About Linchpin

Linchpin Learning was started by Carnegie Mellon University professors Ed Barr and Chris Labash, who teach graduate-level courses in written and oral communications (as well as courses in strategy, marketing, and innovation).  Using techniques developed for quickly teaching graduate students high-value skills, and based on over 20 years' business experience and practical communications research, Linchpin's courses help participants hone their messages, structure their content, write more clearly, speak more effectively, and contribute more value - by getting more things done - in their organizations. And, in addition to our regular courses and workshops, Linchpin's unique CrisisLab puts executives on the spot in a crisis simulation that demands immediate, intelligent, and effective communication when the business is in crisis.
Ed Barr

Ed Barr has over 25 years' experience in education, communications, marketing, and fund-raising. He brings the value of a sharp real-world focus to Carnegie Mellon students and Linchpin's clients. His deep experience in health care and media production includes doing everything from managing large corporate communications departments to effectively writing multi-million dollar grant proposals to managing capital campaigns.

Before co-founding Linchpin, Ed:

  • Served as Vice President of Marketing for Allegheny University Medical Practices, a large group medical practice;
  • Served as Director of Corporate Communications of the Pittsburgh Mercy Health System, one of the largest regional health systems;
  • Was Director of Corporate Communications for TPC Communications, a for-profit television production company;
  • Was Director of Human Resource Development for the Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission, a six-county, central Pennsylvania economic development agency.
  • Was a football coach and wrestling coach.

Ed teaches graduate-level communications, strategy, marketing and entrepreneurship in Carnegie Mellon University's Heinz College.

More about Ed...

e-mail Ed


More information



Chris Labash

Chris Labash brings over 20 years of business experience to his Carnegie Mellon students and Linchpin's clients. His deep background spans advertising, branding, communications, education, management consulting, marketing, and strategy development, which means he understands the needs of organizational communication not simply from an academic perspective but from a decidedly real-world point-of-view.

Before co-founding Linchpin, Chris:

  • Co-founded TheBrandingGroup, a brand development consultancy that laid the brand groundwork for such clients as CombineNet, FreeMarkets (now Ariba), PNC Mezzanine Capital, PNC Equity Partners and WQED Multimedia.
  • Served as Vice President of Global Marketing for Development Dimensions International, one of the world's premier training and organizational development companies.
  • Was Executive Vice President, Executive Creative Director at Ketchum Advertising, one of the largest and most respected advertising agencies in the world.
  • Was a skydiver, a lumberjack, and a radio dj.

Chris has worked with over 100 clients in almost every industry, including Blue Cross, Cognos, Digital Equipment Corporation (now part of HP), Heinz, Mellon Financial Corporation, Nabisco, Victoria's Secret, and Westinghouse.

Chris teaches graduate-level communications, strategy, innovation and entrepreneurship in Carnegie Mellon University's Heinz College.

More about Chris...

e-mail Chris