About Ad Lucem Group

Many high-performing organizations struggle to find clear focus and thereby miss the opportunity to fully engage their stakeholders and break through to new levels of thriving and innovation. Our mission is to help organizations move towards their clarity of purpose and focus (ad lucem is Latin for “to the light”). Ad Lucem Group helps organizations build a clear vision and path that generates desired results more quickly, effectively, authentically, and at a lower cost to the organization than traditional change methodologies by fully engaging organizational stakeholders. We leverage our expertise to create in days and weeks what most organizations struggle to achieve in years. 

Patrick Farran and Melissa Norcross founded Ad Lucem Group in 2017 to walk alongside purpose-driven organizations to equip them with the tools and help they need to achieve their goals by tapping into their full capabilities. Steeped in strategy and certified in the use of Appreciative Inquiry, our techniques have been used to enable start-ups and non-profit organizations through large global Fortune 100 companies to achieve unprecedented and sustainable results. 

Our Team

Patrick Farran, PhD, MBA
Co-founder and CEO

Patrick’s 25+ years as a senior organizational leader and consultant, with specialties in change management, systems/process improvement, culture transformation, and employee engagement, spans multiple industries (professional services, government, healthcare, education, non-profits, manufacturing, financial services, insurance, high-tech, and energy), and organizations from start-ups and non-profits, to mergers and acquisitions, to established global organizations and Fortune 100’s. Prior to founding Ad Lucem Group, Patrick served as Director of Consulting for the SAS Institute serving state and local government agencies, educational institutions, and health care organizations. In addition to his work with Ad Lucem Group, Patrick currently serves as Associate Director for Graduate Business Career Development within the University of Notre Dame where he teaches and mentors students in the consulting/strategy and entrepreneurship concentrations within the full-time MBA program and serves as a mentor to start-ups through Notre Dame’s IDEA Center as well as the 1871 and Workbox start-up communities in Chicago. Patrick holds a BS in Chemistry/Mathematics Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, an MBA from DePaul University, and a Ph.D. in Values-Driven Leadership, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Sustainability from Benedictine University’s Center for Values-Driven Leadership. Patrick researches and writes on topics of organizational change, culture transformation, work meaningfulness, and engagement. In his free time, he performs in community theatre and trains for his next triathlon.

Melissa Norcross, PhD, MBA
Co-founder and Chief Strategist

As a former Chief Strategy Officer and veteran operations and strategy consultant for firms including McKinsey & Company, Melissa’s work spans industries and the globe. Melissa has worked with organizations ranging from Fortune 100 companies to non-profits as well as private-equity funded turn-arounds. Melissa facilitates peer networks of senior executives in the digital and technology space through Collaborative Gain’s Councils. Melissa holds a BS in Engineering from MIT, an MBA from Harvard Business School, and a Ph.D. in Values-Driven Leadership, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Sustainability from Benedictine University’s Center for Values-Driven Leadership. Melissa researches and writes on topics of organizational change, team performance, and humility. A passionate nerd, Melissa is always up for new adventures and experiences.

Joel Farran, MS
Senior Strategy, Communications Advisor, and Community Investment Specialist

Prior to joining Ad Lucem Group, Joel’s 20+ year career in health care, community engagement, and board development work has included the roles of: Chief Brand Officer & Senior Vice President; Senior Vice President, Strategy and Corporate Relations; and Vice President, Chief of Staff to the CEO at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, & Texas. Joel has led numerous significant corporate planning, merger & acquisition execution and integration activities and community investment initiatives. He currently serves numerous community and not for profit organizations in various roles in the Chicago-area. Joel holds a BS in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a MS in Health Systems Management from Rush University, Chicago. In his spare time, Joel is a master soccer dad and novice, unknown screenwriter.

