Leading Consciously Stories


Here’s what people we have served are saying about us….

“They get results”

As the Director for the City of Houston Health and Human Services Department, it is my pleasure to recommend Leading Consciously for their solution oriented consulting services.

The City of Houston Health and Human Services Department hired Leading Consciously to facilitate its leadership team in the development of critical skills and strategies needed to create a unified focus, stronger commitment and enhanced public stewardship. Leading Consciously, represented by its principal consultants, Stephanie Foy, LMSW and Jean Latting, DrPH, exceeded my every expectation.

Leading Consciously demonstrated their expertise to communicate ideas and insights in a non-threatening manner and focus on strengths to improve team dynamics. They provided comprehensive team facilitation, empirically-based individual leadership assessments and effective skills training. In the one year that our organization has contracted with Leading Consciously, we have seen an increase in group cohesion, greater utilization of each other’s strengths, greater support and accountability of one another, as well as improved morale. As a result, I am convinced that the services of Leading Consciously are more than worth the investment. Simply put, they get results.

Finally, I would like to add that their willingness to provide individual consultation services demonstrated a genuine commitment to improve the organization and also helped us improve as individuals.

Stephen L. Williams, M.Ed., MPA
Director, City of Houston Health and Human Services Department

“Productive ways to resolve conflict”

Dear Dr. Latting,

Your class in Dynamics of Leadership was such a blessing to my life, both professionally and personally. Through this class I have learned how to create and maintain sincere connections with others by discovering productive ways to resolve conflict.

This is why I have enjoyed participating in the skits at the GCSW Alumni book signing and at the recent book signing at Barnes & Nobles. The theatrical skits bring the skills of Reframing Change to life.

I also think the discussions & skit ideas help participants understand the content better by applying it to real life scenarios.

Every time we put on the skits I hear someone say, “I see myself in that character.” At that moment they begin to understand their behavior and their contribution to the initial problem.

This book is helping people work through their challenges, including myself.

Thank you Dr. Latting for your continued dedication to constructively shaping not only non-profit leadership, but the individual as well.

Rochelle White, MSW

“It all has to start with us”

From reading Reframing Change this semester and class discussions on it, I have gone a mile further in comprehending issues of change: personal commitment is the starting point to effect change within ourselves and this change spreads to our surroundings.

Personal commitment means a lot of things. We need to develop self awareness which could require us to monitor our assumptions, emotions and relationships. In other words, we are working on our mental models to create what we want to achieve in the world of uncertainties and risks.

The last chapter sort of summarized everything and equipped me with a tool box that will help me to look at the world in a different way from how I used to perceive it before I took this class. I have gone through unpleasant situations in my life and failed in most cases. But this class has equipped me with solutions to handle such situations.

I have been mesmerized with what the authors of this book have said towards the end of the last chapter that I am not the only one in my organization who wants to bring people together to make a difference, but that I am the only one who can take the first step of leaving my safe territory to venture into unknown territory of initiating a change. This statement just reminds me that we should be driven by values and not emotions. So if we associate ourselves with values of courage and perseverance, we will surely effect changes in our lives. It all has to start with us.

Chinsinsi Chidule
Malawi Polytechnic College of the University of Malawi

“You can learn from each other”

After reading the chapter on Bridging Differences and participating in the exercise in class, I learned that although one may feel that they are dominant or nondominant in a certain situation, you can always take an advantage and learn how to (if you’re dominant) listen to the nondominant and give them a voice and (if you’re a nondominant) stand up and say what you want without being ignored by the dominant group.

If you’ve found yourself on either side of the coin at one time, you should consider how the other side feels because you yourself have once felt that way also. That’s why listening and being aware is very important because once you do so you will be able to react to the situation.

In the class exercise, if the dominant didn’t listen to what the nondominant was saying, then there wouldn’t have been any form of communication and discussion going back and forth. What was eye-opening was how everyone captured their role quite seriously. The dominant acted like dominants do, they spoke most of the time, they sometimes interrupted what the nondominant was saying (which Dr. Latting brought to their attention), and they were the ones that questioned nondominants most of the time (for instance, I remember a classmate asking a student from China whether there were black people in her country or if it was as diverse as the United States; she kept asking her questions without the Chinese student being able to ask her a question or two back). The nondominant simply wanted to be heard.

The experience taught me that you can learn from each other. When you are nondominant, you could learn how to overcome that position and use it to your advantage and while being in a dominant group, you could listen to the nondominant and help them speak their mind also. It takes both sides to communicate to each other in order for change to occur.

Michael I.
MBA Student
Texas Southern University

“Prejudice and discrimination do not have to be deliberate”

I really did enjoy Dr. Latting’s visit to the class and the exercise on bridging differences. It was so enlightening because it brought attention to how we really think of our fellow classmates.

Prejudice and discrimination do not have to be deliberate. During the exercise, when we were split into the nondominant and dominant groups of Americans and international students, it was so interesting to see how we subconsciously treated each other. I was in the dominant group and when the nondominant group started to talk, we (dominants) started talking amongst ourselves about what we wanted to say in response to them before they even finished their thought. I didn’t even realize what we were doing until Dr. Latting made us quiet down to hear what the nondominants had to say.

We all like to believe that we treat everyone the same, but this exercise showed me that even when we think we are being respectful, we forget about the other people around us.

In the Bridging Differences chapter, it mentioned that we as dominants forget to think about how our actions affect the nondominants. Just because a system is working for us, it could be hurting the nondominants.

