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 our 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, we expanded to Los Angeles, experimenting with regional growth. That experience proved to us how challenging it would be to grow by regional markets. We then decided to grow by turning Junto into a virtual company delivering its education experience entirely online.

The New Model

As we were working on this transition, the pandemic hit, instantly turning our in-person sessions to virtual ones and accelerating our evolution to an online company. And when it became clear that the economy would remain uncertain indefinitely, we unbundled the flagship program to make it more accessible, flexible, and customizable for companies. This led to a new, and the current, business model of a subscription-based membership for growing companies. As this model was being executed, what we started hearing was how much of an impact Junto’s sessions were having on employee engagement and retention, as more companies were either going remote or hybrid.

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