Transforming leaders, teams and cultures through character work

The Center for Character-based Leadership is a leadership and team development consultancy serving mid-market and professional service firms. We're seasoned—partnering with our clients for over 30 years—and we stay current—bringing you the best of new research in the leadership field in a pragmatic, actionable form. Each member of our faculty is an experienced coach who brings a unique blend of psychological depth and organizational savvy to their engagements along with the requisite warmth and humanity.

Our approach has been field tested for decades and relies on a powerful integration of character and competency. We know how to foster meaningful change by working at the character level. By integrating mindsets and skillsets, we offer a compelling journey of growth and development for individuals, teams and broader collectives.

Learn more about our approach

Our Services

We are a Leadership and Team Development Consultancy

Executive Coaching


Team Development


Leadership Programs


About Our Team

Each of our faculty is a seasoned coach and…

  • brings a unique blend of psychological depth and organizational development savvy to each of their assignments.
  • is well versed in the unique leadership challenges of professional service and middle market firms.
  • is committed to and proficient in our character-based approach to leadership development.

In addition to professional services, they have experience across many industries, including: financial service, health care, science, technology, manufacturing

Lila Lewey

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Lila Lewey, M.A., L.P., is a co-founder of the Center for Character-based Leadership and the architect of the Center's character-based leadership curriculum. A licensed psychologist, she has been a pioneer in the executive coaching movement, designing nationally known coaching and leadership programs. Prior to founding the Center, she worked with an international leadership development firm, consulting both with Fortune 500 and mid-sized businesses.

Kateri Topizhofer

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Kateri Topitzhofer, Ph.D., is a Minnesota licensed psychologist practicing as an executive coach. Before joining the Center, Kateri worked for twelve years in a Fortune 500 company as a leader herself, and as an internal coach and consultant. She works with senior leaders and their teams in a variety of industries, with significant experience in family-owned businesses, science and technology companies, manufacturing and professional service firms. She does some of her best work with leaders seeking to empower and develop their employees and teams, accelerate organizational change, improve relationships, and manage their lives and careers more intentionally. Her clients know her to be a careful listener, trustworthy sounding board and results-oriented coach.

Sandy Reeser

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Sandy Reeser, PCC, is an experienced business consultant and certified executive coach. She has over 25 years of global experience aligning people, plans and processes to achieve results, particularly in the areas of organization development, change management, culture change and leadership development. Before forming her own consulting firm, Sandy worked close to 10 years at Accenture in a variety of change management roles, including being responsible for large-scale culture initiatives across 23,000 employees spanning the US, Latin America and Canada. She is passionate about helping leaders connect, transform and succeed.

Elise Foster

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Elise Foster, PCC, is the co-author of The Multiplier Effect and Beautiful Questions in the Classroom and executive coach who studied at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has more than 15 years of engineering and organizational development experience and brings her engineering mindset to bear as she enables leaders to become even more effective. She is known for delivering engaging and impactful workshops, keynotes and coaching experiences across a variety of industries, including life sciences, energy, higher education, and accounting. She is passionate about support for leaders to be fulfilled and unstoppable in their work and life while creating the conditions for others to do the same.

Tammy Gifft

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Tammy Gifft, MA, LP, MBA, is a licensed psychologist and experienced organizational performance coach. She enjoys working with individuals, teams, and organizations as they navigate an ever-evolving world of change. She is passionate about coaching for resilience and optimal performance, helping leaders maintain their well-being in the process. Tammy has extensive experience coaching and consulting in Fortune 100 Companies working with leaders in the areas of sales, marketing, and operations.

Mary Kaiser

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Mary Kaiser, MS, Organizational Development, has over 25 years of consulting and coaching expertise working with entrepreneurs, business leaders and individuals. She has worked across all levels of executive leadership to grow and develop teams and improve corporate cultures.

Her experience includes over 10 years of consulting work with Accenture and 22 years of professional consulting and executive coaching with a diverse array of clients, including Goldman Sachs, UBS, Accenture, Allstate, Baxter Healthcare, John Deere, the American Hospital Association and small to mid-sized businesses and professionals in Colorado and across the country.

Katy Mitchell

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Katy Mitchell, M.A. As a consultant, Katy specializes in leadership coaching, succession planning and team development with additional expertise in transitioning leadership and ownership in closely held businesses. She is passionate about empowering leaders to build skills and confidence to make valuable and positive contributions to their organizations.

Katy holds a master's in counselling psychology from the University of St. Thomas. She has completed a training program with the Coaches Training Institute, is a qualified administrator of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Instrument, is certified in the California Psychological Inventory and completed the Empowerment Institute Certification Program for Empowerment in Organizations. She has previously served as the VP of Programs for Minnesota Professionals for Psychology Applied to Work.

Pat Tabor

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Pat Tabor, MBA is a leadership development, strategy and team building senior consultant with over 30 years of experience working with senior management of companies and professional service firms. Pat specializes in strategic applications, conflict management within senior teams and executive coaching. Pat served as executive vice president—international services and office managing partner of a major national CPA firm prior to joining the Center. In addition to his consulting work, Pat owns a group of outdoor recreation companies in northwest Montana.

David MacWilliams

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David MacWilliams, MS, CPC, has a deep understanding of professional services (financial services, public accounting, consulting) with over 25 years of experience as a senior executive, trusted advisor and HR leader managing and building relationships across functions, cultures, and companies Dave brings a calm, non-judgmental, and authentic approach to partnering with his clients to help them grow as individuals and leaders.

In addition to our core faculty, CCBL has a network of affiliated coaches across the country—seasoned and vetted—that we draw on based on need, geography and fit.