by Megan McDonoughKarenwb

It is my great pleasure to introduce you to Wholebeing Institute’s new Chief Learning Officer: Dr. Karen Whelan-Berry.

You may know Karen—she’s been closely involved with Wholebeing Institute since 2013. I’ve had the privilege and honor to work with and learn from her over these last five years, and I know you’ll be as impressed as I am with her skills and wisdom.

Karen brings more than 20 years of leadership, research, financial, and educational experience—all skills needed for expanding WBI’s positive impact in the world. She received her PhD from Boston College and her MBA from Bentley College, where she received the Walker Memorial Award for excellence in management and organizational behavior. As a CPA (certificate inactive), her broad academic experience is grounded by her business acumen. Karen is the only person I know whose resume spans both CFO and academic department chair.

Her extensive teaching experience includes undergraduate and graduate (master’s level) courses, corporate training, and facilitating workshops for adult learners. Along with active teaching, Karen has led many teams for rapid course development using solid instructional design methodology. She’s assessed learning and curriculum at four universities, and led several significant organizational changes, including cultural, structural, process, technology, curriculum, accreditation, and assessment change initiatives.

Her passion is making sure that instructional design and delivery cultivate embodied learning, building immediate and long-term skills for positive habit formation. She’s put those skills to good use as faculty for the Introduction to Wholebeing Happiness course and part of the core faculty team redesigning the Certificate in Wholebeing Positive Psychology.

Karen’s wide expertise gives her a unique view, blending faculty, curriculum development, and administration for a system’s view of learning and development.

Karen is also an accomplished researcher. Along with her coauthors, she received the award for article of the year from the journal Women in Management Review. Others have recognized her as well, including the Academy of Management for her work in organizational change and development and in gender and diversity.

Karen’s research interests include individual and team performance excellence, positivity, and resilience; individual and organizational change; career and career transitions, and work-life balance and integration. Since attending CiPP, her presentations have focused on positive psychology, expanding Wholebeing’s work.

  • Here is a full list of Karen’s presentations.

    Karen’s presentations:

    Whelan-Berry, K.S. 2018. “Positive Psychology Learning and the Development of Interpersonal/Soft Skills for the Workplace.” 1st Canadian Scientific Day on Wellbeing at the 4th Canadian Conference on Positive Psychology.

    Whelan-Berry, K.S. and Anderson, J. 2018. “LEAP: A Framework That Activates Positive Psychology Foundations in Learning Design and Delivery.” Workshop presented at the 4th Canadian Conference on Positive Psychology.

    Whelan-Berry, K.S. and Anderson, J. 2018. “LEAP: A Framework That Activates Positive Psychology Foundations in Learning Design and Delivery.” Poster presented at the 2nd International Positive Education Network Meeting. (Scholarship of Teaching)

    Whelan-Berry, K.S. 03/14/18. “Managing Through Change,” and Panel Facilitator. CASE District 1 Annual Meeting (College Advancement).

    Whelan-Berry K.S. and McDonough, M. 3/23/18. “Unleashing Engagement and Productivity—VIA Strengths.” ATD (Association of Training and Development) New England Regional Meeting.

    Whelan-Berry, K.S., 5/14/18. “Positively Thriving in the 21st Century.” Invited keynote speech, 1st Annual Connecticut-Wide Human Resource Management/Organizational Behaviour Academic and Practitioner Conference hosted by Central Connecticut State University.

    Whelan-Berry, K.S. and McDonough, M. 2017. “Rooted and Winged: The Energy and Action of Integrating Intentions and Best Self,” Fifth World Congress on Positive Psychology, Montreal, Quebec, July 13–16, 2017.

    Whelan-Berry, K.S. and Flavin, C. 2017. “From Me To You: The Ripple Effect of Positive Psychology Learning.” Embodied Positive Psychology Summit, Stockbridge, Mass., May 1–5, 2017.

    Whelan-Berry, K.S. 2017. “Rooted and Winged: The Integration of Intentions and Best Self,” Embodied Positive Psychology Summit, Stockbridge, Mass., May 1–5, 2017.

