As an advisor and facilitator Liz Gray has helped launch, manage, and fix relationships between and within global and domestic corporations, partnerships, professional service firms, large and small non-profit organizations, regulatory agencies, and national and local governments. Much of this work includes intense focus on the intra-organizational dynamics—the internal negotiations—on which external success depends.
Illustrative clients have included IBM, Eastman Kodak, Itochu (Japan), Stanford University, the University of Auckland (New Zealand), Ericsson, Fonterra (New Zealand), Commerzbank, Deutche Bank (Frankfurt), the State of Florida, Reuters, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and the United States Navy. Each of these engagements involved various types of relationships, and often dealt with an array of issues—finance, operations, technology, the environment, regulatory matters, and relations with local stakeholders. Recent work has focused on corporations as they manage relationships with stakeholders in frontier or post-conflict environments, and on assisting the leaders of closely-held firms address succession and strategic plans.
Ms. Gray was founding President and CEO of Conflict Management, Inc., co-founded in 1984 with Harvard Law School Professor Roger Fisher, Director of the Harvard Negotiation Project and co-author of Getting to YES: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, the international best-selling book on negotiation. The firm focused on the process by which individuals and organizations deal with differences in complex settings. She also co-founded Conflict Management Group, a 501(c)(3) corporation focused on achieving practical progress in intense and protracted conflicts around the world. In 1999, Ms. Gray founded Alliance Management Partners LLC, a consulting firm that helped clients to optimize the value of complex technology-related alliances.
With several colleagues from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, she has assisted large clients with the development of scenarios and strategic plans, primarily focused on the Middle East and the Former Soviet Union. As a Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Strategy for Knowledge-Intensive Organizations at Wharton, she engaged in research and advisory work that assists corporations in enhancing their ability to work with local governments in emerging markets, developing countries, and post-conflict societies. As an independent consultant her work continues to focus on improving outcomes for decision-makers, corporations, non-profits, and their stakeholders.
Ms. Gray is also a poet and a translator of classical and contemporary Persian. Recent poetry collections include Salient (New Directions, 2020) and Series | India (Four Way Books, 2015). Recent translations include Let Us Believe in the Beginning of the Cold Season: Selected Poems of Forough Farrokhzad (New Directions, 2022) and Wine & Prayer: Eighty Ghazals from the Diwan of Hafiz (White Cloud Books, 2018).
Ms. Gray holds a B. A. with high honors from Radcliffe College, Harvard University and a J. D. with honors from Harvard Law School. She received her M. F. A. from Warren Wilson College’s Program for Writers in 2009. She also studied at the University of Aligarh, India; and at both the Imperial Iranian Academy of Philosophy in Tehran and the University of Isfahan, in Iran.
She served as Chair of the Board of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (New Haven, CT) and as Chair of The Beloit Poetry Journal Foundation (Portland, ME). She serves as Corporate Secretary and Director of Friends of Writers (Marshfield, VT) and of Kimbilio Fiction (St. Louis MO, supporting Black fiction writers); as an advisor to The Harvard Review; and as a Director of the Center for Human Rights and Democracy for Iran, a project of the Abdorrahman Boroumand Center (Washington, DC).