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York Change Leadership (YCL)


York Change Leadership (YCL) enables leaders, teams and communities across York University to unleash their full strategic leadership potential and thrive in a competitive educational landscape.

YCL offers customized programs, retreat design and facilitation, workshops, and internal consulting that enables clients/program participants to:

  • enhance strategic leadership capabilities
  • assess the landscape and identify strategic priorities
  • leverage collective strengths
  • analyze and build solutions for tackling collective pain points and strategic opportunities
  • tackle and develop strategic action plans
  • transform strategic plans into reality
  • continuously learn and evolve over time
  • create space to collectively rethink and revision the future
  • deepen trust, mutual understanding and collaborative working relationships

Guiding Principles

We are service-centered and committed to responding to the needs of our campus leaders and partners with a sense of urgency to further their strategic priorities. We are passionate about building a strong, united, prosperous university. We boldly enable change, and are resilient, evolving, entrepreneurial and creative in generating solutions that contribute to the success of our university. We strive for excellence in all we do and are innovative problem-solvers that lead by example.

We build ecosystems that connect, build trust and fuel collaboration with our partners and stakeholders. Collective ownership leads to shared success and is critical to building a stronger more united university. We enthusiastically diffuse our leading practices, expertise and ideas.

We are accountable to our university and to the university partners we serve. We create a positive, high integrity environment, achieving our mission with success. We are fiscally responsible, transparent, and we operate with cost-effectiveness. We continually review and evaluate our performance and iterate to improve and ensure optimal impact.

We are enriched by the diversity of our university community. We listen to others, invite every person’s experiences and perspectives, and nurture a culture of psychological safety and mutual respect. We cultivate unity, community and collaborative relationships that ignite strategic change.

We take the time to understand the unique needs of every client and customize design and delivery to optimize success and impact. We ensure that every program offers leading edge research and practice, is dynamic, interactive and applied, and provides valuable tools that are relevant and beneficial for our university partners and stakeholders.

About our team

Ellen is Professor of Strategic Management, Schulich School of Business; Executive Director, York Change Leadership, and Co-Founder Stragility Consulting.  Prior to joining Schulich, she was on the faculty at the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University and Visiting Faculty at the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth in Hanover, New Hampshire. She earned her B.A. from Colgate University and her PhD from Cornell University.

Ellen has more than 25 years of experience as an academic and consultant specializing in strategic transitions, transformations and turnarounds. Working with executives to successfully tackle a wide spectrum of strategic challenges, she creates a shared leadership, stakeholder inclusive, value creating approach that enables organizations to cultivate the short and long-run capabilities needed for continuous stragility® and success.

A multiple research and teaching award winner, Ellen has been honored with the global, lifetime achievement Academy of Management Distinguished Educator Award, research awards from the Academy of Management and Management Science, and teaching awards including the Kellogg/Schulich Executive MBA Professor of the Year twice, as well as being honored with the Seymour Schulich Award for Teaching Excellence and the Outstanding Educator of the Year Award at York University.

Ellen has written four books including two more recently - Stragility® with Lisa Hillenbrand (University of Toronto Press) and Bridging the Values Gap with Ed Freeman (Berrett-Koehler). She has also published widely in academic and practitioner journals including: The Academy of Management Review, Management Science, Sloan Management Review, Organization Studies, The Journal of Business Ethics, Human Resource Management, Research in Organizational Behavior, Research Policy, The Journal of International Management, The International Journal of Strategic Change Management, The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, Women in Management Review, Developing Leaders Quarterly, Leader to Leader Quarterly, The Journal of Management Education, Chief Learning Officer, The American Management Association Playbook and more.

Raluca is a Strategic Change Leadership Manager at York Change Leadership, York University. Prior to joining York U, Raluca worked for more than 14 years within the social sector where she successfully implemented large-scale transformation initiatives.  Before that, she launched and led an entrepreneurial venture for 6 years.

With a MBA from the Schulich School of Business, Raluca’s passion is to enable positive transformations at personal, organizational and community levels through constructive conversations, the identification of untapped opportunities, and supportive growth.

As a trainer and facilitator, her specialties include: leadership development, creativity and innovation, strategic planning and execution.

Contact York Change Leadership

Ellen Auster

Executive Director
Schulich School of Business – 307 North
416-736-2100 x 77898

Raluca Lacatus

Manager, Strategic Change Leadership
Schulich School of Business – 308 North
416-736-2100 x 20516