Open Door Advisors

Propel your vision forward. We get you there.

New approaches to persistent challenges at the leader,
group and organization level.

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Great work transforms people and organizations.

Our distinct brand of consulting empowers people to grow, build
and lead highly effective organizations.

Organizational effectiveness
starts here.

Organizational Development

Our premise is that no organization is quite like another. We meet you and your team at the moment and in that space where you need a trusted, external advisor to make sense of it all. We work side-by-side with you to empower you and your team with pragmatic and thoughtful solutions. Our approach is grounded in validated research and innovative practice. Our end-game is your organizational effectiveness.

We advise social impact champions.

Social Entrepreneurship

We are not new to this work. Our expertise is deep and long-standing at each phase of an organization’s lifecycle. Leaders of some of the most iconic social entrepreneurship brands depend on Open Door Advisors to help them navigate the strategic and operational challenges inherent in double and triple bottom line companies. Our clients measure results in economic, social and sustainability terms and we understand what it takes for them to do their best work.

Our services

What we can do for you.

When you want more—more performance, more impact, more revenue, more outcomes—we get you there. Learn how.

  • Strategy and Planning

  • Talent

  • Sustainability

  • New Ventures

  • Assessment

Strategy and Planning

Achieve growth and scale

Big ideas need impeccable execution. We move ideas into action. From feasibility analyses to strategic plans, we have the know-how and the tools to design, build and scale your organization and its impact.

  • Strategy development and alignment
  • Partnership assessments (mergers, acquisitions & strategic alliances)
  • Business and strategic plans
  • Organizational design
  • Change management


Catalyze Performance

Thriving organizations engage people with intentionality, focusing on equity, growth and fulfillment. We catalyze leadership and potential through thoughtful consultation, coaching and development programs. Our clients gain new knowledge, resolve vexing organizational challenges, and become workplaces of choice.

  • Talent management strategy
  • Team effectiveness
  • Workplace conflict management and mediation
  • Leadership coaching and management support
  • Training and facilitation in organizational effectiveness
  • Board development
  • Innovation
  • Financial sustainability
  • Social entrepreneurship
  • Succession planning
  • Workforce development
  • Customized sessions


Secure the future

With our proven approach to organizational sustainability planning that emphasizes workable solutions, your investment and social impact will be viable for the long haul.

  • Organizational sustainability plans
  • Business model optimization
  • Resource development plans
  • Capital campaign management
  • Efficiency reviews
  • Risk analysis

New Ventures

Make informed social impact

When you are ready to realize your potential for transformative social impact, we open doors for you. For corporations, foundations, associations or individuals looking to leverage their time and talent with a social impact platform, we advise you from concept to launch.

  • Strategy development
  • Planning and management support
  • Talent management assessment
  • Customized assessments


Evaluate impact and performance

We are experts at assessing performance so you can achieve impressive growth at all stages of your organization’s lifecycle.

  • Business performance assessment
  • Social impact assessment
  • Talent management assessment
  • Customized assessments

A Fresh Approach

Our clients.

Our clients are high impact companies and organizations. Our subject matter expertise spans multiple private and nonprofit industry sectors including healthcare, manufacturing, food, higher education, social impact and social justice, environmental sustainability, research, government, and associations. We are based in Chicago and work throughout the U.S.

Current or recent clients include:

AIDS Foundation of Chicago
American Osteopathic Foundation
Asian Human Services
ChiCAT - Chicago Center for the Arts and Technology
Chicago Foundation for Women
Chicago Institue for Psychoanalysis
Chicago Women’s Health Center
Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance
Covenant House Illinois
Corporation for National and Community Service
Dade Legal Aid
Delta Institute
Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse
Faith In Place
Food Aminal Concerns Trust
Ford Next Generation Learning
Franciscan Outreach
Girls in the Game
Greater West Town Community Development Project
Hispanic Housing Development Corporation
Hot Bread Kitchen
Housing Action Illinois
Ignite | futures with promise
Illinois Action for Children
Illinois Collaboration on Youth
Illinois Community Action Development Corporation
Illinois, Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
Inspiration Corporation
Investing In Communities
Jane Addams Resource Corporation
Keystone Alliance
League of Chicago Theatres
The Legacy Project
Lifeline Theatre
Links Hall
North Lawndale Employment Network
OAI, Inc
One Roof Chicago
Pierce Family Foundation
Primo Center for Women and Children
Purple Asparagus
ReBuilding Exchange
Renaissance Social Services
Revolution Workshop Chicago
Riverwest Food Pantry
Robert R. McCormick Foundation
Sinai Community Institute
Sixteenth Street Community Health Center
Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine
Steans Family Foundation
Street Level Youth Media
UJA Federation of New York
University of Illinois at Chicago
U.S. Department of Labor
Victory Gardens Theater
Voice of the City
WPATH World Professional Association for Transgender Health

Our Team

A trusted alternative.

