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Caryn Vanstone

Caryn’s work focuses on adaptive culture and performance change in global organisations, non-profits and small institutions, and UK Government Departments and Agencies. 

She is most often brought in by companies when they have some kind of ‘shock’, or are instigating a major strategic change, resulting in the need to profoundly shift mindsets, patterns of behaviour, or cultural norms.  She helps them to not only look at themselves in a new way, but to co-create generative and life-giving ways to move forward with energy and purpose.

Her interest in this work was influenced by formative years working as both a Line Manager and Head of Organisation Development and Design in the post-privatization UK Water Industry.  There, she led projects including outsourcing, mergers and JV’s, significant operating model change, customer centricity work, IT system change, individual/team leadership development and major organisation design/downsizing programmes with significant redundancies.  She knows how to do the ‘hard-wiring’ stuff as well as the behavioural and cultural.

She jumped into professional consultancy in ‘98, joining Ashridge Business School and Consulting in early ‘99 – where she was Head of the Change Practice for some years (leading a number of award-winning consulting projects), and was Faculty on the ground-breaking MSc in Organisational Change for 20 years.

Her academic community is now Exeter University Business School, where she is a Faculty member, supervising and teaching on the MBA and MSc in Social Entrepreneurship, in the field of ecological, adaptive approaches to leadership, innovation and culture with a focus deep resilience, drawing on the beauty of the natural world and ecosystems as inspiration. 

She has a passion for research and loves to bring a constantly refreshed set of grounded ideas to her clients, in ways that are pragmatic and directly applicable.  This focuses particularly on how a deep understanding of psychology, sociology, behavioural economics (‘nudge’), and applied neuroscience can transform the way people can learn, change and innovate together with ease and enjoyment.  In the last 3 years she has increasingly expressed her professional lifetime of learning in videos, toolkits and downloadables, now delivered to clients through Lacerta’s own e-learning portal – the Academy.

She is often described by her clients as “all in” – building strong, caring relationships, intimacy and trust, through which her creativity and sense of fun engages people while doing often challenging work.  She really immerses herself in her clients’ worlds, putting the work, learning and desired change (with all its risks and challenges) ahead of the politics of comfort and power.  She is a natural ‘see-er’ of patterns, and is therefore useful as a ‘Supervisor’ to teams of coaches and consultants, and internal OD professionals, as she helps them to “connect the dots” and see/transcend any institutional ‘games’ or cultural blind-spots they might be facing as they facilitate others.

She has been invited to give keynote presentations at conferences in Europe, the US, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia Pacific, on her innovative approach to high-engagement, generative strategy formation and change, sharing the stage with people like Harrison Owen, Ralph Stacey, Peter Senge, Diana Whitney, David Cooperrider, Peter Block, Frank Barrett, and Prof Fiona Murray, Dean of Innovation of MIT Sloan.  She is currently the global partner of Gervase Bushe and Bob Marshak bringing life to the world’s first Certification and Accreditation in Dialogic Organisation Development, in association with the Cape Cod Institute.

She has an interest in comedy improvisation, which she has trained in, enjoys ‘playing’ with, and teaches in organisational contexts, over the last 20 years.  She brings this into her work using methodologies like Appreciative Inquiry, dialogue, ‘hackathons’, and rapid prototyping, and her ability to “make it up as she goes along with others” is vital to the kind of ‘viral’ and highly empowered social change ‘movements’ she designs and leads with her clients.

After a patchy relationship with education in her teens (preferring surfing, gardening and beach-bumming), she returned to education in 1997, achieving an MSc (Distinction) in Organisation Consulting in 1999.

Caryn is based in the south west of the UK, where she lives with her French husband and business partner Bruno and chickens and honey bees, on their organic ½-acre, ‘permaculture’ inspired wildlife, fruit and veg garden. 


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