Coach of the Month – Kimberli Lewis

Name: Kimberli Lewis

Title: Founder/CEO Global Business Therapy and Ponytale Talk

Business Name:  I have two businesses: One is Global Business Therapy and the second is Ponytale Talk.

To be honest, Ponytale Talk is my love.  I am passionate about women in business.  After serving 22 years in executive management and having been the only female CEO on many boards, I understand how difficult it is for women to be recognized. I fully understand the road blocks, both real and perceived, that women face every day in the workplace. I want to help women be able to get over the roadblocks they face and will face. The world is not changing fast enough. Today over 55% of university graduates are women but in Europe women hold only 16% of the board positions on public companies. The European Directive 2020 says that this number should be 40%, but at the current rate we are going it will take 30 years before we reach that target. I want to help women be recognized, take control and speed up this process. I have combined my 22 years of experience into a book called Ponytale Talk, Career Strategies for Women, which will come out at the Frankfurt Book Show in Germany in October.

Niche/Specialties:  Having managed businesses in 10 countries and having worked with another 30 nationalities has made me an advocate of cultural diversity and integration. My specialty is helping executives and companies transition to multicultural environments while learning to unleash the power those environments can bring. My experience has taught me that cultural transition for executives does not only take place in the business environment. Cultural transition is not just about the success of the person who is working in business but the success and integration of the entire family. I am a specialist in helping not only executives and companies transition, but also families and their individual members.

Expat Experience:  I am an American who has lived in Europe for 22 years. During that time, I have been been at the Vice President or CEO level of 6 international companies and I serve on two Boards. I will never forget being elected as the first women and non-European to the position of President of the European Association of Search and Database Publishing in Brussels, and I was recently elected to a second term. Even better than winning the election was the sense of accomplishment that the glass ceiling was finally broken and the door was open to the other women who will serve after me.

I am proud to have been honored with 29 international awards in marketing and management, and to have been given the opportunity to be a featured speaker in Europe and USA.

Languages Spoken:  English and German. Working knowledge of Czech and Slovak.

About Me:  I am married to Jochen, who is German. For years we fought about what we would have for Christmas Dinner, a turkey or a goose (we also fight about if it would be on the 24th or 25th of December). After a couple years, Jochen learned not to come between a New Englander and her turkey, so we comprised by always inviting many people and having both.

I have lived and worked in Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, UK, Russia, The Netherlands and worked in most of Europe and also in the Ukraine and in Israel. I will never forget the culture shock I had during my first year in Prague when all the streets were lined with barrels of swimming carp from the second week of December until New Year. I grew up on the ocean but did not expect to see fish swimming in the streets of Prague. My husband always reminds me of the day I tried to order dog meat in Germany instead of Chicken; OK, the words “Hunde” and “Hühnchen” sounded quite similar to me.

I do not have a favorite place because I think each transition I have made was unique and each culture is unique. I could do without the -25° C degrees weather (sometimes even colder) that we had in Moscow and sometimes in Prague, but I will never give up my German Currywurst. I once went on a Currywurst testing day in Berlin with a friend of mine, who is a journalist, and we tested all the major Currywurst stands in Berlin. Directly after the little tour was the only time I gave up Currywurst for a month. Currywurst is a German bratwurst with a very special sauce.

I like to travel, and get the opportunity to do so because I am often asked to be a keynote speaker. Recently I was keynote speaker at AEGEE (Association des Etats Généraux des Etudiants de l’Europe / European Students’ Forum) and the Local Search Association Conference in Las Vegas. I have also been a keynote speaker in Europe and have lectured over 40 US visiting universities in Europe. I am invited as keynote speaker in Shanghai, China in October of this year and really looking to China because it is one place I have never been. I do not think they will have Currywurst though, so I will have another cultural transition to talk about!

What I love about working in this niche:  Recently I decided against taking another job as CEO. I wanted to focus on helping others find their way in this global business environment and help the partners and families.  Being a seasoned executive, I help executives transition, but also help the partners and families understand, unlock, and enjoy the opportunities available to them in another culture. It makes me feel good to watch the faces on people when they realize and enjoy the opportunities they have available to them.

Coaching Style:  Personal but professional.

Favorite Coaching Tool:  It really depends on the client and the situation, although I do like to use Myers-Briggs if the client wants to learn more about themselves before beginning the coaching journey.

Why clients choose me as their coach:  I have vast business experience; therefore I can speak the businessperson’s language. Personally, I have been through many cultural transitions both as an individual and as businessperson, therefore I can relate to the personal side of cultural transition. I have been on both sides of the fence and am passionate about helping others feel comfortable with themselves and their situation. I also like to help people be successful.

A Tip for My Niche:  The best gift we can receive is to live and work in another culture. It expands our horizon and gives us experience. Everyone should learn how to use this gift for their own development.

Contact Details

Email: Kimberli@globalbusinesstherapy.com, Kimberli@ponytaletalk.com

Websites: www.globalbusinesstherapy.com, www.ponytaletalk.com

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/kimberli-lewis/3/405/7a3

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