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Humanity works! In this episode of the In the Lead Show, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Debbie Cohen and Kate Roeske-Zummer and we explored their five practices of leading with awareness, choice & courage. During our conversation, we got on the subject of trust. I believe that trust absolutely starts with self. As someone who has been around the block, I've seen so many times where we want to point fingers… We want to try and reorganize the business… We want to implement innovation and change at a very rapid pace. When we do this people are just stuck saying/feeling, “I'm not even able to be centered where I'm at, and now you're asking me to do all this?”
This happens because we're just constantly reacting. It's almost like we look at people like they're objects or they're like in a game that we can just kind of like move. In terms of that re-centering piece, that’s where we have the ability to come back to self. Anytime you're feeling mistrust or unsafe, or you're feeling reactive, how do you come back to self? “Self” is what creates that space to create more choices, better decisions, connection, or empathy. I feel like we're almost afraid of “self” and it's so key and it's so valuable. I'm happy to see that these ladies are doing this work because I think it's one of the big key missing pieces in leadership. Leadership isn't always about controlling your outputs and how you impact others.
It starts with you first. If you can't lead within yourself, you're not going to be able to lead others effectively.
Jennifer Tsang is an ICF Leadership Coach who partners with executives, leaders & everyday people to build more consciousness into how they lead their teams and most importantly, themselves. She believes that leadership is an inside out approach. As someone who has worked on her own personal development and self-leadership for over 15 years, she started her coaching practice in 2020 to help others discover how to lead themselves and grow professionally and personally. Today, Jennifer offers a wide variety of programs and services – from individual coaching, to group and team coaching, mindfulness programs and facilitated group conversations.
KATE ROESKE-ZUMMER knows vulnerability-based leadership creates stronger relationships, more authentic connections and better results. As an account manager at Ogilvy & Mather, Kate recognized the power in distributing responsibility to the people on her team. She experienced first-hand that the whole of a team really is greater than the sum of its parts.
DEBBIE COHEN’s beliefs about human potential are grounded in decades of work with humans big and small. Her career began as a teacher and leader of early childhood education programs at Stanford University and the USGS. This era shaped her thinking about how humans grow and evolve, and the role environments play. She moved on, applying these ideas to building strategies with companies seeking to attract and retain key talent through work/life initiatives. This work heightened her awareness of systemic roadblocks and the impact they have on people and productivity. Shifting from consulting to internal work, Debbie began leading work/life for Time Warner just after the infamous AOL/Time Warner merger. She became known for getting groups who did not typically work well together to a place of shared focus and effort. This ignited a bigger shift into executive leadership roles in HR at Time Warner, Razorfish, Mozilla, and First Look LLC. The impact of Debbie’s work was recognized in a case study released by Harvard Business Publishing, People Operations at Mozilla Corporation: Scaling a Peer-to-Peer Global Community, which received the 2013 Berkeley-Haas Case Award for the most important contribution to management education.
THE 5 PRACTICES TO LEAD WITH AWARENESS, CHOICE AND THE COURAGE TO CHANGE
The 5 Practices provide straightforward techniques to develop insight into your behaviors, and practical skills and tools for action. Our 5 Practices are:
1. Creating safety: The most important aspect of working with people is to create an
environment that feels safe, physically and psychologically. And it’s up to you.
2. Working together: A big perspective shift is to let go of your personal agenda and focus
on the common goal. The secret to working together is it’s not about you.
3. Claiming values: Claiming values means knowing what you stand for, your non negotiables.
Know what is important to you.
4. Owning your impact: This is how people experience you, what makes you compelling, and
what people say about you when you are not in the room. Be responsible for what you create.
5. Daring not to know: This is the practice of surrender—it paves the way for deeper
engagement and loyalty from other. You lead the way.
If you want to contact Jennifer Tsang, visit
If you want to connect with Debbie & Kate, visit: