Using the lenses, practices and tools of productive conflict management, economics and business operations, Tessendorf Consulting empowers leaders and managers to discover and take steps to make themselves and their organizations more resilient and socially impactful.  Tessendorf Consulting enables these leaders and managers to make informed decisions by drawing on the areas of conflict management, governance and executive leadership, and social business and housing development.

Personal and Professional Vision Statement

For over three decades, I have been called to join with others to build positive and enduring outcomes.  It started with applying conflict resolution techniques to build safety, human rights and new local structures in South Africa in the late 1980s through the mid-1990s.  This then took on an international flavor as I worked with a tapestry of non-profit, community-based and coalitional organizations in Haiti, Sierra Leone, Mozambique and the USA.  These initiatives addressed housing, health, education and the arts, as well as the organizations which made these possible.   

Building is an inherent part of my family story.  Those who have gone before me have practiced yeoman service as they built families, houses and businesses.  Building homes with Habitat for Humanity is not just a metaphor for building organizations and healthy community.  It has also equipped me with a deepening spiritual awareness and with leadership opportunities and insights to grow organizations, both as an Executive Director and as a consultant to others. 

The continent of Africa was where I was born, raised and educated.  It has helped to shape me and I realize with each passing day how its wisdom continues to inform my worldview and actions.  The wisdom about governance and leadership that emerged during South Africa’s struggle to overcome apartheid and institutionalize democratic values and practices is a gift to the world.  I see it as my duty to honor those who made that gift possible by sharing it with the organizations and leaders that I am called to work with.      

Today I believe that building strong, local organizations is key if we are to create meaning to overcome the growing sense of alienation and rage that surrounds us; improve our fellow citizens’ quality of life; shorten our supply chains; address historical inequalities and, model democracy in action.  I believe that institutions matter, but that they need to be nimble and responsive to changing conditions if they are to remain relevant and be viewed as being “too essential to fail”.   

Enduring institutions, be they families, businesses, non-profits, congregations, or government bodies, embrace conflict to grow and serve others.  All-too-often, leaders and organizations adopt a passive-aggressive approach towards conflict management.  Conflict management requires leaders who call conflict “… my old friend” whom “I’ve come to see … again.”  These leaders embrace conflict and model how it is managed in all of the settings that they participate in.   

Enduring peace means “Peace with justice” and that we move to peace building.  This requires us to address the lack of social and economic opportunities that plague many communities in the United States and around the world.  Addressing these opportunities requires not only innovative ideas, but durable, local businesses and organizations which strengthen the local economic and social fabric, create inclusive opportunities and which produce, and are led by, effective leaders.    

Over the past 25 years, I have aspired to, and been a part of, the executive team at several organizations.  But now it is time to pass the baton while continuing the race so that I can have even greater impact on organizations beyond those I am affiliated with.  I view my evolving role as that of one who passes the materials to the organizations’ builders.   

I know the joy and the loneliness that come with being an Executive Director and a Board President.  I have been fortunate to celebrate good times along with failure, professional disappointments and organizational challenges.  So now I want to share those experiences with leaders and support them as they grow personally, professionally and organizationally into all that their Creator intended for them.      

Harold Tessendorf

Macon, GA

July 18th 2020


Harold Tessendorf has mediated and facilitated enduring outcomes since 1989. He is an experienced negotiator, mediator and executive-level leader with a demonstrated history of working in the non-profit and social enterprise sectors in South Africa, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Haiti and the USA.   This includes two decades leading Habitat for Humanity affiliates in Georgia and well as serving on the boards of established and start-up nonprofits. 

Harold acquired extensive negotiation, mediation and facilitation experience during South Africa’s democratic transition from apartheid to democracy during the late-1980s through mid-1990s.  In addition to his graduate studies in conflict management and community economic development, Harold has been trained by the Harvard Negotiating Project and Mennonite conflict management experts. These experiences and training have been augmented by ongoing conflict management work in Haiti, Sierra Leone and the USA. His three decades of working experience have equipped him with skills in Nonprofit Management, Housing Finance, Board Governance, Strategic Planning, Community Economic Development, Micro-finance, Volunteer Management, Team Building, and Fundraising. 

