After 5 years of
stalling on some key organizational challenges, with Judy's gentle, but direct coaching I was able to 'break through' and make SIGNIFICANT progress ons....

-April Pitcairn, Teacher


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Professional Background & Philosophy

As a former CEO of organizations with life-impacting missions, Judy Nelson understands the pressures faced by managers for whom a high level of performance is a minimum job requirement. In order to achieve her organizational goals, Judy developed a coaching approach to managing people that became the hallmark of her leadership style.

Judy's emergence as a "coaching leader" was the natural outgrowth of her experience with her own executive coach -- an invaluable professional relationship that persisted throughout her career:

"For three decades, I wouldn't have been without an executive coach. My coach was a sounding board, a truth teller, a litmus test for logic and common sense, as well as my thinking soul mate. My coach was invaluable to me because, at a certain level of professional achievement, direct honest feedback is hard to come by."

Now retired from her executive career, Judy has devoted herself to providing others with the kind of direct, empowering feedback that she herself received.

Judy's approach to coaching emphasizes:

  • personal responsibility
  • accountability
  • a deep respect for her clients' core values.

She believes in helping her clients to gain an accurate assessment of their own strengths and weaknesses. Then she works cooperatively with them to build upon their strengths and manage their weaknesses. She believes in developing emotional intelligence as a key component of personal and professional success.

Career Highlights


  • Bachelor of Arts, University of North Dakota
  • Master's in Social Work, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Juris Doctor, University of Kansas School of Law
  • Certificate, Harvard Kennedy School, public policy and social services
  • Graduate, College of Executive Coaching

Executive Positions

  • President & CEO, Hollygrove Children & Family Services (1995-2006)
  • President & CEO, Orangewood Children's Foundation (1993-1995)
  • President & CEO, Children's Bureau of Southern California (1980-1993)
  • Executive Director, Virginia Governor's Commission for Children & Youth (1974-1976)

Teaching Experience
Adjunct Graduate Faculty: University of Southern California, University of Kansas, Virginia Commonwealth University, University of San Francisco

Selected Professional Affiliations
Member, International Coaching Federation; Consultant, Chapman and Associates, Inc.; Foundations for the Junior Blind; Florence Crittenton Association of Arizona; Affiliate Consultant, Executive Consulting for the Nonprofit Sector, Inc.; Member, CEO Affiliates, California/Arizona; Member, Academy of Child & Youth Care Professionals; Women of Distinction Award, Hollywood Chamber of Commerce; Outstanding Professional, National Society of Fund Raising Executives, Los Angeles; Charter member, Los Angeles County Children's Planning Council; Research Advisory Board member, Children's Hospital Los Angeles

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