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Julie Smendzuik-O'Brien


  • Community Faculty


  • Doctor of Philosophy, Human and Organizational Systems
    Fielding Graduate University
  • Master of Arts in Human Development, Human Development
    Fielding Graduate Universitiy
  • Master of Public Administration, Public Administration
    University Of South Dakota
  • Bachelor of Arts, Religion/Religious Studies
    Michigan State University

Recent and upcoming courses

Spring 2023

Fall 2023


Julie Smendzuik-O’Brien is a scholar-practitioner who served for over 25 years in professional, mid-level, and senior-level management positions in the agriculture, natural resources, and higher education agencies of Minnesota state government. An innovator, she created two internal organization development and change consulting programs in these agencies, and directed many other change efforts in policy development, organizational improvement, organization behavior, and strategic planning. She served shorter terms as an external consultant to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC, and with the state of Michigan.

Smendzuik-O’Brien mixes passion for organizational improvement with a commitment to sustainability and social justice. She was a founding member of a nonprofit association focused on sustainability of the U.S. food and farm system that has continued for more than 30 years. In addition to past service on several non-profit boards and church councils, she is a current board member of the North Woods and Waters of the St. Croix Heritage Area, an effort to gain Congressional designation for the 8,000 square mile region spanning eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin as one of national significance to the history of the United States.

Between 2013–2022 she served in three different positions on the board of the Organization Development and Change Division of the Academy of Management. She is a member of the American Society for Public Administration, the Organization Development Network, International Leadership Association, and International Society of Sustainability Professionals. She also serves on the President's Sustainability Advisory Council at Fielding Graduate University where she is a Fellow of the Institute for Social Innovation. She is a reviewer for the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science. In late 2022, her chapter, titled, "Moral Moorings: Reflections for Public Service Leaders," was published in Driving Social Innovation: How Unexpected Leadership is Transforming Society, published by Fielding University Press. She represents community faculty on two councils of Metro State University.