Introducing Executive Director – Denise Keyes

Denise Keyes is the new Executive Director for the Institute for Transformational Leadership. Denise brings extensive industry and academic leadership experience to her new role, as well as her own experience as a practicing coach and facilitator, and a grateful graduate of both Georgetown Certificate programs. She is honored to join ITL managing director Lynn Screen and the ITL program team, as well as the inspired founding director, Kate Ebner, the ITL program directors, and their faculty, and the ITL Network to work together to continue to strengthen and grow the Institute, and its global network of graduates–all in service to ITL’s mission. More to come about plans for the future in the months ahead.

Prior to her new role, Denise served as the Senior Associate Dean of Georgetown University’s Division of Professional Communications for over a decade. In this role she founded four masters programs, and the Center for Social Impact Communication (CSIC), which educates and inspires communications professionals to create positive social impact through their work.

She retains the role of Executive Director of CSIC, as well as ITL and will bring the lessons learned from this experience to her new role, particularly in the areas of strategic partnerships, thought leadership research and communications, fundraising, and branding.

Denise’s foundational knowledge and approach to leadership was developed through many years of collaborating across sectors, from big corporate brands and government agencies, to innovative nonprofits and large foundations. She has designed signature cause and CSR programs for Fortune 100 companies, developed award-winning social marketing and advertising campaigns, and crafted strategic corporate partnerships while serving in senior management roles in industry-leading agencies including Ogilvy & Mather, Cone, and Fleishman-Hillard in New York, London, and DC.

In addition to her role at Georgetown, Denise is a principal of–a strategy and leadership coaching firm. She is also a meditation teacher and incorporates this practice into her own life, as well as into her leadership coaching and training for graduate students and clients in mindful leadership.

Denise lives in Bethesda with her husband Bob, and their Aussie-doodle Dylan. She has two grown children Molly and Patrick.

Women’s Leadership in Action

This post shared from guest faculty members Kristin Haffert and Jessica Grounds on their inspiration behind Women’s Leadership in Action.  

We began to be exposed to the issue of gender imbalance when we were in college.  For Kristin, it was during her studies at Rutgers University where she learned that clinical trials for heart disease at the National Institutes of Health, only included men, even though heart disease is the leading killer of women.  And for Jessica, it was her junior year in college when she worked on her first political campaign in California for a woman running for the state assembly. She quickly understood the power of political office, but also the fact that few women represented the public in elected bodies throughout the country. In each instance we wondered, how is this lack of representation by women impacting the outcomes?

We were inspired to this work for different reasons and now after decades of experience working globally to advance women’s leadership and develop approaches to incorporate gender differences into business models, policy-making, and leadership strategy, we find that we are still stuck.

Women to continue to make up only 20% of U.S. Congress, 5% of Fortune 500 CEO’s, and just 38% of tenured professor positions.  We see the low representation of women in leadership as a near universal problem globally.  So why is this and what can we do?

Three years ago, we created Mine the Gap in a business climate where we continue to see that organizations do not understand the strategic advantage of bringing women into leadership roles with men. When men and women understand and respect each other more deeply in their professions, productivity flourishes and retention improves. When an organization works to build a gender inclusive environment, the organization is more innovative, nimble, and profitable.  More women leaders, working with men, open up new markets, perspectives, and approaches.  But most industries have a long way to go to put these strategies into practice.  There is a competitive advantage to advancing a culture where gender differences are seen as a benefit, not a liability.

Scientific American cover page explains, This is Not a Women’s Issue.  This is an issue that is disrupting the workplace today.  We are limiting the potential of our workforce.  We are underutilizing our talent and we are losing ground.  The potential is there if we are aware and strategic.

We are teaching a course at the Institute for Transformational Leadership, housed at Georgetown’s School of Continuing Studies, because we want to equip professionals with the knowledge base and skills to better understand the challenges that women face accessing places of power, and how we can be more intentional to grow women’s leadership.  We want to equip business leaders with the knowledge to become more gender aware and see the strategic advantage gender balanced teams offer. In the climate of #MeToo and #TimesUp, there is a rich conversation about issues impacting women and men. We will be sharing strategies that we use globally with our clients.

Come learn how you can mine the gender gap and become a trailblazer on gender dynamics in your field.

Learn more and register for Women’s Leadership in Action: Tools & Tactics to Transform the Workplace here. 

The Presence to Embrace Complexity

This article is based on an interview with ITL faculty Carolyn Coughlin (CC) and Bebe Hansen (BH) on the three-day Advanced Training: Coaching for Presence-Based® Leadership. 

What sparked the creation of Coaching for Presence-Based ®Leadership?

