Esther Derby

Esther Derby


I draw on four decades of experience leading, observing, and living organizational change. I work with a broad array of organizations. My clients include start ups and Fortune 500 companies. 

Based on experience and research, my approach blends attention to humans and deep knowledge of complex adaptive systems.


I started my career as a programmer. However, over the years I’ve worn many hats, including business owner, internal consultant and manager. From all these perspectives, one thing was clear: individual, team, and even organizational success depends greatly on the work environment and organizational dynamics. As a result, I have spent the last twenty-five years helping companies shape their environment for optimum success. 

 In 1997, I founded esther derby associates, inc.

I’ve learned a lot about how organizations work through observation and action research. My formal education includes an MA in Organizational Leadership and a certificate in Human Systems Dynamics.

In addition, I participated in several workshops at the NTL Institute for Applied Behavioral Science.

Starting in 1991, I studied and worked extensively with Jerry Weinberg. In 1999, I participated in Jean McLendon’s Year-long program exploring the Satir Growth Model.

In 2000, I was one of the original founders of the AYE Conference. This ground breaking conference had no powerpoint, and no lectures. All our sessions were half-day experiential explorations of topics related to working effectively in software organizations.

In 2002 Norm Kerth, Diana Larsen, and I started the Retrospective Facilitator’s Gathering (RFG). RFG used Open Space Technology as an organizing principle. Our format was the inspiration behind the unconference model used at Coach Camps.

I have served two terms on the Board of the Agile Alliance.

I live in northern Minnesota, not far from the shores of Lake Superior.


Keynote Presentation

It may seem paradoxical that something small leads to something big. Yet this is the case. Big changes can feel like an existential threat and cause major disruption. Tiny changes, working obliquely, evolving towards a more desirable pattern may lack drama, but get you where you need to go.  So how does this work? The same way agile does, iteratively, incrementally, with learning as you go. I’ll share some small ideas that will add up to a big change in how you go about changing your organization. 

Bob Galen

Bob Galen


Principal Agile Coach – Vaco

Bob Galen is an Agile Practitioner, Trainer & Coach based in Cary, NC. In this role he helps guide companies and teams in their pragmatic adoption and organizational shift towards Scrum and other agile methodologies and practices. He is a Principal Agile Coach at Vaco Agile, a leading business agility transformation company. He is also President and Head Coach at RGCG a boutique agile coaching firm.

Bob regularly speaks at international conferences and professional groups on topics related to software development, project management, software testing and team leadership. He is a Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC), CAL I trainer, and an active member of the Agile & Scrum Alliances. 

He’s published three agile-centric books: The Three Pillars of Agile Quality and Testing in 2015, Scrum Product Ownership, 3’rd Edition in 2019, and Agile Reflections in 2012.  He’s also a prolific writer & blogger (at - ) and podcaster (at

Bob may be reached directly at: or networking via:


Keynote Presentation

"Building our Future Self"

As Agile Practitioners, Product Owners, Scrum Masters, Leaders, and Coaches, we are often
focused externally, with an eye towards our teams or organization in our agile journeys. If we’re
properly agile focused, then we should be servant leaders for our team and others – right?  Yes,
but with one large caveat…
In order to be truly effective, we need to be serving and building ourselves first! And a large
part of that service, is effectively building our capabilities and developing our own
unique brand.

Bob Galen has been relentlessly building his brand for several decades and will
share his thoughts, tips, and techniques toward personal brand-building. Beginning with the
why, you will understand the importance and value of building your brand and how this helps
you to envision your ideal future self.

Next, you will identify actionable and systematic steps towards developing your brand. This
includes things like learning, certifications, writing, public speaking, coaching and mentoring.
Your focus will be towards uncovering opportunities for doing as opposed to just talking.
It turns out that brand-building is hard work and this talk is just the beginning. But if you’re
willing to put in the effort, you’ll leave with a variety of ideas and a solid branding strategy &
roadmap that will guide you down your individual path to better branding.