A Tribute and Transition for IFSI CEO Jon Schwartz

IFS News
Tribute and Transition for IFSI CEO Jon Schwartz

I hope you are staying safe and sane as we enter the 6th month of this COVID crisis. I’m writing today to thank my brother Jon for his years of devoted service as CEO of IFSI. As some of you may know we are currently engaged in a search for a new CEO, and before that transition I want to be sure to share with the community all the important ways Jon impacted this organization.  

When I started the Center for Self Leadership in 2000, which is now the IFS Institute, IFS was in its infancy as a movement but I had a vision of its potential and wanted to create a solid platform from which it could grow and also we could ensure that during that growth, the quality and integrity of the model was maintained. I am thrilled to say that we have come quite far toward reaching that potential. Despite running an increased number of training programs per year in the US and around the world, we continue to face the “problem” of overwhelming demand that we struggle to meet. 

Because of COVID, we have moved all these trainings online and, according to the feedback from students, that transition has been remarkably successful in terms of quality of training experience. We have also dramatically expanded our other online offerings, some at little or no cost, so that IFS is available to anyone with internet access throughout the world. 

We would not have come nearly this far had my brother Jon not joined as CEO 12 years ago. He came with many of the organizational skills I lack and created the policies and programs that make IFSI a lean organization with high integrity and fiscal discipline. Jon will be transitioning to a new role as a consultant to IFSI before the end of the year and we are actively searching for a successor. I don’t have space here to mention all of his contributions but I will list a few. For each of these he not only implemented the innovation but had a huge role in envisioning it. 

  • IFS Certification
  • IFS Level 2 Programming
  • Organizational Training Program
  • Scholarship Program
  • Online Training Programs
  • Online Circle and Continuity Programs
  • The Foundation for Self Leadership launch 
  • Co-authored the book ‘There’s a Part of Me…’ for the lay audience

In addition, and perhaps most significantly, Jon has challenged me and all of us at IFSI to make diversity, inclusion, equity, and access to IFS Services as our highest priority. As Jon likes to remind us, “IFS will attain its inherent aspirations only when our community reflects the world’s diversity and makes ‘all parts welcome’ truthful and fully realized. 

I hope you each have a chance to thank Jon at some point for his tireless service and for creating the platform from which IFS can continue to thrive. 

With love, 



Dear IFS Community, 

As Dick shared 2020 will be my last year at IFSI as CEO. It’s been an amazing journey and a pleasure to serve the IFS model and community. It’s been an honor to work with the incredible team at IFSI, who work very hard on your behalf and whose contributions are too seldom acknowledged and celebrated. Of this lean, tight knit, and hard working group of 14 employees, 6 have either come on board around the same time as I, or were there before me. As you can imagine, we’ve become a bit of a family and I will miss working with them very much. 

I wish to acknowledge my brother Dick Schwartz who hired me back in 2008. Dick and I have had quite a run over these 12 years. I’m proud of the success of IFS in the psychotherapy realm and beyond, and the benevolent impact Dick’s creation has had for hundreds of thousands of people around the world. In my lifetime I’ve never known anyone more dedicated to their purpose than Dick Schwartz. With Dick, the line between “personal” and “professional” is non-existent, in the sense that he does everything through the lens of IFS, with an eye on how IFS can play a healing role in all human interactions, both internal and external.  

I recall once asking Dick if he ever plans to retire. He looked at me as though I’d just spoken a language he didn’t understand. The concept of retirement made no sense to him whatsoever. Dick is on this IFS journey and for him there’s no jumping off this train. 

I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the full load Dick has carried and many hats he’s worn throughout the journey. Dick create the IFS model. He led the development of IFS training. He developed IFS therapy, from 1985 to the present day. Dick has been the primary ambassador of IFS since its creation some 35 or so years ago. But wait, there’s more: Dick still feels responsible to lead the evolution of IFS and to be the primary voice and face of the model, and it’s principle navigator. That’s a heavy load which commands our appreciation. 

There’s a scene in the TV show “The Office” where Michael Scott, the main character, receives a touching sendoff song from his co-workers upon his leaving after 17 years. The chorus goes something like this: 

“9,986,000 minutes 

We actually sat down and did the math. 

9,986,000 minutes 

That’s how many minutes you worked here.” 

With all due respect to Michael Scott, Dick has probably tripled that amount of time thinking about IFS, clinically caring for people through IFS, presenting about IFS, writing about IFS, training and mentoring and teaching people in IFS, worrying about IFS, and celebrating the success of IFS. 

So thanks Dick for the opportunity to contribute. My parting wish for you? As you look forward on this IFS train ride, you can—and should—empower others to take turns as conductors and engineers. Your work has attracted many talented, hardworking people with terrific leadership assets and integrity. Allowing them that space in leadership will be the best move you’ve made in bringing your vision of IFS to fruition. It’s ok just to ride on the train sometimes. 

For my remaining few months, until Dick and the IFSI CEO hiring committee have completed their work hiring my successor, I will do all I can to “set the table” for a smooth transition and to position IFSI for continued smooth operations, growth, and success. 

So happy trailheads and train tracks everyone. My best wishes to you.