“The beliefs that I could do anything I wanted if I applied myself, that education were important and that I needed to be self-sufficient was instilled in me at a young age by my father. Throughout my life, I have always embraced change and learning.”
My father encouraged me to pursue the emerging field of computing in the early 70s instead of a more altruistic field. He told me that I could always volunteer. Thus began my journey.
My first career was information technology, where I enjoyed learning from others, defining user requirements, helping new users adapt to new ways of working and showing them how technology could make them more efficient. I worked with end users, systems programmers, sales, and I certified technicians to train and install software. When I could not find technicians who could also design training, I founded Educational Horizons and devoted ten years developing and delivering custom technical training for a variety of industries. I became a volunteer mediator for the Tarrant County Court System and used my listening, questioning and facilitation skills to help others solve their own conflicts.
By the early 80s, I had moved from a technological focus to an emphasis on helping organizations improve the performance of their people – from the front line to the boardroom. I collaborated with and learned from industrial and organizational psychologists. We implemented integrated human resource systems, executive assessment and employee training to improve organizational performance.
Since early 2000, my career has focused on developing and improving processes and systems, which involves people, leveraging technology, aligning with other systems, and helping people change the way they work and improve their skills. I have spent over a decade in higher education designing, innovating and implementing processes and systems and helping several institutions adopt outcomes-based education.
I learned many important lessons from my fellow practitioners and from my own experiences by constantly using reflective practice. I have worked with subject matter experts from many different disciplines and functional areas for over three decades. All these experiences have prepared me to be an effective organizational architect.
Throughout my career, I have used strategic inquiry, thinking and planning to help organizations change, maintain focus, and improve their outcomes. I have been both an intrapreneur and an entrepreneur. I have created new roles, departments, processes and systems, products, and several businesses. I have held management and board positions and have had wonderful male and female role models.
I have been an active volunteer since I was sixteen. I credit my volunteer and professional accomplishments with developing and improving my leadership and management skills. As a young woman in Texas, several women pioneers inspired me to make a difference and to inspire others. I learned the importance of collaborating, building partnerships and involving others to solve critical issues. Coaching and mentoring are now part of my life.
Being an avid sailor and horseback rider has taught me much about leadership, teamwork, change and trust. I have gained equally important experience from both my professional and volunteer experiences, and I have found that taking the time for reflection helps crystallize the important lessons learned. According to Vernon Sanders Law, a former major league baseball player, “Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards.”
For more information, visit my Linkedin page at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/kathytelban