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An Award for Wise Feminine Leadership

May 10, 2012

I must admit. Many of my clients are my “favorite” – they inspire me to no end. I learn from them every day we work together. Over the past 3 years I’ve been privileged to work with Deb Hubsmith the founder and Director of the Safe Routes to Schools National Partnership as she tripled the size of her budget, staff, and the range of her work. Please join me in congratulating Deb, and The Safe Routes to Schools National Partnership, for receiving the Game Changer Award from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention this week.

Deb is passionate and strategic, smart and visionary, intuitive and precise on details, scrappy and wise. With an interactive leadership style Deb builds consensus up front and all along the way, shares power and information to avert a crisis before it happens. She is comfortable with ambiguity, watching issues unfold, ready to respond when the time is right. She keeps her focus on what matters, while scanning with broad spectrum vision. She pays attention to the texture of the workplace as she develops and inspires her nationally based staff.  A communicator – her verbal agility and capacity to read subtle cues mean that she moves teams and causes through obstacles that seem insurmountable. A wise feminine leader!

Why is “safe routes” a critical issue? Think thriving self-reliant kids riding bikes and walking to school instead of being dependent on their parents to drive. Think liveable communities, less pollution, decreased obesity, and the kind of future we want to pass on to our children.

Deb Hubsmith, Director of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, first started her game changing efforts 15 years ago by working to improve bicycle and pedestrian routes to schools in Marin County, California. As awareness of childhood obesity grew, she took her local successes, passion and pioneering spirit to the national level and worked with Congress to create the federal Safe Routes to School program which is now established within the Departments of Transportation of all 50 states. More than 5 million children and 12,000 schools are already benefiting from more pedestrian and bicycle pathways as well as education programs.

Through her tireless efforts, Deb and The Safe Routes to Schools National Partnership ignited a national movement to make streets safer for kids to walk and bicycle to school and in daily life. Deb, her staff, and their more than 500 organizational partners, continue to show how Safe Routes to School can be a catalyst for bringing about system-wide built environment changes that increase physical activity and safety, building a healthier future for children and everyone.

Throughout developing a strategic plan that included input from almost a thousand stakeholders, evolving staffing structures, learning new leadership skills, strengthening teams, and strategic responses to complex changes, Deb is one of those clients motivated to make changes in herself and her organization. She turns on a dime when shown a better way to do something and is always ready to learn along with her talented Staff Director Team.

Thank you Deb for your fine work and dedication. It’s an honor to work with you.


Learn more about the Safe Routes to School National Partnership and Deb Hubsmith at &

“The capabilities that made leaders successful in the past are unlikely to lead to success in the future. Leaders need to embrace new behaviors – but to do this they must first understand how the world has changed and how old ways can lead to business and personal obsolescence!” Annie McKee, Founder of  Teleosleadership;  Co-Author “Primal Leadership, “Resonant Leadership”

Business Coaching: Increasing Income Flow

May 7, 2012

Are you looking for a way to generate a little or a lot more income? Most everyone I coach is asking for new ideas in this domain. First question I ask them – how much do you want to bring in? How much is minimum? How much do you really need to thrive? If you don’t know this, you limit your ability to earn.

Increasing income is not like rolling off a log. Setting the right target and then consistently generating income takes something! First it takes inner confidence – claiming your self as a competent, strong, businesswoman. (easy, right? ) Second it takes agreements – with your business partners or spouse. Finally, lots of focused action while you stay in flow. Let your wise feminine power guide you for more ease and less effort.

Setting an income target:

Set your target so that it is interesting enough to get you up in the morning but not so big that you can’t see yourself achieving it. Set it somewhere in between easy/predictable and blue sky wishes. Be sure to ask your significant others for their input.

Here’s one of our favorite coaching exercises for you – schedule some time in your calendar to answer these questions. This is the place to begin increasing your income stream.

1. What is your goal for your total gross income for one year? (Gross is everything that comes into your business checking account before expenses). If you don’t know how to start setting a total – add up how many jobs you’d like to do based on your time and see how much income that would be.

2. What is your goal for average monthly gross income? (Divide by 12 to get your monthly average, based on your yearly goal.) It’s good to know if it’s an average of $500 or $5,000/month that you are aiming for!

