Our Story

The origin and recent story of The Junto Institute.

Our Founding

The Junto Institute was founded in 2012 by Raman Chadha, who merged a long career in startups and education, a deep understanding of entrepreneurial psychology, and a growing passion for leadership and emotional intelligence. Later that year, Catherine Jelinek joined as co-founder, bringing operational experience with incubator programs and an appreciation for humanity’s place in business. Together, they launched Junto’s flagship program in early 2013 with five courageous companies who bought into their mission of helping leaders become infinitely better, smarter, and healthier.

Original Model

That program was designed to help founders become more effective leaders, build greater team alignment, and accelerate their learning curve. It ran 9-12 months and included four parts: Leadership Forums, Mentor Teams, Tutoring Roundtables, and Classes. When companies graduated, they became Alumni and had access to ongoing and custom solutions. Simultaneously, Mentors who taught the Classes and served on Mentor Teams became the foundation of the growing Junto community, which itself became a powerful benefit for the companies.

Growth & Expansion

After its first two years, Junto’s graduates demonstrated significant personal and business growth, validating the original model. The program was held exclusively in-person in Chicago, Illinois, and over time, supplemented with an annual retreat and special leadership events. In 2018, Junto expanded to Los Angeles, experimenting with regional growth. That experience proved to the Junto team how challenging it would be to grow by regional markets. A decision was then made to grow by turning Junto into a virtual company delivering its education experience entirely online.

2020 & The New Model

As the team was working on this transition, the pandemic hit, instantly turning Junto’s in-person sessions to virtual ones and accelerating its evolution into an online company. Furthermore, once it was clear that the economy would remain uncertain for an indefinite period, the Junto team decided to unbundle its flagship program to make it more accessible, flexible, and customizable for companies. This ultimately led to a new, and its current, business model of a professional development and personal growth membership network, doing business entirely online, and serving bootstrap-minded companies and leaders throughout North America.

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