Testimonials

Over 3,000 Leaders can attest to the effectiveness of our work.

Learn more from leaders who know us:
Dr. Daniel Nerad Birmingham Schools Superintendent
Dr. Daniel Nerad Birmingham Schools Superintendent

Superintendent of Schools Birmingham Public Schools, Birmingham, MI Thank you very much for the work you are doing with me. I think the best way I can express myself is to share with you that I appreciate you serving as both a mirror and a window for me with my leadership work.

David Guth
David Guth

CEO at Centerstone Brad has served as a leadership consultant, trainer, and coach for me and members of my executive cabinet and senior leadership team. In my nearly 30 years of executive leadership I have encountered scores of management consultants, though none in Brad's league. He is very smart, insightful, and truly committed to the success of his customer. I have found his work to be of enormous benefit to both the organization and to me personally.

Dennis McDavid
Dennis McDavid

Superintendent at Berkley School District We have begun work with Brad and his team at Phoenix Performance Partners. We did a great deal of careful vetting before we decided to engage in the work with Brad and his team. We wanted to make sure that our work with Phoenix would be meaningful, that it would immediately have impact, and that it would be long-lasting. Our executive team retreat with Phoenix delivered in all of those measures.

Jessica Stilger
Jessica Stilger

Communications Supervisor at Berkley School District & Executive Director of Berkley Education Foundation Phoenix Performance Partners have been a tremendous asset to our administrative team. They are reframing how we think about leadership, and how we can enhance our school district through coaching. Tom has been my personal coach as well and helps me think about ways to be an effective leader, manager and coach. He pushes my thinking to make me better at what I do.

Daniel Varner
Daniel Varner

President and CEO at Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit I worked with Tom while he led Cornerstone Schools. He is a great guy--thoughtful, intelligent, hard working, positive, and honest. I would be pleased to work with him again, and recommend him to others without reservation.

Heather Lackey
Heather Lackey

Director of Student Services at Berkley School District Tom’s coaching addition to our administrative team has been very positive and tangible. With his calm and kind yet direct and funny reflections and challenges to our thinking, our team is using his model to more effectively interact with one another. The impact is a change in our leadership style which is noted by those who work for us which in turn is inspiring them.

Susan Rivers
Susan Rivers

Executive Director & Chief Scientist, iThrive Games The executive leadership work and coaching that Tom and Phoenix Partners offer is exceptional. They aptly connect personal growth with organizational mission, structure, and functioning couched in what it means to lead and how to lead more effectively. Their frameworks are both intuitive and practical. I was immediately able to adopt them, incorporating them into the way I approach work.

Mark Forner
Mark Forner

K-12 Principal - Mason County Eastern Schools Tom Willis is a high-integrity individual who has committed his life to helping young people and organizations to grow and become successful. His thoughtful insights and wisdom make him a special guy and an asset to any institution who is interested in internal and external growth.

David Breen
David Breen

Retired Managing Partner at PwC Tom is one of the best leaders I have worked with. He is a builder of teams with a strong sense of mission. The thoughtful, open and honest approach to issue management results in high performance. He will be a quick study of your team's issues and deliver real and practical answers.

Dan Mulhern
Dan Mulhern

Distinguished Practitioner of Business and Law at UC Berkeley Tom is one of the most dedicated, focused, and thoughtful people I know. He is a great listener and a creative problem-solver. needless to say these are the attributes of a phenomenal coach. I would trust Tom any day to help me get better at what I do and how I live.

Trish Dewald
Trish Dewald

Skilled nonprofit executive experienced in securing community investments while building meaningful relationships. It’s rare to encounter someone like Tom. He’s an inspiring leader, strategic thinker and all around dynamic person. When I met Tom, it was clear within seconds that his commitment to the children in his schools runs far deeper than simply as the CEO of Cornerstone.

Tony Regier
Tony Regier

Enterprise Account Manager at Dell Technologies Tom is an excellent thought leader and consummate professional. He has the unique ability to balance a set of skills that deliver strategy and execution to empower organizations to the next level of business transformation.

Terry Langston
Terry Langston

Experienced Fundraiser and Grant Writer Loved working with Tom and Brad. They provided excellent coaching sessions that have led to some dramatic results. We are now engaging them in more broader and deeper work with our organization.

