Dr. Connie’s Story

During a consulting trip to Nigeria as part of the World Wide Farmer-to-Farmer program in 2002, I noticed people from the United States to Africa needed the same thing:  Strong Inner Leaders. It was on that trip that I began my journey to help individuals and businesses live a Strengths-based life with purpose, passion and fun.

I published my first book, “Go Wild with Confidence! Strengthen your Inner Leader and Live Your Best Life with Purpose, Passion, and Fun! in 2013-two years after my Mom suddenly and unexpectedly left this earth. As you can imagine, my life changed the moment I learned of my Mom’s untimely passing.  Losing Mom forever changed me.  Part of my personal transformation is to fulfill my mission of using  “Go Wild with Confidence!” as a tool to help people change their lives while truly living during the short time they are here on this planet.

Over a decade of research and coaching, teaching 25,000+ people, and life experience laid the groundwork for Go Wild with Confidence! and creating what I call the Inner Leader Coaching Ecosystem (ICE).  ICE is a coaching model focused around personal fulfillment as a tool for sustainable innovation.  Why?  Because my award-winning research on entrepreneurial learners and individuals continues to demonstrate one major statistically significant finding: Individuals are motivated by personal fulfillment. And, innovation always starts with people. If we are to successfully evolve as a society, we must begin at the individual level.

The same idea is true for women looking to innovate their lives, families, businesses, and communities.  Women have the capacity to innovate in unique ways but often hold back because of negative internal self-talk or social cues they have experienced since birth.

If we are going to be successful as a global society, we need women to step-up, play big and be heard!

Leading sustainable innovation requires us to cultivate the leadership capacity of each and every person, including women.  This is especially true in an era of dual working couples and new social norms for both men and women.  I believe leadership development looks very different in the future than it did in the past.

One of the leadership trends I see emerging is the focus on families.

My husband and I are committed to our family and realize the importance of being great parents.  He published his first book,
Be A Dad!: Become More than a Baby Daddy, in 2015.  We believe in the importance of leading families!

I have studied leadership more than 95% of the population, but reading about it and doing it are two very different things.  Thankfully, I am a women who has served as a leader in my own life, in my business and most recently as an executive in higher education.  I have learned more by doing than by reading.  My own experiences have led me to a major conclusion:  Our concept of leadership is severely inadequate and outdated.

Leadership is going through a major disruption, and women will be the audience that advances leadership in all areas of society. Why?  Women touch the world in so many different ways.  They are involved in families (a massively overlooked area of leadership that is critical to society), schools, communities, non-profits, for-profits, business ventures, etc.  The list is endless; however, the contributions go overlooked too often, and this needs to change.  I want to be part of the change that makes this happen.  Coaching is part of the process.  I believe the other part is elevating women’s voices, providing them with resources and connecting them with other leaders and networks that can help them grow personally and professionally.  Men are also an important part of the equation.  We need all genders to step-up and lead in new and different ways to create a world that is more innovative, inclusive and sustainable.

My Background:

My educational background is a mix of both hard and social sciences.  I hold a doctorate in Human Sciences with a focus on Leadership Studies, a Masters of Science degree in Entomology and a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Resources.  I am also a Certified Professional Coach and Certified Futurist with a passion for learning and sharing information.  I believe passion and people create positive innovation, and I enjoy facilitating this process.  This rare, and dynamic, blend of expertise provides me with a unique perspective on leadership in an era of globalization where knowledge, futuring and foresight, social responsibility, environmental sustainability and innovation are vital components of success (in any way that it is defined-and it goes way beyond money and title!)

I am also an author.  My latest book is a coloring and activity book for youth, adults and families titled, Blue the Bee Learns to Be Happy.  Dr. Deb Weitzenkamp and I co-authored the book with my two young children.  Our amazing colleague, Kim Wellsandt illustrated our story.  Blue the Bee Learns to Be Happy focuses on helping people develop happiness and positivity in their lives so they can live in a world of opportunity, growth and personal innovation.

Spending time alone or together having fun is an amazing thing!  The #HappyOrchard Project is designed to help people learn about happiness; however, it is also designed to help people learn about the importance of health, pollinators and food.  This intersection is an important one in all of our lives.

Please check out our web site and have some fun growing your happiness and health:  http://marketplace.unl.edu/extension/programs/happyorchard

 In addition to “Go Wild with Confidence!,” I have published over 50 publications, 8 workbooks and a blog (AskDrConnie.com) on entrepreneurial leadership and innovation and have worked with clients ranging from the United States Department of Agriculture and Lockheed Martin to small businesses throughout the Midwest and individuals from all corners of the world.  I have also had the distinct pleasure of speaking to a wide variety of groups at the local, regional, national and international levels (on too many occasions to count!).

I lead my life, my family and my business, Wild Innovation.  Family is my #1 priority, and I have an amazing husband who has the same belief. I live with my husband, two kiddos and two wiener dogs in the great state of Nebraska, USA.

I also serve as the Interim Executive Director and Chief Futurist for the Rural Futures Institute at the University of Nebraska. And, yes—this is one way I play big and lead in the real-world. This role teaches me new lessons everyday!

My Future:

My passion is helping women and men in transition, especially those in midlife, achieve success as they define it. Why?  Because people, especially women, in this age group are often overlooked but have an amazing impact on society.  They influence so many things in our global community.  Businesses and organizations need to better support individuals, especially women and families, and I am here to help make this happen.

I want to grow my capacity to foster the future of women and families in a different direction.   My goal is twofold:

  1.  To help more businesses, organizations and families recognize and support people in transition, especially women.  Why?  These are the people who are raising future generations of leaders while leading themselves and also usually taking care of their parents.  This concept has flown under the radar long enough!
  2. To help individuals through coaching, personal development and purposeful networking.  People are in charge of their futures.  Sometimes, they just need a few additional tools to move themselves, their ideas and their lives forward!

Contact me if your business or organization is looking to intentionally create a more innovative and fulfilling future.  Use the form below and tell me what you need!