Mark Ledden

Mark Ledden’s doctorate prepared him to be a professor of English Literature, but after a few years of teaching he found himself drawn to the intellectually stimulating but very different world of management consulting. As a communication specialist with McKinsey & Company, Mark learned the fundamentals of strategy, marketing, operations, and organizational transformation. Since leaving McKinsey in 2003, Mark has focused his energies on building his practice as a leadership consultant and directly building businesses as an entrepreneurial executive.

Mark’s approach to working with leaders blends the disciplines of cognitive psychology, systems thinking, and business strategy. His experience working with senior managers and C-suite executives across multiple industries has convinced him that successful leaders who experience uncertainty or the sense of being “stuck” as they move into new roles typically are not being held back by something “bad” that they need to get rid of. More often, they are struggling to redefine their relationship to a quality or practice that is actually quite helpful and that has contributed to their success, but that in certain circumstances is not getting them the outcomes they want. In these cases, he works with executives to first see the values and assumptions that explain their behavior and to create safe experiments through which they can test the validity of their assumptions and the utility of new actions.

Kenning Associates is itself an important part of Mark’s ongoing work as an entrepreneur and organizational leader. As a founding partner, Mark continues to look for ways to make the firm not only a world-class consultancy but also an experimental community that harnesses business exchanges to create interpersonal and social value as well as profit. Since 2006, Mark has also fed his passion for strategy and organizational development by leading Effigene Pharmaceuticals, a biotech company developing gene therapies for Huntington’s disease and age-related macular degeneration that recruited him to be their president and CEO.

Mark lives in Atlanta with his wife Susan and their three children. He holds a B.A. from Earlham College, a M.Phil. from Oxford University, and a Ph.D. from Emory University. Mark is also qualified to administer and interpret the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

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“Mark brought a depth to our leadership programs that challenged our leaders in unexpected ways. Deep experience and knowledge in strategy, collaboration and systems thinking inform Mark’s work.”

Director of corporate learning, Online marketing