Welcome to my Blog:

Insights on all things leadership, harnessing
the power of change, and living your truth

When I’m Most Free

When I’m Most Free

A few years ago, a friend of mine approached me with a bit of a dare. ”What if we flew to Anchorage, rented motorcycles, and rode and camped across Alaska for a couple of weeks?” She followed it up with, ”and don’t say ‘yes’ unless you really mean it!” I thought on it...

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Learning Agility and Embracing the Suck

Learning Agility and Embracing the Suck

  “Embracing the suck” is part of the path to mastering anything new says social scientist, Brene Brown. These days, my "new" is learning to write the stories of the amazing, courageous women I’ve interviewed for my book…I’m learning to be a storyteller,...

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Leading Wholeheartedly

Leading Wholeheartedly

A few weeks ago, I watched Biden and Harris take office and was especially struck by a comment in Biden’s inaugural address, “Take a measure of me and my heart. If you still disagree, so be it. That’s democracy. That’s America. The right to dissent peaceably within...

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Leadership Brand and Executive Presence in the Virtual Realm

Leadership Brand and Executive Presence in the Virtual Realm

Remember the days when we could physically gather for meetings, programs, and events at work? I find myself longing for it as we’re about to “lap ourselves,” approaching month #11 in the COVID era. Today, most of us are spending half or more of our time in a virtual...

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Welcome to the Neutral Zone

Welcome to the Neutral Zone

We’ve been waiting. Waiting for 2020 to end and 2021 to finally arrive. But the turn of the calendar didn’t solve our problems – in fact, not much feels different at all. If anything, it feels like a continued or even an increased sense of unknown, uncertainty, and...

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2021 Intention Setting

2021 Intention Setting

For my 2021 intention setting, I’ve picked this Amelia Earhart quote and two words as my guideposts: Immerse + Commit. I love variety – a lot of things, options, choices. If I were to describe my life as a buffet line, when I reach the end, my plate would be piled...

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Bearing Witness to Truth

Bearing Witness to Truth

When I began writing my book, I decided it would be informed not only by my own life experiences, but also those of many others. I put together a plan and timeline, began writing, and started the interviews. Nice, neat, and tidy, right? As soon as I got started, I...

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Authenticity: No crock

Authenticity: No crock

I listened to a podcast recently featuring Seth Godin and his latest book, The Practice, where he proclaimed, “authenticity is a crock. Authenticity is overrated. Authenticity is a trap. No one wants you to be authentic.” I’m a huge Seth Godin fan – I love his work...

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Setting a Place at the Table

Setting a Place at the Table

I got married a few weeks ago on October 10. As I fell asleep the night before, I meditated on an intention to be fully present on our wedding day. You know how weddings go – they’re chock full of endless tasks and details and a flurry of activity. I knew this was the...

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Seismic Shifts From the Tried-and-True

Seismic Shifts From the Tried-and-True

A few weeks ago, I began the practice of "morning pages" again, and I feel the shifting of my internal tectonic plates. For those unfamiliar with morning pages, the tool comes from Julia Cameron in her book, The Artist's Way, where she guides readers on a path to...

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Do The Work

Do The Work

Fear. Self-sabotage. Procrastination. Self-doubt. I'll bet you know some of these "characters" first-hand. I do. I know all of them...and then some, sometimes all at once! Right now, this is where I am. Earlier this year, I shared that I'm writing a book. It's a book...

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My Personal Motto: Act As If

My Personal Motto: Act As If

Years ago, while conducting research to start my business, I read the book, Birthing the Elephant by Karin Abarbanel and Bruce Freeman. In it, I came across a phrase that became a motto to me – "Act as if." Presented in the context of becoming an entrepreneur, Act As...

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Navigate Workplace Conflict eBook

Navigate Workplace Conflict eBook

I’ve noticed that so many conversations in the organizations I consult with revolve around conflict in one way or another. Whether it stems from unhealthy “competition” among peers, an ineffective management approach, or frustration from the bottom up, navigating...

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Challenges to Addressing Leadership Transition

Challenges to Addressing Leadership Transition

In 2011, the Meyer Foundation and CompassPoint Nonprofit Services produced a research report "Daring to Lead" that surveyed 3,000 nonprofit executive directors and revealed a forecast of significant impending workplace transitions, with 67% of executives reporting...

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Succession Planning: Conversation Avoided

Succession Planning: Conversation Avoided

Change – sometimes surprisingly fast change – remains the one constant we can count on. Despite this, many organizations fail to prepare for the most predictable change of all...the departure of their chief executive or other key leaders. Success in leadership...

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Leadership Transition and Organization Preparedness

Leadership Transition and Organization Preparedness

In 2011, the Meyer Foundation and CompassPoint Nonprofit Services produced a research report "Daring to Lead" that surveyed 3,000 nonprofit executive directors and revealed a forecast of significant impending workplace transitions, with 67% of executives reporting...

