Make It Happen Workshop – The Process of Transformation

Is this your year? Is this your year to write that book, lose 20 pounds, change jobs, get the big promotion, take the family to Disney, or _______________________?  If you are serious about making a positive change in your life read on.

If you find yourself questioning your current career path, are wanting to take your business/career to the next level, are exploring your options, looking for a breakthrough, or thinking of starting a business, consider attending our  2-Day Workshop – Friday and Saturday June 10 -11, 2016 in the Houston’s Heights area. If you are coming from out of the area the Downtown Doubletree Hotel has great weekend rates.

This might be the perfect time  in your life to step back, review, regroup and strategically look at the next steps. You know what we are suppose to do,  but, knowing what you are suppose to do is not always enough. You may have a dream, a goal, even a vision of your future, and you realize you need help pushing yourself to move forward.

I have partnered with my good friend and personal success coach, Cecilia Rose and together  will give you the PUSH…moving you forward when you are uncertain, not ready, or simply don’t feel like it! These moments are where the magic happens:

It’s the space between knowing what to do and actually doing it.

Cecilia and I have been working together and we designed a two-day business expanding, life-changing, interactive workshop that promises to inspire change, challenge thinking and accelerate personal and professional growth.

Cecilia will tackle your doubts, fears and hesitations to what may be holding you back as she builds on your strengths, defying limited thinking. I will give you the necessary personal branding tools/social/stories, with a touch of executive presence, positioning you to move into action and stand out from the competition.

Here is the way the two days will play out:

  • The Brand Called You – an understanding of personal branding
  • Breaking Assumptions
  • Reframing Your Mindset
  • Tapping into Signature Strengths, Values, Shared Values
  • Getting Clear on What You Want
  • How Long Will You Live
  • Doing the Work
  • The Tuning Point
  • The  Final Push

If you know us you know that our  style is engaging, fun, honest and direct. Together we will be sharing research and tools with interactive exercises, peer-to-peer coaching, actionable advice, personal strategies to stay focused and be productive, ideas for your plan, and some memorable stories.

It’s one thing to talk behavior changes to accomplish your dreams, and… together  will make it happen.

Don’t Miss Out – Register Today

  • Friday and Saturday June 10 -11, 2016
  • The Council (free parking)
  • 303 Jackson Hill – Houston, TX 77007
  • 9:30am – 4:00pm
  • Lunch provided
  • $297.00

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or email me at [email protected] and I will bill  you closer to the date but you have reserved your place.

Cecilia Rose

Cecilia Rose

Cecilia Rose is a Keynote Speaker, Executive Coach, and Career Strategist. She is known for changing people’s lives! She is recognized as an authority in coaching professionals who are stuck in their careers, at an impasse, or are ready to open the door to new opportunities. Cecilia is a PCC Credentialed Executive Career Coach with the International Coach Federation and has 20+ years experience serving as a trusted advisor to executives. She has a proven track record of coaching executives and professionals on how to navigate, accelerate or recreate their careers. Her style is people-centric with the unique combination of business acumen, intuition, analytical skills and career expertise that spans a wide range of functions, disciplines and industries. She is recognized as an authority in coaching professionals who are stuck in their careers, at an impasse, or are ready to open the door to new opportunities.

Karen McCullough

Karen McCullough - Keynote Speaker

Karen is a master of reinvention – She has evolved from teacher, to business owner to a nationally sought after keynote speaker. Before owning and operating her own retail stores, Karen spent years working with brands such as Ralph Lauren and The Limited. Later, as a retail CEO, she gained hands-on experience in marketing, brand building, driving sales, leadership development, and customer loyalty. She works with corporations, businesses, universities, associations, opening minds, and ready to make positive changes. Some of her clients include: Sigma Solutions, VMware, Procter & Gamble, Comerica, Symantec, McGraw-Hill, BP, Oxy, Shell, Exxon, Chevron, The World Bank, The U.S. Department of Justice, Humana, HP Enterprise, HCDE, Spring ISD, United Way, American Heart Association, and Methodist, MD Anderson, and Memorial Herman