Steve Hyer
Steve Hyer

President at IGD Solutions Corporation If you are looking to change the culture of your organization, Brad and his team are the ones for the job. Brad has a special ability to take the vision of the leader and create buy in from every level of the organization aligning everyone's personal mission with the mission of the organization.

Sharon Tse
Sharon Tse

Strategy & Performance Improvement Consultant at Wayne State University Tom led a number of focus groups for us that required an advanced skillset beyond meeting facilitation, as well as the ability to quickly learn about and adapt to the needs of the organization. He seamlessly did this and played a key role in gaining the insights needed to help us drive change and improvement.

Rob Dutkiewicz
Rob Dutkiewicz

MST President of Clayton & McKervey I had the great pleasure of serving on the board for Cornerstone Health + Technology High School for several years when Tom was the CEO of Cornerstone. I was quickly impressed by Tom's tremendous ability to execute difficult and ambitious projects, taking the concept of starting and growing a high school into action.

Richard Beadle
Richard Beadle

Owner, Vistage Michigan The "thing" about Tom is that he is "gentle, kind, focused and he has an amazing human spirit". To be in a conversation with him is quite different than it is with most others because he is such "a good listener and he always seems fascinated with the conversation". The end result of all that, is that "I like me better when I'm with him".

Nicole Husa
Nicole Husa

Personalized Learning Manager at Cornerstone Education Group Tom is a servant leader who not only discovers your strengths and talents, but provides you with authentic opportunities to foster and develop them. The value he places on each team member is palpable, and that understanding creates an environment of innovation and worth. Working for Tom has been a privilege.

Radhika Magoo
Radhika Magoo

Project Management & Relationship Management Thomas was my client while he was the CEO of Cornerstone Schools. We worked on several financing needs for the schools and developed a great working relationship through the years. He was easy to work with and always responsive. He was hard working and dedicated to meeting the school's goals and open to new ideas to make that happen.

Molly (Wiarda) Kaser
Molly (Wiarda) Kaser

President & CEO at Center for Family Health We have been working with Brad & Tom of Phoenix Performance Partners and I am happy to give them excellent references. Brad and Tom have helped our team learn to work together more effectively. This hasn't always been a cakewalk but we have definitely seen improvement. Brad & Tom use humor and their own personal stories to get their points across; you will enjoy them!

Michael Warren
Michael Warren

Judge; Author; Patriot Week Co-Creator Tom is a very hard working, intelligent, and ethical worker, who has nothing but the best for the organization at heart. Highly recommended

Marshall Hunt
Marshall Hunt

Director of Tax Policy & Advocacy at Accounting Aid Society Having worked with Brad for several years now, I consider him to be an excellent executive coach. He is able to assist an organization in moving from its current reality to a vision of the future by assisting its leaders in identifying their personal purpose and default success strategies with a goal of developing a common vision for the future.

Margaret Trimer-Harley
Margaret Trimer-Harley

President/CEO at Junior Achievement of SE Michigan Thomas Willis is one of the most significant thought leaders in education today. I knew him during his years at Cornerstone Schools. There he was regarded as one who could break new ground at the same time he represented stable, sustainable and solid best practices.

Lisa Diaz
Lisa Diaz

Co-Founder at Insignia Partners I met Tom when he was running Corner Stone Schools. Over the years he partnered with the state charter association on a number of occasions to help advocate for important policy. Under Tom's leadership, Corner Stone Schools grew and remained an important part of Detroit's education landscape.

Lauren McGrath
Lauren McGrath

Vice President of National Policy at Centerstone Brad's executive coaching style can lead a team as well as an individual to develop personal and professional insights into performance, work/life balance, and accountability.

Laura Allen
Laura Allen

Membership Development Manager Brad made us reach extraordinary heights to work at being the best we can be in our personal and professional lives. He is an awesome coach. I highly recommend him.

Larry Denton
Larry Denton

President Ghafari Process Engineering at Ghafari Engineering I was a Board member for Tom Willis for over 5 years. I witnessed his growth, maturity and management skills grow every year. Tom is a great team builder , coach , and leader that can make order out of chaos and deliver results in a difficult environment. Tom's integrity and ethics are not exceeded. I would recommend Tom for any C level position.

Kevin Schneiders
Kevin Schneiders

Chief Executive Officer at Educational Data Systems, Inc. I met Tom Willis a decade ago, when he was presenting a strategic plan to a large group of people. I was impressed immediately. Since that time, my respect and admiration for Tom has continued to grow. His character and integrity are second to none, and he cares deeply about other people.