    NE Tech Workshop (NE Tech offers free workshops for K–12 staff, admin, and teachers in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut). Developed introductory positive psychology workshop, taught three times.

  • Here is a full list of Karen’s management publications.

    Karen’s management publications:


    Whelan-Berry, K.S., Gordon, J.R., and Hinings, C.R. (Bob). 2003. “The Relative Effect of Change Drivers in Large-Scale Organizational Change: An Empirical Study,” in Research in Organizational Change and Development, R. Woodman and W. Pasmore, eds.

    Whelan-Berry, K.S. 2002. Implementing PBL (Problem-Based Learning) in Business. Birmingham, AL: Samford University Press.

    Glidden, P.A. and K.S. Whelan. 1996. The Manager’s Guide: Using Performance Appraisal To Achieve High Performance. Boston, MA: American Management Association.

    Book Chapters

    Gordon, J.R. and Whelan-Berry, K.S. 2005. “Women at Midlife: Changes, Challenges, and Contributions,” in Supporting Women’s Career Advancement, R.J. Burke and M.C. Mattis, eds. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.

    Whelan-Berry, K.S. 2004. “Careers and Career Development,” revised chapter in Organization Development and Change, 8th edition. Cummings T. and Worley C. Cincinnati, Ohio: Southwestern College.

    Refereed Articles

    Whelan-Berry, K.S. 2013. “Gender and Change Drivers: An Exploratory Study.” Gender in Management, 28(5):256–277.

    Whelan-Berry, K.S., Somerville, K. 2010. “Linking Change Drivers and the Organizational Change Process: A Review and Synthesis.” Journal Of Organizational Change Management, 10(2):175–193.

    Morse, J. Ruggieri, M., and Whelan-Berry, K. 2010. “Clicking Our Way to Class Discussion.” American Journal of Business Education, 3(3):99–108.

    Whelan-Berry, K.S., Somerville, K. 2009. Effectively Allocating Resources to Organizational Change: Exploring the Impact of First-Order and Second-Order Change. International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, 9(9):163-179.

    Whelan-Berry, K.S., Somerville, K. 2009. “Organizational Change Skills: A Study from the Literature and the Education Available in American and Canadian MBA Programs.” International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, 9(10):55–65.

    Lickey, N.C., Berry, G. R., Whelan-Berry, K.S. 2009. “Responding to Workplace Romances: A Proactive and Pragmatic Approach.” Journal of Business Inquiry, 8(1):100–119.

    Teeter, R.A. and Whelan-Berry, K.S. 2008. “My Firm Versus Our Firm: The Challenge of Change in Growing the Small Professional Service Firm.” Journal of Business Inquiry, 7(1): 41–52.

    Gordon, J.R., Whelan-Berry, K.S. and Hamilton, E. 2007. “The relationship between work-family balance, organizational work-family culture, and work outcomes for older working women.” Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 12(4):350–364.

    Marcinkus, W., Whelan-Berry, K.S., and Gordon, J.R. 2007. “The Importance of Social Support for the Work-Family Balance and Work Outcomes of Midlife Women.” Women in Management Review, 22(2):86–111.

    Hamilton, E., Gordon, J. and Whelan-Berry, K.S. 2006. “Understanding the Work-Life Conflict of Never-Married Women Without Children.” Women In Management Review, 21(5):393–415.

    Gordon, J.R. and Whelan-Berry, K.S. 2005. “An Empirical Study of Perceived Spousal/Partner Support For Working Women.” Journal of Family Issues, 26:899–923.

    Cozzens, C. Gardner, N., and Whelan-Berry K. 2005. “Were the Seven Habits Highly Effective? The Case of the Franklin Covey Merger.” Journal of Business Inquiry, 4(1):15–25.

    Whelan-Berry, K.S. and Berry, Gregory R. 2004. “Changing from the present to the past: The Makah Indian whaling case.” Journal of Business Inquiry: Research, Education, and Application, 3:36–48.

