Humor Leadership Consulting

Supporting leadership development and strategic management with creativity and humor

Dr. Cheng Zhu's headshot

Dr. Cheng Zhu is an expert in leadership development, innovation, negotiation, and strategic management.  She delivers speeches and programs on innovation, change management, CEO strategy, negotiation, conflict resolution, diversity and inclusion, improvisation, women leadership, and global leadership.


She has consulted, designed and facilitated executive education programs for thousands of middle to senior level leaders from more than 50 countries.  Program participants include government officials, generals, judges, award-winning entrepreneurs, academics, scientists, and managers and executives of multinational companies.  Her publications have appeared in Forbes, The ASTD Leadership Handbook, and The Leadership Quarterly Journal, and have been translated into multiple languages.  

She has multidisciplinary training in psychology, education, business, government, linguistics, and the performing arts.  Her previous professional appointments include: Research Associate at the Harvard Business School, Research Assistant at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government Center for Public Leadership, Faculty at the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and Senior Faculty at the Center for Creative Leadership.  She was the first Asian to be elected President of the Harvard Graduate Student Government, and received the Harvard University Certificate of Distinction in Teaching and the Harvard Provost’s Outstanding Service Award.   


She lives in Manhattan, New York, and holds a B.A. from Beijing University and a Masters and Doctorate from Harvard University. 

Fluent in experimental learning and case study methodologies, Dr. Zhu is certified in a number of 360-degree/psychological assessments and simulations for executive leadership and organizational development.  She also earned an Improv Certificate from NYC's top comedy school The Upright Citizens Brigade and recently guest-starred in the truTV's hit comedy series "Impractical Jokers," in which she explored the nuances of communication across cultures, genders, ethnicities, and personality types.

Overview of Innovation Leadership Development


Highly tailored to your unique leadership needs and innovation challenges, we design and deliver evidence-based learning solutions that can accelerate your personal and professional transformation.  Whether you are taking on new leadership responsibilities or striving to get unstuck in personal or professional lives, you will:

  • clarify your values and gain insights into personal leadership power and organizational dynamics

  • create an innovative vision that capitalizes on your strengths

  • develop effective leadership skills for tackling individual and organizational challenges


1. Transdisciplinary Approaches Based on Cutting-Edge Research

We apply transdisciplinary approaches from the fields of human development, cognitive psychology, behavioral science, neuroscience, health education, and the performing arts to help you identify your best growth strategies.  You will discover your new strengths and implement innovative solutions for transformational growth.


2. Focus on Emerging Leadership Needs

We focus on emerging needs in leadership such as women leadership, millennial leadership, global leadership, and diversity, inclusion, and multicultural leadership.  Our learning solutions and experiential activities are constantly updated to address the most pressing challenges facing our clients.


3. Integrate the Arts into Leadership and Innovation Initiatives

Leveraging the tenets of theater and improv comedy training, we incorporate arts-based exercises to develop critical leadership and innovation competencies.  You will hone important social-emotional skills for greater leadership effectiveness.


Topic areas:

  1. Leading Change: Accelerating Personal and Organizational Transformation

  2. CEO Leadership: Strategic Decision Making and Leadership Legacy

  3. Negotiation Strategies and Conflict Resolution: Mastering the Art and Science of Negotiation for Leaders and Teams                                                                                         (Example: Talk on "The Psychology of Negotiation" at New York City Bar Association)

  4. Global Leadership: Best Practices and Future Trends in Leading Across Cultures

  5. Improv for Leadership Presence and Organizational Ambidexterity: Getting Team Members to "Yes, and"

  6. Women Leadership: Leading Differently with Courage and Strategy

  7. Innovation Leadership: Design Thinking as a Strategy for Adaptive Leadership

  8. Leading Effectively in China and the U.S.: Ideals and Practice

  9. Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging: Inclusive Leadership Development

  10. Leading Multicultural / Cross-Functional Teams: Challenges and Opportunities

  11. Managing Stress and Renewing Energy at Workplace and in Life

  12. Effective Leadership Communication: The Art and Science of Giving and Receiving Feedback 

  13. Millennial Leadership: Generational Differences in Leadership Styles

  14. Youth Leadership: Clarifying Identity and Purpose

Dr Cheng Zhu on Global Leadership

Dr Cheng Zhu on Global Leadership

Dr Cheng Zhu-Women Leaders Activity

Dr Cheng Zhu-Women Leaders Activity

Dr Cheng Zhu on Leadership Styles

Dr Cheng Zhu on Leadership Styles

Dr Cheng Zhu on Leadership Vision

Dr Cheng Zhu on Leadership Vision

Dr Cheng Zhu's Leadership Exercises

Dr Cheng Zhu's Leadership Exercises

Dr. Cheng Zhu on Team Innovation

Dr. Cheng Zhu on Team Innovation

Dr Cheng Zhu on Team Leadership

Dr Cheng Zhu on Team Leadership

Dr Cheng Zhu's Leadership Seminar

Dr Cheng Zhu's Leadership Seminar

Dr Cheng Zhu's Coaching Exercises

Dr Cheng Zhu's Coaching Exercises

Dr Cheng Zhu on Leaders' Negotiation

Dr Cheng Zhu on Leaders' Negotiation

1. Executive one-on-one coaching

Helps you clarify your leadership vision and create an action plan to build resiliency and enhance leadership effectiveness.


It is designed for professionals at various leadership levels:

  • Individual contributors

  • Managers

  • Managers of managers

  • Heads of divisions

  • CEOs / C-level executives

2. Customized programs for corporations and government agencies

​Help you understand your organizational challenges and priorities​ and address the specific leadership needs of your teams and organizations.


They are designed for corporate teams from various industries.  Program length can vary from two hours, half day, one day, two days, three days, to one week or longer. 


Helps you design and implement strategic change initiatives, build adaptive capacities, and create an organizational culture that sustains lasting changes.



1. Strategic Planning and Consulting for Executive Teams


  • Engage in discovery conversations to identify challenges and potential areas for growth and development

  • Diagnose contextual and organizational dynamics

  • Facilitate strategy sessions for executive teams to clarify organizational vision

  • Conduct in-depth policy and practice analysis in your industry

  • Develop strategic initiatives and engage stakeholders to support organizational transformation and growth effectively

  • Measure the progress of strategic execution and conduct impact assessments







2. Innovation Consulting for Organizations


  • Identify and build adaptive capacities for organizations, by leveraging a variety of methodologies in change management  

  • Develop and execute organization-wide innovation projects to scale and profit

  • Create an innovative and inclusive organizational culture that enables people to thrive and bring their most creative selves to work


Client Testimonials

Eisenhower Fellowships

Eisenhower Fellowships

Eisenhower Fellowships Testimonial on Women's Leadership Program led by Dr. Cheng Zhu

Eisenhower Fellowships Testimonial on Women's Leadership Program led by Dr. Cheng Zhu

Eisenhower Fellowships President's Letter - Testimonial on Multi Nation Program led by Dr. Cheng Zhu

Eisenhower Fellowships President's Letter - Testimonial on Multi Nation Program led by Dr. Cheng Zhu

Eisenhower Fellowships Testimonial on Dr. Cheng Zhu's Women's Leadership Programs

Eisenhower Fellowships Testimonial on Dr. Cheng Zhu's Women's Leadership Programs


Contact or Book Online


Phone: +1  212 - 217 - 0088

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