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Self-Awareness: An Often-Overlooked Leadership Competency

Self-Awareness: An Often-Overlooked Leadership Competency

Leaders often fall into the trap of thinking that working harder will get them ahead—and into that next leadership role. Hard work will only take you so far, though. The strongest leaders are self-aware and know how to use their strengths strategically in a way that...

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Managing Your Energy

Managing Your Energy

    I had the privilege this week of facilitating a program for leaders in eastern NC working to improve the overall health and wellness in their communities. These folks are so inspiring. The challenges they face are deep and complex and remind me of the...

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Evolving Your Leadership Brand

Evolving Your Leadership Brand

In my related blog post, The Brand of You, I introduced a framework around leadership brand, as well as a few tools and practices to help you think about and develop your leadership brand. To briefly recap – your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in...

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Developing Your Leadership Agenda

Developing Your Leadership Agenda

As a newly appointed executive leader, one of the most important priorities is to establish your leadership agenda for the first twelve months. Typically this follows the 90-day entry plan and outlines what you expect to accomplish at the conclusion of your first...

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The Brand of You: Your Unique Promise of Value

The Brand of You: Your Unique Promise of Value

Before we get into offering a few tools and practices to help you develop your leadership brand, let’s get clear on what we mean when we say “the brand of you.” Your personal brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room. It’s not what you say…it’s...

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Perspectives on Conflict with Your Boss

Perspectives on Conflict with Your Boss

  In my experience coaching executives transitioning into new leadership roles, they often express challenges in two particular areas: 1) a lack of alignment between the executive and his or her boss on goals and expectations, and 2) the reality of the role and...

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Courage to Leap From Fear to Freedom

Courage to Leap From Fear to Freedom

  This quote has always been a favorite of mine. And it’s taking on new meaning after going skydiving with a girlfriend and our sons. It was an exhilarating experience with many rich take-a-ways. Skydiving is something I've always been terrified of, but really...

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Bridge the Divide of Conflict with Direct Reports

Bridge the Divide of Conflict with Direct Reports

Much of my work focuses on organizations and leaders in transition. Often, individuals are transitioning from a member of an internal team to the leader of that team…or the entire organization. Many personalities reflect on their transition as significant and sweeping...

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A Process for Managing Peer Conflict

A Process for Managing Peer Conflict

Recently, I was engaged with a client that had undergone a merger. The transition was going reasonably well overall; however, the combined management teams were entangled in challenge and conflict as they attempted to bring together organization functions, structures,...

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Into the Storm: Mastering team conflict

Into the Storm: Mastering team conflict

As a sailor, when I see a storm building on the horizon, I intentionally alter my path to circumvent the system – tacking to port or starboard, or identifying a cove or marina to head into for safety…anything to escape the danger that lies ahead. In the business...

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Team Trust – Critical Yet Rare

Team Trust – Critical Yet Rare

The foundation of any highly functioning team is trust. While critically important, it can be rare among teams, and we all know it takes time and intentional practice to build. Trust is all about vulnerability – get comfortable being open, honest, and ‘exposed’ to one...

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When You Know Your Why

When You Know Your Why

I recently completed some forecasting and goal setting for my business. As I went through this process, I pulled from several resources that inspire and motivate me, a favorite of which is Simon Sinek’s “Start With WHY.” He expresses his message through what he calls...

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Limit Yourself to the Essential – In Life and Work

Limit Yourself to the Essential – In Life and Work

It topped 50 degrees last Sunday…almost enough to give me some early spring fever in January. I decided to curl up in my window seat, enjoy the warm sunshine, and savor a thought provoking read, “The Power of Less” by Leo Babauta. In keeping with his mantra, the book...

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Reflection

Reflection

  January lures me to a place of reflection of the prior year and intention and goal setting for the year ahead. It’s my way of honoring life events, learning from what I’ve experienced, and dreaming of what I most want. Over time, I’ve developed a some tools...

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The Power of One

The Power of One

I love this TedTalk, “Everyday Leadership” by Drew Dudley (http://www.ted.com/talks/drew_dudley_everyday_leadership). It really made me stop and think about the power one person can have on another, often when they don’t even realize it. Since watching the clip, I've...

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Practicing Gratitude

Practicing Gratitude

During a staff meeting one day, one of my employees passed out paper bags – the kind you packed your lunch in as a child. She sat a big box in the middle of the table and lifted the lid. Inside, it was filled with magic markers, crayons, and colored pencils. She...