Continue reading “About”

Governance and Executive Coaching Services

Resilient leaders know that their organizations’ responses to local and global crises begin with how they, as leaders, choose to respond. This resilience begins with how they are governed and how well they have institutionalized and practiced their governing and operational policies.

Tessendorf Consulting provides customized training and consulting to Boards and Executive leaders of social enterprises and non-profits in the areas of

  • Strategic Planning
  • Orientation to Board service and Executive management.
  • Succession Planning and Transitions
  • Essential building blocks of a successful enterprise and non-profit.

In addition, and working in close association with Aligned Influence ®, with its revolutionary intellectual and service framework, the Tessendorf Consulting works with Boards of Directors and Executive Leaders of maturing enterprises and non-profits to reach their full potential by offering a series of customized and specific services.  These include:

  • Facilitating alignment between Board of Directors and Executive Leaders
  • Coaching Executive Leaders and Board Presidents in the Aligned Influence (R) model.

Notable Accomplishments:

  • Implementing the Aligned Influence(R) model at two Habitat for Humanity affiliates – USA
  • Co-designing and facilitating 20 strategic planning sessions for local, national and international organizations – South Africa, Sierra Leone, Mozambique and the USA
  • Serving on the founding Boards of three start-ups – USA
  • Coaching non-profit Executives and Social Entrepreneurs.

Negotiation and Mediation Services

Drawing from experience, graduate studies, and hands-on training from the world-renowned Harvard Negotiating Project and Mennonite trainers, Tessendorf Consulting allows individuals and organizations to understand the conflicts they find themselves in, and to consider, plan and implement less costly ways to manage or even resolve those conflicts. 

We have extensive experience  mediating community and civil disputes as well as in negotiating complex business, community and non-profit transactions in the United States, South Africa, Haiti, Sierra Leone and Mozambique.  Examples of these disputes include congregational, community/police relations, political events, local government services and elections, housing and educational conflicts as well as civil disputes. 

Tessendorf Consulting can be called on to provide the following customized services to help parties to better manage or resolve their conflicts: 

  • Negotiation Training and Coaching
  • Mediation Training
  • Mediation (in person and online)
  • Building Community Conflict Management models
  • Facilitating Community Dialogues and Planning sessions.
  • Presenting about Conflict Management at Conferences, Workshops and through Webinars.

Notable Accomplishments:

  • Creating a conflict management system for the Port Elizabeth Taxi Industry – South Africa
  • Co-founding the Middle Georgia Community Mediation Center – USA
  • Creating conflict management training materials – South Africa, Haiti and the USA
  • Organizing 16 multi-party local peace committees in the Eastern Province – South Africa.
  • Delivering negotiation and mediation training in South Africa, Haiti and the USA.
Continue reading “Negotiation and Mediation Services”

Social Business/Enterprise Development Services

Harold Tessendorf, coaching

Tessendorf Consulting has 3 decades of experience starting, growing and supporting micro-enterprises and social businesses in rural and urban communities in Sierra Leone, Mozambique and the United States of America.   We use the insights we have gained to provide aspiring and existing entrepreneurs and businesses, lenders and funders with customized services in the the following areas:

  • Executive Leadership and Team Coaching
  • Social Enterprise Structure and Operations
  • Financing Social Enterprise
  • Facilitating Strategic and Tactical Planning
  • Business Plan Development
  • Evaluating Business Operations
  • Converting existing businesses to social enterprises
  • Individual and team training.

Notable Accomplishments:

  • Establishing and Expanding 3 ReStores – USA
  • Creating viable grain banks in the Lichinga Province of Mozambique.
  • Right-sizing a faith-based and -owned training and convention center – Mozambique
  • Underwriting urban entrepreneurs – Sierra Leone
  • Streamlining loan processes for lenders – South Africa and the USA
  • Training and managing 20 full-time staff and 1,000 volunteers (South Africa), 60 full-time staff (Mozambique) and 27 staff and 2,000 volunteers (USA).