About Conner Academy

Conner Academy is a professional development center providing advanced learning opportunities for seasoned change practitioners.

The majority of change professionals are viewed by those they serve as providing satisfactory value and adequately supplying what they are expected to deliver. A much smaller subset of practitioners are seen as High Impact Trusted Advisors (HITAs) who foster exceptional credibility and influence with the senior leaders they support.

Conner Academy was established to furnish a supportive but challenging learning environment for HITAs and those who aspire to advance to this status.

High Impact practitioners are often thought of as having “mastered” the profession, but we prefer to think of them as walking the mastery path. The distinction is an important one. The former label implies an achievement that has been completed, while the latter designation conveys an unending quest.

Learn more about our founders, Daryl Conner and Ed Boswell.  

Advanced Trusted Advisor Program

Our Advanced Trusted Advisor (ATA) program is designed for experienced change practitioners who wish to be viewed as High Impact – an invaluable resource by senior officers of the organizations they serve.

In this program, participants will identify, refine, and strengthen their ability to:

  • Successfully navigate the dynamics and pitfalls of establishing rapport with senior officers
  • Engage in sophisticated interpersonal communications and relationship-building
  • Understand the underlying forces that facilitate forming deep, trusting relationships with senior executives
  • Function as a strategic partner rather than as a tactical vendor
  • Establish trust with executives who may be leery of internal or external change practitioners
  • Deliver information, perspectives, and recommendations that leaders are able to appreciate and act on even when these insights prove uncomfortable to hear

ATA is structured to provide a supportive but challenging learning environment for seasoned internal specialists and external consultants who are or plan to serve as strategic change advisors. ATA is methodology agnostic because its focus is not on what tools or techniques are used but on how the practitioner “shows up” when interacting with senior executives.

This graduate-level professional development program is intended for two types of seasoned practitioners: those who are already serving top executives and want to strengthen their ability to establish and maintain leader relationships, and those who aspire to one day work as a HITA with C-suite officers and other senior leaders.

Upcoming Events

  • The 2024 Spring ATA Program is in progress.
  • The 2024 Aussie ATA Program begins on July 19, 2024, and runs through November 28, 2024.
  • The 2024 Fall ATA Program begins on September 20, 2024, and runs through February 14, 2025.

Why we Focus on High Impact Trusted Advisors

Leaders responsible for implementing significant change in their organization need access to advisors who can leverage extensive experience, wisdom, and insight as they provide guidance through the pitfalls of executing major initiatives.

This role, termed “change practitioner,” is filled by professionals from a wide array of disciplines including change management, organizational development, HR, strategic planning, project management, IT, business relationship management, coaching, organizational design, and more. No matter their field of expertise, whether they function as internal specialists or external consultants, or if they work solo or as part of a team, if individuals help leaders navigate important transitions, they are considered change practitioners.

The ATA program is designed to prepare individuals to serve as HITAs—change practitioners who provide this kind of support to senior leaders. Some serve at the C-suite level (CEOs, COOs, CFOs, CIOs, CHROs, etc.), and some support key leaders below the top echelon, but all are advising executives with either enterprise-wide or major functional/geographic responsibilities.

HITAs have uncommon access to and influence with these top executives. They are considered instrumental resources, and their views are sought out whenever key initiatives come with significant risk and the price for a misstep is costly. They enjoy such respect from the leaders they serve that their counsel is regarded as a competitive advantage for the organization.

This Is Not for Everyone

This is not a course of study for those new to facilitating change who are still building their basic foundation of concepts, tools, and techniques or those with only a casual interest in professional development pursuits.

Committed to the changes that matter

Among the wide array of change initiatives being pursued today, we believe some are destined to have a major, positive effect on the lives of a significant number of people. These are undertakings capable of advancing the quality of the human experience. We call these initiatives changes that matter.

We are committed to creating a community of exceptional change practitioners in the hope that some will be called upon to help advance changes that matter.

Blog Posts and Essays