Dr. Carolyn Lukensmeyer is Executive Director of the National Institute for Civil Discourse (NICD). NICD works to move the needle on incivility and political dysfunction in order to strengthen our democratic traditions.
NICD integrates research and practice to support and enable:
a congress and executive branch that works to solve the big issues facing our country; a media that informs and engages citizens; and a public demand for civil discourse and a government that works in the best interests of the country as a whole.
Carolyn previously served as Founder and President of AmericaSpeaks and has made her mark as an innovator in deliberative democracy, public administration, and organizational development. Concerns about the deep partisan divide in Washington and the growing disconnection between citizens and government across the country led Carolyn to launch AmericaSpeaks in 1995. Her goal was to develop new democratic practices that would strengthen citizen voice in public decision-making.
Under Carolyn’s leadership, AmericaSpeaks has earned a national reputation as a leader in the field of deliberative democracy and democratic renewal. She and AmericaSpeaks have won a number of awards, including two from the International Association for Public Participation (2001 and 2003), the Organizational Development Network's Sharing the Wealth Award (2006), the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for best practices, a Distinguished Service Award from the Federal Managers Association for Outstanding Leadership (1994) and a Best Practice Award from the National Training Laboratories Institute in 1993.
Prior to founding AmericaSpeaks, Carolyn served as Consultant to the White House Chief of Staff from November 1993 through June 1994. In this capacity she ensured that systematic thinking was part of the White House's work on internal management issues and on government-wide reform. She also served as the Deputy Project Director for Management of the National Performance Review (NPR), Vice President Al Gore's reinventing government task force. From 1986 to 1991, Carolyn served as Chief of Staff to Governor Richard F. Celeste of Ohio. She was both the first woman to serve in this capacity and, at the time of her appointment, the only Chief of Staff recruited from the professional management field.
Carolyn also led her own successful organizational development and management consulting firm for 14 years. In this capacity, she worked with public and private sector organizations on four continents.
Carolyn earned a PhD in Organizational Behavior from Case Western Reserve University and completed postgraduate training at the internationally-known Gestalt Institute of Cleveland. She is affiliated with the American Management Association, National Training Laboratories, Organization Development Network and the Organization and Management Division of the American Psychological Association.
An avid traveler and outdoors adventurer, Carolyn has led a rafting expedition down the Colorado River, tracked panda bears in the remote Sichuan Province of China, and trekked in major mountain ranges all over the world. She currently lives in Washington, D.C.