Dr. Roger Birkman is born in the tiny town of Mercedes, Texas where his father had taken his young family to serve as pastor of a German Lutheran church on the border of Texas and Mexico.
As a B-17 pilot, and later on instructor, for the U.S. Air Force in WWII, Dr. Birkman is shot down piloting a plane over Belgium. He escapes Nazi forces and returns to the U.S. to embark on a pursuit to understand human behavior. Driven by his war-time experiences where individual differences in visual and interpersonal perceptions had a visible impact on pilot performance and learning, Dr. Birkman completes his Master’s Degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology at the University of Houston.
Dr. Birkman innovates the “Test of Social Comprehension,” now known as The Birkman Method. He launches Birkman & Associates (now known as Birkman International, Inc.) to spread his unique methodology of assessing personality and social perceptions as a tool for real-world improvements through positive psychology.
Dr. Birkman completes his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Texas Austin. The Birkman Method leads the way as the first computerized personality information on an IBM 1401 mainframe. In 1965, Dr. Birkman meets Dr. Roy B. Mefferd, a talented statistician and pioneer in the space between psychology and physiology. Together, they establish new levels of prediction and accuracy with The Birkman Method and develop factor analysis to add a career dimension to the assessment. Mefferd serves as Birkman’s lead researcher, continuing a partnership into the 1990s.
Birkman moves to an IBM 4300 Group 1 mainframe to increase the volume and speed of scoring. By the mid-1970s, Birkman migrates to computer punch cards and tape, allowing for higher volumes of assessment processing and faster scoring. Around this time, another researcher joins the organization. Tim Sadler, Ph.D., a student of Mefferd’s, contributes significant product development, research, and leadership until the early 2000s.
The 80s and 90s bring further scientific and technical evolutions to Birkman made possible by the use of PCs in the early 1980s and software in the 1990s. Implementing the Birkman Telecommunication system mainframe enables more immediate reporting results for consultants and clients, empowering Birkman and Associates to expand globally and become Birkman International in 1994.
Birkman Direct migrates to a web-based system for online assessment collection and reporting, improving the customer experience and business value for organizations implementing Birkman to optimize human capital.
In 2002, after 50 years as President and CEO, Dr. Roger Birkman appoints his elder daughter, Sharon Birkman Fink, as President and CEO to continue his vision.
Birkman is named a “Best and Brightest Company to Work For” nationally, for five straight years, and locally, for six years, taking us to 2019. This acknowledgment exemplifies the founding values of Dr. Birkman’s vision to empower people and performance through better self-awareness and social intelligence, starting with internal employees.
In 2016, the Birkman Signature Report is released, creating a more holistic understanding of mindset and personality. Birkman Signature becomes the company’s central product of in-depth personality data that can tackle all levels of organizational needs ranging from executive coaching & strategy, team dynamics, stress management, and more. The Signature Report also becomes the framework for Birkman Certifications, a three-day class designed to provide hands-on practice using Birkman reports and understanding the depth of human behavior as it applies to business today.
2016 was also the launch of Birkman Perspectives Scales, now delivered via the Birkman Mindset Workshop, eLearning, and report. Birkman Mindset uncovers the deeply-rooted set of attitudes that impact everything we do. This report is a revolutionary product for leaders and executives looking to understand new ways of thinking and confront the pros and cons of their own filtered reality. Understand the ‘why’ behind the behaviors and personalities we interact with in the workplace to become more effective.
In 2018, Birkman is recognized as a Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) Certified women-owned business. WBENC is the largest certifier of women-owned businesses in the U.S. and a leading advocate for women business owners and entrepreneurs.
2019 marks the launch of Birkman’s High-Performing Teams: Building the Foundation workshop, developed to help teams better align and collaborate more effectively in agile environments. The product helps teams create awareness and action plans to take performance to the next level using the core pillars: Purpose, Clarity, and Psychological Safety.
Rise To Lead is a leadership workshop and program series that imparts leadership abilities to professionals throughout all stages of their careers. Every workshop stresses the significance of leadership that is essential to excel at that organizational level. In addition, the experience provides a comprehensive structure with both the abilities employees need to increase awareness and take action, leading to improved results today and in the future.
September marks the 70-year anniversary of the launch of The Birkman Method. “To celebrate 70 years is a dream,” Sharon Birkman exclaims. “I owe it all to the growth and success of our customers and staff, who have expanded Birkman International globally in 24 languages.” Sharon has led the organization to new levels, including the launch of the Birkman Signature Report, the Birkman Mindset report, High-Performing Teams: Building the Foundation workshop, and the Rise To Lead leadership program series.
Keeping the dream alive…
As a second generation Birkman, Sharon Birkman builds on 16+ years of service at Birkman International, continuing her role as CEO to provide leadership and vision for the business while spreading the message of human empowerment through positive psychology as a leading public figure in the business and nonprofit sectors.
Today, driven by the growth and success of Birkman customers, our company continues to expand our global impact and live out Dr. Birkman’s dream to empower individuals, teams, leaders, and communities worldwide.