About Larry

The pursuit and application of new knowledge about the power of human identity has inspired me for most of my adult life. It has defined my purpose: I am driven to help people to see. To see the power of some actions and the futility of others. To see their potential as prescribed by their identity. To see the importance of living their difference.


I work with business leaders, individuals, and young people, alike.


Over the course of my career, I’ve helped hundreds of leaders clarify their organizations’ identities to help distinguish them in their industries. As a personal coach, I’ve assisted executives in becoming more effective leaders by making identity their leadership platform. My clients have included AARP, Alcoa, Dow Chemical, Fidelity Investments, Lockheed Martin, Maytag, National Geographic, Norsk Hydro, and State Farm Insurance.


As a coach to individuals, I help people work through career as well as life challenges. For young people, I lead discussions and workshops to help them begin to understand the importance of knowing who you are in order to build strong relationships. To amplify my work, I created special card-based learning games to help guide the coaching and workshop experiences.


I’ve published three groundbreaking books on identity. The first book, Identity Is Destiny: Leadership and the Roots of Value Creation, is aimed at senior executives who want to harness the uniqueness and potential of their institutions. My second book, The Identity Code: The 8 Essential Questions for Finding your Purpose and Place in the World is for individuals seeking to create more fulfilling and productive lives.


My third and newest book, Jones of the Old Shoes, is for young people, especially tweens. It is a fable written to give kids a head-start in discovering the natural gifts that reveal who they are and the potential they hold for making a meaningful and memorable contribution in life.


All of my work is based on the same fundamental principles, despite how they’re applied to the needs of different audiences. Taken together, my books make up the Identity Trilogy.


In many ways, I am a born teacher. I have relished my role as a guest speaker at major universities including the Wharton School of Business, Chicago’s Booth School of Business, Pepperdine University, and UCLA’s Anderson School. I’ve also shared my experience and insights at conferences and broadcast interviews nationwide.


I received a BA in English from Carnegie-Mellon University and an MS in Communications and Industrial Management from Boston University. Additionally, I am a member of ICF, the International Coaching Federation.

Larry's Story: My Identity, My Life

You may be wondering how I came to know what I do about identity. Where, you might ask, does my knowledge come from? What are my credentials?


My story revolves around all things visual: sight, vision, eyes, perception, seeing, discernment. Call it what you will, this is my world. When I was four years old, I underwent eye surgery to correct a muscle problem; I was born cross-eyed. Medically speaking, the operation was a success, but during that operation the course of my life was altered forever.


The first moment I am able to recall is being on the operating table, looking around at the doctors, nurses and assistants who were moving about, preparing for the procedure. The operating room was coming alive with activity. I, however, had no conception of what was going on, no earthly idea why I was there.


Lying on my back, a cold, tingly fear crept up along both sides of my body and settled firmly in my heart. I figured something must be wrong with me; after all, my parents had put me in this place of sick people. And if something was wrong with me, then I needed to be “fixed.” I needed an operation. As I saw it, my eyes were the problem. I say that because that is what my mother and father had told me; that was the reason they had brought me here: I was cross-eyed and that apparently wasn’t OK. So, I concluded, it was my eyes that had gotten me into trouble. Suddenly, I saw my life in stark, black and white terms: fix my vision, fix myself.


To this day, I can recall being tethered to the operating table, canvas straps pulled snug across my chest and pelvis. I watched in terror as the gas mask was brought to my face. My control over myself had been torn from me. In that instant, a question formed in my mind: What is so wrong with me that I must be changed from who I am? All I could figure was that my eyes were hopelessly flawed and, therefore, so was I. I sensed imminent death. Unable to breathe, part of me slipped away down a black hole — my “tunnel” to freedom and survival. As I disappeared, however, I pledged to myself that I would return. I would be back.


Since that day, I have been at work, more unconsciously than not, to restore my integrity as a complete person. A supposedly routine medical procedure had forced me to confront the question, Who am I? far sooner than I was prepared to. Reconnecting with my identity and helping others do the same has been the governing force in my life ever since.


My identity journey has been a long, sometimes trying, often joyous, always adventuresome trek. It has been worth the trip, for I know who I am; I know my purpose: I am driven by the need to help people to see. To see the power of some actions and the futility of others. To see their potential as prescribed by their identity. To see the importance of living their difference.