John Markley
John Markley

CEO of Centerstone of Illinois Through Brad's leadership we have navigated some very difficult challenges. Our work with Brad has enabled us to stay focused on developing a healthy culture, which strongly supports our efforts to be effective leaders and builders of leaders. I would strongly recommend consideration of engaging Brad and his team when you feel the work place culture is failing you!

Jennifer Craig
Jennifer Craig

LCPC, SHRM-SCP Chief Operating Officer, Centerstone of Illinois at Centerstone Brad's program and work with our executive team has been transformative for our organization. In addition to our team working more effectively with each other, we have seen significant growth in terms of revenue, clients served and quality outcomes metrics.

Jeremy Rodgers
Jeremy Rodgers

Passionate about Poverty Alleviation, Entrepreneurship, Christian Education, Philanthropy, and Stewardship Tom is a gifted communicator. More importantly he is an excellent listener. Tom's expertise in asking great questions was key to helping me understand how and why I do certain things. If you need someone to ask challenging and difficult questions while holding you accountable, I suggest you reach out to him.

Jeffrey Brown
Jeffrey Brown

CEO, Lakeshore Regional Entity Brad is an exceptional coach and consultant in implementation of change management strategies. His methods are applicable to any industry. His efforts create growth and lasting strength in organizational leaders at all levels.

Jodi Landers
Jodi Landers

Chief People Officer, Certified Executive Coach, Seasoned Facilitator, Leadership Consultant I had the opportunity to work with Brad a couple of years ago and it proved to be a life-changing experience for me. My place of employment contracted with him to take our leadership team through a program as well as provide 1:1 coaching to all of the team memebers.

Harriet Markell
Harriet Markell

Behavioral Health Policy and Management Consulting My organization contracted with Brad to conduct a day-long seminar on Change Management for Executive Directors of non-profit community mental health agencies. Brad worked well with our program committee to custom tailor his workshop to meet our needs and worked flexibly and effectively with large group of diverse executives.

Eric Cummins
Eric Cummins

Chief Executive Officer at St. Joseph Orphanage Brad and Phoenix Executive Coaching was very instrumental in helping our executive and leadership teams as we moved into a new era of providing services. Their team building and coaching helped our teams stretch themselves, grow and think in new ways. Their coaching helped to jump start our change initiative and helped us shave months off of our implementation.

Deirdre Groves
Deirdre Groves

Nonprofit Leader Focused on Community Engagement Tom has been a wonderful partner to Challenge Detroit and an advocate for our community. He has shown exemplary leadership and kindness, especially in his roles in the education system. It has been an honor to maintain connectivity to Tom over the years!

Daniel Ward, RHU, ChHC
Daniel Ward, RHU, ChHC

Area Vice President at Gallagher Benefit Services Tom does excellent work for Cornerstone Schools and makes my job when dealing with this client very easy.

Amanda Newton
Amanda Newton

VP of Marketing & Business Development for Centerstone KY Brad challenged me to develop new ways of leading people. Brad guided on how to share my thoughts and strategies with my peers. He pushed me to look objectively at my interactions with others and to make substantive changes on engaging people. Every organization needs a Brad!

Christian Anderson
Christian Anderson

Student Information Specialist at Macro Connect Tom Willis is a very dynamic and strong leader. He is very thoughtful in his approach to working with others. He has a strong understanding of how to get a group to come together, focus on a goal and accomplish that goal. He has an amazing ability to assess people and personalities and get the most out of everyone.

Amanda Roraff
Amanda Roraff

PlanetM Operations Manager at Michigan Economic Development Corporation I met Tom Willis in 2015 during Leadership Detroit, an intensive eight-month leadership training program. Tom left a lasting impression as one of the most upstanding people I’ve ever met. Tom is sincere and open-minded, and approaches challenging situations and conversations with calm, creativity and positivity.

Ann Lewis
Ann Lewis

CEO at CareSouth Carolina, Inc. I think that the work with PMP has been manifested in our organization as renewed strategic committment, accountability, integrity, and even personal fulfillment. At a time when the health care industry is in perilous shape, the work of PMP has given us a lifeline!

Mike Richardson
Mike Richardson

President at Fairway Products Tom has the unique ability to question your actions, push your thinking, and steer you towards new approaches in a way that makes you feel good about the outcome. The process and tools Tom uses and teaches have made a difference in the way I lead, manage, and coach. Good stuff!