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I Got This! Creating a life of choice, resonance, and flow

I Got This! Creating a life of choice, resonance, and flow

I spoke at an executive women’s conference recently where the program centered around the theme of  “Having it All.” Speakers and panelists offered perspectives on this topic that ranged from myth to miracle. Often, when I hear people talk about “having it all,” the...

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Envisioning Your Future

Envisioning Your Future

Some consider visioning to be a fluff exercise rather than an effective personal or business development strategy. After all, in both our personal and business lives, we spend the majority of our time working ‘in it’ rather than ‘on it.’ However, dedicating time to...

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Leadership Coaching – How do you know when you’re ready?

Leadership Coaching – How do you know when you’re ready?

Individuals come to coaching via different pathways and that path can make a big difference whether you meet it with openness or resistance, or a point somewhere in between. One thing for certain, to be successful, coaching cannot be forced. Your perception of...

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What to Expect from Leadership Coaching

What to Expect from Leadership Coaching

I believe deeply in the value and impact of coaching. Yet in my work, I’ve discovered that many people have never had a coaching relationship and aren’t quite sure what to expect. I would like to share more about leadership coaching, possibly dispel some myths, and...

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10 Ways to Build Resilience

10 Ways to Build Resilience

The American Psychological Association offers ten ways to develop and use a personal strategy for enhancing resilience. The key is to identify ways that are likely to work well for you as part of your own personal approach. I especially like #1. When I get stuck and...

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Building Your Resiliency Muscle

Building Your Resiliency Muscle

Our lives are filled with high levels of pressure and complexity. We’re faced with mounting responsibility, competing priorities, and multiple deadlines, from all areas of our life – work, family, and community. Some seem to manage it all with ease, exhibiting...

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Whole Life Balance – Creating Flow and Alignment

Whole Life Balance – Creating Flow and Alignment

I remember elementary school and “field day” each year in the late spring. I looked forward to it with great anticipation. We’d have team relay races – three-legged, potato sack, egg-and-spoon – and then the best event of all...tug of war. We’d grab the rope with our...

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6 Steps to Sharpen Your Focus and Launch Forward

6 Steps to Sharpen Your Focus and Launch Forward

I'm struggling with my ability to focus today. As in – 'there are so many priorities, and they all seem like they're #1.' Ever experience this challenge? When I find myself in this place, the best thing I can do is sort the priorities. If they're all #1, I find a way...

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Practice Productive Procrastination

Practice Productive Procrastination

I’m sitting on my back porch today enjoying lunch surrounded by what sounds like a tropical aviary – ahhh, the benefits of a home office. I brought with me some rich lunchtime reading material, “Steal Like an Artist” by Austin Kleon, one of my all-time favorite books....

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Paralyzed, But Alive and Wondering

Paralyzed, But Alive and Wondering

I have not been able to move – not one square inch – on my social media strategy. I have the most beautiful plan on paper…Really! You would be so impressed. But mostly, it just sits there. And because I’ve had this condition for quite some time, I’ve given a lot of...

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Act As If

Act As If

A few years ago while conducting research around starting my own business, I ran across a book I really enjoyed called "Birthing the Elephant" by Karin Abarbanel and Bruce Freeman. From it, came a favorite quote of mine: "Act as if." Presented in the context of being...

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Authenticity: Knowing Yourself and Letting Yourself be Seen

Authenticity: Knowing Yourself and Letting Yourself be Seen

Authenticity is not something we have or don’t have. It’s something we practice – a conscious choice each day of how we want to live, show up, and be real in who we are. It’s about letting our true selves be seen. And for me, it can feel resonant, exhilarating, and...

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Truing Your Leadership Competencies

Truing Your Leadership Competencies

In my latest blog post (“Leading with Compassion and Authenticity,” February 18) I wrote about a favorite leadership book, “Leading with Authenticity in Times of Transition” by Kerry Bunker and Michael Wakefield. As a continuation of that post, I want to share the...

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Leading with Compassion and Authenticity

Leading with Compassion and Authenticity

One of my favorite leadership books is “Leading with Authenticity in Times of Transition” by Kerry Bunker and Michael Wakefield. For a business world awash in leadership titles, this one is a particular jewel because of its focus on the complex human dynamics of...

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Nonprofits Must Prepare for Transitions

Nonprofits Must Prepare for Transitions

Study after study reinforces the impending turnover of top leadership in the nonprofit sector - and potential crisis as a result - with roughly 67 percent of executive directors and CEOs reporting that they plan to leave their jobs within the next five years,...

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Why I’m a Coach

Why I’m a Coach

I am a coach today because I’ve experienced coaching’s transformative power in my own life. Over my career, I’ve worked with several coaches. I’ve hired them for career and leadership related priorities, but every time the impact of the coaching has been much...