3. What is your income goal for each season? Since photography work can be seasonal, set a goal for each quarter so that you end up with your desired yearly total. What is your goal for:

  • Q1 January – March
  • Q2 April – June
  • Q3 July – September
  • Q4 October – December

Once it’s defined? Act in consistent flow: Approach it like a game that you are out to play and win. If you know that you played the income generation game 100%, you will stand tall no matter what the result. If you set a $5000 target and you ended up with $4500 – how sad will you be?

Meeting your income target is all about placing it in the center of your attention. When my kids were little, I really looked at them each morning. When I noticed a runny nose or red eyes I acted immediately to keep them healthy. “Yes, you do need to wear a hat today and drink your OJ!”

The same is true of your income stream. Stay on top of it. When you lovingly assess the health and vitality of your income you’ll know the next step and the next. That’s the road to more income. Take the steps. Each day. Make the call. Send the email. Take the plunge. Enjoy the swim!

Love the little girl in you: Do you feel unsure or uncomfortable? Too small to do this? Do you stop yourself before you even set a goal cause you worry you’ll fall short? Do you feel embarrassed about asking for what you are worth so you ask for so little that they don’t trust that you know what you are doing?  Does it feel like you stop yourself before you really get some momentum going?

When that happens to any of us we lose focus and income streams dry up! Of course it does! When we shrink, when we feel 6 instead of 36, we are not very compelling to prospective clients. Where is our creativity? Inner confidence? Our passion and commitment?  Ability to move for ourselves?

Money is all about the flow of your creative ideas put into action. Engage your creativity! Find your core passion and follow it up with practical step–by-step daily actions to generate a generous stream of money.  This kind of momentum will feel so good! 🙂

It’s time to ignite the flame of your inner fires and create the kind of income stream that makes you smile, a contented, right-sized smile.  Remember, people are waiting for your fine work!

Because I love seeing small business people succeed I’ve developed the Business Boost Seminar where you learn to place yourself and your business in the right level of business growth with just the right activities to boost you to the next level. The next one starts Thursday, 6/21.

Abundance in the Face of Aggression?

April 25, 2012

When faced with an aggressive negotiation do you shift into protection or more connection? Does the pie get smaller or bigger? Can you access a fundamental trust in abundance at those moments?

Lenedra Carroll, businesswoman, Jewel’s mom, and author of  The Architecture of All Abundance: Seven Foundations to Prosperity, embraces her feminine wisdom and power in the face of aggressive negotiations and unsettling moments of not knowing. Each step of the way taking responsibility for creating the life and work that matches her core values.

It’s not always an easy journey. Through barriers most of us would find insurmountable, she builds success in the material world, in relationship with her famous daughter singer/songwriter Jewel, and with her vital inner self. She is willing to ask the tough questions, confront preconceived notions about corporate mentalities and aggressive business, and personal accountability.

While not the best written book – the writing is informal and moves along. Our Feminine Wisdom Book Club ended up reading this for an additional month as we enjoyed good conversations about how it applied to our lives and work.

3 questions we used to stimulate conversation:

1. Where do you naturally know and live abundance?

2. Where do you feel restricted in or abandon your trust in abundance?

3. How does this affect the choices you make?

I anticipate this book will be a favorite, becoming dog-eared over the years as I dive back into the simple wisdom, stillness, and invitation to be. Amazon Book Review – let me know what you think! (Plus, I love votes… 🙂

If you too realize that you have a responsibility to humankind and have made a commitment to develop your own leadership – you’ll find here the kind of knowledge of the soul required to grapple with the vast changes underway in the world today. (BTW – Savvy Leadership Strategies for Women: Top Experts Share How To Take the Lead and Achieve is another great resource.)

Am I willing to step into aggressive situations with a fundamental trust in abundance? It’s a practice – day by day. How about you?
Warmest regards,



Upcoming Radio Show – Next Octave Leadership: Discover the Gifts and Natural Authority of Feminine Power

April 20, 2012
Karen Wilhelm Buckley

ImageUpcoming Radio Interview on The AWE Factor – Advancing Women Everywhere: Leading the New Economy

April 24, 2012, 7:00am PT/10:00am ET     Hosted by Carole Sacino

In this interview I share some just developed insights that really make a difference.

