James Sharpe

James Sharpe

With more than 30 years of experience—including leadership development and talent consulting roles at Northwestern Mutual, Korn Ferry, and IBM—James brings a deep understanding of the art, science, and technology innovation required to transform human performance into tangible individual and organizational action. He joins Gagen MacDonald as a senior leader and helps clients across the C-suite achieve business objectives as they face significant change requiring large-scale behavioral and cultural transformation.

James has successfully led global, multidisciplinary teams across numerous industries to build next-generation integrated leadership and talent solutions and provide forward thinking on leadership strategy alignment, accountability, and gender and multicultural diversity and inclusion. As Executive Director, Field Leadership Development & Talent Management at Northwestern Mutual, he transformed how the organization grows and develops leaders, increasing the number and diversity of field leaders by 10 percent and 17 percent, respectively. He created a digital talent framework for all financial services leadership and integrated financial advisor roles; rebooted leadership succession; integrated talent assessments; and launched new high-potential programs with interactive simulations, virtual conferences, an online coaching network, micro-learning, and interactive career maps.

Prior to Northwestern Mutual, James was Senior Vice President (SVP) of Leadership & Talent Solutions at Korn Ferry and Chief Technology Officer and SVP, Leadership Development & Talent Assessment Solutions at Personnel Decisions International / Ninth House. He also served as Director of Global Learning & Talent Solutions at IBM, where he developed several patents including Operationalizing a Learning Solution, Knowledge Management System Automatically Allocating Expert Resources, and Blended Learning Experience Tools & Method.

Throughout James’ career, he’s developed a passion for applying science and technology to solve for challenges and for presenting opportunities in leadership development and talent management to achieve critical business goals.

James is a graduate of Purdue University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology. He attended Harvard Business School’s Strategic Leadership Forum and IBM’s Global Executive Leadership Program.