Kathy Watt

Licensee, LMI Canada - Atlantic Region

I have been a professional educator for 40 years, and in the last 20 years, the focus has been on working with adults, especially in the area of leadership development. Curiously enough, when I became a licensee with LMI Canada (2009), my very first cohort consisted of 9 women. My work with women has, since then, become a significant part of my professional portfolio. I've worked with over 200 women throughout the province of New Brunswick and beyond, and I have partnered with other women business owners to invest in the growth and development of women. Most recently, my colleague, Tanya Chapman and I established and held the first of what we envision to be an outstanding women's forum - 2 days of thinking, being, planning, learning - held in St. Andrews in October, the 2nd annual forum is now in the planning stages! (DoubleYou - website soon to be developed).

My current top-of-mind topic is this: People need to create the space to lead, and this is the focus of my own development and learning, as I continually equip myself to bring world-class expertise to helping people become their best versions of themselves. In order to create the space to lead, we need to learn to think differently - the competition for our "attention" is at an all-time high – think social media, information of all kinds, demands from employers, clients, employees, family, community, etc. Learning to think differently is no small feat. However, research from neuroscience is very clear that our brains have the definite capacity to develop new systems and habits, an ability that lasts for most of our lives!

Helping people to imagine their preferred future, set goals to attain that future, and manage time and priorities for their accomplishment is a calling for me - it isn't work! Within that, the most important work that we must do is to learn to appreciate and value the many strengths that we bring to any endeavour - women, especially, have a difficult time to be able to bring their best selves, their most authentic selves, to life and work. The barriers are often systemic, 'invisible' to many of the stakeholders of organizations, and difficult to overcome. I see it every day in my work with talented, exceptional women who are having to work twice as hard to accomplish the same things that men assume to be their birthright.

I’ve just written my story that will be included in a book, ‘Dreaming Big, Being Bold’, to be released on Feb. 23. I think it’s important to share our stories, not for purposes of bragging, or promoting ourselves. While we’re all on our own path, there is a lot we can learn from the stories of others.

What are you most proud of professionally? And who or why?

I am most proud of being affirmed by my clients as an authentic leader. I am not so concerned with building a public profile, as I am with bringing exceptional value to the people that I have the privilege to serve. I am passionate about making a difference in the lives of my clients, both male and female, but I feel truly called to invest even more in my work with women.

What's your vision for Atlantic Canada in 10 years? What’s our biggest opportunity now?

I want to see us realize more of our potential. For the last 25 years, I've had the opportunity to see over and over that we can accomplish as much, and more, than our counterparts globally - the barrier is in our own minds. Somehow the socialization of our humble Atlantic roots keeps us from believing in the ability we have to 'just do it', whatever the 'it' may be!! Importantly, we have the skills, resources, and expertise right here to help our businesses, our non-profits, our government grow, flourish and excel - we're just not using them all!

What was your greatest stage of growth? What made it a shift for you?

I have always been an over-acheiver (not always my best feature). Since learning, growth, and being at my best is a part of my DNA, I would say that my greatest stage of growth has been over the past 25 years as I made a conscious transition to move from public education into the business environment, and to become an expert in my field. I feel that I am entering a new stage of growth and learning that is as powerful as any I've experienced in the last 25 years.

What's your deepest learning from this past year? How did/will you apply it?

Definitely this: the importance of being present in each and every moment. Accomplishments and awards are wonderful, but the rewards of learning to live in the moment supersede what the world recognizes as noteworthy accomplishments.

Who's inspired you, directly or indirectly? How have they inspired you?

I had two male music instructors who inspired me to make an all-out investment in people - Robyn Bailey and Earl Mitton, both now deceased. They believed in me, and invested in me, to help me accomplish musically what I had not thought possible. I took that inspiration into every element of my work both musically, and in executive coaching. I am reminded in my work every day that an absolute belief in people can help them in their own journey to do more, become more, and achieve more than they ever thought possible. It has shaped my entire career, and my mission statement, which is "to enable individuals and organizations to realize more of their potential, while continually learning and growing to realize my own personal best."

What would you have done differently?

I wish that I had had the confidence in myself to enter into the world of business at a much younger age. I love the energy, the potential, and the challenges of the world of business and organizational development - helping people become their best versions of themselves, and leading their organizations to new levels of accomplishment.

What were your priorities and how did they help you overcome some of the struggles you've faced? What motivated you to make the choices you've made?

My priorities were always around realizing more of my own potential, and earning a 'place at the table'. I loved dreaming big, and being bold! That has been difficult as a woman, and curiously enough, it was men who helped me the most in my journey. I had almost no female mentors as I sought to move forward - it's why I have worked tirelessly to create, through my work, networks of women helping women - there is too much ego, suspicion, and competition to be 'noticed'. Just be real. Strive for excellence. Strive for being more of who you are and who you can become without worrying whether someone else is going to reach to top (wherever that is!) before you do! I have little patience for those who are unable to see beyond the immediate, in life and work, and fortunately, I work in a profession where I have the option to quietly leave them be, and move on to work with those who are ready to go to the next level of their own, and their organization's success.

How have you recovered from fractured professional relationships? What uncomfortable truths have you learned about yourself in those experiences)?

I can honestly say that I don't have any of these that come to mind! I've "left" professional relationships, with honour and dignity, because there is just so much work to be done through aligning myself with people who also want to make a difference. You cannot teach those who are not ready to learn! When I've been in those professional situations, I've had the courage to either leave the organization, with relationships intact, or leave the relationship, itself! Onward and upward!


Entrepreneur, Developer of People, Musician, Passionate, Accomplished, Authentic

kathy watt
EntrepreneurAmplify East