    Gordon, J.R. and Whelan-Berry, K.S. 2004. “It takes two to tango: An empirical study of perceived spousal/partner support for working women” Women in Management Review, 19(5/6):260–273.

    Whelan-Berry, K.S., Gordon, J.R., and Hinings, C.R. 2003. “Strengthening the Organizational Change Process: Recommendations and Implications From a Multi-Level Analysis.” Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 39(2):186–207.

    Gordon, J.R., Beatty, J., and Whelan-Berry, K.S. 2002. “The Midlife Transition of Professional Women: An External and Internal Recalibration.” Women in Management Review, 17(7/8):328–341.

    Whelan-Berry K.S. and J. R. Gordon. 2000. “Looking beyond current employee benefits and human resource programs: Learning from the experiences of professional midcareer women.” Human Resource Planning, 23(1):26–37.

    Whelan-Berry, K.S. and J. B. Marshall. 2000. “Undergraduate business education and problem-based learning.” PBL Insight, 3(1).

    Whelan, K.S., Woolley, T.W. and Marshall J.B. 1999. “Introductory Business Statistics: An Experiment with Problem-Based Learning.” Themes and Variations in PBL, J. Conway and A. Williams, eds.

    Gordon, J.R. and K.S. Whelan. 1998. “Successful professional women in midlife: How organizations can more effectively understand and respond to the challenges.” Academy of Management Executive, 12(1): 8–24.

    Clair, J.A., Milliman, J. and K.S. Whelan. 1996. “Toward an environmentally sensitive philosophy for business management.” Industrial and Environmental Crisis Quarterly, 9(3):289–326.

    Other Published Cases

    Whelan-Berry, K.S. 2004. “Employee benefits at Healthco,” case and teaching note in Organization Development and Change, 8th edition. Cummings T. and Worley C. Cincinnati, Ohio: Southwestern College.

    Whelan, K.S. 1996. “The Case of Dr. Brilliant and Pat,” performance appraisal and feedback exercise in A Diagnostic Approach to Organizational Behavior, 5th edition, J.R. Gordon. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.

    Other Published

    Gordon, J.R., Litchfield, L. and Whelan-Berry, K.S. 2003. “Women at Midlife and Beyond: A Glimpse Into the Future.” Chestnut Hill, MA: Boston College Center for Work and Family.

    Whelan-Berry, K.S. 2000. “How to use this report” in Birmingham’s Best Companies for Working Families 2000 Annual Report, S. Merkner, ed.

On the personal side, Karen is a native Texan with family roots in New England and Wisconsin. She and her family have lived in Rhode Island since 2008. Her passions include her family and friends, travel, reading, music, cooking and sharing meals, water and the beach, whales, downhill skiing, and Admiral Woo-Woo (her mini schnauzer). Karen is a Let Your Yoga Dance® instructor. She’s also a certified scuba diver and has a private pilot’s license.

I’ve witnessed Karen’s top VIA Strengths firsthand, including her bravery, gratitude, fairness, kindness, creativity, leadership, teamwork, and love of learning.

In her new role, Karen is responsible for managing and developing the team, overseeing current courses and developing new ones, fostering the alumni and facilitator communities, and communicating, leading, and publishing research relevant to WBI’s core mission. She will also work with the new board (to be announced for 2019) to build and strengthen strategic partnerships, to sustain and elevate our valued community of practitioners, and to implement the strategic direction of course and business development.

Karen will be wrapping up her current position and in transition this fall, and then will be full-time as the Chief Learning Officer in January.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Karen Whelan-Berry. I’m so glad she’s here.

Megan McDonough is cofounder and board chair of Wholebeing Institute, an educational organization focusing on the science of whole-person wellbeing. She uses divergent thinking and creative perspectives to lead, harnessing the best in people for the greatest good. With a degree in nuclear medicine, senior leadership experience in health care, two decades as a yoga practitioner and teacher, and experience directing numerous online-learning start-ups, Megan focuses on how to get from point A to point B through whole-person engagement. She’s an award-winning author of four books on mindfulness.