Aja Couchois Duncan is a leadership coach, team engagement and strategic planning graphic facilitator and organizational development consultant of Ojibwe, French and Scottish descent. A Senior Consultant with Change Elemental, Aja has worked for almost 20 years in the areas of education, leadership and equity.
Working with a broad range of clients from public and private universities, nonprofit organizations, national policy advocates, statewide arts organizations, to small businesses—she provides organizational capacity building expertise through needs assessments, program and/or strategy design and delivery, group facilitation, strategic communications and ROI/impact analysis. Aja has a strong background in diversity and social justice work, having provided diversity education, disparate impact analysis, diversity program evaluation and macro-level recommendations to improve equity and thus workplace climate and organizational performance.
For nearly a decade, Aja was an active member of the Native American Health Alliance, an organization composed of University of California, San Francisco students, staff and faculty of Native descent working together to promote cultural understanding and an awareness of the health disparities affecting Native American/Alaskan Native peoples. With a small group of Native University of California staff, she created a development program designed to increase skills and promotional opportunities for employees of Native descent across the university system. She has led workshops for Native adults and youth to promote cultural values and identity through artistic expression.
Previous professional roles have included leading creative writing workshops for under-served youth, working in the electrical and construction trades, serving as a meeting/conference planner, and leading nature programs in a state park.
Aja is a certified co-active coach (CPCC) and holds a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in creative writing from San Francisco State University and a Master of Arts (MA) in policy, organization and leadership studies from Stanford University, where she is a member of the Stanford Native American Alumni Association.
A writer and sometimes visual artist, Aja is interested in connecting the often disparate realities of spirit and mater, flora and fauna. When not at Change Elemental, you can find Aja writing or drawing. She also enjoys running in the hills with her dog, yoga and a daily meditation practice which begins with an expression of gratitude to her ancestors and ends with an enthusiastic shout out to the extraordinary miracle of her toes.