BH: Doug Silsbee has long been considered a thought leader in both mindfulness and presence in leadership coaching.  His latest (and last) book, Presence-Based Leadership was written specifically for leaders, and thus moved the Presence-Based® work into a new realm.  We have always trained leadership coaches, as Georgetown does, and the new book speaks directly to the challenges leaders face in today’s current fast paced and global organizational environments.  The training was a natural offspring of Doug’s work on the Presence-Based Leadership book.  The trainings served as a practice and evolutionary ground for the content in the book, and a lab to experiment with both coaches and leaders in a live workshop environment.  I have witnessed and been a part of this type of emergent learning in years of co-teaching the Presence-Based® Coaching training to our students. This work is continually evolving and changing, with many iterations and refinements along the way that hone the material and support the curriculum to grow and mature.  And, it’s fun and enlivening to learn this way!  We might say this method of experimentation supports a dynamism that continues to spark more creativity.

CC:  For many years, my colleagues and I at Cultivating Leadership have been helping prepare leaders for a complex world by teaching them about complexity, helping them to recognize it in their daily lives, and supporting them to work in ways that are more complexity-friendly. Most of our clients love the perspective shift and the new tools they get from our programs, our coaching, and our work with teams.  And yet, many of these same leaders–even those with more than enough organizational power and influence to buck cultural norms – tend to quickly revert to their tried and true approaches to leadership.  Through my somatic training, my many years of using adult development ideas and practices in my coaching, as well as training other coaches to do the same, coupled with my own personal experience, I had the sense that the missing link lay in finding a way of better integrating these into my work with clients who were seeking to lead well in complexity.

The fact is that, by our nature and our nurturing, we humans are not particularly fit for complexity.  Even when our brains have learned plenty of tools and approaches that are fit for complexity, our bodies and our identities remain fit for a predictable, controllable world. While our human tendency to predict, to know, and to be in control is extremely useful in the right conditions, they are seriously anti-helpful in the wrong ones. So it was this dissonance between knowing that our context demands a particular set of actions and ways of being one hand, and the lack of psychobiological fitness for such action and ways of being on the other, that Doug and I saw the opportunity for this workshop and the body of work upon which it is based.

What makes the Institute for Transformational Leadership at Georgetown the right place to offer this training? 

CC: Over the years, my colleagues and I have, through our Growth Edge Coaching Program, trained hundreds of coaches to use the theory and practice of Constructive Developmental Theory as an integrated part of their coaching practice. Many of them have been Georgetown Coach Certification Program alumni.  My experience with Georgetown alumni is that they have been exposed to and are deeply intrigued and informed by all three of the threads from which the tapestry of Presence-Based® Leadership is woven—Complexity Theory, Adult Development Theory, and the Presence-Based® approach.  Coaching for Presence-Based® Leadership provides an opportunity for Georgetown alumni to both deepen their understanding and application of these ideas to which they’ve already been exposed, and to use the deliberate weaving together of these, to support their clients (and themselves) in cultivating the complexity fitness they need to address the challenges of today’s world.  Put simply, ITL’s philosophy of educating the whole person is very much aligned with both the philosophy of Cultivating Leadership and Growth Edge Coaching, and particularly with the very heart of the Coaching for Presence-Based® Leadership offering.  I am also deeply committed to bringing the ideas and approaches of PBL to as many coaches and leaders as possible because, frankly, I think the world needs it.  ITL’s reach, attracting a broad and diverse range of coaches and leaders, is a great way to do that.

BH: I live in the DC area, and Doug and I have many colleagues in this region. We have taught the Presence-Based® Coaching work at universities, ICF conferences, and directly to leaders over the years, locally (as well as internationally).  Doug most recently taught as faculty of the ITL program, co-teaching a module on presence in the Executive Certificate in Transformational Leadership.  It seemed a natural fit to continue this work, now as Presence-Based® Leadership, as part of the ITL offer.  The work is a good fit for the mission and feel of ITL, and of course, we are excited to be a part of its excellence and impact for those in this region and beyond.

How do participants respond to this approach?

BH: Coaches find many useful new perspectives and tools that enable them to support clients who are navigating the current territory of turbulence and disruption.  The view of complexity theory and practice offers a new way to understand the context of our current reality.  This view of complexity is woven into the new Nine Panes model described in the book and operationalized in the training. Doug’s collaboration with Carolyn Coughlin, and in particular around the complexity piece, has been a valuable addition to the framing of this work. This training material is accessible and inherently developmental in nature, with very practical applications.  The new Nine Panes model is quite profound, with many layers to dive into for more information, understanding and practice ideas. Participants respond with enthusiasm and leave the training excited about new experiments to try in their own coaching practice with clients.

