Strategy, Innovation, Responsible leadership, Organisational behaviour, Change management, Systems level transformation, Systems thinking, Regenerative Leadership.  I study nature and living systems to innovate in organizations, systems change work, and new ways to practice and think about leadership.


OPEN Board Member

Dr. Kathleen Allen is the current co-chair of ILA’s Sustainability Leadership
member community and has been a member of ILA since the beginning over
20 years ago. Dr. Allen helps organizations and individuals create
meaningful change using Nature as a model for more effective leadership
practices. In recent years her time has been spent writing, presenting, and
consulting on ways to incorporate the concepts of living systems and
Nature’s adaptive cycle to leadership, human, and organizational
development. Dr. Allen’s clients include internationally renowned nonprofits
and foundations, growing businesses, and collaborative networks.
Dr. Allen is the author of the popular book Leading from the Roots: Nature
Inspired Leadership Lessons for Today’s World. The popularity of Leading
from the Roots speaks to a worldwide desire for more sustainable,
interdependent organizations that contribute not only to their own bottom
lines, but to the greater good of their communities. Her work provides a
unique framework that challenges traditional views and creates a new
paradigm for mission-driven, purpose-filled leadership firmly anchored in
the foundation of Nature.
Dr. Allen provides new insights each week at, writes a
regular column for and contributes to a host of forward-
thinking print and online publications. Along with Dr. Cynthia Cherrey, she
is the co-author of Systemic Leadership: Enriching the Meaning of Our

Why am I an OPEN fellow?

I am committed to help accelerate the systems transformation we need to create a regenerative economy and society and the leadership that is needed to support this shift.

How can I help change agents?

I have been a thought partner for individuals, organizations, and communities who are engaged in transformational change for most of my life. I am an excellent strategic thinking partner on how individuals can influence sustainable change in the area they work in.

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