Kathleen began expressing her passion for the practice of leadership early in her career. Working as a legislative and executive government staffer in her home state of Michigan, she noticed that political officials who had all the ingredients for success would be thwarted in reaching their goals because they weren’t clear about who they were and what they wanted to contribute to in their lives. To address this gap, Kathleen helped budding leaders find their power by co-founding the Michigan Political Leadership Program (MPLP) at Michigan State University in 1992 to help emerging leaders understand how to be effective candidates and officeholders. It was the first of many of Kathleen’s leadership innovations that encourage and guide others to “live leadership,” a practice she has dedicated her career to cultivating.
In 1995, after launching the MPLP and building a successful communications firm, Kathleen founded a company whose mission was to support emerging leaders in the political process—particularly women and other underrepresented groups—and became a consultant to local, congressional and statewide campaigns. In 1996, the Dean of the Graduate School of Political Management (GSPM) at George Washington University asked Kathleen to build its political leadership curriculum. The leadership curriculum she developed and taught for 14 years continues to be the cornerstone of leadership education for generations of political professionals being educated in our nation’s capital and around the world through the GSPM’s many international training programs.
By 2007, Kathleen Schafer began innovating the ways to support leadership development and created her proprietary leadership model that serves as the basis of her continually evolving work. She has taught the Leadership Connection Model to numerous leaders on six continents and continues to use this work with her clients that include leaders of major philanthropic, government, business, social impact and education institutions. From working with leaders of emerging democracies to billion-dollar companies, this approach works to improve individual satisfaction and efficacy and to align leaders to the best path for professional impact.
In 2011, Kathleen relocated to Southern California to be at the forefront of innovation in how these services are offered. In applying her own model to her work, she launched the:
- Human Being Store to scale her model and offer these powerful services to individuals at every phase and stage of their careers
- Human Being U to train individuals in her powerful proprietary process to deliver the work
- Center for Understanding Fellowship Program to engage public leaders in this innovative process to create and implement solutions to the greatest challenges facing our communities, country and world
Kathleen is based in Ojai, California, and has authored two books, Living the Leadership Choice and Choose to Lead and is working on her third one Being Human.