121: Leaders with Heart Accept the Truth of Their Leadership

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In this episode, Heather speaks with Kristin Fox, VP of HR at Gyrodata about her leadership style and where her drive to lead comes from. She also shares on the ways she was not the the best version of herself and what strategies she used to show up better.

Key Takeaways:

  • Take time with your people and leave the boss back at the office.
  • Try to establish a deeper connection especially now during a crisis.
  • Help your people through the struggle and model it.
  • Find cheerleaders who believe in you and will help you through rough patches.
  • Value the differences in those around you to help you see things differently.
Have an insightful week by listening to this gem of an episode!

Kristin Fox is a human resources leader passionate about putting the “human” back into HR. She has worked in the HR field for 20 years, currently serving as Vice President of HR for Gyrodata Incorporated. Kristin obtained her Master’s Degree in HR from the University of Texas and is a certified Senior Professional in HR (SPHR).

When Kristin isn’t working, you will find her spending time with her husband, Roger, and six kids or hiding somewhere with a good book to avoid the six kids. 

Founded in 1980, Gyrodata is one of the world’s leading providers of technologies and differentiated services to the energy industry.  Gyrodata’s unique products and services portfolio enables its clients to maximize hydrocarbon recovery and optimize an asset’s lifecycle cost.  With approximately 1,000 employees operating in over 50 countries in virtually every energy market in the world, Gyrodata is uniquely positioned to provide services from a global platform with a focus on technology, service quality, people and clients. the leading supplier worldwide of precision wellbore survey services to the energy, mining, environmental and construction industries

Learning, Empowering

I’m still learning in my leadership journey, and I hope it never stops. I’ve learned so much in my 20-year career working in HR. I’ve made many mistakes and errors along the path that created the leader I am hopefully trying to be today. I’m still trying to observe more, and get better in time. 

My goal is to focus on empowering others, whether that be from example or just lessons learned. I try to value using my influence in areas where I can showcase empathy or stewardship by actions. I make sure that I support them in their endeavors.

You're only as good as your team. – Kristin Fox #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Inner Compass

I hope my people feel supported. I love to challenge them. I love to see how far they’re willing to challenge themselves and how far they can go. I really get the value of working with them as a team, and not have the boss title all of the time. I’m there to support.

When I was 15, my father unexpectedly passed away from a heart attack. He was only 48. I remember watching my mom trying to pick up the pieces, despite dealing with her own grief and watching a confused angry teenager. I realized years later that we probably would not have made it had she not had her own career separate from my father.

I watched my mother’s determination. Her independence just set an example for me to make sure that I always strive for that excellent stride in life. 

I think as a leader it’s those defining moments that become your inner compass to remind you of where you came from and what you’ve endured. I’ve had those reminders when life gets tough. It’s the core of how I want to be as a person and as a leader.

It's vital for leaders today to get feedback and really try not to work independently. – Kristin Fox #leadershipwithheart Click To TweetI am not going to be an expert in everything, even though I want to be. – Kristin Fox #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Embracing Failures

I have failed so many times and have taken wrong turns. I had to eat many pieces of humble pie in my past than I’d like to admit. But, I’ve also learned how to embrace it. 

Embracing your failures is like hugging a cactus. It hurts. But to learn very quickly, I’ve had to hug a lot of cactuses. It’s not fun, but the sooner you embrace it, the sooner you can move on.

I am very fortunate to have a couple of trustworthy and valued peers, who have seen me at my worst and at my best. I know that they’re going to be truthful and supportive. I just call them, and say, “Look what happened. Look what I did. I’m so embarrassed.” It was as if the die was already cast.

I just shut my mouth and listen to what my peers had to say. Did I agree with all of their advice and opinions? No, but the truth doesn’t really care about our opinions, whether it hurts or not.

Find supporters and assured leaders because we need them now more than ever. – Kristin Fox #leadershipwithheart Click To TweetSelf awareness is so important. – Kristin Fox #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet


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66: Leaders With Heart Show Up And Speak Up


In this episode, Heather speaks with Dr. Jandell Allen-Davis, President and CEO of Craig Hospital in Colorado about her refreshing perspective on connection and bringing her whole self to the workplace, her leadership fumbles and the unlikely, but likely journey she is on in her leadership.

