Meet the Founder
WorkingSmarts is led by CEO and Principal Consultant, Dr. Erika Garms.
Garms founded the consulting and speaking firm in 2012 after decades as a consultant, organization development practitioner, and educator. After working in some particularly “un-brain-friendly” work environments, she suffered a heart attack and PTSD. In recovering from this abrupt wake-up call, she decided to listen to her heart and help organizational leaders build high-performing and healthy workplaces where brilliance and creativity are supported, where there is a “high bar”, where positive mindset is modeled, and where learning is continuous (“brain-friendly workplaces”).
Dr. Erika Garms uses expertise developed over 25 years as a practitioner … and warm, engaging connections with audiences and clients … to make her a sought-after speaker and consultant in the area of corporate culture and organizational excellence.
Erika combines a rare educational background in sociology, education, organization development, and neuroscience with her work experience in Human Resource departments and global management consulting firms to yield industry knowledge at a deeply integrated level. She holds certifications in behavioral assessments, coaching, facilitation, strategy, learning, NeuroLeadership, workforce planning, human resource development, and organization development, making her expertise one of a kind.
Author of “The Brain-Friendly Workplace: Five Big Ideas from Neuroscience That Address Organizational Challenges”, Erika bridges theory and science in a way that appeals to professional staff, supervisors, managers, and leaders alike. Her second book, “ManagementSmarts” offers supervisors, managers, and upper-level leaders the freshest take on what does and does not work in managing and leading others, based on cutting-edge research. This book is written in a short, very digestible, extremely practical format and is due out in 2017. It is the companion text to the “ManagementSmarts” live program.
Helping her clients cut through the barrage of outdated, ineffective approaches to learning, development, change, and organizational effectiveness saves her clients time, energy, resources, and headaches! Erika’s engaging, down-to-earth approach to propelling workplace performance is based on leveraging what strengths already exist in the organization, supplementing what is needed and eliminating what doesn’t create true change.
Mission-driven, approachable, funny and collaborative, Erika receives rave reviews from her clients. She is a popular and repeat speaker at conferences, management retreats and company meetings. As a consultant, she is a trusted advisor to small, mid-market companies as well as national and global organizations.
Personal Life and Philanthropy
Erika lives with her family in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. When she’s not working, Erika is likely browsing design magazines, inventing something, gardening, petting animals, or pretending to understanding football plays.
She and WorkingSmarts make contributions to non-profit and advocacy organizations dedicated to causes such as K-12 education, mental health, human rights, the environment, and animal welfare.