Salwa Rahim-Dillard, PhD, MS
Senior Diversity and Inclusion Advisor

Salwa Rahim-Dillard has 15+ years of experience designing and implementing transformative and business-relevant diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies that build inclusive leadership competence, increase engagement, enhance brand eminence, and improve employee performance. Salwa is the Founder and CEO of Equision Consulting, LLC where she designs and facilitates expert Diversity, Equity+Inclusion (Equision) consulting, coaching, and training interventions for organizations and leaders. She also serves as a Diversity and Inclusion leader at U.S. Cellular Corporation. She has also served as an adjunct professor at Governors State University; worked in Diverse Segments for Wells Fargo; and was the President and CEO of an award-winning mortgage brokerage that focused on fair lending for Blacks, Latinxs, veterans, and women. Salwa received her undergraduate degree at DePaul University, cum laude; completed executive education at Dartmouth; is certified by Prosci change management and the NeuroLeadership Institute in brain-based coaching; and an Intercultural Development Inventory Qualified Administrator. She graduated summa cum laude with a Masters in Human Performance & Training from Governors State University, earning the Distinguished Scholar Award. Salwa subsequently received her Ph.D. in Values-Driven Leadership from Benedictine University’s Center for Values-Driven Leadership completing her dissertation entitled “An Exploration of the Antecedents, Practices, and Outcomes of Inclusive Leadership in America’s Workplaces”.

Charley Orwig, MBA
Senior Strategy and Brand Marketing Advisor

Charley is a dynamic business leader and marketing executive with 20 years of experience driving business growth. He combines solid corporate and agency experience, creative aptitude and sharp market insight, B2B and B2C experience as well as expertise in diverse digital markets. Charley spent much of his career in Brand Management at Kraft, before taking on consulting and leadership roles in marketing and data science. Having consistently delivered accelerated revenue growth for many of the top consumer brands, Charley understands what it takes to drive organizational performance, and how to build teams that are capable of consistently delivering it. Charley holds a BS in Communication from Bradley University and an MBA from Benedictine University and holds certifications in Appreciative Inquiry and Ecommerce Analytics. Charley is a marketing instructor in Northwestern’s Kellogg Executive Education program and holds faculty positions at Lake Forest Graduate School of Management and Benedictine University, where he teaches courses in graduate and undergraduate marketing and communications. Charley resides in the Chicago area with his family. He is an active volunteer in his community, a youth basketball coach, and will happily hop on a bike any chance he gets.

Michelle Sanford
Executive Leadership Consultant

Michelle Sanford is a certified executive coach who has spent her career working with senior leaders and their teams to reach peak performance in both their professional and personal lives. With over 25 years of corporate experience, Michelle has held a variety of leadership roles and industries, working in sales, marketing, product development, operations and management. She built her operations and innovation expertise as an Innovation Analyst and an Operations Director before taking a role as the Director of Product Marketing. For the past two decades, Michelle has leveraged her organizational and management knowledge to help CEO’s and executives across the United States, to help them achieve maximum results and sustain life-changing behaviors. Michelle holds a BA in Individual and Organizational Leadership from DePaul University, is certified in career and education advising from CAEL & Indiana University, and is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach. Michelle is comfortable in the boardroom, the conference room or on the front line and brings a solid performance focus and a heart of compassion to every client interaction.

Elizabeth Shenk
Marketing & Communications Director

Liz has a thing for words. More specifically, Liz has a thing for words that simplify, educate, and inspire. After she graduated from Goshen College with a Bachelor’s Degree in communication and a minor in peace studies, Liz worked as an assistant editor at Grist, a nonprofit environmental news website based in Seattle. There, she gained a command for news and opinion writing, AP-style editing, and all-things social media. After her stint in journalism, Liz worked as a Writer and Media Coordinator at Eyedart Creative Studio, a marketing firm based in Goshen, Indiana, where she honed in on writing high-quality copy, conducting in-depth research, and creating focused social media strategies. Liz also co-founded The SST Stories Project, a story collection project for Goshen College alumni who have traveled abroad in study and service. As part of her commitment to helping others experience a sense of holistic wellness, Liz is also a certified yoga instructor and co-owner of Spacious Heart Yoga in Goshen, Indiana. Liz’s community work also extends to her service as Communication Director with Goshen’s Center for Healing & Hope.


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