“Cecilia Rose…Helps others “see” what they can be…
Recognizes human potential and “magnifies” the positives…
Has the “vision” to pursue excellence…
Has a “wide field of view” about opportunity
Is great at focusing on what is important
Helps others remove the “lens” of their limitations ”  Ken Olsen

“Cecilia did a fantastic job of helping my transition from a large Oil and Gas company to my current position – and a change of country of residence into the bargain! She acted as advisor, coach and challenger. Her advice on taking the time to review my career options, to set a clear direction for the future and to network as widely as possible was essential and vital. In particular guidance on self-marketing and demonstrating confidence (based on my track record, of course…) were invaluable. Cecilia chairs a forum of great individuals in similar transition that is inspiring and fun. Her energy and sense of humour is unique! In summary, what could have been very stressful was liberating and revitalizing.” Mike Dyson

“I can’t say enough about Karen. She is simply phenomenal. She is an amazing speaker, coach, and thought leader. She inspires and educates everyone she comes in contact with. I highly recommend her to anyone trying to change their mindset. She sees things in a way that others don’t. My experience with her has been life changing.” John Osterman

“Karen was the one that helped me transition from consulting to full time speaking and she has catapulted my speaking career. In less than a year she helped me create a business system, tweak my presentation style, and up my fee considerably. The end results are my being picked up and booked by multiple speaker bureaus as well as multiplying my annual speaking income to the point that I’ve been able to completely rely on speaking and only do consulting only when I see a fun project come along.” Crystal Washington

Busting Myths about Millennials

Because I speak on Generations in the Workplace and I focus on Millennials, I decided to start using Uber – as a research project- interviewing the drivers.

My first trip was in DC visiting my daughter, Meredith. She got me on the app and boom in a few minutes a driver was there.  I used Uber throughout my visit. It was so much easier that walking to the metro or waiting forever for a cam.

When I got back home to Houston, I decided to use Uber more and drive my car less. At first, I only used it to get to and from the airport, but soon I was Ubering it to events all over town. I loved it! In addition to providing me with transportation, Uber has been a great way for me to conduct research. Since I speak on “Generations in the Workplace” and most of my Uber drivers are Millennials, I was getting pages of research.

These interviews have allowed me to expand my insights and bust some myths about Millennials.

Millennial with iPhone

  • Millennials are not lazy. They just look at work differently than their Boomer parents did. They do want to work and they are hard workers, but their biggest difference is that they want independence. Most of my drivers have been part-timers who like the freedom that Uber provides. The can pick their own schedules as to when they want to work, and I have learned that they are ambitious. Over and over, I hear how Uber fills a financial need. I have garnered this info from college students, business majors, and graduate students working on master degrees. I have encountered a web designer, a programmer who works from home and drives just two hours a day (mid-day while taking a break), a high school teacher who only drives on weekends, and a guy that not only drives for Uber but rents out his apartment on a regular basis through Airbnb.
  • It’s been said many times that Millennials do not know how to do face-to-face communications. I have found just the opposite to be true. Actually I have enjoyed great conversations in almost every ride. One of my drivers was getting her master’s in social work, and she confessed to me that before driving for Uber she was very quiet and introverted. Her professors suggested that she work on her face-to-face communications because talking and drawing things out of her clients was going to be a big part of her work after graduation. She said that she decided to practice talking to her Uber customers. At first she admitted that she was nervous, but she kept at it. It was a surprise to hear that she struggled with conversation because we talked all the way home.
  • We are told over and over that Millennials are always connected to their phones. I have never had a driver listening to headsets, talking on the phone, or texting while driving. I cannot say the same about my cab rides.
  • We have heard that Millennials are not loyal to their employers. To the contrary without exception, every driver I have interviewed from Albuquerque to DC has said that they love the entrepreneurial spirit of the company. Drivers have taken me through the vetting process on how they became one. They proudly show me the badges they wear around their neck, the pick stickers on the right front window, stating that they are a certified driver. And every driver has mentioned the five-star rating system. The passenger gets to rate the driver—and get this—the driver gets to also rate the passenger for real-time accountability. Several of the drivers have shared with me that they strive to get as many five-star ratings as possible because if your rating goes below a certain number you are put on probation. I am impressed not only with Uber but with the drivers who want to succeed and who care about my experience in their car.
  • Here’s a new one… Millennials are fun, bold, and creative and they made a ride home an  experience … in a good way!  The last driver I had was really into Adele, I mean really into her.  I head Hello as I entered the car. We sang Adele songs together all the way home ( he must have seen this on youtube). It was an experience.


Today, I am a Millennial and Uber evangelist. I have discovered that the Millennials I am meeting are ambitious, respectful, hardworking, and loyal to their employer. They care about the quality of their work, are accountable, and are terrific conversationalists. Thanks Uber! and if your are reading this TIP your driver!

Grow Your Executive Presence

In 2000 I  left the fashion industry behind and I began my new career as a  professional speaker.  Coming from a Ralph Lauren  inspired  fashion industry my first presentations were focused around professionalism  and dress. I soon found those subject very limiting and changed my area of expertise to  Change, Workplace Trends and Generations in the Workplace, and I put the professional presence presentations on the shelf.

Well…guess what?

Presence is back and it is stronger than ever under the name of Executive Presence.

Executive presence has a lot to do with the way you carry and convey yourself, including confidence, gravitas,  decisiveness, authenticity and the ability to communicate in a clear and  articulate manner. I realize this may seem  a bit shallow or “old school” – thinking that people might judge you as not being “executive material” just because you look, act or sound a certain way, but people do make judgments on an unconscious level all the time. If you look and act the part, people will give you the benefit of the doubt. On the other hand, not having executive presence can be a deal breaker.

In today’s competitive business environment, executive presence can make or break your ability to lead and influence others. Executive presence encourages people to seek you out and opens doors.Yet, with the acceptance of a more casual and laid-back workplace many people mistakenly underestimate its importance.

Leadership potential isn’t enough to launch men and women into the executive suite. Leadership roles are given to those who also look and act the part.

Sylvia Ann Hewlett

Executive presence is a combination of certain qualities that successful leaders exhibit. The truth is that you may have all the experience and qualifications of a leader, but without executive presence, advancement/success is not guaranteed.

I recent read a great book  EP by Sylvia Ann Hewlett. In it she states  that today as in the past, professionals are still judged on their presence (how they act, speak, and look) as well as their performance.

The good news is you don’t have to born with executive presence . If you have a bit of self-confidence and a willingness to be open to feedback and change the executive presence skills are learnable.  If you practice you can transform your ability to connect, engage, and inspire others.

Here are several tips on expanding your own executive presence.

1. Appearance and dress do matter.   Looking the part is the first step in getting your foot into the leadership door.   Executive Presence Guru, Sylvia Ann Hewlett says this about appearance,  “We found that leadership roles are given to those who look and act the part.“ Notice the “uniform” of your organization and make sure you are dressing to fit the look the part of one who leads rather that one who follows.  Focus on being well groomed, hair and nails count – Simple stylish clothes and accessories trump bold and flashy. Don’t wear wrinkled, soiled, or seams coming open clothing. Take time and invest in a career wardrobe that fits your body, your style, and your business environment.

2. Focus on building your character. The one word that continues to show up on every definition of executive presence is GRAVITAS-, which is the ability to project gravitas–confidence, poise under pressure, decisiveness, integrity, build your reputation, and show compassion.

3. Communication matters. Notice your communication style. Do you have empathy? Can you walk in another’s shoes and see their point of view?  Are you open and a good listener?  Are you clear in what you say? Do you communicate in a concise, compelling manor? Is your voice strong? And what about the non-verbal communication?  How are people reading your body language and do you have the ability to read other?

4. Are you inclusive?The other day I was waiting for a client in the lobby and I noticed a diverse group of people standing in a circle headed by an attractive man who appeared to be the group’s leader.  He was commanding,   energetic, and had many of the qualities mentioned above. I felt his executive presence, but I noticed that he was talking to only one other man in the group, ignoring the other six. Several were trying to listen and a few even tried to add something to the conversation, but the leader ignored their efforts.  He needed a lesson on inclusion. People who have executive presence are approachable and engaging, whether they’re talking with a new hire, receptionist, or the CEO. They are inclusive, they exude warmth and they show a genuine interest in those around them..

5. Here’s my favorite – Become a master of presentation skills – face to face, teleconferences, virtual meetings, and webinars – Never underestimate the value of a great theater! Practice, get a coach, and practice some more- Learn how to connect with your audience, tell stories (I teach my students make them “Right and Tight”) and let your authenticity and personality shine through – Yes, you need to video yourself  (If you need help in this area email me.)

6. Lastly you have to be open to receive feedback. Those who are oversensitive to feedback will not make the grade-We are talking “product development” here and YOU are the product.  There will be moments where improvement is necessary.

There is a very thin line between authenticity and conformity.  As you explore your executive presence and your ability to connect and lead, more of who you are will shine through. The first step is getting you in the leadership line.

The rest will follow

5 Ways to Grow Your Self Awareness – Leaders Must Read!

One of the perks of being a professional speaker is that I get to hang out with really smart people, which means I often I get to pick their brains.

Take for instance last Sunday night when I had dinner with one of the top executive coaches in Houston, Cecilia Rose. Cecilia works Houston’s top tier leaders helping them successfully navigate through career transitions.

I asked her what was the #1 top quality of successful leaders, and before I could finish the question, she responded with “keen self-awareness.” Expecting to hear words more like vision, charisma, and strategic thinking, I was thrilled to hear that answer because self-awareness is one of the key qualities I emphasize in all my presentations (Unwritten Rules of Success)

“Your IQ will get you the job but your EQ (Emotional Intelligence – Self Awareness) will get you the promotion”  Cecilia Rose

To define the term, self-awareness is the conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires. It is the essential building block in effective leadership. Having an “awareness” of yourself and the people around you will help you effectively lead and inspire all you come in contact with.

 So, the underlying question is: How do you develop self-awareness? Here are some steps to follow to bring you to this level of moving more assuredly in the world.

1.  Take and Take-in your Personality Assessment – If you digest what it says about yourself, your Self-Awareness will grow. I was in my 20s when I took the Myers Briggs personality test—and I scored an ENFP, which means that I am a passion-driven “idea” person. ENFPs gain energy from interacting with others, and become quickly excited over new possibilities and ideas … and don’t always finish what they have started. ENFPs dislike routine work and want a variety of tasks and challenges. They prefer to set their own schedule and chafe when saddled with excessive regulations or mundane details,

Throughout the years I have taken a lot of personality tests, such as DISC, the Birkman, The Enneagram, True Colors, and just last month I took the Insights Discovery Assessment. It took me an hour to complete because every question came down to a split decision, and I really tried to be honest in my answers. The eagerly anticipated report arrived from it: “Karen may generate more ideas, possibilities, and plans in one day than others might manage in a month! Her life will tend to be a series of initiated, but unfinished projects. She should take care to include the practical details in her projects and continually try to look at situations from an objective viewpoint rather than just her own perception. Her energy comes from a variety of new projects and interests.”

“If one person calls you a horse’s ass, be curious. If two call you one, be reflective… if three call you a horse’s ass buy a saddle.” Anonymous

If you are interested in developing your self-awareness, you may want to revisit the assessments you have taken and “take-in” what has been written about you.

2.  Participate in a 360 assessment. There can be a world of difference between what you think you project and what others think of you. I worked with a coach several years ago, and she had me ask my clients the four questions below as we developed my personal brand. In finding people to help you get answers, branch out and include bosses, peers, and subordinates. You can even include neighbors, friends, and if you are brave—family members. But they can be the most brutal, so give them the questions in writing and let them have time to think about their answers.

Please give a one-word or one-phrase answer to the following questions

  1. 1. What one word describes my personality?
  1. 2. What value or principle do you most closely associate with me?
  1. 3. What skill, ability, or talent comes to mind when you think of me?
  1. 4. How would you describe me to others who have never met me?

 3. Take the StrenghtsFinder: To help people uncover their talents, Gallup introduced the first version of its online assessment in 2001, StrengthsFinder ignited a global conversation and helped millions to discover their top five talents. In its latest national bestseller, StrengthsFinder 2.0, Gallup unveils the new and improved version of its popular assessment. Take time and discover your top five strengths.

