Stephen P. Kelner, Jr., Ph.D.

Affiliation: Ascent Leadership Networks ( )


An expert in executive leadership assessment and development and Managing Director at Ascent Leadership Networks, Steve has developed innovative methods to assess and develop leaders for clients across industries and around the world, as well as developing the core assessment and development methods for the world's two top executive search firms. He has aided the improvement of talent assessment, talent management strategies and executive development programs in such clients as ABB, Ahold-Delhaize, Allianz, Ares Management, AXA, Bayer, Evonik, Fiserv, Intel, Kroger, Nypro, Santos, Siemens, T. Rowe Price, Qantas, and many others over the past three decades.

Steve’s main areas of research focus on leadership capability and assessment, executive development, leadership team and board assessment, motivation, and executive potential. He has been instrumental in the development of validated executive assessment methods, co-developing the first valid scaled competency set and leading the development of the first valid executive-scaled competency model. Steve has also led efforts to develop executive potential assessment, leadership team effectiveness assessment and other methods to predict future capability of executives in a range of businesses.

In addition, he has served as a frequent trainer of trainers for consulting firms and clients. A prolific writer, he also has studied the relationship between motivation and creativity, especially in published writers, and has published both nonfiction and fiction.


Kelner, S. P., Jr. (2017). How to Think about Assessing Leaders for Development. Point of View, Summer 2017.

Kelner, S. P., Jr. (2016). How to Get the Most from Executive Assessments. Spencer Stuart blog, December 2016.

Kelner, S. P., Jr. (2016). How to Think about Assessing Leaders.  Spencer Stuart white paper, August 2016.

Kelner, S. P., Jr. (2016). Death at the Althing. Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, November 2016
Kelner, S. P., Jr. (2015). Developments in Predicting CEO Success: New perspectives on identifying and assessing the essential traits of effective leaders. Spencer Stuart white paper.

Kelner, Stephen P. et al., “Managerial Style and Organizational Climate in Daniel Goleman, et al., Primal Leadership

Boyatzis, Richard E. and Kelner, Stephen P. “Competencies as a Behavioral Manifestation of Implicit Motives,” in Schultheiss, Oliver and Brunstein, Implicit Motives.\

Return on Leadership — Competencies that Generate Growth, McKinsey &Company and Egon Zehnder International.

Kelner, Stephen P. and Slavin, Lois. “The Competitive Strategy of Mutual Learning,” Training & Development , Vol. 52, No. 6, 1998.

Kelner, Stephen P. and Patrick, Chris. “Your Leadership Portfolio: The View from C-Level,” CIO Magazine, 24 July 2010.

Kelner, Stephen P. and Patrick, Chris. “Developing the Competencies of a Future-State CIO,” CIO Magazine, 19 April 2010.

Stephenson, Ashley and Kelner, Stephen P., Jr. “What Boards of Directors Should Know,” Directorship, July 10, 2009.

Kelner, Stephen P. Motivate Your Writing! Lebanon, N.H.: University Press of New England,2005.









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