Tom Klaus


Tom Klaus, PhD is a Maryland-based nonprofit consultant, speaker, trainer, writer, and president of the consultancy, Tenacious Change, LLC. The mission of Tenacious Change is to animate and equip people, organizations, and communities to lead ownership-based change for the greater good through collective change leadership. In addition to his consulting practice, he is a Thought Leader with Tamarack Institute, a Canadian social change organization, and an adjunct professor at Eastern University (Philadelphia) in the College of Business and Leadership’s PhD in Organizational Leadership program. Tom specializes in leadership, program, and organizational development as well as research and developmental evaluation. His clients include local, statewide, regional, national, and international organizations. He has extensive experience with community engagement and change, organizational leadership and change, intractable controversy management, nonprofit board development and strategy planning, and the management of government funded health and human services grants and projects that are national in scope. He is a certified Appreciative Inquiry facilitator and has been trained in delivering the Courageous Follower workshops by author and developer, Ira Chaliff. Over several years, he collaborated with his friend and colleague Dr. Ed Saunders, Director of the School of Social Work at the University of Iowa (retired), on the research, development, and prototyping of the Tenacious Change Approach. The Tenacious Change Approach (under the original working title, Roots to Fruit of Sustainable Community Change) was first described in 2016 in the journal Community Development. The Tenacious Change Approach is a set of operating principles for inclusive, broad-based collective change leadership. It offers a way to organize and catalyze the work of leading change for long-lasting impact in communities, organizations, and whole systems. It also features a developmental evaluation to monitor progress and aid in continuous quality improvement. The Tenacious Change Approach has been used in several community change initiatives in the United States. It was introduced internationally in Canada at the Tamarack Institute’s Collective Impact Summit and Community Change Institute and through the 17th Annual Global Conference of the International Leadership Association in Barcelona, Spain. Tom is also the co-author, with Liz Weaver of the Tamarack Institute, of “Progress Challenges, and Next Steps in Collective Impact: Collective Impact as Disruptive Illumination” the closing chapter of a book on collective impact from the Community Development Society. The chapter highlights the use of collective impact in community development, including the Tenacious Change Approach. In September 2016 Tom's work on the Tenacious Change Approach resulted in an invitation to the Obama White House to meet with Promise Zone leaders from across the United States. Tom has earned degrees from William Penn University and Drake University in Iowa, and his Doctor of Philosophy in (nonprofit) organizational leadership, from Eastern University in Philadelphia. He makes his home in Laurel, Maryland with his spouse, Clemencia, and their rescue miniature schnauzer, Ebeneezer (no, that is not a misspelling, just his name).

Jakob Klaus

Senior Instructor & Consultant

Jakob Klaus, MSW LCSW is the president & founder of Plaid Hound Analytics, a consultancy based in Columbia, Maryland committed to pursuing community change through systems-based research, strategy, and advocacy. In addition, as a consultant to Tenacious Change, Jakob works closely with his dad, Tom, to teach and train others in the use of the Tenacious Change Approach. He also works on research and data analysis for various Tenacious Change clients. For more than a decade Jakob has been working in social service and social change organizations in the DC/Baltimore area. He started Plaid Hound Analytics after concluding his role as a Union Field Representative and Organizer for the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). At AFSCME he gained a reputation as a highly effective negotiator, litigator, adviser, and recruiter. Previously he served as a Regional VP and Shop Steward in the Maryland Social Services Employees Union. As a social worker his practice area was focused on the disability community, therapeutic foster care, and Adult Protective Services Investigation. Jakob is a strong advocate for community inclusion for people with disabilities. Jakob earned his MSW in Social Change at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. He makes his home in Columbia, Maryland with his spouse, Jessica, and two rescue hounds, Roscoe and Ranger. In addition to his consultancy, he is earning an MBA in Organizational Management and Data Science at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania.