Sustainable Success For Organizations 

(and humanity!)

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!)

Amber Barnes

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?”

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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

Kerri Meyer

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…

Kevin Lloyd

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…

Courtney Vogt

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.

Why StartHuman? 

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…

The StartHuman Values

Not Knowing is Rad 

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!)

Choose Courage

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?”

Celebrate Humanity

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 gratitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” We see this as leadership.

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10 Changes Leaders Can Make to Build a Thriving Workplace

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