Like many of us, you may sense that the world is changing and that you, your team or organization has a bigger role to play.

A woman leader who becomes a Next Octave Leader values and utilizes the gifts and natural authority of feminine wisdom and power. With increased self-assurance she leverages her unique strengths and talents to be powerfully effective.

In this show I’ll share the top 7 ways a woman’s vision and values are critical in business. Through stories of women around the world, you will learn 4 steps to stabilize your WiseCore in any situation and succeed throughout the uncertainties of change.

What holds women back? Research shows doubt, lack of confidence. How do we get past these internal glass ceilings?

I’ll tell you about other women who incorporate feminine wisdom, even in tough work environments, to develop a leadership, organization and life full of courage, focus, and confidence.



Women Matter – Who knew?

April 19, 2012

Jennifer KennyToday Guest blogger Jennifer Kenny provocatively challenges assumptions about a national women’s initiative. She asks great questions. Do you agree with her answers?

Since 2007 one of the world’s leading business strategy consulting firms had led an initiative called ‘Women Matter’.  This initiative is focused on conducting research about gender diversity in top management and corporate performance. While I am absolutely certain that this initiative has the very best intentions, ‘Women Matter’ is a very sad as a way of looking at this issue.

How would men feel if the world’s leading business strategy consulting firm had a research initiative called ‘Men Matter’! The whole concept is utterly ridiculous and completely the wrong common sense for a starting point.

This initiative is actually led by women! These women appear very sincere and authentic – but they seem to have no ability to see how trapped they are in the pervasive common sense, the unspoken, unobserved frame of all reference from which we operate, interpret the world, learn, and engage with each other and with our customers.

This common sense is what I call the ‘Me Too’ common sense. It is women appearing to want to be the same as men. I for one do not want to be the same as any man I know – much as I love you all. Nor do I want to do or work or produce the same as men. I don’t want the world to be just faster, bigger, richer because I join men and be the same as men.

For men the ‘Me Too’ shows up as women wanting to be the same as them, join the same clubs, have the same things, compete for the same jobs and resources, and be the same.

We need to educate both men and women to recognize that the world will be better – a lot better – for all of us when we are able to listen to each other; when men matter as much as women do and when women matter as much as men do. When we are both able to really appreciate what the other brings then the world will be more fun, more balanced, happier for all of us.

That is the promise of equality – not similarity – because we are not the same. Women don’t want what man have, what men have accomplished without us. They don’t want the C suite – it is simply not worth it- it is too disconnected from what women really value. Women don’t value hierarchy; winner takes all, besting others, bigger, faster, ‘better’. Women value, relationship, fairness, equality, sharing, happiness.

And now let me take that beyond ‘women’ to say that people value wisdom beyond all – and they don’t care where that wisdom comes from. They value wisdom that will make life more than just about survival, competition, war and work, wisdom that will make life about fun, creativity, possibility, joy, appreciation, sharing, peace – this wisdom can come from both men and women.

I think that it is time to turn all this – ‘Me Too’ – gender diversity on its head – and talk about leveraging women and men in the world, at work and at play, for the good of humanity.

Jennifer Kenny is Interim CIO of SRI International. Jennifer has an extensive background in management consulting, change initiation and the design of business processes and systems strategies for Fortune 500 companies, including starting her own consulting firm BizThink in 2007.

What are you questioning in your own life? Are you willing to take the risk?

Karen and

3 Questions: Get Unstuck and Catalyze New Thoughts

April 19, 2012

Karen BuckleyWhen I get stuck, I use questions to catalyze new thoughts. Here are 3 of my Favorites:

1. What 3 things do you know know about yourself  (what you want, don’t want, and are interested in) that you did not know 6 months ago?

For instance I didn’t know that I love Goji berries (my new go to snack straight from the Himalayas) and I didn’t know the new definition of wisdom I just wrote and loved in my book draft.

2. What are two elements of your biggest boldest vision for your life in 5 years?

My biggest, boldest (told no one else yet) vision is that I’ve published multiple award-winning books. This is BOLD as I’ve published ebooks and been included in books but not a full hard cover book of my own – yet!

