Gwen, Inc. is positioning for the next phase of its growth as a company. Central to this growth is the addition of a talented team of consulting partners who will work with me to sustain our hallmark services and develop new programs to serve targeted groups of leaders. This month I introduce Kathy Adams, who will be our Senior Organization Development Consultant. I recently had a conversation with Kathy about her leadership philosophy on the topic of “who are you being in the midst of doing?” The following is a summary of that conversation.
Gwen: During this pandemic, what are some qualities you see in leaders that are necessary?
Kathy: I think leadership is a blend of being and doing. The tasks of leadership are situational, but the essence of a leader is in who they are. Do they tell the truth? Do they act with integrity? Inevitably, in times of crisis, we think about leaders and what we expect from them. Great leaders shine a light on the present and sweep that light toward the future. Even when we are gripped with uncertainty, leaders show a picture of possibility, hope and how to get to a better future.
Gwen: What are your thoughts regarding what we are learning as we navigate our present circumstances?
Kathy: The pandemic triggered dramatic changes that happened virtually overnight. The consequences of those changes require a leadership response. And, in that leadership response is a choice…does the leader attempt to revert to the “old normal”, or does she invite a different and better choice about shaping the future? In this current situation, we are learning some pretty amazing things about ourselves and our ability to pivot in the moment. And if quickly shutting down non-essential human activity is possible, I wonder… what else is possible? What thinking can we shift? Can we rebuild better? Through the dark night, I see the green shoots of the human spirit, so I know we can aim for better.
Gwen: Share some of your thoughts about other possibilities and what we can do to rebuild better.
Kathy: Leadership plays a big part in what happens in our everyday lives, and in the rebuilding effort; each of us is a leader. It is a matter of where we plant our feet, our hearts, and our intentions. It is also a matter of how we address the inequities that are showing up in this crisis. Will we rise to this challenge? Who are we being in the midst of the doing of rebuilding?
Gwen: What actions should leaders take now to understand who they are being in the midst of doing?
Kathy: I believe the arc of history bends toward progress. We can join the actions of those who choose to help; and in helping, we shape the future. If we collectively plant our feet among the shoots of hope and aim at greater prosperity for all, we will build a new reality that is more inclusive and equitable. Being and doing toward a better place.
Gwen: Tell me about your choice to join the Gwen, Inc. team.
Kathy: The Gwen, Inc. leadership model that is expressed in four powerful words—Confidence, Competence, Courage and Calm—seems right for our time. Leadership is about doing and being, and those four words sum it up for me. I am planting my feet with this great team of women committed to supporting the leaders that will build a better tomorrow.
Gwen: How does the 4 C’s of leadership resonate with your desire and passion to empower other women leaders to succeed?
Kathy: The 4 C’s represent a comprehensive model of how women leaders can shape their development and it’s a key part of my life’s work to support women leaders. Notice that 3 of the 4 factors are about “being”—how women show up in the leadership role. Competence is essential—”table stakes”, as they say—but what people respond to is the character of a leader as exemplified in her confidence, courage and calm.
Gwen: What helped to shape your leadership perspective? Do you have some recommended reading?
Kathy: That’s a “be careful what you ask for” question. I love books on leadership and have a lot of favorites. Here are three:
Kathryn (Kathy) Adams, is the lead Organization Development Consultant with Gwen, Inc. Kathy is a systems thinker with wide ranging interests and skills, including strategic planning, change management, communications and dialogue, individual and team coaching, leadership, equity and inclusion. She seeks ways to facilitate communication, enhance critical thinking and connect with all of our clients, current and future. Design thinking is her go-to mode for creating client experiences and her favorite vacation is a learning adventure somewhere interesting with time out for sailing with husband Chris.
- BA, English Education, University at Albany
- MS, Communications (all but thesis), Ithaca College
- MA, Organization Management & Development, Fielding Graduate University
- Multiple certifications for sales training, leadership development, groupware, information design and others. Currently pursuing certification in coaching and team coaching.