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John Rae-Grant

John is a ten year Microsoft veteran, having grown up with the company from 1986 to 1996.  Starting as a software developer, John rapidly moved into management, wearing many hats along the way as teach lead, development manager, group program manager, quality assurance manager, and business unit manager.

John was a key member of the turnaround management team which revived Microsoft's flagging C++ business with Visual C++ releases 1.0 through 4.0.  In the course of 18 months, Microsoft gained 35% market share from Borland, and shifted from shipping once every 2 1/2 years to shipping every four months on multiple platforms.

John later became Business Unit Manager of the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) where he doubled revenues in one year, and systematically realigned the organization to: unify Microsoft's Developer products; position the internet as the primary source for developer information from Microsoft;  and achieve dramatic reductions in costs of production.

Since leaving Microsoft, John has been a consultant to mainly software companies, working on strategy development, leadership development, strategic alignment, and executive teamwork.  Clients have included Microsoft, InstallShield, Geneer, Landmark Graphics, and Lancet Software Development.

John has also practiced what he preaches as a principal within several executive teams.  As Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of The NRG Group, John grew a small consulting company into a self-funding incubator, through a merger with a venture capital fund, and through the IPO process.  As Chief Operating Officer of ManyOne Networks, John took the company from pure vaporware to shipping service with a robust partner ecology.  Most recently, as Co-Founder of Zazengo, John pioneered the use of social media to engage corporate employees in taking sustainable action.

John remains a unique blend of strategist and psychologist, demanding cold hard reasoning backed with passionate commitment.  Recently, John taught strategy development as part of Microsoft's Management Development program.  John is also a staff member of the Power and Leadership Conference.

When not working, John is a world class a capella singer with his barbershop quartets Finale and Studio One.  He enjoys helping his kids Naomi and Keegan grow, designing a deliberate and vivid life with Laura Petersen, and taking occasional breaks for SCUBA diving and wine collecting.


Laura Petersen

Laura believes we all benefit from being intentional about our lives, especially in our work. As co-founder, consultant, facilitator and coach at the Art of Work she taps into her innate skill and ability to help individuals, teams and companies achieve excellence. Laura applies her degrees in Psychology and Education to the facilitation and development of experiential curricula on topics such as Personal Mastery, High Performance Teams, Project Management Excellence and Real-time Leadership.

At her core, Laura is a teacher. Her professional teaching career started in classrooms with 6th and 7th graders in the Seattle Public Schools where she created and utilized experiential simulations as a captivating method of teaching. She went on to join TeamworX as their Education Director and assisted in the design and delivery of their Software Development Bootcamp, a one-week experiential leadership simulation for software developers and managers.

Laura combined her teaching background with her people and project management expertise when she worked as Training and Cultural Officer in a youth-driven technology incubator at The NRG Group that grew from 10 people to 105 in one year. Laura was instrumental in nurturing the strategic culture in this fast growing company, by designing and delivering, a 3 day staff orientation course; inspiring community involvement through the creation of the NRG Academy (a monthly event bringing together entrepreneurs, youth, venture capitalists and academics); developing performance management and evaluation processes; creating on-going leadership training; and providing career development coaching.

More recently, Laura was instrumental in launching Family ROI, a non-profit organization which provides courses to help people apply proven business practices to strengthen their family lives. Laura developed, implemented and innovated the core curriculum and managed all aspects of delivering the Family ROI Program to diverse families. Laura also developed materials for the government of New Zealand which resulted in a 5 year licensing agreement between Family ROI and New Zealand. In addition, Laura oversaw the business responsibilities of running a non-profit organization including sales, customer service, training, marketing, adherence to state regulations, and budgeting.

Laura has close connections to the deaf and sign language interpreting community and has shared her teaching and facilitation skills by teaching several workshops and facilitating panels. She has taught “Staying Cool on the Hot Seat”, a workshop about real time interpreting and managing the voices in our heads, to interpreting students, public school interpreters and seasoned free-lance interpreters.

Nature, her kids and her husband are inspirations to Laura and she spends as much time as she can being surrounded by them.