Adriano Pianesi

Adriano Pianesi, MBA

Adjunct Instructor
Academic AreaManagement & Organization
Areas of InterestLeading Organizational Change, Design Thinking, Leadership in Action

Adriano Pianesi has 22 years of leadership development, team coaching, and change management experience built on capacity development, possibility thinking, and sound strategy. Before founding ParticipAction Consulting, Adriano spent 15 years working as a manager in four different countries, using the four languages he speaks for Procter and Gamble, Kraft-General Food, William Grant & Sons, and Deneba Software.

Adriano's extensive international experience has significantly influenced his professional practice. His work has spanned across 15 countries in Europe, the United States, South America, and the Middle East, reflecting his ability to adapt and thrive in diverse cultural and business contexts.

Pianesi trained at Harvard Business School, Harvard Kennedy School, University of Milan, and University of Rome. His consulting practice helps leaders crack the complexity of adaptation and change by unleashing the power of co-design and large-group collaboration for innovation and learning.
His clients include Microsoft, Amazon, Splunk, the International Monetary Fund, The World Bank Group, the Pan-American Health Organization, Johns Hopkins Medicine, the Center for Talented Youth, Jhpiego, Foreign Service Institute, NASA, U.S. Marine Corps, US National Park Service, Federal Judicial Center, United Way, Gates Foundation, Make The Road States and the Center for Social Organization of Schools. 

He is a professional executive coach with credentials from the International Coaching Federation (ICF) from the College of Executive Coaching. “After working for 20 years in corporate America,” he says, “I discovered I could leverage my business expertise and personal transformation experience to help leaders in every sector reimagine and redesign themselves and their organizations. One leader, one team, or one organization at a time!”


  • MBA, Group Communication, University of Milan, Italy
  • BA, Economics, University of Rome, Italy - University of Santander, Spain


Selected publications



MBA Graduate courses

  • Power and Politics (in Organizations)
  • Design Leadership
  • Behavioral Science: Design Thinking

Executive Education

  • Leadership in Action
  • Leading Organizational Change
  • Designing Personal Change
  • Advanced Leadership Capstone


MBA Graduate courses

  • Managing Conflict, a problem solving approach
  • Leadership in Organizations
  • Facilitating Organizational Change
  • Effective Teams

Honors and distinctions

  • 2016 Carey Business School Innovative Instructor Award for contribution/peer encouragement of adoption of more engaging and interactive learning techniques.
  • Received consistent average 4.8/5 student ratings as practical leadership educator that delivers sessions with relevant content for future career and personal growth.

Impact and engagement


  • He has lectured at Harvard Kennedy School with Professor Ron Heifetz. 
  • He has also taught at Miami Community College, Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Kuwait University, and Aoyama Gaukin University in Tokyo, Japan. 
  • He co-authored the e-book Teachable Moments of Leadership (iBook, 2016) which featured among the top 100 e-book sellers for two years in a row. He is fluent in Italian, Spanish and French. 


  • Adaptive Leadership Network, Founding member
  • Regular contributor to and Johns Hopkins Innovative Instructor Blog 

In the media