Ann Kowal Smith
Founder and Executive DirectorCompany: Books@Work
Role: Session Presenter
Session: Growing from Discomfort: Tools to Practice and Broach Difficult Conversations (S1-A)
Ann Smith serves as founder and executive director of Books@Work. A nonprofit initiative, Books@Work partners with employers to break down barriers, build connections and foster openness, trust and respect. Using facilitated dialogue around a curated piece of narrative literature, the program invites colleagues to challenge paradigms, explore new ideas, and deepen the relationships that anchor healthy and inclusive teams and organizations. In the 20 years prior to founding Books@Work, Ann served as principal with Heidrick & Struggles International and an expert with McKinsey & Company. She also practiced corporate and securities law in private and corporate settings.
Ann is a research fellow at EPS@Weatherhead, a practitioner-scholar research community at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). She has also served as adjunct professor and director of Praxis in Weatherhead’s Doctor of Management (D.M.) program and serves as a fellow at the Center for Evidence-Based Management.
Ann holds an A.B. in the history of art from Bryn Mawr College and an M.A. in history of art from the University of Michigan, in addition to a J.D. and a D.M. from CWRU. Her dissertation examined organizational learning and innovation.