Open Door Advisors

Propel your vision forward. We get you there.

New approaches to persistent challenges at the leader,
group and organization level.

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Great work transforms people and organizations.

Our distinct brand of consulting empowers people to grow, build
and lead highly effective organizations.

Organizational effectiveness
starts here.

Organizational Development

Our premise is that no organization is quite like another. We meet you and your team at the moment and in that space where you need a trusted, external advisor to make sense of it all. We work side-by-side with you to empower you and your team with pragmatic and thoughtful solutions. Our approach is grounded in validated research and innovative practice. Our end-game is your organizational effectiveness.

We advise social impact champions.

Social Entrepreneurship

We are not new to this work. Our expertise is deep and long-standing at each phase of an organization’s lifecycle. Leaders of some of the most iconic social entrepreneurship brands depend on Open Door Advisors to help them navigate the strategic and operational challenges inherent in double and triple bottom line companies. Our clients measure results in economic, social and sustainability terms and we understand what it takes for them to do their best work.

Our services

What we can do for you.

When you want more—more performance, more impact, more revenue, more outcomes—we get you there. Learn how.

  • Strategy and Planning

  • Talent

  • Sustainability

  • New Ventures

  • Assessment

Strategy and Planning

Achieve growth and scale

Big ideas need impeccable execution. We move ideas into action. From feasibility analyses to strategic plans, we have the know-how and the tools to design, build and scale your organization and its impact.

  • Strategy development and alignment
  • Partnership assessments (mergers, acquisitions & strategic alliances)
  • Business and strategic plans
  • Organizational design
  • Change management


Catalyze Performance

Thriving organizations engage people with intentionality, focusing on equity, growth and fulfillment. We catalyze leadership and potential through thoughtful consultation, coaching and development programs. Our clients gain new knowledge, resolve vexing organizational challenges, and become workplaces of choice.

  • Talent management strategy
  • Team effectiveness
  • Workplace conflict management and mediation
  • Leadership coaching and management support
  • Training and facilitation in organizational effectiveness
  • Board development
  • Innovation
  • Financial sustainability
  • Social entrepreneurship
  • Succession planning
  • Workforce development
  • Customized sessions


Secure the future

With our proven approach to organizational sustainability planning that emphasizes workable solutions, your investment and social impact will be viable for the long haul.

  • Organizational sustainability plans
  • Business model optimization
  • Resource development plans
  • Efficiency reviews
  • Risk analysis

New Ventures

Make informed social impact

When you are ready to realize your potential for transformative social impact, we open doors for you. For corporations, foundations, associations or individuals looking to leverage their time and talent with a social impact platform, we advise you from concept to launch.

  • Strategy development
  • Planning and management support
  • Talent management assessment
  • Customized assessments


Evaluate impact and performance

We are experts at assessing performance so you can achieve impressive growth at all stages of your organization’s lifecycle.

  • Business performance assessment
  • Social impact assessment
  • Talent management assessment
  • Customized assessments

A Fresh Approach

Our clients.

Our clients are high impact companies and organizations. Our subject matter expertise spans multiple private and nonprofit industry sectors including healthcare, manufacturing, food, higher education, social impact and social justice, environmental sustainability, research, government, and associations. We are based in Chicago and work throughout the U.S.

Current or recent clients include:

AIDS Foundation of Chicago
Alternatives for Youth
Asian Human Services
ChiCAT - Chicago Center for the Arts and Technology
Chicago Foundation for Women
Chicago Institue for Psychoanalysis
Chicago Women’s Health Center
Dade Legal Aid
Delta Institute
Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse
Faith In Place
Ford Next Generation Learning
Girls in the Game
Greater West Town Community Development Project
Hispanic Housing Development Corporation
Housing Action Illinois
Illinois Community Action Development Corporation
Inspiration Corporation
Investing In Communities
Jane Addams Resource Corporation
Keystone Alliance
League of Chicago Theatres
Links Hall
North Lawndale Employment Network
OAI, Inc
Pierce Family Foundation
Primo Center for Women and Children
Purple Asparagus
ReBuilding Exchange
Renaissance Social Services
State of Illinois, Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
Street Level Youth Media
Teen Living Programs
University of Illinois at Chicago
UJA Federation of New York
Voice of the City
WPATH World Professional Association for Transgender Health
Illinois Collaboration on Youth
Corporation for National and Community Service
Hot Bread Kitchen
Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine
U.S. Department of Labor

Our Capability

A trusted alternative.

We are independent advisors who value uniqueness and diversity. We leverage our deep experience in tandem with validated research to accelerate our clients’ growth, impact and effectiveness.

Lauri Alpern, PhD


Cody Engle


John W. Pfeiffer, MPA


Angela L. Swain, MBA

Senior Consultant

Lauri Alpern, PhD is a leading organizational development and social entrepreneurship strategist and advisor. She is president of Open Door Advisors, which she founded in 2009 to help high impact organizations achieve organizational effectiveness. Throughout her career, Lauri has led numerous companies through growth strategies, resulting in new levels of efficiency, revenue and social impact. Lauri is a national expert in the social entrepreneurship field working with clients to plan and manage the triple bottom line of mission, money, and sustainability.

Lauri is a problem-solver and her clients rely on her for trusted advice and guidance at pivotal moments in their growth trajectory. Lauri is recognized for her integrity and enthusiasm for positive change. Open Door Advisors’ client list includes iconic social enterprises Inspiration Corporation’s Inspiration Kitchens, Hot Bread Kitchen and the ReBuilding Exchange as well as numerous government agencies, associations and a range of high impact companies.

