Episode 43 – Dr Jes DeShields

Inspiring Women Leaders

Episode 43 – Dr Jes DeShields

January 17, 2024

Episode 43 – Dr Jes DeShields

For the past 25 years, Dr. Jes DeShields has studied, evaluated, and applied models of leadership, organizational behaviour, and systems change across multiple sectors.

From Fortune 250 and privately-owned companies to local, national, and global non-profits to entire communities, Jes’s work has ranged from preparing leaders to successfully run their organizations to improving the trajectory of organizations in crisis and those poised for growth to executing system-wide responses to existential threats, such as competition, and most recently, the pandemic.

While writing her dissertation, Jes was told, “Just put pen to paper! It doesn’t have to become your life’s work.” And yet, the conceptual framework of Jes’s original research manifests daily in her work with Leaders, Teams, and Organizations. Elements of an environment reciprocally influence each other, creating a reinforcing context. The reciprocal influence and reinforcing context breed conditions for evolving and convoluted organizational problems.

A Leader’s role in untangling or further tangling these issues is inevitable. How people lead and the type of culture they perpetuate has the most profound impact on how effectively they can untangle the system.

Jes founded Crescent Leadership, a business consulting and executive coaching firm based on Leader-First® strategies, her distinct methodology for organizational change. Leader-First® strategies challenge leaders and teams of leaders first to examine how their action or inaction reinforces conditions for enduring growth and vitality or stagnation and decline.

Jes’s essential research was published in her book, ‘9 Leader Touchstones’, which hit shelves earlier this year.

Known as a passionate and engaging storyteller, Jes cultivates client relationships of transparency, trust, and authentic connection. Her consulting approach focuses on the long game, applying the appropriate infusion of innovation with endurance-based strategies and conscientious culture mapping.

Prior to launching Crescent Leadership, Jes led the Leadership Consulting team for Girl Scouts of the USA. She and her team served as thought partners and consultants to CEOs across the 50 states, their senior team members, and their Boards, where they navigated dynamic and frenetic operational environments daily.

Jes earned her Ph.D. in Management – Leadership and Organizational Change – in 2014. She currently teaches at Cornell in Executive Leadership, Women’s Leadership, Change Leadership, and Non-profit Management Certificate programs and is a Lecturer at The Brooks School of Public Policy.

She is one of 98 Fascinate® Certified Advisors, one of 6,300 Certified Fund-Raising Executives worldwide, and has Certificates in Leading Remote Teams, Non-profit Finance, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Jes regularly speaks and writes on the topics of leadership, team dynamics, and organizational change.

While she is zealous about leadership, equity, and causes related to self-sustainability and women, Jes’s first love is family. She and her husband, Dr. Brian DeShields, live in Greenville, South Carolina, with their daughters, Madeleine and Emily, and their furry companions Amos, Atlas, and Archer, where they regularly fulfil their curiosity and passion for adventure.

In this episode, Jes and I chatted about:

  • Her leadership roles 
  • Her leadership style 
  • Her leadership journey 
  • The leaders that helped her rise 
  • The challenges she faced on her journey 
  • How she navigated those challenges 
  • How she thinks you can become a strong and kind leader 
  • Her ‘take home’ leadership messages for the listeners, and 
  • What she is currently excited to be working on.

Jes can be found and/or contacted via the following online platform addresses:

Crescent Leadership:

9 Leader Touchstones:


Please reach out to Dr Harrison for individual coaching and/or organisational training via [email protected].

His web address and social media profile links / handles include:

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