Kerry Sheldon founded Bridgeport Consulting in 2010 with a mission to help individuals, organizations, and communities become the best they can be. This broad mission gestures toward the three levels of scale at which Kerry works: ranging from one-on-one coaching, to strategic planning and organizational change, to whole-scale community initiatives.
An experienced facilitator, trainer, and strategic planner, Kerry has worked with over 70 clients, including public libraries, local municipalities, private non-profits, institutions of higher education, and foundations with national reach. In recent years, Kerry has also developed a niche practice serving the Jewish communal/social entrepreneurship field.
Kerry takes particular delight in designing and facilitating retreats for Boards of Directors, staff, and/or other organizational stakeholders, often as one component of a broader strategic planning process. While the design of a retreat is dependent on one’s presenting needs, a primary driver is often an interest in building consensus around a set of strategically important initiatives. Kerry has deep expertise in the successful delivery of this outcome.
Kerry entered the consulting profession at the invitation of her mentor, Francine Alexander, in 2009. Previous to that experience, Kerry worked in local government in Washtenaw County, Michigan for nearly a decade. She created the County’s first Energy Program, deploying a $6.2M energy efficiency and renewable energy project that generated sufficient operational savings to offset the project’s capital costs. Next, Kerry occupied an analyst post with the Administration that equipped her with a broader policy purview and afforded her the opportunity to build relationships within the local non-profit ecosystem.
Kerry graduated cum laude from Kenyon College (Gambier, OH) with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and a concentration in Environmental Studies.
Kerry has served as faculty with the University of Michigan’s Advanced Leadership Program and as a presenter with the national Upstart Collaboratory; she also facilitates the Covenant Foundation’s annual Project Directors’ meeting. Since 2018, Kerry and her colleagues at Bridgeport have served as the third-party facilitation team charged with supporting a healthy and productive working relationship between the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA), one of the largest utilities in the nation, and GLWA’s 127 member communities in southeast Michigan.
“Bridgeport dove in with enthusiasm and helped me scope the project to my budget (and to my aggressive timeline) with precision and speed. All members of our team felt completely at ease during interviews and group discussions, and as a result brought their best, candid commentary to the table. We were extremely pleased with our ‘finished product’ that was delivered on time and on budget. For me personally, they turned a challenging project into a pleasure!”
“Kerry Sheldon is about as good as it gets at synthesizing disparate data from a wide range of people with different perspectives about a prickly issue or a complex problem. She pushed us us to tackle the underlying issues that were holding us back, and facilitated with the kind of warmth and humor that helped us to feel comfortable and safe in our planning and problem solving processes. We have brought Kerry from Ann Arbor to New York and I widely recommend her to other colleagues.”
“Kerry Sheldon has the ability to quickly engage and develop a genuine and trusting relationship with a diverse audience, which is key to any project. She maintains a laser-like focus on the task at hand but is also able to adapt to new information and challenges as needed. She is incredibly well organized and an enthusiastic partner; my staff was actually disappointed that she finished the project ahead of schedule because we all enjoyed working with her so much.”
“Kerry has made the intricate work of facilitating the design of our future goals enjoyable: energized with a delightful balance of applying a discipline for the process, and building our enthusiasm for success that is bright on the horizon. In decades of working with various consultants in both private and public sector media businesses, my experience in working with Kerry is second to none. She delights in providing outstanding client service, valued insights, and professionalism that assure a quality outcome and experience.”
“We worked with Kerry on a data/evaluation project that was new to our organization and totally out of our comfort zone. Kerry was great to work with – every meeting felt like a team effort filled with meaningful discussions, and she helped us design and carry out the project through many modifications and iterations. The final report was so well done that we were invited to present it at numerous national meetings (including at the White House!).”
“Working with Kerry is very inspiring. She has a gift for listening to our organization’s leaders and helping us to identify and summarize the salient messages and ideas that are expressed. I have often felt she has an uncannily high “get it” factor. Kerry is well organized and responsible and helps us to stay focused on our deadlines and desired outcomes, while keeping the process fun and enjoyable.”
“Kerry provided outstanding consultation on a complex organizational change process that lasted for several months. She had a remarkable ability to connect with all team members, especially with staff who were less comfortable with change. She offered invaluable strategic thinking, facilitation and encouragement throughout our process. The end result was a durable redesign of our department staffing structure.”
“Kerry is a master facilitator. She has assisted our department with numerous challenging community projects, and always brings a perfect balance of professionalism and humor to her work. Kerry puts people at ease and knows how to read a room, and she always manages to lead conversations toward action without creating discord among participants. Meetings led by Kerry always feel productive and focused, a rarity in local government. OCED is truly lucky to have such a talented partner in Bridgeport, and we would highly recommend them to anyone in need of such talent!”
“I knew the first time I met Kerry that she was someone special; she proved to me in several minutes what creative problem-solving looks like in the real world. Every time I’ve had the good fortune to spend time with her, I’ve come away with practical ideas that are immediately implement-able. She is a great listener and really strives to understand whatever “problem” we’re working on, and she never shies away from a challenge. Kerry has the magical ability to make difficult work refreshing, and on top of it all, I truly enjoy my time with her!”
“With integrity, keen insight, and good humor, Bridgeport Consulting has consistently delivered for me on time and on budget! Kerry and Brittany are my go-to partners for holistic change leadership, effective team engagement, and comprehensive project management. They bring clarity, objectivity, and creativity to every engagement!”
“Partnering with Bridgeport helped me put a structure around our strategic planning process and their wisdom and experience helped me to focus on the salient parts, knowing where there was opportunity for refinement and for growth. Their leadership and guidance kept me on task and we would not have gotten this project done without them.”
“Kerry and her team bring their core values to bear in all their work, brilliantly combining rigor with fun, excellence with humility – and their positive “we got this” energy is simply infectious. Facilitating a strategic planning process for a college of over 20,000 people in 8 months is an ambitious undertaking (to say the least). Kerry and her team were the right people to help us get there with clarity of vision, impeccable organization, and a genuine sense of play and joy.”
“Whenever we have a project that requires meaningful and inspired community engagement, my first thought is – call Bridgeport. We’ve worked with Kerry and Brittany on multiple community and construction oriented projects. In local government, making progress toward a community vision means an inclusive public process and their community-led engagement gives me confidence in our process and direction.”
“Kerry and the team at Bridgeport have expertly shepherded the Chelsea District Library through two strategic planning processes (they are so good that we keep coming back!). With experience, warmth, insight, and humor, they facilitated the creation of thoughtful, responsive, and actionable roadmaps for library service to our community. We are a better library, thanks to Bridgeport!”