I'd like to invite you to read more about my story below and understand my quest to help people like you reach their goals in wellness and in life.
I'll tell you about my journey through management consulting and starting a nonprofit and share my recent projects that integrate my passions for wellness with business and entrepreneurism.
What kinds of problems do you love helping people and companies work through?
I love putting puzzles together. Steve Jobs called it "associative fluency", referring to the process of putting seemingly unrelated events together to find synergy.
Back when I was in management consulting for Fortune 500/100 companies, our project teams always looked for scatterplots with high "r" values -- meaning we looked for high correlations between two components that were supposed to be related. An example might be pay and performance; supposed to be related, right?
As I matured in my career and in my life, I started to focus less on the straight line correlations and instead looked for the outliers, as Malcolm Gladwell sagely suggests in one of his bestselling books. I began to see the fun and adventure of getting out of the box. I ultimately embraced this philosophy fully when I left my high-paying, high stakes corporate career to venture off into the world of entrepreneurism.
Have you always worked in the business (corporate or entrepreneurial) world?
After my kids were born (in 2000 and 2003), I wanted to temporarily leave the for-profit world and do something that had been itching at me for some time -- the idea of starting a nonprofit organization.
My entire family has always been involved in service to the broader community. In my 20s and 30s, I was so career (self) focused that I felt out of balance. With little kids at home, the task of providing them healthy meals and snacks became something of an obsession. Feeling that I lacked the proper information to feed their growing bodies and brains optimally, I went back to school for a Certification in Nutritional Counseling, a program that took me nearly 5 years to complete. During this time and after, I applied my growing base of knowledge around nutrition and wellness to help families in my community, especially the low-income and food insecure.
Since starting Nurture in 2008, I have helped tens of thousands of people in their journeys to better health. For those number crunchers out there, follow this link to find all the data you will need to understand the results I have personally enabled.
Now your work integrates both wellness and leadership. How do you merge the two?
I am really enjoying this stage of life-- yes --my late 40s! After spending a decade focused 100% on business (getting my MBA and working for Fortune 500/100 companies as a management consultant) and another decade focused 100% on nurturing my young kids (now teenagers) while growing my nonprofit, I am thrilled to be in a stage where I can integrate all of my experiences into a holistic package.
One of the things I have noticed with entrepreneurs is that they work so hard on building their businesses (and burning the candle at both ends), they need a coach or consultant that can help them with their businesses while also keeping an eye on taking care of the mind/body/spirit. Yes, we serve our customers and investors better if we are coming from a position of personal wellness and strength.
In 2015 I became involved in our local business incubator (Ketchum Innovation Center) as a mentor for start-up businesses. I love sitting down with passionate entrepreneurs to help them with anything from business incorporation to how to get the word out about a business once it is positioned to grow.
Besides your work as a coach and consultant, you also do a lot of work in media and publicity, correct?
Yep, I'm a busy gal. But I love what I do. I have a radio show at our local radio station (KDPI 88.5 FM) where I also serve on the Board. I launched a new Podcast called Mountain Mantras: Wellness and Life Lessons in late 2016. Interviewing business and wellness leaders helps me keep on my toes in both sides of my business, so I'm always on top of the latest trends and can share them not only with my listeners but apply them with my clients.
I also help others (mainly other authors, coaches and experts) "shout out about their work" through coaching sessions focused on getting media publicity. Having been through the worlds of radio, TV, podcasting and online and print communications, I enjoy helping others navigate this often strange and unfamiliar world.
You now model a life that is very connected to Nature. What is it about Nature that you feel can be particularly healing?
In 2011 our family made a fantastic journey West (from Chicago to Sun Valley, Idaho). I love living in a small mountain town, and I make sure to make time each and every day to get out and connect with the wilderness. I always get my very best ideas from Nature. Whether I'm working on a project for a client, writing a book, or helping my kids with their projects, I always find that a break in the fresh air helps me to clear my head, prioritize, and get focused.
Why did you decide to write Mountain Mantras?
I wrote Mountain Mantras: Wellness and Life Lessons from the Slopes to help more people. It is my vehicle to integrate all of the various experiences and learning opportunities under a single framework. In the six Mountain Mantras, I bring into play lessons from my days in management consulting and even childhood and young adult stories. The book also has an important leadership flair in terms of how to be more successful in everything you do by creating a vision, setting goals, and learning from failure. I wrote the book using the metaphor of skiing (and my humbling attempts to learn to ski as an adult) as a way to create a memoir feel that would also engage the reader in a very personal way. My hope is to reach more people with leadership and wellness messages without them even realizing that they are reading a book on leadership or wellness!
Why did you decide to write the Give It a Go, Eat a Rainbow series?
In my work with Nurture, one of our most popular programs is called "Rainbow Days" (typically done in a school setting), where we assign children a color and get them excited to eat fruits and veggies in that color. The children become "ambassadors" for that color and really embrace eating fruits and veggies. I had been looking for a book or leave-behind resource that would reinforce the learning from these powerful days. No books on the market hit the spot, so I decided to write a series myself. The series includes Give It a Go, Eat a Rainbow and Where Does a Rainbow Grow?. I feel it is also important to teach kids where food comes from- especially plants. It is a really exciting project!
Why did you decide to write Look Before You Leap: The Smart Author's Guide to Avoiding the Money Pit and Achieving Financial SUCCESS in Publishing?
I believe that books can change people's lives-- can change the world for the better! But I've heard many stories about authors feeling taken advantage of and being generally very unhappy about the publishing process. I entered the publishing industry myself with a management consultant's eye towards figuring out what is broken, what is evolving, and where future opportunities lie. I wrote Look Before You Leap to help aspiring authors, especially those with transformational messages to share, get their books out of their heads and into the world, with a smile on their face. I believe everyone has a book inside of them to share!
What do people know you for?
I have been told that I am "relentlessly helpful". That is one of the greatest compliments I have ever received.
Kathryn Kemp Guylay, MBA, CNC, is a coach/consultant, media personality, and proud mother of two. Kathryn writes frequently for blogs and publications and is the author of the bestseller Mountain Mantras: Wellness and Life Lessons from the Slopes and the 5x-award winning children's book, Give It a Go, Eat a Rainbow.
Kathryn has a BA from Emory University and an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. After working for over a decade in management consulting, Kathryn switched directions professionally to find more purpose in her work. Kathryn founded Nurture, a non-profit that provides nutrition and wellness education to children and families.
Kathryn has been very involved in the Let’s Move! initiative and also participates as a local ambassador for the Jamie Oliver Food Revolution and the Center for Science in the Public Interest (Food Day).
Recent awards include the Six Pillars of Character (City of Highland Park), Public Health Hero (Public Health Department), and Community Hero (Edible Schoolyard Project). Kathryn's books have received a total of nine awards, including the prestigious Mom's Choice Award and the Parent Tested/Parent Approved award.
Want more info? Listen to this recording of Kathryn being interviewed by Cyndi DuFur of KDPI 88.5 FM's live broadcast of Talk of the Town. It is a fun introduction to Kathryn that you can listen to on your next hike or walk!
What others are saying:
“Great advice for business leaders seeking the most from life."
-Jon Duval, Executive Director of the Ketchum Innovation Center
“Kathryn is a national leader for her work to create better health in our nation."
- Dr. David Holmes, Head of School Emeritus; executive director of Strategic Initiatives at Community School of Sun Valley, Idaho
"The wellness movement is gaining more and more strength today, thanks to leaders like Kathryn."
-Elisabeth Grabher, Board President of the Sun Valley Wellness Festival