Susan Tardanico, Founding Partner and CEO 

Susan Tardanico is CEO of the Authentic Leadership Alliance LLC where she serves as chief strategist, consultant and coach to clients. Areas of expertise include leadership development, strategy and effectiveness; organizational, corporate and personal communication; change management; executive presence and presentation coaching; and event/meeting design, production and facilitation.

Concurrently, Tardanico is Executive in Residence at the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), ranked one of the top leadership development organizations in the world.

She is published regularly on and is a member of the adjunct faculties of Georgetown and New York universities.  A certified professional speaker, Tardanico addresses groups all over the country and is one of a handful of coaches approved by the TED organization to help thought leaders from around the world prepare to deliver their “TED TALKS” on the big stage.  

Prior to launching her own company, Tardanico enjoyed a multifaceted corporate career, most recently serving as Vice President and Corporate Officer of Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT), a $14 billion multinational corporation with well-known brands such as Cessna Aircraft, Bell Helicopter, E-Z-GO golf cars, and Greenlee power tools.  She was one of the top four female senior executives in a company of 50,000 employees. 

As Chief Communications Officer, she oversaw all internal, external, brand/marketing and executive communications across the corporate entity and business units. Tardanico was a key part of the leadership team that transformed Textron from a hands-off conglomerate to an integrated operating company, requiring a complete reorientation and realignment of the organization. This large-scale change management effort spanned company culture, leadership and employee engagement, process reengineering, talent realignment and business/portfolio restructuring activities.  Through her Textron tenure, Tardanico was intimately involved in the integration of more than 40 mergers and acquisitions, driving the communications across multiple stakeholder groups to help maintain and improve engagement through times of great change.

Her 20-year tenure with Textron included several senior positions at business units (aerospace, automotive and sports sectors), relocation to London, and leadership roles in creating and driving enterprise-wide strategies for globalization, diversity, employee engagement and branding.

Prior to joining Textron, Tardanico led corporate PR and Marketing Communications at EMC Corporation (NYSE:EMC), where she formed its first corporate public relations function and helped take the company public.  Before that, she was a television news reporter and weekend anchor in Boston.

Tardanico graduated Phi Beta Kappa and top of her class at Boston College, delivering the commencement address.  She has completed graduate work at Harvard University and the Wharton School.  She is a certified facilitator, coach, Six Sigma Green Belt and Executive Champion.  Tardanico also co-authored the book, Beating the Impostor Syndrome.

She is a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors, the National Speakers’ Association and the Arthur W. Page Society, comprised of chief communications officers from around the world. She was also a charter member of the Communications Executive Council. Tardanico is a 3-time judge for the Association of Management Consulting Firms’ annual awards in the Change Management category. 

Peter Thonis,  Managing Partner and Practice Leader

Peter Thonis leads ALA’s Strategic Communication, Issues Management and Media Relations practice.  He is also Senior Advisor to Finsbury, a strategic issues management firm based in New York and London.  A seasoned strategic communicator and executive, he has counseled organizations large and small, public and private -- including the White House – on myriad reputational issues.

Until July of 2013, Thonis was Chief Communications Officer (CCO) for Verizon, the $120 billion provider of telecommunications services.  He was a long-standing member of the Verizon Leadership Council, the 12 senior-most executives of the company, responsible for developing and leading the implementation of Verizon's strategy and operations.  As CCO, Thonis was responsible for all communications, stakeholder relations, crisis and brand management across the corporation.  In his role for nearly nine years and Verizon's first CCO, Thonis led media relations strategy and execution, corporate-wide issues management, and executive and employee communications.  Previously, Thonis was Senior Vice President of External Communications for Verizon, and helped make the new company known for its premier networks and innovative broadband solutions – now one of the most recognized names in America and a Fortune 11 company.

Prior to the creation of Verizon from the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE in 2000, Thonis was Vice President of External Communications for GTE, a position he held since September 1997.

From 1995 to 1997, Thonis worked for BBN Corp, a pioneer in the creation and development of the Internet. There he served a dual role of Vice President of Communications and Vice President of Marketing until BBN was acquired by GTE.

Before joining BBN, Thonis spent 14 years with IBM, where he held several senior communications management positions, including Director of IBM's worldwide public relations for PC business units.
While at IBM, Thonis also led financial communications through the massive transformation of the company’s business model in the mid-1990s.

The International Association of Business Communicators named Thonis “Communicator of the Year”
in 2010 and 2011, a global recognition of Thonis’ innovative communications approaches and thought leadership.

Thonis serves on the board of NYC Outward Bound.  He also is an adjunct professor of communications at New York University and a member of the Arthur W. Page Society, comprised of Chief Communications Officers from around the world.  

Thonis has a bachelor's degree in Communications and English literature from Syracuse University and a master's degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri.