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Ilona Birenbaum Adjunct Professorial Lecturer Department of Public Administration and Policy

BA, Psychology, Michigan State University
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MA, Labor and Industrial Relations, Michigan State University


Ms. Birenbaum is a leadership and organizational consultant/leadership coach with over 20 years of experience and a diverse organizational development background. She is an adjunct professor and coach with American University’s School of Public Affairs, Key Executive Leadership Program. Her specialties include leadership coaching, facilitation, change management, leadership development, performance management, training, and strategic planning. Examples of Ms. Birenbaum’s clients include: America on Line, Capital One, Towers Watson, Internal Revenue Service, Securities and Exchange Commission, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, AMTRAK, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Small Business Administration, Department of Transportation, Department of the Navy, Federal Housing Finance Agency, American Institutes for Research, and many others. Ms. Birenbaum has significant international and multicultural experience through the work that she has done in Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Bulgaria, and Bolivia. She has worked in many different industries that include petrochemical, technology, consulting, and non-profit.

Ms. Birenbaum has held leadership roles for American Management Systems (AMS) and Watson Wyatt Worldwide. As a Principal with AMS and a Senior Consultant with Watson Wyatt she led multiple change initiatives which included the design and implementation of performance management systems, introduction of career development frameworks, developing and leading train-the-trainer efforts for major change initiatives, developing and managing leadership development programs within a corporate university, designing and implementing multiple employee surveys, and facilitating hundreds of workshops, training sessions, and meetings.

Ms. Birenbaum has been published by the Washington Business Journal, Association of Training and Development and Washington CEO Magazine. She is a certified facilitator of the Drexler Sibbett Team Performance Model, MBTI, DISC, Lominger’s Voices, CCL’s 360̊ Assessments, Hay Group’s Emotional Competency Inventory (ECI), Apter Motivational Style Profile (AMSP) and Apter Leadership Profile System (ALPS) and is an Action Learning Coach. In April 2009, Ms. Birenbaum obtained her leadership coaching certificate through Georgetown University and holds a Professional Certified Coach Certificate through ICF.

Ms. Birenbaum earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Masters of Labor and Industrial Relations from Michigan State University. She is fluent in Russian and enjoys yoga, travel, reading, and spending time with her family.

For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.


Spring 2024

  • PUAD-050 Leadership in Chngng Workplace: Ldrshp/Chngng Wkpl OIG NL 82

  • PUAD-057 Managing Organizational Trans: Managing Org Trans OE 100

Summer 2024

  • PUAD-050 Leadership in Chngng Workplace: Ldrshp/Chngng Wkpl NL 84