Name: Karen O’Donnell Place of Employment:Generating Autonomy, an Executive Coaching and Leadership Consultancy Title:Principal
What is your 3 sentence biography? / What is your personal elevator pitch? “It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory” – Edward Deming Change surrounds and challenges us every day. We can either blend with and leverage change or fight it. I work with motivated individuals to tackle change head-on and make it work to their advantage.
Tell us about the challenges you faced on your path, and what you learned from it. After a multi-year career with General Electric, I wanted to test my own capacity to launch and grow a business in the Berkshires focused on my passions — coaching and leadership. The first few years were not what I expected, my phone wasn’t ringing and business was scarce. However, I stayed the course, as my supporters urged me to do. By connecting to other women and leaders in the community I gradually built sufficient connections to declare myself an entrepreneur and business owner. What I’ve learned? Create a vision and then go after it.
What “secret to success” would you share with young women entering the (Berkshire) workforce? Invest in three main areas:
Life-long learning, you are never done
Cultivate self-awareness and modify your own approaches if they aren’t working. Don’t blame issues on someone else.
Build a network through giving as well as receiving
What Berkshire women in business inspire you and why? There are so many women who have inspired and supported me on this journey that I can’t acknowledge them all. I would like to acknowledge two organizations that have sustained me in the tough times and helped me celebrate the good times — Berkshire Business Builders and the Berkshire Business and Professional Women.