An Interview with Jenny

So, Jenny, tell me: how did you become a speaker and a leadership coach? How long have you been doing this?

I’m so glad you asked! My story starts when I became principal of a K-5 school at 26. Though I had all the outer markers of success (think: a doctorate in education and teaching awards), nothing could have prepared me for that position. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful for it but the reality was that I was constantly overwhelmed with problems like upset parents and angry colleagues–normal problems for a job like that. Because every day was filled with struggle and exhaustion trying to meet the demands of the job, I got depressed and frustrated. I went into the profession to make a difference and I was getting stomped on everyday. I didn’t have a dream team around me (Carl Jung’s version). 

After five years of this, I pivoted to a consultancy role. I primarily helped Title I schools implement Social Emotional Learning (SEL) strategies to achieve results like huge achievement gains, higher attendance rates, and lower disciplinary rates. I also helped corporations like Target and Lifetouch Pictures achieve similar results–I taught their training and development teams Emotional Intelligence (EQ) strategies to better retain top talent. I did this for two decades…and then burnout caught up with me. 

Because here’s the thing…changing positions didn’t stop me from overworking and running around the world while also raising three kids. In 2017, breast cancer stopped me in my tracks. A rough time followed–but, fighting and beating cancer woke me up to the fact that I couldn’t just keep living the way I had been. I had to fiercely prioritize my own health and my boundaries. I also started prioritizing my gratitude practice, which helped me find my way out of some bleak days.

I am now a fierce believer that leaders can excel at their positions in a way that allows them to take care of their own well-being too. I set leadership teams up for success by teaching them data-based SEL and EQ strategies so that they can make the difference they went into their careers for MINUS all the struggle, exhaustion, and burnout. (This means we work on boundaries, margin in your day, asking for what you need, and not settling for mediocre, conditional friendships and relationships. We really dig into the narratives you tell yourself and your mindset, and get you a new fresh start on life, which feels absolutely amazing.)

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What is leadership coaching and why might I be interested in it?

Working with me is really about getting clear on what you want in your life (whether that’s excelling at work or in your well-being, or both) and then finding efficient, easy-to-action strategies that’ll bring you what you want. It’s about developing efficient strategies that help you stay in control even as you become bombarded with emails and tasks on your to-do list. 

I know it sounds simple but it’s so important. Because what my cancer and survival taught me was that we live like we have all this time but the reality is that we don’t know what’s coming next. Working a job you dread all the time, feeling like you’re dysfunctional with colleagues who don’t understand balance and self-care–it really isn’t worth it. I’ve been in your shoes and I can show you how to navigate these difficulties so that you have more control in your life. 

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Jenny on KARE 11
Jenny on KARE 11
Jenny on KARE 11

Who are your clients exactly?

I work with clients just like you who are really good at what they do, but have never been taught how to manage the overwhelm of their jobs and take care of themselves. That said, the professions I’ve worked with run the whole gamut.

  • My work with districts and corporations include:
  • USA Kansas, United School Administrators of Kansas
  • TASSP, Austin TX School Administrators
  • Cypress Fairbanks ISD, Houston, TX
  • ASCD, state and national level leaders
  • Rotary Foundation, Orono, Minnesota
  • John Hancock Charter School
  • AMES Academy for Math, Science and Engineering
  • Mississippi Superintendent’s Conference
  • UAE, Utah’s leader for educators wellness
  • Tennessee Principals Association
  • The Orono Foundation Leadership Team
  • AASA School Administrator Magazine Staff
  • MMA Marsh McLennan Agency
  • Harvest Moon Food Co-Op Leadership and Board Members
  • Target (Training and Development)
  • Lifetouch Pictures (Training and Development)
  • Woodridge Church Staff Development
  • Grace Church Eden Prairie, MN

I’ve also worked with fine folks in these roles:

  • Principals
  • District leaders
  • Superintendents
  • School librarians
  • Classroom teachers
  • Students at every grade level
  • Corporate executives
  • Corporate teams
  • Healthcare professionals
  • Church staff

That’s good to know. Can I ask, how are you different from other speakers and leadership coaches?

As a speaker, I believe that implementation is key. I stopped being a drive-by keynote speaker and workshop leader a long time ago. When I speak with your group, I’ll give you strategies you can implement right away and take with you for the rest of the year. I also know that implementation takes time, and over time, I’ll be there to assist you as you work towards the results you seek.