Key takeaways:

  • Our journey, whether smooth or bumpy, puts us where we are supposed to be.
  • Your people want to see you and be seen.
  • Touching customers and employees as a CEO deepens purpose and refreshes you in the mission.
  • Better to show up and speak up.
  • Leaders need to have a healthy narcissism.
  • Trust the wisdom of your team.
  • People have something to contribute. Don’t shut people out and down.
  • Focus on the work and the people I am responsible for.
  • It’s important to speak truth to power.
  • Don’t worry about being a king or queen, because people are always watching.
  • Let the forces of the water move you.

This is Heather’s Top 3 pick so far! Listen and learn!

Dr. Jandell Allen-Davis’ Full BIO

Jandel Allen-Davis, M.D believes health care will improve when all the primary stakeholder groups – clinicians, patients, elected officials, community leaders and employers – can collaborate effectively to put the patient at the center. She is the CEO and president of Craig Hospital in Denver, Colorado, a world-renowned rehabilitation hospital that exclusively specializes in the neuro-rehabilitation and research of patients with spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries.

Prior to that, she did service for Kaiser Permanente Colorado, which included associate medical director of external relations for the Colorado Permanente Medical Group, and regional director of patient safety and physician chief of the Wheat Ridge Medical Offices. Dr. Allen-Davis was elected to the Colorado Permanente Medical Group Board of Directors in 1998 and chaired the board in her final year. She was also the vice president of government, external relations and research from 2009-2018.

A graduate of Dartmouth College and Dartmouth Medical School, Dr. Allen-Davis completed her residency at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. Dr. Allen-Davis is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and was in active practice for 25 years. 

She is married to a Dartmouth College graduate, Anthony Davis (’82), and they have two children, one of whom graduated from Dartmouth College in 2009. She enjoys gardening and hiking and is a fiber artist whose work has been displayed in several galleries over the years.

Healthy Workplaces

It is very gratifying to be in a place where I can bring my full self to work. I am in a place filled with this whole-hearted expression of who I am, where I don’t need to feel embarrassed or ashamed.

I feel like all of these opportunities to lead and create teams, as well as develop people as individuals, has put me at this position where I can leverage, exercise and use all the stuff made available to me to learn and to do some victories.

Over all of our careers, we’ve had misfortunes, or the less-than-great fortunes of working for leaders who don’t necessarily bring their full selves in. But, its impact on me was I was able to think about how I want to show up.

The real, buttoned-up, closed leaders who aren’t warm and don’t feel accessible, causes all of us around them to clam up too. It creates a space that is not psychologically safe and healthy.

If you don’t feel psychologically safe, you’re not going to speak up. – @jc4ja #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Healthy Narcissism

Being who you are is really essential in having healthy workplaces. – @jc4ja #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Years ago, I have learned that there is a healthy form of narcissism. 

I have practiced for 25 and a half years and I realized, “What do you think it takes as people to actually take a scalpel or a knife and cut somebody, which is what I did as part of my work?”

So, there’s a sense of healthy narcissism, which is the confidence that you’ve got the skills

But also, it’s a level of confidence that you also are self-aware enough to know when you need to learn something, when you need to lean on the wisdom of the teams, when you need to lean on to the wisdom of a patient and their families to get things done. That’s the healthy part of leadership.

There’s ego in it but the fun part is, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to speak less

Through speaking less, I got an opportunity to see the little seeds or ideas I might have planted to my people start to take root. In fact, they’re always better than anything I ever could have come up with.

Make Better Systems

I have always wanted to be part of making systems better. 

I want to be included in opportunities, exposures and experiences that provide chances to make change and to make systems better.

I hope to always be committed to lifelong learning, new adventures and see where the day goes.

People want to see us and they want us to see them, too. – @jc4ja #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

I got an email from someone who let me know that we had a new patient in the hospital and I went up just to be able to hug that patient’s mother and let her know I was here. I felt like, “I could do this everyday!” 

What I don’t think our customers realize, because not all our workplaces are this healthy, is that we get more out of what we get to do and service to them, than they get from us. That’s a win-win.

If you are so focused on where you want to get to, you are missing the opportunity to soak in the experiences to learn and grow. – @jc4ja #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet
I have always been happy to live in a stream and I just let the forces of the water pull me on. – @jc4ja #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet


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36: Leaders with Heart Make Accountability a Priority


On this episode, Heather speaks with Mike Pritchard, CFO at the CU Foundation. Mike shares the things that drive him to lead, his desire to continually learn and where he might mess up along the way.

