History

Jim BoltJim Bolt founded Executive Development Associates (EDA) in 1982. Before EDA, Jim spent 16 years at Xerox Corporation in a series of line and staff jobs in marketing, branch management and human resources. Just before he left Xerox to start EDA, Jim was Corporate Director with world-wide responsibility for executive education, learning and development, and talent management.

EDA was founded on the premise that executive development must clearly support the achievement of an organization’s strategic objectives. If it doesn’t, don’t do it. It will waste the organization’s time and money because it will have no significant impact. Jim’s 1983 Harvard Business Review Article, Tailor Executive Development to Strategy, represented a breakthrough in transitioning from education for education’s sake, to high-impact, strategic executive development. The article was one of the most requested HBR Reprints. In 1990, Jim’s book, Executive Development: A Strategy for Corporate Competitiveness was the first to chronicle how CEOs were using custom-designed executive development programs to set and achieve their strategic agenda and objectives.

EDA has always been a consulting boutique providing personal, high-touch service to each client. Our belief is that our consultants should have real, hands-on, business experience. We prefer to provide our clients with consultants who have worked in major corporations to design/develop custom programs tied to the business strategy and who had to live with the results. We aspire for our consultants to be experienced in practical business experience, not just academic theory.

In 1983 we conducted our first Executive and Leadership Development Trends Survey and the results were published in many industry magazines and journals. Subsequently, we have conducted and published the Trends Survey every two to four years and have updated the survey process by making it web-based and interactive. Beginning in 1990, EDA began conducting benchmarking surveys for clients and conducting research on other topics such as High Potential Identification and Development, Integrated Talent Management Systems and Executive Coaching.

Hagemann.Headshot.color (2)In early 2007, we merged with another leading consulting firm, Character of Excellence, adding complementary capabilities to Executive Development Associates in executive coaching, talent management and strategy development. Character of Excellence was founded in 2001 by Bonnie Hagemann, who had previously served in education and organizations as an English Teacher, Career Counselor, Director and Regional Consultant.

From its inception, Character of Excellence experienced rapid growth to 25 senior level consultants located across the United States and was recognized by Inc Magazine as one of the fastest growing companies in the business consulting industry.

New Beginnings

Both founders worked hard to bring the two organizations together and build the new Executive Development Associates. Jim Bolt spent a little over a year as Chairman while mentoring Bonnie in the art and science of custom executive education and making introductions to key EDA Alliance Partners and Executive Education experts. Today, Jim Bolt serves as a member of EDA’s esteemed Advisory Board, Bonnie serves as CEO, and EDA continues to build on its 35 year history.

Our clients tell us that what makes us unique is our complete commitment to a high-touch experience for them and our ability to provide them with easy access to the true experts in both strategy and executive/leadership development who are personally committed to their success.