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Michele Mercer Lee, Ph.D.


Adjunct Faculty

Programs/Classes Taught:

M.S. in Human Resources Management and Development
M.S. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology
M.S. in Design Thinking and Entrepreneurship

Areas of Expertise:

Organizational Behavior and Development
Organizational Culture and Change Management
Leadership Development
Building High Performing Teams
Talent Management
Strategic Workforce Evolution
Facilitation & Developmental Skill Building
Career Coaching
Design Thinking
Visual Thinking
Women in Leadership
Organizational Wellness


Michele Mercer is passionate about helping others succeed in their careers, lives, and enabling teams/organizations with improving effectiveness. She is one of the most perceptive, compassionate, and creative leaders who exemplifies the drive and courage to strive for continuous learning and development as a way of being. She has an innate sense of curiosity about life and is always seeking to engage fully with a sense of meaning and authenticity. As a leader, she intuitively sees the threads of opportunity that reside across a matrixed system, builds transformational strategies and solutions that drives material advantage, and helps others extend their thinking.

Michele has spent 20+ years working as a talent and organizational development executive with some of the most iconic global brands such as Nike, Starbucks, Microsoft, Schwab, HPE, and DocuSign, companies that have undergone significant transformation. As a global leader, she has led multi-cultural teams, mergers and acquisitions, organizational processes that scale, instituting change in complex countries, and deploying worldwide talent initiatives. Michele possesses a unique and diverse set of portfolio skills including building executive teams and coaching, leading workforce evolution strategies, managing talent assessment processes, designing program playbooks and toolkits for learning, facilitating leadership and team development sessions, and creating career pathing success profiles. As a strong advocate for gender diversity, Michele has led grass root efforts for women in tech and women in leadership global programs, workshops, and conferences focused on building confidence, branding, belonging, and mentorship.

Michele has spent decades seeking diverse opportunities to grow, gain wisdom, and work with brilliant, conscious, and transformative leaders around the world. She has a Ph.D. in Organizational & Transformative Studies, M.S. in Organization Development, M.A. in Psychology, is an ICF certified Integral Career Coach, and is a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. She is the author of The four mindsets of a visual ecology in the workplace: Re-visioning language through visual literacy, Drawn together through visual practice, an anthology book, and the release of her upcoming publication in 2020, which is focused on building visual intelligence. In the idea economy, Michele uses visual thinking solutions that leverage social group processes and collective intelligence to help individuals and teams discover innovative ways with approaching critical and creative thinking. As an active researcher, she is focused on visual literacy, design thinking, social construction theories, organizational systems, cognitive processing, and women in leadership/entrepreneurship. As an adjunct professor, she fosters a culturally sensitive and inclusive approach while creating engaging educational experiences. Additionally, Michele was an NCAA All American and inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame at her undergraduate alma mater, Ohio Wesleyan University.

Some of Michele’s top values in life include health and nutrition, continuous improvement, creativity, adventure, and generosity. She cares deeply about fostering meaningful relationships and leading with integrity as a guiding principle. As a transformational coach, she supports clients with connecting to their authentic voice, aligning values and unique gifts with meaningful contribution, releasing patterns that no longer support them, and inspiring shifts in high priority life areas. In her spare time, Michele enjoys international hut-to-hut trekking adventures while experiencing new cultures and remote villages.

Michele resides in the San Francisco Bay Area


  • Ph.D. Organization & Transformative Studies, California Institute Integral Studies, CA
  • M.S. Organization Development, University of San Francisco, CA
  • M.A. Psychology, University of Santa Monica, CA
  • B.A. Ohio Wesleyan University + Study Abroad via Syracuse University, London, England
  • Integral Certified Coach, New Ventures West, CA, ICF, International Coaching Federation

Research and Interests:

  •  Building visual literacy in the workplace.
  •  Visual thinking + design thinking as a methodology to drive innovation.
  •  Women entrepreneurship and growing women in leadership.
  •  Cultivating belonging and psychological safety correlated with engagement and business   results.
  •  Organizational wellness as part of the new conscious and mindful workplace.


 Teaching Philosophy 

My goal is to create learning experiences that offers reflection, understanding, challenge, and exploration in an environment that allows you to feel safe, shine, contribute, have your voice be heard, and connect with others. Together we will understand theory, but also navigate the practice of how to operationalize and implement solutions. Failing forward, gaining feedback, and re-inventing ourselves is all part of the learning journey, and together we will support, encourage, and lift each other up to have the best career and educational experiences we can! I value curiosity, creativity, independent thinking, and unconventional approaches, and look forward to having inspiring learning exchanges with you!


Contact Information:

Michele Mercer Lee, Ph.D.

NLU email:


    NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.

    122 S. Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60603
    (888) 658.8632
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    Conveniently located in a fast-growing business district off I-90 and Route 31, NLU Elgin features 10 classrooms with high-tech media equipment; a computer lab with high-speed Internet access; two conference rooms; and comfortable student lounges. Parking is free at this recently remodeled and upgraded teaching site, which now includes wireless Internet access.

    620 Tollgate Road
    Elgin, IL 60123
    (888) 658.8632
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    Opened in the summer of 2006, NLU North Shore at Skokie is a state-of-the-art modern campus located just off the Edens Expressway near the Old Orchard Shopping Center. The campus includes 44 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a walk-in lab in the library; six conference rooms; a public café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; and multiple, comfortable student lounge areas.

    5202 Old Orchard Road
    Skokie, IL 60077
    (888) 658.8632
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    Located just minutes from the East-West Tollway (I-88), NLU Lisle features 42 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a separate walk-in lab in the library; a café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; conference rooms; and six comfortable student lounge areas with wireless access.

    850 Warrenville Road
    Lisle, IL 60532
    (888) 658.8632
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    Located in one of Chicago's major northwest suburbs, the newly renovated NLU Wheeling includes 20 classrooms with high-tech media equipment, four conference rooms, four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, large student lounge areas with wireless capabilities and interactive video capabilities, and an extensive research library. The site also houses the university library research collection.

    1000 Capitol Drive
    Wheeling, IL 60090
    (888) 658.8632
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    Established in 1988 and located in one of Tampa's major business districts, NLU's Florida Regional Center serves students in 13 counties in central Florida. In addition to its classrooms, the National Louis University Tampa Regional Center features a computer lab, student lounges, and conference room.

    5110 Sunforest Drive, Suite 102
    Tampa, FL 33634
    (800) 366.6581
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