Deborah Knupp has worked globally with CEOs, Managing Partners and Professionals (lawyers, accountants, wealth advisors, etc.) as a coach and business executive for 25 years. She has helped these leaders align their people and business objectives to create cultures based on the principles of accountability, integrity and authentic relationships. Her work focuses on making the work environment a place where the best employees want to work, where profitable clients want to buy, and where inspired leaders want to serve a bigger purpose in their communities.

In 2001, Deborah founded Akina, a national consulting, training and coaching firm that helps professionals rethink relationship building to increase sales and organizational effectiveness. Akina has spent the last decade as an industry leader in business development training and coaching for lawyers with over 150 law firm clients world-wide and having successfully trained and coached thousands of attorneys. Akina also serves insurance advisors, financial advisors, accountants and management consultants.

Prior to founding Akina, Deborah was a front-line sales and human resources executive with Alcan Packaging, Frito-Lay and Pearle Vision. Her diverse background ranges from general management of a $75MM business unit to facilitating strategic global leadership and culture change management initiatives.

Deborah is highly sought after international speaker in business development, relationship building, culture, and leadership having been a superior rated speaker for organizations that includes the Legal Marketing Association, Association of Accounting Marketing, National Conference of Bar Foundations, National Conference of Bar Presidents, American Bar Association, Chicago Bar Association, Association of Legal Administrators, The Coalitions for Women’s Initiatives in Law Firms, Empowering Women Network, Loyola University, IIT – Chicago Kent School of Law, Lex Mundi, Meritas, and USLaw.

Deborah graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with Senior Fellows Honors and a Bachelor of Science in Speech/Organizational Communication.  She regularly provides leadership and staff development on a pro bono basis for numerous non-profit organizations and is a committed thinker and partner to The Insight Labs ( in Chicago.

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