Lori Dernavich Biography


Lori Dernavich is a Leadership Development Advisor/Executive Coach. She works with CEOs and startups to develop the leadership skills they and their organizations need to be successful. This is critical, especially for first-time CEOs and leaders, because the skills needed to scale a company are very different from the skills needed to start it.

Prior to founding her business in 2002, Lori served as a senior recruiter for Winter Wyman in Boston’s thriving high tech industry, traveled extensively as a corporate leadership coach for the UNICCO Services Company, and was a psychotherapist. With a degree in Food Chemistry and a Masters in Counseling Psychology, Lori’s background gives her an in-depth understanding of a wide variety of personalities, functions and industries.

She has been featured in Investors’ Business Daily, U.S.News & World Report, Crain’s NY, CFO Magazine, and ForbesWoman, and has appeared as a leadership expert on FOX News. Lori is sought after for workshops and speaking engagements about succeeding as a startup CEO, hiring rockstars, and engaging and retaining top talent.

Originally from Minnesota, Lori also lived in Boston when the Red Sox broke the curse to win the World Series. She has been living in New York City since 2007.


  • Accounting Management Solutions
  • AKQA
  • Borro.com
  • Brainshark
  • Brigham & Women’s Hospital
  • CaféMom
  • Canaan Partners
  • Concarlo
  • Coty International
  • Credit Suisse
  • Cruzan Rum
  • Dover Corporation
  • eLabsNYC
  • Edrington Spirits
  • EpiBone
  • Envisagenics
  • Fashion Accessories First/FAF, Inc
  • FieldLens
  • Flipboard
  • Forkhead BioTherapeutics
  • General Atlantic Private Equity
  • GIC
  • Kairos Ventures
  • Kallyope
  • Legal Sea Foods
  • Mavrck
  • MCRA.com
  • MouSensor
  • Ovid Therapeutics
  • Pillar Financial Advisors
  • Provivi
  • Repairogen
  • Robin Hood
  • SeanJohn
  • Slade Gorton & Company
  • Sterling Project Development
  • SUNY Downstate Incubator
  • TARA Biosystems
  • The Absolut Spirits Company
  • Tremor Video
  • Vectron International
  • Viscogliosi Brothers, LLC
  • WingedKeel Group
  • WisdomTree
  • Zumba



The progress I have seen with Lori’s help has been truly amazing!  We have extraordinarily talented young scientists in our organization and, thanks to Lori, we are now well on our way to building a super high performing team.   Lori’s style is perfect for a young organization:  she quickly gets to the essence of a problem, and designs solutions that have a profound impact.  She is by far the most effective executive coach I have ever worked with.

Nancy Thornberry, CEO, Kallyope

Lori is an amazing developer of people. She is tough as nails with the people she coaches, but does it in a way where they don’t get defensive (or if they do, she breaks through to them). I’ve felt the impact of her work having been on the receiving side of her coaching many years ago and have since employed her to assess leaders / provide coaching in several of my portfolio companies.

She works with VCs that get the importance of people, so we’re producing startups that are great places to work and are highly effective, versus driven by overbearing CEOs that the teams want to kill.

Jason Henrichs, Managing Director

You understand that VC and PE backed companies are often run by people who want to do things a bit differently, i.e. their way and quickly.

As a result, you have a highly customised approach and one that is flexible to change as needs change. And you will challenge and deliver bad news when necessary, but also focus on ensuring the good remains.

Paul Aitken, CEO & Founder, Borro

I participated in a Personal Board of Advisors exercise that Lori facilitated for a colleague of mine. I kept thinking about the many people I know who would benefit from such feedback from their peers and friends and long-time confidants.  It is such a powerful tool, and in truth, we all tend to crash forward in our work without taking the time to assess what we do well and not-so-well.  Thanks for executing the event at such a high level.

Tim Christ, Principal, BuroHappold Engineering

Lori did a webinar for Insight Venture Partners’ portfolio executives. What struck me was the disconnect between executives say hiring the best talent is one of their greatest challenges and largest expenses, yet no time is spent training employees on how to conduct a decent interview. Candidates can interview for hours at a company, yet probably be asked the same poor questions repeatedly. I came out of there with a solid understanding of what makes a great interview question and how to establish a hiring process that gets solid results.

Rado Lipus, VP FinTech, Blockchain

By quickly tapping into the character traits and values that define me as a person and leader, Lori guided me on a tailored coaching approach that was right for me. She became an ally in complex situations, grasping the issues with ease and advising me on developing and executing solutions. It’s rewarding to work closely with an advisor who has a deep passion for individual people and an acute business acumen.

Andrew Usuki, VP Sales & Biz Dev, Dover

She is a fixer! One of Lori’s greatest strengths is her keen insight and ability to quickly see the challenge and formulate a solution.

She is an honest, no-nonsense, driven professional with high intelligence and quick wit. She has a gift for working with difficult people and getting them to make the changes both they and their companies need to succeed.

Shelley Hall, President, Catalytic Management

Lori is a wonderful partner. She maintained effective boundaries between individual employees, HR, Board of Directors and the executive team.

This led to confidence in the process and increased trust all around. The 360 degree assessment approach is genuine and her feedback a nice balance of candid, tactful and action oriented. Truly developmental – thank you!

Sharon Grundfast, VP HR, Tremor Video

Lori’s interview training workshop was informative and timely. As we are looking to hire the best, she emphasized the importance of getting the interview process right and provided clear tips and techniques for how to approach this process. Employees walked away with the tools to make this happen and were focused on getting it right.

Kathy Tignor, HR Director, WisdomTree Investments

Lori provides a voice of reason, when reason is absent from a situation. She listens to issues in an unbiased manner and assists individuals in reaching a more constructive thought process. It is during this process that she will help identify ones strengths and weaknesses, as well as the most effective way to communicate in efforts to resolve conflict. Lori takes the time to truly understand the dynamics between individuals and between teams. She then coaches to improve communication and work efficiency within the organization.

Michelle Feliciano, Founder, New To Market Solutions Corp