I’m also not a “traditional” speaker in that I don’t let you sit on your bum all the time while I drone on (no “death by PowerPoint” from me). My talks, keynotes, and speeches are interactive–you’ll be connecting with colleagues, exploring your space (if in person), and getting some relevant, powerful exercises incorporated into your session.

Additionally, I fiercely believe in my audience. I fiercely believe in your potential to both have a great career and take care of yourself.

As a coach, the same standards apply–my workshops are geared towards implementation and they’re interactive. And again, I’ll fiercely believe in you and support you as you work towards your goals.

Great! So what type of personality do you work best with and what is expected of me?

I work best with folks who are experts at what they do. They’re leaders at their school or their company and they’re either looking for an extra edge to make things more efficient or they may have fallen off the wagon and need a path to get back to their most excellent self.

This means that–though they are undeniably busy–they’re ready to carve out the time to work with me and they come with an open mind. They understand that they need to try new things to have things go differently at work and in their lives. 

For what type of professional is this program NOT going to work?

Again, if you’re anything like how I was pre-burnout, I’m guessing you’re short on time. However, for you to get the most results out of our work together, it is absolutely crucial that you’re open to at least 3-4 hours to get the information I have to share with you. Truly, it’s about scheduling in time with me. I know you have a lot going on–but you need to be willing to carve out the time and show up for our work together.

If you’re not willing to invest the time, I suggest signing up for my guide “Going Deeper with Gratitude,” which gives you ten ways to start incorporating gratitude into your life to combat burnout. Sign up at my website here.

What exactly is included in your packages?

My speaking packages range from events and retreats over a few days to deep dive into your needs–to one hour workshops to give your team a quick dose of SEL and EQ for you to implement immediately. 

My coaching packages for leadership teams include regular sessions over at least three months where we’ll dive into strategies that’ll help you work more efficiently as a team and take better care of yourselves. (This isn’t your usual lofty “wellness” info though, it’s simple ways to combat hurry, exhaustion, and burnout.) This also includes individualized consultations and a limited number of emergency calls to help you navigate the curve balls between sessions. 

That sounds great, but…does this really work?

Yes! The result of our work together is easy-to-implement strategies to help you navigate your professional job so that you can take better care of yourself overall. Implemented consistently, these strategies will help you excel professionally and give you time to enjoy your life. 

See client testimonials here and feel free to reach out to any of the people featured. 

What results can I expect?

For both my speaking and coaching services, you can expect sharp, clear, focused, engaged speaking with evidence-based content and practical workplace transfer. Meaning, strategies you can use easily in your daily life. 

If you implement the strategies, you will gain more margin (or space carved out for you to breathe and feel in control of your situation) and less hurry and indecision. 

You can see specific features of my speaking here and coaching here

How quickly can I expect results?

Many of my clients see results immediately because my strategies are purposefully easy to action (some are as short as a 30 second arm movements). My clients also begin to see places in their day to implement what I teach and how to do things differently for different results (because the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting a different result each time). 

How can I guarantee myself that I will get results?

By showing up for all our sessions together and engaging with the material. I know you’re busy, but you need to be willing to change, and be willing to prioritize this work (which will make your life healthier overall) over everything else vying for your attention. 

Will I recover the investment I put into our work?

When we work together, I can help you get back your sanity, your voice, your clarity, your purpose, your efficiency, and your productivity. If those are things you’d like to have more of, I’d say you’ll be making a good investment. 

If you’re bringing me in specifically as a speaker, I’ll be sure to make you look great and do a fantastic job. Your team will thank you.

How long do we work together?

In a coaching container, typically three months to a year. While some results are immediate, it takes time to implement all the strategies. Big changes don’t happen overnight. 

Do people ever re-enroll with you?

Because of the positive culture I create (remember: I fiercely believe in you and your ability to overcome all the odds to achieve your dreams), some clients have worked with me for over 15 years.  

If I’m not sure I’m ready to get started, how can I sample your work at low cost to see if it’s the right solution for me?

There are two ways to check out my work: First, you can go to my Media page and listen to my podcast interviews. There are also nice segments to watch or listen to on KARE 11, and WCCO interviews from Minnesota local affiliates.

Secondly, I suggest signing up for my guide “Going Deeper with Gratitude” for ways to weave gratitude into your life and combat burnout. Sign up here.

OK, I’m ready to do this for myself, but I have a couple of additional questions. Can I contact you?

Great, it sounds like you’re ready to change your life! Congratulations on arriving at this point! Book a call in my calendar and we’ll talk about the best way for us to work together.