Sustainable Success For Organizations
Most people have unknowingly adopted leadership and workplace practices that are toxic to human beings.This leaves people exhausted, cynical, and sad which creates vicious cycles of suffering at work that bleeds into their relationships with partners, children, and communities.
I created StartHuman to help human-first leaders and employees around the world by equipping them with the education, practices, and tools needed to replace unhealthy behaviors with ones that promote human flourishing. This results in sustainable success for organizations and humanity.
When leaders and employees flourish at work they’re better equipped to have healthy relationships at home (and beyond!)
FOUNDER & CHIEF EDUCATION OFFICER
Amber always had an interest in learning. She earned a degree in education knowing it was one of the puzzle pieces that filled in her life’s vision. However, it wasn’t until Amber began working as the Learning & Sales Development Consultant at Wells Fargo that she discovered a passion for leadership & developing people.
Amber had a front-row seat as she watched leaders go through the ups and downs of leading and developing their people. Over time, she started to see a pattern— managers were either people-focused and well-liked by their team or they were goals-focused and top in their sales. But it seemed like there was a trade-off. It left Amber wondering “is it possible to have both?” “Can an organization both take care of their employees and also reach their goals?”Read More…
As Amber learned more about leadership, she realized she wanted to take her own development to the next level and began earning her Masters in Organization Development to study how to affect change in organizations. It was here that she realized the question she left off with was more than just a passing thought. It was a mission: to help organizations stop making a “trade-off” between caring about people or reaching their goals. In 2011, Amber decided she wanted to make a difference in the workplace and founded StartHuman.
At StartHuman, Amber’s role is to partner with leaders and their teams to first diagnose the root of the problem, help them make a plan, and join her team in providing the training and support they need to make changes. Amber is passionate about working shoulder-to-shoulder with her clients and helping people learn how to better lead, communicate, and be better humans together.
When Amber isn’t scaling mountains in the workplace, you can find her scaling mountains in the wilderness. Her favorite go-to activities are mountain biking, rock climbing, and trekking with her pups, Guinness and Finn. She refuels by reading, writing, reflecting and dancing!
- Senior Manager of Learning and Performance, Veritas
- Consultant, Coach and Strategist, Leadership Research Institute
- Learning and Development Consultant, Wells Fargo
- Branch Manager, Wells Fargo
- Operations Manager, Walton’s Family of Funeral Homes
- Funeral Director, Walton’s Family of Funeral Homes
- Kickboxing Instructor, Various
- BS Education
- MS Organization Development
- Certified Co-Active Coach
- Professional Certified Coach
- Certified Daring Greatly™ Facilitator
- Certified Dare to Lead™ Facilitator
- Certified Rising Strong™ Facilitator
- SLII® Facilitator
- Authentic Relating Facilitator
- Clifton Strengths
- Strong Interest Inventory
What Does It Mean to Be Human-First?
Everything changes when you put people first. Businesses that start with a human-first approach ask different questions. Instead of just asking “how will the company benefit?” or “how will we profit?” they figure out how they can create both a customer experience and an employee experience that delivers the best to people and brings out the best in people. When organizations are able to put humans first, they can create sustainable success for themselves and the communities they impact.
Human-First Organizations Ask:
Internally (Employee Experience)
What’s the exchange of value?
Why would people want to work here?
How can I inspire more personal ownership and innovation in my people?
How are our people (not our products) our most valuable asset?
What kind of impact can we have on the lives of the people who make up our organization – their families, their community?
Externally (Customer Experience)
Instead of asking “I have X number of widgets, how do I make people buy these?” We ask “what do problems/needs/wants do people have and how does our widget help?”
What’s the exchange of value for our customers?
What do they really want or need? ?
How can we serve them even better?
CHIEF EDUCATION OFFICER
Kerri started working in the training and development space before it was an established department in most organizations. In 1997 she became Director of Training and Development for a payroll company and it was during this time that she realized she had a true passion for bridging the gap between operational goals and “the human factor.”
Solving problems through people, process and discovery is what energizes Kerri, and she was able to do just that while at Intuit, Symantec and Veritas. After earning her MBA, Kerri found ways to apply her business and operations skills to the learning environment to ensure a return on people investment. Creating systems, programs and experiential learning experiences using sound learning practices, allowed her to both develop people and to return measurable results to the organization.Read More…
After many years in the corporate world, Kerri decided it was time for a change. She wanted to have a more direct impact and work with people on a more one-on-one basis for coaching, training and facilitation, so she launched a leadership development company called Sync Learning. Having had her as a trusted colleague and vendor partner for many years, Kerri loved the approach Amber took with her business and clients. Soon, Kerri realized it would be a great fit for her to join the StartHuman team as Co-CEO.
As Co-CEO, Kerri’s role is to design the strategic direction needed to help teams meet their goals. She uses her vast knowledge of company operations to help develop strategies and learning interventions. Kerri also works directly with clients providing coaching, training, and facilitation.