 Stressed Out Manager4. Listen … to yourself. Start listening to your own voice and observe how others react to your tone and your words. Begin to set aside time in the morning before work and replay some of the scenarios of the previous day. How did your voice and maybe even your body language affect others.

5.  Cultivate your ability to focus. “Focus is the hidden driver of excellence,” according to Daniel Goleman. If you can block out the noise and silence your inner distracters, you will begin to see situations more clearly and how you fit into the picture. Because I am an ENFP, focus has always been a challenge for me. Three years ago, I started a yoga class, and I noticed that I spent more time watching others, comparing myself to them. I decided that if I was going to grow and enjoy the classes, I had to close my eyes and focus on my own practice. The outcome was that yoga has helped me attain focus.What are you doing to grow your focus?

Please share your thoughts on self- awareness and add to the list any thoughts or strategies you have tried or are thinking about trying.


The Unwritten Rules of Success

I have been speaking on “Generations in the Workplace” for nearly 10 years. And a few short years ago, there were just a handful of Millennials in my audiences.

Today my audiences are filled with people 35 and under as the number of Millennials in the workplace continues to swell. Recently, Pew Research released the news that more than one-in-three American workers today are Millennials (i.e., adults aged 18 to 34 in 2015), and furthermore this year they surpassed Generation X to become the largest share of the American workforce.

By 2017, half the U.S. workforce will be Millennials and they are shaking things up as they change the world of work. We are discovering that Millennials seek a multi-dimensional lifestyle that satisfies both their work and personal lives. They are a bit impatient and want to proceed along their career path more rapidly than Boomers and even Gen Xers ever did.

So,I decided to write a post helping Millennials, as well as Boomers and Gen Xers speed up their career advancement

Reality bites.

And the reality is that today there are still powerful Unwritten Rules in every organization that stand in the way of your success. These are the Unwritten Rules that must be addressed for career advancement. My goal in this post is to help not only Millennials but all generations understand advancement strategies and recognize opportunities to make key decisions about their career options.

Here are my suggestions for conquering the Unwritten Rules:

  •  Be Observant: Begin a new job or new department or team by closing your mouth and opening your eyes and ears. Observe—how things get done. Your workplace success requires a deep understanding of how the organization or new team functions and how decisions are made. Be fully aware of the politics and notice where the political landmines exist. Political know-how (the unwritten rule) is important—and those who fail to develop such skills are often the ones who get left behind.

“You can observe a lot by watching.” —Yogi Berra

  •  Discover: Now that you understand your organization find out where you fit into the big picture. Every organization has a culture that sets the tone for the types of people who are hired.   You need to know why you were hired, where you fit into the organization, and how your superior sees your career path in the organization.
  • Share your Goals: Speak up and effectively communicate your career goals, your ideas, desired assignments, and when the time is right, ask to be considered for promotion.
  • Build your Relationships and Grow your Circle of Influencers: Start your list of 25 people you admire, people you can learn from, leaders, gatekeepers, and people in your organization who have enthusiasm and ideas. Then join your organizations, formal and informal networking groups, and, as Keith Ferazzi once said, “Never eat alone.” Make it a point of having lunch with members of your team and those in your circle of influence.

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” —Eleanor Roosevelt

  • Be a Giver: Figure out how to cultivate your list of 25 and grow the relationship BEFORE you ask for advice or a favor. Share your talents (perhaps in technology) and be open to teaching others.
  •  Increase your visibility: Volunteer to give a presentation! Did that scare you? Do your homework—practice, practice, practice, and make it a great one. Become known and get involved.
  • Take pride in how you show up. Although we are seeing a more flexible work trend—dress still matters! How you dress for work is even more complicated today than years past. The casual dress trend combined with today’s increased focus on “snug-fitting” clothes makes it clear that deciding how to dress for work takes some thought and preparation. Every business has a culture and every culture has a costume. Make sure your day-to-day outfits fit your company’s look and feel … and are “company appropriate. Some professional cultures still require suits while others, such as the tech cultures, are more relaxed and you may even get by with a grey hoodie … if you are Mark Zuckerberg. Be mindful of the image you want to project at work with clients and peers, and choose outfits based on cues from those you admire around you.

