Lisa Fitzhugh is a professional team builder and leadership coach.  She uses the art of creative insight and her capacity to develop an individual’s unique expression of emotional intelligence to cultivate authentic relationships and a strong foundation of interpersonal trust.  When individuals bring their true selves forward, the magic of a team can be achieved and organizational missions realized.

Lisa is the Founding Partner of Creative Ground and has worked within the political, public, private and non-profit sectors for the last 25 years.

Lisa is also the founder and former executive director of Arts Corps, the largest arts education program in Washington State reaching underserved communities throughout King County.  Arts Corps’ award winning program has become a national model for combining arts education with social change.

Before Arts Corps, Lisa’s work was primarily in the world of public policy, working both for elected officials and as a consultant, designing and implementing public affairs and engagement strategies.  She served as an aide to Seattle Mayor Paul Schell, Seattle City Councilmember Tom Weeks, and Congressman Ben Cardin, D-MD.

As a community activist, she has served on several boards including the New School Foundation, the Children’s Music Foundation, and as co-chair of the Learning Committee for Seattle Center’s 50th Anniversary of the World’s Fair.  She recently served as Board Chair for a newly formed non-profit, LoveCityLove, a project that creates inclusive space for emerging artistic collaborations. In 2009 she served as Chair for I-100, a grassroots initiative campaign to stop the construction of a new jail.

Lisa grew up in Baltimore, Maryland.  She has lived in Paris, France and Washington D.C.  She holds a political science degree from Duke University.

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“As a leadership coach, Lisa has shown me how to wrestle with competing forces—even the ones I had labeled irreconcilable.  With her support and guidance I have found ways to energize inside of conflict, whether it be actual “on the ground” issues, or the sparring of my own internal demons and better angels.  I am finding ways to cast off the archetypes of traditional leadership in favor of expressing myself genuinely.  And my team, my whole organization for that matter, is refreshingly responsive.  Lisa is interwoven grace and tenacity; equal parts gunnery sergeant and zen master.”

–Rob Gannon, General Manager, King County Transit

“I have worked with Lisa in a number of settings and always I am left looking forward to the next opportunity.  Most recently she worked with several teams at Seattle Center to help with their cohesion and functionality.  She brought intelligence, sincerity, optimism, and invaluable insights.  Lisa has the rare ability to walk in and gain the trust of a group in the first moments of their interaction.   She is able to use that trust to help members of the team resist pointing at others as the “problem,” and to be curious about their role in the drama of the workplace team.  She not only builds functionality, but staff come out feeling better about themselves in the process.  Our teams express gratitude for their time with her, and excitement about the future as a result of her work.”

— John Merner, Director, Seattle Center Productions

“Lisa’s work with her clients exemplifies the creative habits of mind she’s trying to strengthen in us, in particular tolerance for ambiguity, challenging assumptions, risk-taking, reflection and persistence.  Her approach to designing and executing on projects allows for a truly creative collaboration between her vision and her client’s to achieve the greatest possible impact.    This commitment to her own practice of creativity creates an environment for real transformation — in the individual, the team and the organization.”

— Michele Finnegan, Director, Human Resources, Seattle Parks & Recreation

“Lisa Fitzhugh brings boundless energy and passion into focus to light fires for a better world.  She places imagination at the core of the work, and builds out from that which most enlivens.  A practical visionary and a force of nature”

— Timothy Harris, Executive Director, Real Change


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