The exercise really made me focus on developing awareness of my own biases, perceptual distortions and emotional reactions. When you intentionally become more aware of your own automatic stereotypes and make a conscious commitment to address them, you become more deliberate and effective and increase your ability to see yourself, or your actions, as others see you.

I never realized how I can dismiss people, but I am going to take time to listen and be more aware of what I can do to make the people around me more comfortable.

Rylian Cooper
Jesse H. Jones School of Business
Texas Southern University

“It’s okay to make mistakes”

After reading Reframing Change and with the help of this class, I now know that it’s okay to make mistakes and I need to recognize the small wins to keep me motivated to want to continue to change.

I never used to recognize the progress that I did make and I focused too heavily on the mistakes. Now since I am keeping weekly records of my progress, I am able to see how well I am doing from week to week and I am able to identify the distractions that hinder me from making better progress.

But I sometimes still get discouraged when I do good for a long period of time and then all of a sudden make a mistake. So I am still working on being okay with making mistakes.

Petra Sewell
Owner and CEO
Memories 2 Come

“Face the fear and do it anyway!”

Mary helped me during a period of major transition in my life and career. I was leaving a company after 27 years to set up my own business and go back to school. She was able to to coach me through the many issues, both emotional and practical that came up for me and to help me to widen my perspective about what was important in making the change. I go back time and time again to the discussions we had which serve as an anchor when thinking about the future. Mary helped to make the process go very smoothly and to helped me to face the fear and do it anyway!

Sarah McConnell
former VP
Aker Kvaerner

“Sustainable plan to rebuild trust”

We found ourselves in a less than satisfactory situation with respect to our team’s understanding of trust and diversity/inclusion. We needed a fresh set of ears and eyes to take a deep dive into the root cause of what was going on way below the surface. We reached out to Mary Harlan. Together we went through a self-discovery process that took us far beyond the pat answers and clichés that are sometimes offered as solutions. As a result of Mary’s patient guidance and encouragement we’re now in a far better place with a sustainable plan to rebuild trust and take our diversity and inclusion plan to the next level. The employee feedback has been outstanding – each participant felt important, listened to and motivated to move our team forward in ways we previously hadn’t thought were possible.

Sheila Carter
HR Manager
Shell Oil

“Generational differences”

Mary Harlan plays a key role in our leadership development programs for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Mary’s presentation on generational differences provided us with a clear perspective on how to define, understand, and use generational differences for positive results. Her review of generational dynamics, and instruction on applying the strengths of each generation to form more effective working relationships, was very insightful. Mary’s energy, enthusiasm, wit, and passion awaken crowds and transforms thought patterns, even those resistant to change. Her ability to connect between generations helps foster mutual understanding that sets the framework for organizational growth.

Craig T. Montgomery
Senior Training Specialist

“A strength-based perspective”

Reframing Change makes systems and personal change achievable by using a strength-based perspective. Within this basic framework the authors address the individual and group dynamics that inhibit and, alternatively, create change. Debunking the myth that personal change is impossible, Latting and Ramsey use neuroscience (the concept of neuroplasticity) and behavioral science to support readers in their quest for personal and systemic change.

In exploring the issues of organizational trauma and stress, the book provides real-life examples to challenging workplace dilemmas, which can often lead to high turnover, an unpleasant work atmosphere and low productivity.

On a personal level, this translated to identifying my role in organizational stress. By looking at my own behavior with regard to work boundaries and self-care, I became more self-aware about the pressures and expectations I had long imposed on my colleagues.

By undertaking a personal change, I affected change in my professional work and became a more effective leader. Furthermore, this self-transformation enabled me to gravitate to a healthier lifestyle, which established more time with my family, time to focus on my health and provoked a steady weight loss of over 27 lbs., which I have maintained to date.

Nadia G. Kalinchuk
Ph.D. Student
Graduate College of Social Work
University of Houston

“Engaging in Difficult Conversations”

Mary Harlan enthusiastically outlines how to engage in difficult conversations that make a difference in productivity, relationships, and your competitive edge. I highly recommend the session on engaging in difficult conversations that Mary’s conducts. Her extensive knowledge and years of experience in examining a number of approaches and techniques, provides empowerment to individuals to resolve conflict in ways that build trust and enhances relationships. Mary’s interactive blending learning approach coupled with her contagious enthusiasm that makes this session a very enlightening experience.

Craig T. Montgomery
Senior Training Specialist

“A ‘tool box’ of ideas, skills, and techniques”

The entire course, Dynamics in Leadership, especially the text, was extremely valuable to my education and my current job position.

Learning about conflict resolution, testing assumptions, and other topics really prepared me for my current leadership position. As a program director of an undergraduate nonprofit management program, I have the unique opportunity to teach my students how to be better leaders. With the skills I learned, I felt more equipped to tackle this task.

I have a “tool box” of ideas, skills, and techniques to call on as various situations arise. My students benefited from a 2 hour workshop Dr. Latting facilitated with them. They are now testing assumptions within their student groups, using open-ended questions to learn more about their peers, and testing the waters with conflict resolution techniques. They are growing into more mature leaders right before my eyes!

The best part about this class, and the text, was it gave me the opportunity to test out these techniques within the safety net of the classroom. I feel more confident in my abilities as a leader as a direct result of the class.

Lori Godwin
Interim Program Director
American Humanics Program
University of Houston


Reframing Change

If you’d like to order a copy of Reframing Changeclick here.

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