“Remember, whatever you do at work, no matter how small it is, has your signature on it! Make it clear, bold, & easy to read!” —Karen McCullough


What unwritten rule have you discovered?  Can you share examples where you have turned your discovery into opportunity?  Please share your thoughts below

Change is Good – Leaders Go First!

Recently I watched the Academy Award nominated movie “The Theory of Everything.” I love it and I became fascinated by the way Stephen Hawking thinks.  I began to dig a little deeper and found this quote:

“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.” ~ —Stephen Hawking

Wow! … what a gutsy statement.  It implies inversely, that those who are not willing to change are not intelligent.  I know that is not true., but  think about it. We are in a time of tremendous change and there are some people in leadership roles not responding well.

Change happens anyway.

Between customer empowerment, expectations of the Millennial generation and technology, NOTHING is staying the same.  The constantly shifting marketplace is screaming, “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.”  Companies and the teams within the company cannot afford to be complacent about change unless they are planning on going the way of the dinosaur. Complacency is a silent killer of a team and its organization as well as a career. One way to fight complacency is by challenging one’s self t hear new ways of thinking and ideas. Today’s leaders must be open to collaboration and inclusion to truly understand what each team member brings to the table.


The Fear Factor

shutterstock_76982275Many organizations are in full-blown transformation mode right now.  Some members of the team might not be comfortable with the shifting sands beneath them. Many see change as a way of moving them out and that is a paralyzing and frightening thought.   People are looking for help from leaders who will need to tackle the changes head-on and those leaders need to reassure each person that they are a valued member of the team.

Adapting to a Changing Environment
Here are a few things we all need in a changing environment:

1. Clarity – When left to their own way of viewing changes, the employee may be frozen into inaction.  When their leader is able to help them understand the objectives and assure them of how all “what-if” situations will be handled, it helps everyone identify a path toward resolving issues as they come up during the change.
2. Collaboration – Each employee wants to feel empowered to bring their own strengths to the task and feel confident that other team members will “have their back” in areas where they feel a vulnerability or weakness.
3. Constructive Disruption – Unexpected things are going to happen.  Seeing opportunity in everything allows the team to anticipate the unexpected and work toward the clear goals identified by the leadership.
4. Adaptability -– In a rapidly changing marketplace, work teams benefit from knowing “What’s next.”.  They must change the lens from looking internally for direction and purpose to looking outwardly. A solid, adaptable ecosystem can challenge the old ways of doing things and develop a real competitive advantage.

Leadership’s Role in Change

Let’s get down to the essence of how a strong leader facilitates change.  It’s much more than getting out in front of the your people and telling them changes are going to take place and to get on board the “change train.”
Opportunities are everywhere, and strong leaders can see them.  Not only can strong change leaders see current opportunities, they recognize that great opportunities will continue and only a team prepared for those changes will be able to maximize those opportunities.

Strong change leaders will build effective teams with different points of view.  They will reach out to all generations and all cultures.  When given free expression, diversity of thought converges into giving rise to unbeatable companies.  It unleashes a passionate pursuit of excellence with each team member., and  will allows each member of the team to feel part of creating a legacy together.shutterstock_104867063

Diversity of thought fuels discovery and collaboration leads to fresh, new ideas to keep the spirit of change alive and well in the workplace.  It builds entire ecosystems within the company to provide the flexibility needed to grasp new opportunities as they are recognized.Strong change leaders will anticipate constructive disruption and never forget the customer along the way.  With a clear vision of the desired outcome, the team will combine diverse talents into a powerful, adaptive ecosystem in the midst of drastic change.

It’s Not Too Late

Complacency will become a silent killer to any organization.  You must wake up each morning eager to discover what your customers want from you and how you are going to deliver it.  As a change agent, you must also know how to sell change to employees and get them engaged.  You want them to be excited about it to the point that they bring fresh insight into the process of transformation.

Become a change leader for your organization, its employees, and your industry at large.  Encourage everyone to think differently in the face of a rapidly changing marketplace.