CEO at Interaction Associates Named One of America’s Best Bosses

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Linda Dunkel Among the Winners of Top National Award Honoring Exceptional and Inspirational Business Leaders

Nearly all of this year’s winners — including Linda Dunkel — run companies with some sort of employee ownership and practice open book management. These leaders realize that metrics are driving their business, and the more you can put in front of employees, the better able they are to make the right decisions for the business

The President and CEO of Cambridge-based Interaction Associates, Linda Dunkel, is a winner of the 2006 Best Bosses Award — a national honor that recognizes the most innovative and inspirational leaders of midsized and small businesses across America.

The Best Bosses Award is sponsored by the nonprofit organization, Winning Workplaces, a nationally known clearinghouse for best practices in workplace excellence and innovative people practices.

Dunkel is among 18 winners of the 2006 Best Bosses competition from more than 100 nominees in a process that looks closely at leadership style, management effectiveness, employee satisfaction, company benefits, employee investment, and other measures. The winners were announced on September 27 at the Best Bosses Conference and Celebration in Chicago — an event sponsored by Winning Workplaces.

“Great workplaces create healthy businesses,” said Mary Clark, executive director of Winning Workplaces. “Nearly all of this year’s winners — including Linda Dunkel — run companies with some sort of employee ownership and practice open book management. These leaders realize that metrics are driving their business, and the more you can put in front of employees, the better able they are to make the right decisions for the business,” said Clark.

Dunkel has been President and CEO at Interaction Associates (IA) since 2002 and is widely respected within the company for a highly effective facilitative leadership style and strong instincts in leading IA’s aggressive growth over the past four years. Interaction Associates is a leading innovator in learning, leadership development, and performance improvement solutions for Fortune 1000 companies. The firm serves global clients and has offices in Cambridge, MA and San Francisco.

“Linda’s keen and consistent leadership has been a key asset in our company’s growth after the economic downturn following 9/11,” said Marybeth Tahar, Chair of the Board for Interaction Associates. “She personifies the qualities that the Best Bosses award honors, especially the award’s emphasis on leaders who achieve impressive business results through enlightened people practices. Linda motivates and inspires everyone in our company to live our values daily, especially in her commitment to open and transparent leadership and decision-making,” said Tahar.

Best Bosses winners are recognized for their simultaneous commitment to business growth and to fostering enlightened and committed employees empowered for success.

“I’m deeply honored to have won such a prominent award and to have such a recognition along with the unique and incredibly motivating group of winners from around the U.S.,” said Linda Dunkel, President and CEO of Interaction Associates. “I’m honored to work for a company that helps clients foster truly collaborative, empowering, and engaged leaders and teams. And I am grateful to work with incredibly smart, passionate, and committed colleagues — without whom this honor could not have been possible. I share this award with them,” said Dunkel.

Winners of the Best Bosses competition are chosen by a panel of judges consisting of business leaders, academics from major business schools, past winners, the board of Winning Workplaces, and the organization’s senior staff. Profiles of some winners and additional information on the Best Bosses award will be published in the October issue of Fortune Small Business.    

The Best Bosses selection process is grounded in a thorough analysis of quantitative and qualitative aspects of the nominees’ companies — including the general health and growth of the business; nominees’ leadership track record and style; manner in which nominees engage and motivate employees; and intensive personal interviews with employees, customers, and advisors.

About Interaction Associates

Interaction Associates, Inc. is a leader in learning, leadership development, and performance improvement solutions for Fortune 1000 companies. The firm serves global clients and has offices in Cambridge, MA and San Francisco. For nearly 40 years, IA has helped clients build collaborative capability to produce extraordinary results, improve critical business processes, and create and maintain productive work relationships. Interaction Associates’ work benefits hundreds of organizations and hundreds of thousands of individuals around the world. More information at:

Interaction Associates

About Linda Dunkel

Linda Dunkel is President and Chief Executive Officer of Interaction Associates, Inc. and a past Chair of the company’s Board of Directors. She also serves as a senior consultant for the firm, with 25 years’ experience designing and developing change and learning strategies for organizations and improving the effectiveness of the human assets of corporations. Linda has served in senior level positions in two start-up companies and was vice-president of a Fortune 100 company.

Prior to Interaction Associates, Linda was vice-president of the AMR Training and Consulting Group, where she helped the company successfully launch a global subsidiary: a transportation-focused training and consulting organization. Her expertise in strategic planning, business development, and re-engineering proved useful in establishing this company as a viable global competitor.

As a skilled senior consultant at Interaction Associates, Linda works with clients in designing strategies and programs that foster results-oriented gains in performance. She facilitates Board retreats and strategy sessions for senior level teams, coaches executives, and speaks throughout the country on collaboration in action as a winning strategy. She consults with clients in strategy development, collaborative systems design, teams, and change management. Some past clients have included Allstate, American Airlines, Centex Homes, PepsiCo, Shell Oil, General Electric, and Harvard Business School Publishing.

Linda is a native of Texas and currently commutes between Dallas and Cambridge, Massachusetts. She received a B.S. in Education from the University of Texas at Austin and an M.A. in International Business from the University of Texas at Dallas.

Linda is a regular presenter at The Conference Board’s Leadership Development Conference and at many executive retreats and conferences. She has served as a board member of The Information and Referral Center of Collin County, a United Way agency, and the University of Texas at Dallas's Alumni Board. Linda recently was invited to sit on the Advisory Board of the World Centers of Compassion for Children International with such leaders as His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Elie Wiesel, and Deepak Chopra. She has been an active volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and the Wadley Cancer Research Organization, as well as a reader for North Texas Taping for the Blind.

Linda now devotes most of her volunteer time to the Interaction Institute for Social Change (IISC), Interaction Associates' affiliated nonprofit organization.

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Michael Tirrell