Key takeaways:

  1. Leaders must have a cadence of accountability for themselves and others.
  2. Leadership is about evolution. We never arrive at the place that’s the end.
  3. Find a coach, whether formal or informal, who can help you become better.
  4. Don’t do leadership alone; we are better together.
  5. We all need to have technical skill to do our job, but at a certain point, we must seek to develop emotional intelligence.

This is a great one that will give any leader looking for a boost a motivation just what they need. Enjoy!

Mike Pritchard’s Full BIO

Mike Pritchard is the Chief Financial Officer of the University of Colorado Foundation. Mike, a certified public accountant, began his career as an auditor at Deloitte & Touche LLP. His career has been primarily in Colorado’s nonprofit sector, serving in various financial and development positions. He is a graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder, where he majored in accounting and received a degree in business administration. He also recently completed a Masters of Business Administration in Finance in 2017 at the University of Phoenix. He also writes blogs.

Another Important Skill

Mike, already in a “C” level position, realized that having technical skills isn’t enough when you go higher in your career.

Your technical skills are important but, I’ve realized you need to pivot toward people skills, and emotional intelligence skills, and management skills. You can’t just be a technician eight hours a day. In fact, you really need to empower your team to be the technicians and you have to elevate up to this higher level. 

I started my career as a CPA and Auditor at Deloitte which is a terrific firm, and the individual that comes to mind is Dave Rooney.

Just watching Dave, not only his technical leadership– he was a great CPA, and Auditor, Partner. But he was also very involved in the community. I think that was one of my early mentors that made me realize that it’s great to be very skilled at your job. But how do you also give back to your community?


Every job I have, I can look up to different people that I’ve admired and seen what they’ve done well and I guess, tried to emulate that. Each step in the path of your journey is a different step, and you always learn.

Your technical skills will get you so far in your career.” #growth #skills #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet
At some point, you really need to grow in your people skills, your management skills, and your leadership skills.” #growth #skills #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Accountability with connections

Advocate always being connected.

The team knows when you’re the leader and you’re stressed. Everyone else knows it. But if you stay in that place too long, of just perpetual stress, it’s not good for you obviously for one, but it’s not good for your team either. I just try to dial back the stress. Occasionally it happens but don’t stay there. Retreat.

It’s so good to just have a good, cordial, connected relationship with your team. And when you’re stressed, it’s hard to do that well.

Weekly meeting with your team is critical. That could be a half hour, it could be an hour. But the weekly meetings are a good cadence of staying connected with the pulse of your team, and with the pulse of your direct reports. Often in our business and careers, wherever we work, you set goals. You set work projects you’re going to attack as a team, work on as a team.

Humans can be procrastinators. If meetings are every two weeks or once a month, people will sometimes procrastinate. Whereas if you can get into that rhythm of a weekly team meeting, then less likelihood of procrastination. People can stay on top things a little bit better with those weekly meetings.

Human behavior is the hardest change to make. That goes for ourselves, and that goes for our teams, and yeah, you need the cadence of accountability, whatever that looks like.


Always a student; never a master.” #growth #skills #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet


Stress is not a good place to live in all the time.” #growth #stress #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Accountability with Oneself

If you’re struggling in your career, your role, or your leadership position, I would recommend getting a coach. I think I should have at some critical points in time, and I am seeing a couple of individuals right now that are informally coaching me.

I just think it’s hard to do it alone. I do think the benefit of a one-on-one coach really will help somebody just get centered on where they are. And this coach hopefully can help you explore what you need to do to be a better leader.

You can try to do it on your own. Maybe it doesn’t need to be a formal coach. It could be a friend or a peer. I worked to connect with other CFOs at other local community foundations, and that was terrific and super helpful for me. In turn I think I’ve been helpful to them over the years as well.

Don’t do it alone. We’re better together, we’re better in communities. So figure out what that community aspect is for you, and go that route. Don’t do it on your own.

It's critical to connect and talk about what is going on, and then go out there and do the work.” #growth #skills #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet


Connect with Mike on LinkedIn

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34: Leaders with Heart Understand that They Must Truly Connect with Their People First to Build Trust

On this podcast episode, Heather welcomes Joe Kwon on the show to discuss his leadership style, a time when he was not the best version of himself and some of his key principles in life.


By listening in on this episode with Joe, you might feel like you are listening to a sage. Enjoy!

