We help you develop a Connection Culture

It's your greatest competitive advantage


A Connection Culture is your greatest competitive advantage.

We are unique in focusing on the experience of connection as the key driver of employee engagement. We help you make connection your competitive advantage by developing the three key components of a Connection Culture:


To align behavior with goals, communicate a VISION of where you're going, why it's important to get there, how you're going to get there and each individual's role.


To increase employee engagement and retention, VALUE people as individuals rather than treat them as mere means to an end.


To boost collaboration and innovation, give people a VOICE to share their ideas and opinions so it creates psychological safety and a marketplace of ideas.

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workplace cultures ARE OUT-OF-DATE.

Rooted in the Industrial Revolution, our workplace cultures are out-of-date.  If you’re struggling with engagement at work, you’re far from alone. In fact, 87% of workers around the world aren’t motivated to give their best at work. Why? They don’t feel seen, heard, or valued in their workplace. They don’t feel connected.

We’re experiencing a connection crisis.

Research demonstrates that meaningful human connection at work is the biggest driver of employee engagement. Engaged employees = healthy, high-performing organizations.

It’s time for a new approach.

Employee engagement surveys and programs are not enough. Only a more holistic approach that addresses organizational culture (and subcultures within organizations) will improve employee engagement and organizational performance.


Michael is president and cofounder of Connection Culture Group. He is a recognized expert on leadership, team and organization culture, and employee engagement. He gives keynote speeches, leads workshops and consults for clients of Connection Culture Group (CCG).  Michael is the primary author of the books Connection Culture: The Competitive Advantage of Shared Identity, Empathy, and Understanding at Work, now in its second edition, and Fired Up or Burned Out: Reignite Your Team's Passion, Creativity, and Productivity.  He is also a contributor to several books and instructor for the highly-rated LinkedIn Leaning course, "Creating a Connection Culture," available in 13 languages.

Articles written by Michael or about his work have appeared in leadership periodicals worldwide. He has spoken at conferences organized by the Association for Talent Development, Conference Board, Corporate Executive Board, Human Capital Institute, Fortune magazine, Innovation Council and the Young Presidents Organization. Michael is a faculty member of the Institute for Management Studies (IMS) and he has been a guest lecturer at many institutes and universities. Texas Christian University established the TCU Center for Connection Culture based on Michael and his colleagues’ work.

Prior to co-founding the Connection Culture Group, Michael was chief marketing officer for the private wealth management businesses of Morgan Stanley and Charles Schwab. The programs identified and implemented by the team he assembled and led at Morgan Stanley contributed to doubling the business unit's revenues over a two-and-a-half year period. The practices he and his team developed became the genesis for his approach to elevating the productivity and innovation of individuals and organizations. Earlier in his career, Michael worked in marketing and finance positions at Texas Instruments, Van Kampen Investments and Barclays Bank, PLC. He received a B.S. in marketing from Illinois State University, an M.B.A. from University of Texas Permian Basin, a J.D. from DePaul University Law School, and was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1991. Michael and Katharine Stallard have been married for 38 years and are the proud parents of two grown daughters, a son-in-law, and three grandchildren.

Katie is a gifted connector, speaker, and teacher. Audiences and seminar participants enjoy her sense of humor and practical advice. Comfortable in front of people, she's been singing in a cappella groups for more than 25 years and has even done a bit of TV and film work. She's the first to admit that she "loves a microphone." A surprising piece of her story is that she is a three-time cancer survivor.

Katie is a contributing author of Connection Culture: The Competitive Advantage of Shared Identity, Empathy, and Understanding at Work (2nd edition). She and Michael contributed the chapter on organizational culture in TD Talent Development and Training in Healthcare Handbook.

Professionally, Katie brings diverse experiences in marketing, administration, business and non-profit organizations to her role. Katie has worked for a leading global Christian book publisher, a Forbes 400 family helping to manage their diverse holdings, and a highly-regarded church. She also has extensive experience volunteering and serving on the boards of social sector and education organizations. Katie graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in business administration. Katie and Michael Stallard have been married for 38 years and are the proud parents of two grown daughters, a son-in-law, and three grandchildren.


Our team members have spoken and/or consulted at some of the world's leading organizations, including those shown below. A more complete list is provided on the Keynotes and Workshops page.