Case Study: Penfield Children’s Center

Case Study: Penfield Children’s Center

The Outcomes

100% of Penfield Children’s Center team members completed the Kolbe A™ Index

85% completion of quarterly goals for 12 consecutive quarters

Recognition for core values work via Milwaukee Metropolitan Association of Commerce’s True Colors Award

Student enrollment increase of 1% and UW-Milwaukee Charter School renewal for Penfield Montessori Academy


Client Profile

Child Development & Early Learning and Public Montessori Charter School

240 Employees

Non-profit

Founded 1967 & 2016

Milwaukee, WI


Penfield Children’s Center (PCC) and Penfield Montessori Academy (PMA) are focused on elevating the effectiveness of their operations through improved strategic planning and leadership development. They are also committed to building a strong internal culture and people practices that align to their organization core values and capitalizes on their employees’ natural strengths. While they’re in the business of transformative work in children, they looked for support around culture, leadership and strategic planning.


humanworks8 Solutions

The Core Value Touchpoints

Penfield Core Values

Through Values Discovery Sessions, we worked with the Penfield team to create brand new core values. Today, you’ll see the Penfield core values on building signage, in the annual reports, at fundraising events, on social media and in job postings and profiles. Internally, the core values can be found on everything from staff t-shirts to performance reviews and coaching documents, with their performance management program named directly after a core value - Grow With Us.

The Kolbe System

Beginning with the PCC leadership team, we introduced the Kolbe A™ Index. In a roll-out than spanned two years, we introduced Kolbe Wisdom to 117 team members throughout PMA and PCC. We worked alongside HR to roll out the Kolbe A Index to every PCC employee in June and July of 2020, supporting each employee and team as they navigated the pandemic, both professionally and personally.

We used Kolbe to guide hiring decisions for four leadership roles and one support role, leveraging Kolbe RightFit™ in the process. All incoming team members complete the Kolbe A Index and participate in a new hire Kolbe workshop as part of their onboarding.

The Way

As an organization with one united mission, but two distinct entities, Penfield strikes a balance between consistency across the organization and meeting unique needs of the center and school respectively. For both PCC and PMA, we support board facilitation, quarterly strategic planning sessions and executive coaching. These efforts include discussions of accountability in roles across the organization and succession planning as well as training on various operating system tools. In addition, we have strengthened weekly staff meetings at both organizations through redesigning agendas and serving as meeting facilitators.

The Leadership Model

Group workshop

Leaders at Penfield Children's Center and Montessori Academy have kicked off a renewed focus on leadership development with interactive skill-building quarterly workshops designed and facilitated by the humanworks8 team. As we collaborate to create the Penfield Leadership Model, defining what it means to be a leader at Penfield, the team will build on foundational components of leadership including core values, instinctive strengths (Kolbe Wisdom) and "innerviews" then dive into the topics of performance management, relationship building, communication and strategic planning.


Client Feedback

The team at humanworks8 has guided Penfield on an extraordinary journey to coalesce around shared values, align the talents of our team and focus on immediate and strategic, mission-driven priorities.  humanworks created intentional space and opportunity for staff, board and leadership to identify our long-standing, shared values and unite around organizational challenges. Penfield’s core values provide a framework for how we work together, treat one another and interact with our constituents.  With the guidance of humanworks8, Penfield has strengthened all its processes and culture around recruitment, hiring and retention of our most valuable asset-people.

Christine Holmes

President, Penfield Children’s Center


New Capabilities

Integrate values into people practices, including talent discovery, external communications and internal processes.

Hire new talent considering all Three Parts of the Mind and introduce Kolbe WisdomTM during Onboarding.

Build upon a strong strategic planning foundation, effectively refining operating and people processes to support completion of organizational goals.


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