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Reflections from the Hammock

Reflections from the Hammock

Ok. Seriously. I'm laying in my back yard hammock for a few minutes this morning (yes, it's a work day...Friday). And, I can't deny that I'm feeling guilty for doing it. I have a mound of work to complete. But, I'm trying to practice what I preach with my "Do Less....

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Do Less. Achieve More.

Do Less. Achieve More.

There is a great myth that most of us will fall prey to at some point: if you do more, you will get more. Not always true. I don’t know about you, but I often get caught in the trap of pressing harder, faster, and with greater intensity to try and accomplish a task or...

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Shaking Your Negative Thoughts

Shaking Your Negative Thoughts

A Raven Reflection on a shared blog post from empowerlounge.com April 25, 2013 Do you have an inner voice full of negativity? Quietly nattering at you at every turn, asking you what business you have thinking you can make this successful? That you aren’t smart enough,...

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Embracing Change

Embracing Change

“There is nothing permanent except change.” – Heraclitus Change and transition are at the core of my consulting and coaching work with organizations and individuals. I find myself attracted to this constant movement of life. Even when things appear to be steady,...

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Expanding Time

Expanding Time

About a month ago, I started putting an appointment on my calendar each week called “Time to Think.” Don’t laugh. Stay with me for three minutes… When do you make time to just think? Devoting dedicated, uninterrupted time to think about your business strategy, debrief...

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Infusion of the Feminine Element in the American Workplace

Infusion of the Feminine Element in the American Workplace

“Nothing, arguably, is as important in the political economy of development as an adequate recognition of political, economic,and social participation, and leadership of women.” – Nobel Prize laureate economist Amartya Sen I just finished reading Why Women Should Rule...

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Visioning – create and take action

Visioning – create and take action

Some consider visioning to be a fluff exercise rather than an effective personal or business development strategy. After all – in both our personal and business lives – we spend the majority of our time working ‘in it,’ rather than ‘on it.’ However, dedicating time to...

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Stepping Stones to Discovery

Stepping Stones to Discovery

I'm pleased to be co-presenting a workshop with Liz Summers, my good friend, colleague, and President of Advancing Leadership Consulting. She is one of the most wicked smart and talented business women I've had the pleasure of knowing and working with – which makes...

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The Power of an Interim Executive Director

When a nonprofit organization experiences a leadership transition, hiring an interim executive director can be the most logical and positive action its board can take. Leadership change is an increasingly common aspect of nonprofit organizational life. Multiple...

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Journey with Intention

I had the pleasure last week of organizing and moderating a panel presentation to Greensboro’s Women’s Professional Forum: “Navigating Your Career with Intention: knowing when to make a change and having the courage to leap.” Michelle Clark, Laurelyn Dossett, and...

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Is There a Hole in Your Sidewalk?

Earlier this week, I attended the meeting of our local Triad Coaching Connection and the presenter offered this poem below entitled "Autobiography in Five Short Chapters" by Portia Nelson (from her book "There's a Hole in My Sidewalk"). I thought I would share it here...

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Acknowledgment

Acknowledgment

During a staff meeting one day, one of my employees passed out paper bags – the kind you packed your lunch in as a kid. She sat a big box in the middle of the table and lifted the lid. Inside, it was filled with magic markers, crayons, chalk, and colored pencils. She...

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Powerful Questions

Powerful Questions

I’ve been thinking a lot about powerful questions lately. And how the potency lies in their simplicity and delivery. In coaching, the power of a direct, concise, well-timed question evokes reflection and propels a client toward self-discovery and transformation. You...

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Leadership Genesis

Leadership Genesis

Do you recall your first formal leadership development experience? My first experience was in 2000 – I was sponsored by a local foundation to participate in the Leadership Development Program at the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL). I was 30, and I had been...

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What is Leadership

(A guest blog post by: Michael Wilkerson, Assistant Professor of Arts Management at American University. As posted on the American’s for the Arts ArtsBlog at http://blog.artsusa.org/2011/02/25/what-is-leadership-an-eals-blog/) Leadership. As someone who loves to...

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On the Market

A good friend and colleague once said to me, “You should always consider yourself ‘on the market.’” She offered this in the context of a conversation we were having about job searching, and the thoughts of beginning a search as if it’s an “event” – like a switch you...

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Shaping a New Venture: Play and Creative Exploration

Shaping a New Venture: Play and Creative Exploration

Have you ever dreamt of taking time off? I’m not talking about just a week’s vacation, but longer – a month, two months, six months, a year? What would it be like to wake up at your own pace, spend the day doing exactly as you please, and sleep like a baby through the...

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On Knowing When

On Knowing When

For years, I’ve observed athletes, politicians, corporate executives, and colleagues maneuver through their careers advancing, transitioning, or retiring. I’ve admired those who always seemed to know when to make a change, and I’ve often felt frustrated by those who...

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