Key takeaways:

  • While we can learn different body language or communication techniques, it is more important to connect with people deeply beforehand for those techniques to take hold.
  • Sometimes, in order to take the fight out of someone, don’t fight back. Allow them to vent and be heard
  • Often, once we allow people to voice concerns on one topic, their actual concerns reveal themselves.
  • Ego can be good as a leader. The issue is whether the ego is focused just on “me” or on “we” as well.
  • Acknowledge your people in a sincere way without needing or wanting anything from them.
  • You can accomplish amazing things by changing yourself first. 

Joseph Kwon’s Full BIO

Joseph Kwon is an Associate Director at KPMG International, whose global network of independent member firms offer audit, tax and advisory services in 155 countries. 


He provides privacy and cross-border guidance to meet client and regulatory requirements while facilitating business needs. His experience includes online and organizational privacy, data breach, anti-corruption and social media.


 Joseph is a graduate of the University of Virginia and Georgetown University Law Center and a member of the NY and NJ Bar. A student of Aikido and shameless consumer of self-help books, his passion is coaching others on career advancement, public speaking, and leadership skills. 


The Universal Principle

This key thing has been around before people started talking about them. 

What you see is depending on what industry you are in, or what philosophy you are following, or what country you are in. You’ll see that this thing is expressed slightly differently for every area. But the underlying principle is always the same.  So you can go into a sales or leadership training and they’ll teach you all sorts of things. But in my mind the universal principle behind all of that is just the principle of connection. If you want to take a person to change their mind, so they make a decision that earns your company revenue, that doesn’t happen unless you connect with that person. 

Great leaders have an ability to connect with large and diverse groups of people and get them move in the right direction. #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet
Essentially, leadership is getting people to move from one spot to another spot. Click To Tweet

Putting Off Steam

I told this story many times, unfortunately, I’ll be telling it for a long time. 

I was hired at a management type level and I had reports underneath me. It was probably one of my first official management type positions where I was managing people in title, not just leading by just being around. 

I came on board. I definitely wasn’t as emotionally intelligent. I had all these great ideas about how to improve things, how to improve them and I wasn’t really aware how poorly I was leading the team and probably how much damage I was doing to sort of their belief or willingness to follow me.

So I arranged a meeting with them. I went into this meeting and I’m thinking, “I’ve been screwing things up already. If I go in there and just do what I naturally want to do, it will probably just make things worse, right?” So I needed a different approach. 

When someone has an issue, instead of trying rebut or argue it, just try to see it from their side and just agree with it. Not that they’re right, but agree in the sense that you understand why they might have that perspective and it’s normal for them to have that.

Over the course of me just diffusing and just trying to see it from their perspective, and  apologizing where I really felt I should apologize where I did something wrong and didn’t realize it, they kind of ran out of steam.

And this one person said, “We think you really don’t respect and appreciate all the years of service and knowledge that we bring.” So that was the problem they have with me– the way I’m walking around as new manager, try this and that. 

So what I said to them was, “I really appreciate all of you. Maybe I haven’t been doing a good job of showing it, but I learned so much from all of you and I do really appreciate all the things that you’ve done for this company. So thank you.” 

There’ll come a point where you’ll feel the mood shift, where people will actually bring out what’s really bothering them because of the symptoms have been dealt with. Click To Tweet
When your ego is less involved, it creates a much more productive and helpful teamwork, collaboration and way of thinking. Click To Tweet

Going Deeper

If you want to reconnect to people it’s pretty easy. Stop thinking about yourself so much. Think about the other person and that could take various manifestations. It could be a kind word. It could be taking them out to lunch.  I like to reach out to people that I manage or work with when I don’t need anything from them. Just saying, “Hey, how are you doing? I don’t need anything from you. I just want to see what you’re up to.” And maybe they need something from me. That concept of thinking about the other person creates so much stronger connection. When someone comes to you because they want something, does that really create a great connection for you? Usually not. Usually you start to run in the other direction.  If you think about the other person and acknowledge them in a pure, unselfish way, there are various things that you can do and most of them don’t really cost any money and very little time that can reestablish a connection. And if repeated over time, it is really what builds friendship, trust or collaboration. 

Stop thinking about yourself too much. Think about others too. Click To Tweet
We cannot put ego completely in the closet because we need some of it in order to be effective leaders, but it needs to be centered on ‘we.’ Click To Tweet


Connect: (https://www.linkedin.com/in/joekwonjoe/

Blog: www.joekwonjoe.com

Coaching: http://www.joekwonjoe.com/coaching/

Podcast: www.patreon.com/whyitworks