We are independent advisors who value uniqueness and diversity. We leverage our deep experience in tandem with validated research to accelerate our clients’ growth, impact and effectiveness.

Open Door Advisors Team Photo

Lauri Alpern, PhD


Lauri Alpern, PhD is a business psychologist and social entrepreneurship strategist. She is president of Open Door Advisors, which she founded in 2009 to help high impact organizations achieve organizational effectiveness. Throughout her career, Lauri has led numerous companies through growth strategies, resulting in new levels of efficiency, revenue and social impact. Lauri is a national expert in the social entrepreneurship field, working with clients to plan and manage the triple bottom line of mission, money, and sustainability.

Lauri is a problem-solver and her clients rely on her for trusted advice and guidance at pivotal moments in their growth trajectory. She is a subject matter expert in talent and people management, strategic planning, performance management, social entrepreneurship and financial sustainability. She works in multiple industry sectors including healthcare, manufacturing, food, higher education, research, philanthropy, nonprofit and government.

Lauri is recognized for her leadership capabilities in driving individual, team and business goals and strategy; leading assessment and change management; and maximizing revenue and impact. She is sought after as a trusted advisor with strong on-the-ground experience, applying evidence-based psychological theories and principles to maximize talent and drive performance. Lauri excels at working with diverse constituencies seeking increased organizational effectiveness and strategic competitive advantage.

Earlier in her career, Lauri served with distinction as assistant commissioner for the City of Chicago Department of Economic Development in the administration of Mayor Harold Washington with a portfolio centered on jobs and neighborhood-based industrial development.

Lauri holds a Ph.D. in business psychology at the Chicago School for Professional Psychology and a master’s degree in urban planning with a specialization in economic development from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is certified in Lean Six Sigma and Conflict Dynamics Profile, a conflict management tool. A lifelong Chicagoan, Lauri is the former board president of Growing Home, Inc., a nonprofit social enterprise, and Chicago’s first urban organic production farm.

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John W. Pfeiffer, MPA


John W. Pfeiffer, MPA is a social impact leader with more than 30 years of experience in nonprofit, government and consulting organizations. As a C-level executive and governing board member, he has guided significant growth and amplified mission impact for many respected agencies working to increase economic and social equity and opportunity. John has expertise in areas including strategy and planning; partnerships and mergers; resource development and stewardship; branding and marketing; and talent management and culture.

Previously, John held senior roles including First Deputy Commissioner of the City of Chicago’s Department of Family and Support Services; CEO of Inspiration Corporation; Chief Operating Officer at Chicago Cares; Chief Development Officer at Chicago House and Social Service Agency; Director of Individual Philanthropy at Feeding America; and Senior Consultant with KPMG LLP.

John holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Northwestern University and a master of public policy and administration degree from Columbia University. He completed the Executive Program in Social Entrepreneurship at Stanford University and the High Potentials Leadership Program at Harvard Business School. In 2010, John was awarded a Chicago Community Trust Fellowship to explore social entrepreneurship in the US and UK.

John serves as the secretary of the Social Enterprise Alliance — Chicago Chapter and as a board member of the Back Office Cooperative, Music of the Baroque and Pride Action Tank. Previously, he served as a board member of the Center for Housing and Health, the Chicago Low Income Housing Trust Fund, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, and Reeling, the Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival.

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S. Cody Engle, JD

Senior Advisor

Utica J. Gray, PhD

Senior Consultant

Gregory Potts, LCSW

Senior Consultant

Angela L. Swain, MBA, PhD

Senior Consultant

Deborah Minor Harvey, MA

Collaborating Partner, The Right Source, Inc.

Gabriela Fitz, MA

Collaborating Researcher, Think Twice LLC

Colleen Tracey

Collaborating Designer, Lore Creative Co.

Allison Wade, MFA

Collaborating Designer

We are proud members

Our social capital.

These organizations are committed to making a positive impact in the world and we are proud members.

Association of Consultants to Nonprofits
Division of Consulting Psychology, American Psychological Association, Division 13
Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, American Psychological Association, Division 14
Social Enterprise Alliance

Ready to take the next step? We’re here to make it work.

3033 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60657