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Professional Profile

Bob Dean has most recenty led Learning & Talent Development, for Heidrick &  Struggles,  a component of the firm's Global Talent team.  Bob and the Learning & Talent Development team were responsible for designing, developing and delivering global learning solutions for Heidrick & Struggles consultants and staff around the world.  Bob combines business experience with a passion for learning and talent development.  As a senior learning executive, he has been a catalyst for learning innovation driving business impact in three major professional services firms.

Bob understands the challenges in building capability to achieve business results and creating a continuous learning culture for employees.   He has developed strategies for the alignment of enterprise-wide learning with talent management initiatives.  Bob has implemented learning solutions through a variety of delivery channels, including face-to-face learning experiences, live webcasts, coaching, online learning communities and self-paced web-based learning.   

Prior to Heidrick & Struggles, Bob served as Grant Thornton's Chief Learning Officer, responsible for the firm's learning vision and strategy, management of Grant Thornton University and the Strategic Learning team.  Previously at Ernst & Young, he served in the firm's Audit practice, was National Director of Audit Professional Development and Director of Industry Learning. He led the firm's learning and technology innovation initiatives in the 1990s.


"Bob Dean is a teacher, a student, a coach and mentor. He embraces each role with a business perspective and a consuming passion. Bob is a serious practitioner with a great sense of humor, and a burning desire to plumb the depths of human learning potential. Among Mr. Dean's many professional accomplishments is his development of a breakthrough approach to Learning & Development, in which he stages "Learning Experiences". Applying the research he conducted as student of Pine & Gilmore's "The Experience Economy", along with a number of other books, articles and first-hand experiences, Bob stages Learning Experiences that are "one-of-a-kind", and incredibly engaging and effective. As one of the first "Certified Experience Experts" to graduate from an exclusive, limited-attendance program offered and personally facilitated by Joe Pine and Jim Gilmore - Bob has embraced, enhanced and assimilated the principles of the authors/teachers in his unique and outstanding work in staging "Learning Experiences" at several professional services firms.” 

Steve Dragoo, Owner, Service Solutions Consulting, Inc.

6D's of Breakthrough Learning

L&D in the Experience Economy

Executive Summary

Senior executive in learning, leadership development and talent management.  Provides team leadership and solution consulting by leveraging experience in several industries.  Demonstrated exceptional capabilities in:

  • Envisioning and implementing organizational learning and talent management strategies
  • Designing, developing and delivering transformational learning experiences
  • Maximizing the impact of learning and development with an integrated talent mangement strategy
  • Building relationships through strategic partnering, networking, coaching and mentoring
  • Thinking creatively and managing innovation by knowing best practices and serving as a change agent
  • Leading business change initiatives and projects and organizing and managing project teams

Work experience

Former positions held prior to merger of Arthur Young and Ernst & Whinney

Arthur Young

Learning and Professional Development, Reston VA

National Director of Audit and Entrepreneurial Services Professional Development, strategy and programs.

Principal, Director of Core Audit Education Programs, managed Audit Education residency program.

Manager, participated in Audit Education residency program at National Education Center.

Public accounting and auditing, including engagement and project management , Oklahoma City OK

Audit Engagement manager and supervisor, for both private and public companies engaged in oil and gas, transportation, financial services, manufacturing, retail and not for profit industries.


Vice President, Learning & Talent Development

Reported to the Global Head of Talent and the Senior Vice President, Human Resources, of leading executive search and leadership leadership advisory services firm

  • Collaborated with London-based Global Head of Talent to envision and implement an integrated talent management cycle, starting with a vision in 2007 and recognized as best pratice in two years.
  • Co-designed and developed CEO-sponsored Leadership Advisor Program, a 6-month transformational learning experience resulting in accelerated competency development and immediate revenue impact.
  • Leadership of global learning team
    • Led Learning & Talent Development team, with members in London, Paris, Sydney, Mexico and Chicago
    • Enhanced the professionalism of the company's learning products and services through innovative content treatment, "best in class" processes/methods and access to high impact strategic partners.
    • Served as subject matter expert in presentation and facilitation skills, competency-based interviewing, integrated talent management and leading change.
  • Design development and delivery of innovative processes and tools to enable global learning culture
    • Created and implemented a learning solution design, development and delivery process adapted from the books The Six Disciplines of Breakthrough Learning and The Experience Economy.
    • Designed and delivered a global certification program for Competency-based Interviewing
    • Implemented Adobe e-learning suite and developed process and capability for global enterprise.

Partner and Chief Learning Officer

Reported to Chief Human Resources Officer and Partner in Charge of Strategic Initiatives

  • Leadership and strategic alignment of centralized learning team
    • Led the U.S.-based Strategic Learning group, doubling the size of the team in three years.
    • Responsible for United States learning vision and strategy and business governance process.
    • Aligned learning solutions with firm strategic plan, business initiatives, core values and culture
    • Provided opportunities for continuous learning for over 5,000 partners and employees in 50 U.S. offices, while doubling the number of professional education hours delivered from 2002-2005.
  • Learning innovation, leadership development, and thought leadership
    • Envisioned and mplemented Grant Thornton University (GTU), an innovative learning portal.
    • Co-developed Grant Thornton LEADS, the firm's leadership development initiative.
    • Recognized by Masie Center with a Learning Pioneer Award in October 2005.

Director of Learning Delivery and Learning Innovation

Reported to the Vice Chairman of Professional & Organization Development

  • Played leadership role in the development of Ernst & Young's enterprise-wide learning solution--LEAP, Learning Environment to Accelerate Performance--archived in the Smithsonian Institution.
  • Envisioned the creation and development of a learning delivery channel continuum, including deployment of satellite, videoconference and internet webcast channels.
  • Nominated by peers for the Rosemarie Meschi Award, recognizing individuals in the firm who excelled at the development and retention of high performing women employees.

Director of Industry Learning and Development

Reported to Vice Chairman of Professional & Organization Development

  • Developed a learning framework for Ernst & Young's industry groups, creating a knowledge pyramid model implemented for 8 industries under the sponsorship of the Vice Chairman, Industry Services.
  • Designed and delivered satellite and videoconference business television programs in Technology, Communications and Entertainment industries targeted to both internal and external client audiences.
  • Created a rapid content development process, significantly reducing cycle time in development of compelling learning content.

Director of Professional Development for Audit Business Unit and Practices; Director of Technology-based Learning

Reported to National Director of Professional Development and Audit Business Unit Leaders

  • Developed vision for "multimedia desktop learning" and gained commitment from International Executive Committee for development of the firm's first technology-based learning program.
  • As part of post merger integration of Arthur Young and Ernst & Whinney, played a leadership role in the design, development and delivery of all professional development programs related to the implementation of Ernst & Young's worldwide audit approach.


Bachelor of Science


Certified Public Accountant, Oklahoma

Certified Expert #002, by authors Joe Pine & Jim Gilmore, in the frameworks of The Experience Economy

Certified in "best of breed" learning content and facilitation models, including SPIN, Think on Your Feet, Lominger Competencies, DDI Facilitation Skills, and Personal DISCernment Inventory.

Activities and Societies:

Beta Alpha Psi

Beta Gamma Sigma