successful business

Here's What I've Noticed About Great Leaders Across Sectors

One thing I love about my job is getting a unique slice of trends and conversations across sectors. In the past two weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of graphic recording and facilitating with a county government, a national foundation, a private tech giant, and a non-profit conservation organization (yes, I slept for the entire long weekend afterwards).

Some of the conversations these groups had were difficult – that’s often the case when groups have the courage to move beyond the same old ideas they’ve always had. These conversations have potential to be transformative…or not.

What can make the difference?

I’ve noticed that when leaders approach the conversation in a defensive way, that shuts folks down. But if they come in with two ears wide open and a humble mind, the results can be remarkable!

Often people are frustrated or critical because they don’t feel heard, so when leaders and decision-makers put themselves in a space of listening, then thinking about solutions, tension and hostility shift to tenacity to find a path forward together.

If you want to read more about listening...I've written about how to improve here, storylistening here, and different levels of listening here.

Once again, thank you from my heart and soul for your support, great senses of humor, brilliant minds, collaboration and what you're each doing to make the world a better place.

Cheers, Karina

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

From Adams County Children and Family Services in Denver, to the Buffet Early Childhood Foundation in Omaha, to Adobe in San Jose, to the Environmental Defense Fund in Fort Collins, August was buzzing! Here are a few highlights:

And speaking of buzzing…we also harvested honey from our beehive this weekend. Labor Day, indeed, but the rewards are sweet!

How to Stay Relevant & Infuse Generosity Into Your Business

Howdy!

Can you believe it? It’s been a year since I started sending out these little nuggets of creative inspiration. And I’m proud to say that I haven’t missed a single one I’ve scheduled since I started.

I’ve chosen to hold myself to high standards. Even though writing isn’t necessarily my favorite thing, and there were days all I wanted to do was tell y’all that sometimes…well, sometimes you’re just not feeling creative. Peace out.

But there was something else that kept nudging, even when it would have been easy to blow off an email. I remembered that I respect and admire each of you, and I want to give you this small gift of an email every two weeks. I know you are all busy and your inboxes are packed, so I make these as succinct, engaging (and clever) as I can for you. Maybe a pun will brighten your day, or maybe you needed a little reminder to make space for creativity.

Not only that, but I’m doing some pretty cool work that I want to share with you. Developing new techniques, styles, processes to support your work, and products to show appreciation or refine your vision for the future and what you can do to get yourself there.

So what can I share with you this week? As usual, what I’ve figured out by trial and error ahem, experience. Be consistent. Here’s how:

Remember why/who you’re doing this for. If it becomes just a chore, that will become apparent in your work. If you’re having fun and sharing for the love of it, that will shine through too. As good ol’ Paul Simon said, have a good time (with it).

Make your commitment known. Social science shows that when you verbalize something you aim to do in front of others, you’re more likely to actually do it. Chalk one up for social norms.

Give yourself time for iterations (who does this sometimes? Karina raises hand). This is secretly a two-for-one. A) Schedule time to write, brainstorm, plan. If it’s not in my calendar, it’s not real and I’m more likely to blow it off or get distracted. B) Don’t expect to write it perfectly the first time. If you do, great! Use that time you expected to iterate to go for a bike ride or something. If you need that time, know that you’re still a creative force to be reckoned with, sometimes it takes time and breaks to be able to really tap into that Creative Genius. Which is a beautiful segue to…

Know that despite what everyone’s social media feed is telling you, creativity can be a slog (term coined by the amazing Marie Forleo). By that I mean it can require tenacity: moments of blinding clarity and creative genius peppered among many sessions that may feel mediocre. But all that purposeful action will yield improvement, if only you give it time and energy to germinate and bloom. So Hug the Slog, love the journey and put your time in. Because forever is composed of nows (yeah, that’s Emily Dickinson, via the incredible Em Shepard).

Click on the image below to see the larger version.

I read every single one of your emails, appreciate the feedback and requests that have helped me learn and grow as I figure out this newsletter thing. So, as this next cycle of ConverSketches unfolds, I’ve been developing topics and doodles that I really, truly hope will help you make sense of the world and have a little more fun with it too.

If you liked this tip, it would be AWESOME if you shared it with your friends!

Once again, thank you from my heart and soul for your support, great senses of humor, brilliant minds, collaboration and what you're each doing to make the world a better place.

Cheers, Karina



Creativity is a drive. I'm real good at helping you or your team see where you can focus & leverage your energy. Click on to talk about your ideas.

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

My newest  explainer video  collaboration is out! Click the image above to find out how dliberative dialogue and facilitation can shift the conversation from adversarial and argumentative to curious and productive. Thanks to  Creek Consulting  for the inspiration &  Wes White  at Shadowlands Media for the excellent production.

My newest explainer video collaboration is out! Click the image above to find out how dliberative dialogue and facilitation can shift the conversation from adversarial and argumentative to curious and productive. Thanks to Creek Consulting for the inspiration & Wes White at Shadowlands Media for the excellent production.

My Tip To Be Successful, No Matter What You're Doing

This week there have been some big changes here at ConverSketch HQ. No, I didn’t get an office kitten (yet). We moved into our first house! I can’t wait to get the studio space set up and know where to find things like pens again.

The two days before we moved I was graphically facilitating with the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing – they call themselves HCPF (pronounced hick-puff) – as they built a more collaborative and person-centered network of care providers around the state. Yeah, it sounds pretty forward-thinking, especially for a State agency, and it was. And the people I had the pleasure of working with from HCPF were incredibly hard-working and intelligent with a great sense of humor.

Their energy was contagious. I felt their desire to really make positive change for the people they serve, and it fired me up too. I wanted to do the best work I possibly could while practicing graphic facilitation for their conference. Even though the content was complex, I stayed focused during long days on doing the best work I could, because THEY were. (Here's a post I wrote about tapping into your creativity, if you're feeling stuck.)

And you know what? People were stoked on it. A bunch of people came and talked with me about what I was doing and how much they loved it. One of the incredible facilitation consultants told me she was “over” graphic recorders, but she loved what I was doing. We’re talking today about ways to keep working together in the future.


So what’s my tip to be successful in anything you do?

Do it with excellence. 
Do it with every ounce of hard work you can. Do it with joy. People will notice, and you’ll probably have more fun too. 

(Hint: click on the image below to see the larger version on the blog)

Now I want to hear from you!

Have you noticed a difference when you're doing your absolute best and practicing excellence? 

Upload your Sketch or share a story in the comments section below to share your unique style and inspire the community! And of course, any questions, epiphanies, and requests for future ConverSKETCHes!

If you liked this tip, please sign up for my emails and if you'd like, share this with people you know who do excellent work -- give them a little doodle thumbs up!

Thanks for tuning in! Keep drawing and making your beautiful, authentic mark on this world!

Cheers, Karina



Want to add some excellence to your next meeting, presentation or project? Get in touch with me to talk about your vision and how I can help.

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

Aside from the Colorado Medicare-Medicaid conference, I had the opportunity to serve as a guest "science professional" on a panel with students from Poudre High School interested in a program called Environmentors. I was a Mentor when I was a student at CSU, so taking time with an organization that encourages students to explore science is one way I enjoy giving back to the community. Science Rules!

Aside from the Colorado Medicare-Medicaid conference, I had the opportunity to serve as a guest "science professional" on a panel with students from Poudre High School interested in a program called Environmentors. I was a Mentor when I was a student at CSU, so taking time with an organization that encourages students to explore science is one way I enjoy giving back to the community. Science Rules!