3. What is one self-limitation that you are ready to let go of? (could be a thought pattern, a way you behave, an agreement you’ve made with yourself that no longer fits)

I’m ready to let go of my comparative mind – the voice in me that says that’s less than mine, she’s more than me, etc. Done!

How about you? What can you discover when you spend a few minutes answering these?

Asking new questions can mean you get unstuck, reduce stress, and think new thoughts as you unlock your wisdom. Try applying these to work, home, and inner life.

How do they help you to develop your leadership? The more you know about yourself, the more access you have to your fullest expression of personal power.



Because I love seeing small business people succeed I’ve developed the Business Boost Seminar where you learn to place yourself and your business in the right level of business growth with just the right activities to boost you to the next level. The next one starts Thursday, 6/21.

Leadership Changes Emerge in Third Act of Life

April 16, 2012

Bev Scott

Guest blogger Bev Scott speaks to my own experience in today’s blog. Author, consultant, and seminar leader, Bev confronted fears of failure as she lost her old sense of self and then found many unexpected treasures in the third act of her life.

In the midst of my mid-life career, what I call my second act, I felt driven to work hard, lead my team to meet our performance goals, contribute as a leader in my profession and serve in leadership roles in my community.  My concept of leadership at that time involved participation, involvement, taking responsibility, speaking up and aligning my actions with my values.  As the first or only woman in many situations, I learned the delicate balance of addressing the unconscious affronts for women common then in mostly male organizations, as I also attempted to establish my credibility.   My leadership in those settings was often simply being present, listening, integrating ideas, facilitating discussions or interpreting what others were trying to say.  I avoided competition, confrontation and actions that would be interpreted as aggressive.  I came home exhausted often feeling that I had failed because of that avoidance—was that approach too feminine?

Yet, as time progressed, I did establish my credibility and others began to rely on my results oriented, get it done commitment, my initiative and my insight.  I realized that my leadership was a balance of the feminine intuition, presence, listening and facilitating with a goal directed commitment to get results which is often seen as a masculine approach.   I felt rewarded and recognized in this androgynous leadership in both my paid work and in my professional and community volunteer work.  However, when I retired from my career and my professional volunteer work, I felt in many ways that I was leaving “leadership” behind.  I no longer led a team, consulted with clients, or chaired the board of a professional organization.  I needed to explore who I was in this new stage of my life, which I refer to as my third act.  (I transferred my professional skills and experience to found a program of coaching and workshops called The 3rd Act.)

This new stage of life has been an inner journey not to dissimilar to my explorations of my identity earlier in my second act career.  I have come to realize that some of those exhausting days of feeling failure were trying because I was not only creating a career for myself and other women who would follow but it was also depleting because I was exploring who I wanted to be in those settings….finding acceptance externally and authenticity internally.

In my third act, I am much less concerned with finding external acceptance.  I am very focused on being present authentically, trusting my intuition, sharing my experience and perspective (when appropriate), and finding ways to contribute that engage my passion such as through my volunteer and my 3rd act work.  But, it took me awhile to get to this place of wisdom and peace.  At first, I wondered, “who am I, if I am not a consultant?” “What does it mean not to have a professional identity?”  Achievement has always been important to me, so I also asked, “What does success and achievement look like at this stage?”

I had to find comfort with a new sense of self, to recognize that I didn’t have to demonstrate my worth and to accept performance goals and achievement no longer mattered.  Achievement has become much more of a self-assessment of how I am doing at those activities that I have chosen because I want to do them.  And my leadership is not about what I do, but about who I am as I serve as a role model, elder, mentor and crone.

Joseph Campbell offered this perspective, “The call rings up the curtain, always on a mystery of transformation.  The familiar life horizon has been outgrown; the old concepts, ideals and emotional patterns no longer fit; the time for passing the threshold is at hand.”

Be sure to check out The 3rd Act workshop for women ready to launch the third part of their lives as well as Bev’s extensive experience in consulting and excellent book co-authored with my colleague Kim Barnes  “Consulting on the Inside: A practical guide for internal consultants.”

Blessings on your journey,

Karen and