About the Consultant

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Dr. Kathleen K. Biersdorff is a strong believer in life-long learning, both from academic settings and life experience. Born in Peoria, Illinois, she moved to Canada for her doctoral work in Psychology. She completed her Ph.D. in Psychology at the University of Alberta in 1981, with a dissertation on memory storage and retrieval processes. She was struck by the commencement keynote speaker's comment that as professionals we are blessed because "our work is play to us." Kathleen continues to seek and find the fun in developing innovative and effective organizations.

Kathleen.

Professional Experience

Between 1979 and 1989, Kathleen was a sessional instructor at a variety of Alberta colleges and universities. In addition to honing her skills in curriculum development and adult education, she also developed her understanding of organizational operations during her 4 years at Red Deer College as a member of Academic Council, the Faculty Association, and as head of the Psychology Curriculum Development Committee.

In 1989, Kathleen entered the field of rehabilitation and developmental disabilities when she joined the Research staff at The Vocational and Rehabilitation Research Institute. She became Director of Research in 1994. Her time there was one of great innovation and responsiveness to community needs. Funding became more diversified with Kathleen adding sales of staff development workshops, a home safety assessment and training/support guide, and a variety of research grants and contracts to the Department's core funding. She supported staff to develop ground-breaking processes for creating plain language materials for very low literacy adult audiences. Participatory Action Research became the norm. The team explored ways to support co-researchers with intellectual disabilities to share the podium at conference presentations across North America and shine. Publications were developed and distributed effectively to policy-makers, administrators, front line staff and people with intellectual and other disabilities. The VRRI Research Department was respected locally, provincially and internationally for its high quality work and responsive service.

As a member of the Management Team, Kathleen advocated for the need for regular and engaging communication with staff and external audiences. She became the writer, editor and driving force behind internal and external VRRI newsletters. Kathleen also developed the staff orientation manual and contributed significantly to new and revised organizational policies. As a member of the Staff Development Committee, Kathleen pushed for regular communication with staff about upcoming opportunities and made the staff development newsletter into a source of both opportunities and information gained from the sessions she and others attended.

Kathleen has continued her education by completing courses in public relations, Web design, Illustrator and Photoshop. She is a member in good standing with the

  • International Association of Business Communicators (IABC)
  • Canadian Psychological Association (CPA)
  • American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD)

Kathleen is Past President of the Alberta Chapter of AAIDD and Region IV of AAIDD (Rocky Mountain states and the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan). In 2005, she retired from the board of the Leadership Today Society of Alberta, where she created an effective and inclusive board composed of people with and without intellectual disabilities working together with an equal voice.

At K. K. Biersdorff Consulting

In January of 2003, Kathleen left the VRRI to pursue new opportunities to make use of her wide skill set on behalf of organizations in the business, non-profit and government sectors. Since that time she has

  • written published articles
  • written and edited manuals
  • designed and edited a book
  • written and designed annual reports and newsletters
  • developed classroom and online training for government workers, librarians, certification surveyors, employment counselors, people with disabilities and their families and staff
  • created web content and managed web sites
  • created marketing videos
  • developed successful project and grant proposals
  • developed strategic plans
  • written press releases and backgrounders
  • developed PowerPoint presentations and speaker notes for presenters
  • conducted print and online surveys and focus groups
  • carried out thematic and statistical analyses on data
  • consulted on HR policies
  • developed a performance management system for a small firm.

Kathleen continues the reflective and value-added service that she became known for in her previous work on her own and in partnership with like-minded consultants. Click the image at the right to view Kathleen's curriculum vitae.

Kathleen's Curriculum Vitae