BGI Founders

In early 2002, Libba Pinchot, Gifford Pinchot III and Sherman Severin founded BGI as an alternative to the traditional business school model for students wanting to integrate values about social justice and environmental sustainability into their business education. Jill Bamburg joined them in the summer of 2002 as the Founding Dean and the fourth founder.

Gifford Pinchot III

Co-Founder | President

Gifford has been an organic dairy farmer, a blacksmith, an author, an innovation consultant, software CEO, an angel investor and a school president. He has published three books. Intrapreneuring, which introduced a new way of fostering innovation by creating space for innovators to express their entrepreneurial spirit within existing organizations, was a bestseller in 15 languages. The Intelligent Organization, written with his wife, Libba, took self-organization a step further, to include the everyday work of ordinary employees. Pinchot & Company, which he runs with his wife Libba, has served half of the Fortune 100 and helped them to launch over 700 new products and businesses. In 2008, Executive Excellence named him number 32 on the top 100 leadership thinkers. He has a Doctor of Laws Honoris Causa from U. of Puget Sound. In 2009 he was awarded the Olympus Lifetime Education Award and in 2010 he and his wife were named Purpose Prize fellows. Gifford graduated with honors from Harvard University in 1965 with an honors degree in Economics, then completed his coursework for a Ph.D. in Neurophysiology at Johns Hopkins University.

Jill Bamburg

Co-Founder | Director of Curriculum Development

Jill is a co-founder who currently serves as core faculty after years as dean of academic affairs. Within the BGI founding team, Jill has always spearheaded the academic effort, serving as a member of the core faculty in addition to performing administrative duties. Prior to joining BGI in 2002, Jill served as a member of the core faculty at Antioch University/Seattle for seven years, teaching courses in marketing, strategy and general management. In her private industry career, she served in a variety of senior level marketing positions at Aldus Corporation, creators of PageMaker software and architects of the desktop publishing revolution. Prior to that, she spent 10 years in Wyoming working as a writer, editor and publisher of the Jackson Hole News and Guide and High Country News. In 2006, Berrett-Koehler published Jill’s book on the challenges of bringing mission-driven businesses to scale, Getting to Scale: Growing Your Business Without Selling Out. Jill has a B.A. in English from Washington University and an MBA from Stanford University.

Elizabeth “Libba” Pinchot


Libba has taught leadership development and intrapreneurship to senior executives in Fortune 100 companies for the last twenty years. She is a co-founder and the president of Pinchot & Co. She also has advised the executive directors and senior staff of numerous nonprofit organizations.  Libba co-authored The Intelligent Organization with Gifford, and has chaired the boards of a model progressive school and a start-up environmental education facility. She was the executive director of one of the first Headstart teacher training centers. She was a staff clinician in an outpatient setting, delivering psychological services to individuals, groups and families. Libba received a Master’s degree in Education from the University of Oregon, a second Master’s degree in Family and Organizational Systems from Goddard College, and a BA in philosophy from Stanford University. Libba plans to finish her PhD in Organizational Systems from Saybrook University by 2014.

Sherman Severin, Ph.D.


Sherman Severin, who passed away in November 2013, was a co-founder of BGI and the former chairman of Marylhurst University’s Graduate Department of Management. He was the author of In the Twinkle of an Eye – Corporate Extinction & Rebirth, a book about personal and corporate rebirth during downsizing. Sherman was a national keynote speaker on corporate change, management, generational work issues, and sustaining innovation in large corporations. As a principle management consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers, he specialized in creating alternative scenarios for business strategies and implementation. Sherman worked on energy deregulation and new environmental technologies. His business and entrepreneurial history includes: co-founder and former acting VP of business development, CTO at a national retail energy transaction exchange information clearinghouse, and president and CEO of United Epitaxial Technologies, an engineered materials company. He earned an MBA in Management Science from Iona College in New York state, and received his doctorate in Material Science & Solid State Physics from the University of Iowa.