When Kerri isn’t partnering with clients, she loves spending time with her 3 adult children. She also loves gardening, making old things new again (“upcycling”), traveling, boating, fishing, serving at her church, and volunteering.
CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER
Kevin has been in the learning and development world since 1989. He has led learning in corporations like IBM and PricewaterhouseCoopers, as well as small consulting organizations for over 30 years. For years, Kevin taught programming systems architecture and also worked in career management and development. He was responsible for the professional development of both new hires and tenured leaders alike.
Kevin joined the StartHuman team in February of 2020 and plays the important role of helping to collect, measure, and track results. After many years in training and development teams across the country, Kevin uses his experienced eye to study the data, draw conclusions, and make recommendations for moving forward. Read More…
Kevin loves helping people be more excited about their work and helping them to grow on a personal level. He likes helping people at all levels from students to new hires, to the newly promoted, and experienced leaders become more effective in their roles.
When Kevin isn’t digging into the data, he loves digging his feet into the sand. Whenever he and his wife are able they love a getaway to the beach. Kevin and his wife also love spending time with their three grandchildren who are now just five miles away from home, since their recent move from Florida to Georgia.
CLIENT EXPERIENCE ASSISTANT
Kerri helps the StartHuman team behind the scenes to keep the “i’s” dotted and the “t’s” crossed. She supports the team with research, data entry, processing surveys, preparing reports, arranging appointments, and connecting with clients.
She loves being able to support the StartHuman team and the residual effects of learning about self-development and leadership.
When Courtney isn’t supporting the team she likes to get out and support the community. She volunteers at local organizations like Ronald McDonald House, Community Food Pantry, and Blueprint 360. Courtney loves spending time with her family and her Golden Retriever, Rick.
Humans are equally the most crucial and most challenging aspect of building a business. They can be complex, emotional, and unpredictable which can make leading them difficult. So it makes sense that organizations looking to increase productivity and get a bigger “piece of the pie” would try to outsmart the hurdles posed by humanity and engineer around it. Over the years, many have tried to standardize, digitize, and systematize away all the “messiness” that comes with human interaction. They have replaced training with training manuals and purposeful work with the pressure to perform. This has resulted in sink or swim cultures where there is little room for mistakes, development is self-lead, and “climbing the ladder” results in a myriad of unhealthy and outright toxic behaviors. Read More… What many leaders don’t realize is that the actual way to see better performance and increased productivity isn’t to work around their humans and figure out a way to control them. It’s to work with their humans and find ways to empower them. With all the complexity and complication a human possesses also means the ability to achieve complex and complicated goals. Behind every set of eyes is a human with a unique way of thinking and a set of talents that could make the difference between “status quo” and earth-shaking success. With every set of hands is the capability to build innovative products and craft ideas that can change the world. The secret isn’t to dehumanize the workplace but to re-humanize it. That’s what makes us StartHuman. We help organizations start with the most crucial ingredient to their success – humanity, then figure out how to navigate communication, collaboration, and conflict. We provide the education and support they need to help their humans flourish and, ultimately, have a positive impact on the world.
Unfortunately, little has been done to recognize the pitfalls passed down to us and workplaces around the world have inherited traditions and beliefs that lead to dysfunction on every level. People don’t know how to navigate the human interaction that is crucial to their ability to connect with others. They fail to find meaning in their work or inspiration to reach the next goal. They end up playing a part and playing victim to a workplace full of drama and dysfunction. People are overworked and overwhelmed. They are suffering.
What many leaders don’t realize is that the actual way to see better performance and increased productivity isn’t to work around their humans and figure out a way to control them. It’s to work with their humans and find ways to empower them. With all the complexity and complication a human possesses also means the ability to achieve complex and complicated goals. Behind every set of eyes is a human with a unique way of thinking and a set of talents that could make the difference between “status quo” and earth-shaking success. With every set of hands is the capability to build innovative products and craft ideas that can change the world.
The secret isn’t to dehumanize the workplace but to re-humanize it. That’s what makes us StartHuman. We help organizations start with the most crucial ingredient to their success – humanity, then figure out how to navigate communication, collaboration, and conflict. We provide the education and support they need to help their humans flourish and, ultimately, have a positive impact on the world.
The StartHuman Values
We believe we’re all connected by a deep desire to always be learning. We ask questions like “what can we learn from this?” We believe in failing fast and celebrating failure (because it means we tried something new or put ourselves out there or now have an opportunity to learn!)
A lot of what we do challenges the status quo. Challenging happens through feedback, speaking the unspoken, talking about that which is taboo at work. It’s kinda the core of our work. We believe in both/and thinking and ask questions like “is that true?”
We always have the freedom to lead ourselves regardless of what’s going on around us. We own our experiences, we choose our behaviors, we always have a choice. We are inspired by Viktor Frankl’s quote “The last of human freedoms–to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” We see this as leadership.