Professional & Organizational Development

Return to Meet the Consultants

Larisa Benson

The Athena Group


Consultant Larisa BensonI specialize in Lean process improvement and Crucial Conversations, helping teams build capacity, competence and confidence. My work is data driven, but starts with a fundamental respect for the people who do the work. Without a culture of free flowing communication based on mutual respect, Lean or any other performance improvement effort will fail to create a sustainable culture of excellence. I offer a complimentary set of hard skills in measuring performance improvement with soft skills to create a healthy workplace culture. I am motivated by helping people rediscover their natural curiosity and experience the joy and satisfaction of delivering real value for the people they serve.


  • Crucial Conversations
  • Creating a high performing team
  • Leadership development
  • Lean process improvement
  • Strategy deployment
  • Performance measurement


  • Expertise in helping leaders and managers navigate complex challenges in the public sector, using effective team building, leadership strategy, and performance data analysis to improve results.
  • Experienced and effective coaching for high-level executives as well as managers and front-line workers in unionized environments.
  • Results from recent Lean process improvements include 50% or better measurable improvements in permit turn-around times, child abuse investigations, audits, accounts payable and receivable, hiring and onboarding, and procurement of major IT projects.
  • Senior Lecturer and former Director of UW Executive MPA. Popular courses in executive education include Foundations of Strategic Management, Leading a High Performance Organization, Performance Measurement and Lean Service Delivery, and Certification in Lean Six-Sigma.


  • Certified Black Belt Lean Six-Sigma
  • Certified trainer for Crucial Conversations and Crucial Accountability
  • ƒCertified in Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team
  • Certified in Work of Leaders (Everything DiSC) assessments and coaching methods
  • Master of Public Administration, University of Washington
  • Bachelor of Arts, Government, Harvard University


  • City of Redmond
  • City of Tukwila
  • Oregon State Legislature
  • Pierce County Public Works & Utilities
  • King County Metro
  • Seattle School District
  • Sound Transit
  • Pierce Transit
Return to Meet the Consultants