Earlier in her career, Lauri served with distinction as assistant commissioner for the City of Chicago Department of Economic Development in the administration of Mayor Harold Washington with a portfolio centered on jobs and neighborhood-based industrial development.

Lauri is currently a Ph.D. candidate in business psychology at The Chicago School for Professional Psychology where she is specializing in organizational development strategies (completion 2016). She has a master’s degree in urban planning with a specialization in economic development from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is certified in Lean Six Sigma and Conflict Dynamics Profile, a conflict management tool. A lifelong Chicagoan with a passion for travel, Lauri serves as a member of the board (and former board president) of Growing Home, Inc., a nonprofit social enterprise, and Chicago’s first urban organic production farm.

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S. Cody Engle has been an agent for positive change in corporate and not-for-profit organizations for more than four decades. As a founding member of Sam Zell’s Equity Financial Group, Cody was responsible for the acquisition, redevelopment, remarketing and disposition of all manner of real estate and non-real estate properties. His agility in grasping the structure and dynamics of enterprises as diverse as shopping malls, cruise lines and nursing homes enabled him to provide significant returns on investment throughout his commercial career.

Since the mid-90s, Cody has consulted nationally and internationally in organizational development, financial restructuring and growth for not-for-profit and entrepreneurial enterprises. With his exceptionally broad experience as a CEO of public and private companies, he brings a clear-eyed understanding of what is required to structure for sustainability and growth.

As a principal with Open Door Advisors, Cody brought his analytical and creative talents to bear primarily for social enterprises, organizations that employ and train individuals who seek to enter or re-enter the workforce.

As a an activist board member and philanthropist, Cody has served as Chair, Board of Visitors, University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities; Board of Trustees, Chicago Humanities Festival, Treasurer; Board of Directors, Victory Gardens Theater, and The ReBuilding Exchange.

He currently serves as a Director for the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis; Laguna Playhouse and Laguna Beach Live! (Treasurer), presenters of live musical performances.

Having earned both a degree in Economics and a Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan, Cody is able to bring a broad perspective to organizations facing organizational, financial and communications challenges.

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John W. Pfeiffer, MPA is a social impact leader with more than 25 years of experience in nonprofit, government and consulting organizations. As a C-suite executive and governing board member, he has guided significant growth and amplified mission impact for many respected agencies working to increase economic and social equity and opportunity. John has expertise in areas including strategy and planning; partnerships and mergers; resource development and stewardship; branding and marketing; and talent management and culture.

Previously, John held senior roles including First Deputy Commissioner of the City of Chicago’s Department of Family and Support Services; CEO of Inspiration Corporation; Chief Operating Officer at Chicago Cares; Chief Development Officer at Chicago House and Social Service Agency; Director of Individual Philanthropy at Feeding America; and Senior Consultant with KPMG LLP.

John holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Northwestern University and a master of public policy and administration degree from Columbia University. He completed the Executive Program in Social Entrepreneurship at Stanford University and the High Potentials Leadership Program at Harvard Business School. In 2010, John was awarded a Chicago Community Trust Fellowship to explore social entrepreneurship in the US and UK.

John serves as the board secretary of the Center for Housing and Health at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, and is a member of the boards of directors of the Back Office Cooperative and Social Enterprise Alliance - Chicago, as well as the Advisory Council of the Pride Action Tank and the Social Entrepreneurship Committee of Growing Home. Previously, he served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Chicago Low Income Housing Trust Fund, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, and Reeling, the Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival. He lives in Chicago with his husband, a psychotherapist, and their rescue animals.

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Angela L. Swain, MBA is an organizational development consultant with over twenty years of experience in the private and public sectors. She is a subject matter expert in economic development and student engagement and success in the higher education sector.

Angela has served as the Organizational Development Consultant for Urban Retail Management, LLC for the past nine years. She has analyzed the business environment for participating companies, created strategic plans to strengthen operations and measure progress, conducted needs assessments to ascertain vulnerabilities, and created and implemented a change initiative to rebrand and reposition the organizations.

Angela is recognized for her professional and civic contributions to ensuring student success in the transition and sustainability in secondary and higher education. As a community leader and consultant, Angela has collaborated with educational institutions and corporate boards, including: LINK Unlimited Scholars, Keller Regional Gifted Center, Saint Ignatius College Preparatory High School, Hales Franciscan High School, St. Sabina Youth Group, The Beloved Community, and the Illinois Department of Human Services’ Teen Parent Services Program. Projects included ensuring business and program sustainability, fostering student and staff engagement across diverse communities, and providing executive coaching to education leaders. As a consultant, Angela is dedicated to examining organizational culture and promoting team and leadership development. Angela has extensive clinical experience in pastoral care and counseling and human resource management.

Currently, Angela is a Research Scholar with the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Liautaud Institute where she leads research projects through the Systemic Empowered Community (SEMCO) training programs with managers and employees to provide a safe environment to discuss team membership, meaning, and empowerment.

Angela earned dual Master of Divinity and Master of Social Service Administration degrees from Catholic Theological Union and The University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration. She earned a Master of Business Administration from St. Xavier University in Chicago. Currently, she is pursuing a Ph.D. in Business Psychology at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Her dissertation topic is The Timbre of Voicelessness: The Relationship Between Managers’ Emotional Intelligence and Employee Voice.

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We are proud members

Our social capital.

These organizations are committed to making a positive impact in the world and we are proud members.

Division of Consulting Psychology, American Psychological Association, Division 13
Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, American Psychological Association, Division 14
Social Enterprise Alliance

Ready to take the next step? We’re here to make it work.

3033 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60657