Karin spent the last 20 years at Verizon in a variety of roles from HR to Sales, Call Centers and Training. She has traveled all around the country for the last 3 years, and during that time, she started a leadership blog that has touched an international community of leaders.
She has two boys, ages 8 and 19. Ben, her 19 year old is a Freshman in college, and is serving as her intern at Let’s Grow Leaders this summer.Mary: How did you start Let’s Grow Leaders?
Tell us your Once Upon a Time as a Parent Entrepreneur Story…
It was a gradual unfolding. When I started the blog 3 years ago, I didn’t think it would turn into a business.
I was working and traveling 70% of my work life, and one particular day was quite a “bad day”.
I was on the corporate jet traveling on this day, and asked myself, “What is it that I care most about my career?” and the answer was helping create great leaders. It wasn’t about selling cell phones.
We were experiencing great results at Verizon, and it was because great leaders were also helping create great leaders.
I realized that I was telling the same stories to help leaders grow, so I started writing down these stories that day, and continued writing them down throughout the weekend.
When I asked myself what I could do with these stories, I thought of a book, but thought it was too much work.
I started a blog, and was surprised with the tribe that was being developed around these leadership concepts.
It came to a point where I couldn’t sustain all the writing, communicating, career and motherhood.
I had to pick one. I listened to my heart, and my heart said, “Pick Let’s Grow Leaders.”Mary: Where was the tipping point that caused the choice to make the transition?
My family never let our lifestyle creep up to where my income was.
We stayed in the same house for many years, and saved all the excess. I would suggest people do exactly that if they can.
I would be very stressed right now with the costs of starting a business, and a website, and self publishing, but I feel I will get that back.
My boss thought I was crazy, but money was never the most important thing for me, anyway.
There was one “Aha” moment when I realized everything was going to be okay.
I was giving a Keynote Speaker for the International Customer Service Association, and the other Keynote speaker was in the audience, and he asked me, “So, when are you leaving Verizon?”
I was shocked, and he just said, “I can hear it in your voice.” If it was that obvious on the outside, it was time to go.Mary: Building a nest-egg before you start your entrepreneurial journey is wonderful, but if people just can’t do that, there are lots of free ways to do all the things you have done, it will just take longer, right?
Right! Absolutely! There are ways you can build momentum, so that you are stepping into a stream that is already moving. It still takes a lot of work, but at least you are stepping on a more sturdy platform.Mary: So your appearance on the overnight stage has really been building and worked on for the last three years.
I see so many people give up, and it’s about more than just quality.
When I asked myself why my message was taking so long to gain momentum, the answer I came to was, it just does!Mary: How does your 8 year old now relate to that?
He is so proud, that’s the first thing. He tells people that I’m famous, “You an google my mom.”
He wrote a guest post for my blog when he was in first grade.
He is always giving me suggestions on what to write about, and gets upset when I don’t take all of them, but I use lots of them.
He is now dubbed my Chief Marketing Officer.
My office and desk is big enough that when he comes home from school, he does his homework at my desk, so we can interact together.
We have a system that if there is a sign that I’m on a podcast like this, he knows he needs to be very quiet.Mary: Tell me how Let’s Grow Leaders, and your book and business.
I’m writing and speaking, and also doing consulting.
My consulting so that people on the front line – the one’s actually touching the customers – can develop leadership.
I have started just recently helping people develop leadership in their children.
The eBook will be made available FREE to the listeners of Parent Entrepreneur Power.
We also created a children’s picture book around the same topic.
We reference a post from Karin’s blog.
So many moms in the workplace downplay their motherhood.
The bosses I had that were moms were much better to work with than the ones who weren’t!
What is it about good mothers or good fathers that makes them good leaders?
- It takes a lot to shock them
- They know how to be in something for the long haul
- Being a parent makes you very good at juggling tasks
- We become very resourceful – science project due tomorrow, anyone?
- Parents must act like grown ups (most of the time)
Yes, I used Michael Hyatt’s book Platform.
The only part I ignored was the part about Twitter, and that was a big mistake!
I now have 45,000 Twitter followers, so I tried to catch up!
And, the most important part of the process was finding a coach or mentor. She put little challenges out for me to strive for, and knew the landscape, and was very good at guiding me.
Social Media has led to very strong relationships. So long as you are showing up in the community in the same way – giving value – you will find others willing to give value to you.
Make sure you have your own voice.