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Kathy Welch-Torres CA
Kathy Welch-Torres
Director of Clinical Services
Child & Family Guidance Center, Northridge CA

“Phoenix positioned us well to face further economic challenges posed by federal and state cutbacks. We raised our standards in a supportive culture that promoted staff leadership and commitment to our mission. Our net result: a 19.6% increase in productivity and a decrease in turnover.”

The agency turned to Phoenix Performance Partners for assistance after suffering a significant deficit, due to low productivity, high turnover and federal and state cutbacks.

Tasha Blackmon Cherry Health
Tasha Blackmon
Chief Operations Officer
Cherry Health, Grand Rapids, MI

“Executive coaching from Phoenix Performance Partners has been an extremely edifying and invaluable way to sharpen my skills and build new skills. They have helped me to work through a variety of challenges with no judgment. After each coaching session, I have felt extremely empowered and refreshed, even if what I heard on the other line challenged my way of thinking, or made me realize how I might have contributed to a situation or circumstance.” 

The health care company COO sent an email to her management team, suggesting they each work with Phoenix coaches to grow professionally.

David Guth CEO Centerstone
David Guth
CEO
Centerstone America, Nashville, TN

“In my nearly 30 years of executive leadership, I have never encountered management consultants in Phoenix Performance Partners’ league. They are smart, insightful and truly committed to the success of their customer. Their work has been enormously beneficial to the organization, and to me, personally.”

Centerstone America hired Phoenix Partners to help execute a strategy for rapid growth for several merged organizations.

Dr. Daniel Nerad Birmingham
Dr. Daniel Nerad
Superintendent of Schools
Birmingham Public Schools, Birmingham, MI 

 

“Thank you very much for the work you are doing with me.  I think the best way I can express myself is to share with you that I appreciate you serving as both a mirror and a window for me with my leadership work.  The mirror involves you helping me see what exists in the data about my leadership work, but more important helping me see the blind spots that seem to have developed in me as a leader (I believe this is true for all leaders).  While difficult and challenging, I am grateful for our discussions and your ideas.”

Eric Cummins CEO SJO
Eric Cummins
Chief Executive Officer, SJO

“Phoenix Performance Partners helped jump start our change initiative that shaved months off of our implementation. They were instrumental in moving our executive and leadership teams into a new era of providing services. Their team building and coaching taught us all how to stretch ourselves, and to grow and think in new ways. We will use Phoenix in the future.”

 

Client challenge: Changing the mindset of established leaders in a well-regarded but struggling organization

 

A prominent non-profit with a long history and excellent reputation recruited Eric Cummins to be CEO. When he arrived, he found multiple operational and service areas in dire need of improvement.

  • Services needed to be dramatically retooled.

  • The organization was entrenched in practices deeply rooted in the past, and needed a cultural shift.

  • Staff used age-old processes and procedures rather than current best practices.

  • There was little focus on financial viability; they had been running deficits of 5% - 8% of revenues.

  • The centralized approach to management was ineffective; middle managers had no sense of accountability for or control over their departments or programs.

Phoenix Solution: Transform leadership and pave the way for personal growth

 

The Phoenix team engaged SJO executives in an intensive 5-month developmental process to transform its leadership model. With our support, the organization developed a new direction for management and operations. Phoenix coaches helped the organization’s top management:

  • Design a platform for individual accountability that focused on results and personal growth.

  • Engage in a process to shift some of the decision-making authority over budget and outcomes from the executive level to the middle managers that supervised departments and projects.

  • Transform the organization’s leadership process so middle management teams could collaboratively engage their direct reports in a similar manner.

Results: Improved financial performance and motivated team to embrace change

 

The new CEO successfully unified the organization’s leaders around a set of strategic inspiring goals. Team members supported one another, while identifying and breaking through the barriers to organizational and team growth. They worked collaboratively to implement new programs and initiatives that decentralized an inefficient management system, giving middle managers more authority to make important decisions and a deeper, more personal connection to the organization. With Phoenix Performance Partners’ coaching, the organization’s middle managers:

  • Improved quality, developed new programs, and took advantage of shifting funding sources that resulted in a 10% surplus this year.

  • Rolled out department initiatives that enhanced revenue and curtailed costs in a 90-day period.

  • Increased their contributions margin by an amount equal to 10% of total revenue.

  • Stepped up to become more accountable for program outcomes, as well as their departments’ financial success.