CC:  Having just completed a running of this workshop on the cliffs overlooking the Tasman Sea in New Zealand, I am more convinced than ever that this work is not only immediately accessible and useful and also transformational.  Participants bring their most pressing challenges and use the workshop’s simple, elegant ideas and practices to help them make sense of their challenges and themselves in new ways.  Because the workshop is designed create the conditions for participants to cultivate the very things the theory suggests will be helpful to their clients as they face complexity, participants report they come out of it feeling they are not only more able to support their clients to be more fit for complexity, but that they themselves are more fit as well.  I’m already hearing reports of last week’s participants trying things out in their real lives. What could be better feedback than that?

How might my coaching change as a result of attending this program?

CC: Because this program blends together the three overlapping but complementary threads of Adult Development, Complexity Theory, and Presence-Based® approaches, every participant is likely to walk away with both a deepening of your current practice and an expansion of it into related but different areas.  Depending on your starting point, you may find one or another of these threads is more novel to your current practice, and you will walk away with a more integrated and holistic approach to supporting your clients.  In addition to integrating these three theoretical threads, the program takes an integrated approach to complexity itself—inviting participants to engage with the full range of both their environment and themselves.  It would be difficult to leave this workshop and not have your coaching changed in some way.

BH: For experienced coaches, this approach brings a breath of fresh air to coaching best-practices. The program is highly experiential and includes the whole person.  The program offers participants an opportunity to understand the new models and frameworks by trying on the material in the present moment of the classroom, with their own challenges as the context.  This method includes the body, mind and heart of the coach in the learning, and allows space for the practitioner to glean their own personal and professional insights and shifts from the material.  This translates into the coach’s capacity to offer a more integrative view and experience to their clients. This methodology aligns with our principle that we must do our own work before we can offer new and congruent coaching moves successfully to our clients.  And in the process, we cultivate our own presence as a coach, which adds a depth and resilience to our coaching moves.

Click here to learn more about the Coaching for Presence-Based® Leadership training at Georgetown’s Institute for Transformational Leadership. 

Coaching to Health and Wellness

On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate yourself in terms of your health and well being?  Is this where you want to be?  If no, why not?  What’s getting in the way of you achieving your optimal health?  Could it be lack of knowledge?  Or is it something else?

Most of us know cognitively how to live a healthy life, but we are not putting this knowledge into action.  Knowing better does not always equal doing better.  This gap between knowing and doing is the expansive territory of a health and wellness coach.   In this space, coaches focus on the often invisible barriers  and take the hands of clients to support and guide them towards their goals.

In the Health and Wellness Coaching program within Georgetown’s Institute for Transformational Leadership Health and Wellness coaches are trained on fundamental coaching competencies in the context of health and wellness.  From  nutritional challenges, stress/anxiety, and sleep disturbances to smoking cessation, chronic disease, and physical activity, the context of Health and Wellness is broad.  Health and Wellness Coaches partner with clients to compassionately support and provide accountability to the goals clients set for themselves.  Coaches help clients see what they are missing and better understand what is getting in the way of success.

“Health & Wellness Coaching is the change agent that shifts the culture and delivery of healthcare from dependency to empowerment.”
–International Consortium of Health and Wellness Coaching

Health and Wellness coaching is all about creating change in the most important area of your life.

To learn more about Georgetown’s Health and Wellness Coaching program. click here. 

Graduates Ignite ITL Network

On October 5, 2018, Graduates of Georgetown’s Institute for Transformational Leadership (ITL) officially launched the ITL Network.

The mission of the ITL Network is to create connections and foster continued learning and growth among all members of the global ITL graduate community, to support their professional journeys as they extend ITL’s mission of transformational change.

The virtual community-building and learning event showcased a variety of talent from across the graduate community drawing from ITL’s seven certificate programs.  Kate Ebner, Chris Wahl, Frank Ball, Rae Ringel, Amanda Blake, Jackie Bsharah and Fasika Tafera  delivered both Inspiration and thought leadership.

“We were absolutely thrilled with the warm reception we received from the more than 300 graduates of ITL certificate programs who registered for inaugural virtual conference of the ITL Network, Innovations in Transformational Leadership.  The feedback from our participants confirmed how excited our Community is about the future of our ITL Network. We look forward to continuing to serve our members with programs that support professional growth and development and enable ongoing connection with our Community.” Sharon Krohn-Kick-off Event Chair

“As part of the team that’s putting together the technology platform for the new Network, we are imagining all of the different ways in which we might foster a greater sense of community across the population of graduates and faculty of ALL of ITL’s certificate programs is both a bit daunting and extremely exciting.  The developers of the platform that we’re using seem to have anticipated everything that our imaginations serve up (plus many things that we hadn’t dreamed of attempting), and it’s so much fun working with the inspiring and selfless folks who have come together to form our technology team.  I’ve been learning every day, and can’t wait until the community can begin taking advantage of all that is possible.” Steve Heller, Technology Committee Chair.
Congratulations to the ITL Network board led by co-presidents Deiadre Rauch and Pamela Potts and the kick-off event volunteers.