Karen Kendrick

Asheville, North Carolina, USA
Phone: 212-300-7783
Skype: Karengive

A time I experienced Collective Flow/ Team Flow...

Working with leaders and horses is a place where I have seen and felt flow and is actually something I set the training up to create if possible. For example, when 5-8 leaders are placed in an arena with an obstacle in the middle and a horse at liberty (no halter and no ropes), are given 2 minutes to plan, and 5 minutes to bring the horse into their team (BUT they can’t talk or touch the horse) and an accomplish a task, incredible breakdown usually happens. They individually see immediately where they go under pressure, what role they take or try not to take in a team, what happens to their creativity and energy and focus when frustrated, how they had a plan but didn’t know how to shift when the plan didn’t’ work, etc. For example, they walk the horse up to the step over with ease and then everything comes to a halt and they experience that what they think and believe effects what they can do. So, they then get an opportunity to process and learn and regroup and go back in a try again. The majority of the time they eventually discover flow, sometimes for the whole experience and other times just for moments. What creates that flow: they are aware now that they need to set and hold a clear vision in their minds, they know where they are going but are open to how they get there, they see that they need to try something and then regroup often, leadership is not a role but something they step in and out of depending on what is working or not working, they are tuned into themselves and each other and the horse in a more embodied way because they are not allowed to talk or use a halter, they use LE breath/space tools to bring themselves back to the present and connection when they start to shut down, they are encouraged to respond to their stress responses with humor and compassion, they let go of needing to be perfect and allow creative play, and many more things I’m eager to learn about through this process. Flow doesn’t mean the task is accomplished quickly and easily but the journey there is effortless even when it isn’t going as planned. I’ve also had for example a group of men who where able to do this activity with ease and flow immediately (They were a very kind introverted group), but then when given an exercise where they needed to up their energy and create momentum they struggled. They knew how to create flow with connection but didn’t know how to up their energy and kickstart the experience which was translating into not being able to get their projects off the ground at work. 2. When I played sports (a LONG time ago) or do ballroom dancing I have experienced flow when the connection with my team/partner/self between body and mind is wholistic.  3. I am also the Director of Learning for Veritus Group and have created their online training called the Major Gift Academy. I have two other individuals working with me and I am many times amazed with all that we have created over the past two years when none of us had any online experience and we live in three different states. There have been struggles and very hard work, but there is a lot that happens that feels magical and easy. What has created that, I’m not really sure. It could be that even though online training is new to us we are all working in areas of our strengths and motivations, there is trust, we are willing to allow different beliefs and ideas to push against each other until they finally land, when we mess up we apologize to each other, we hold each other accountable, and we trust intuition and when something doesn’t feel right we don’t move forward with the idea until it does. When has it broken down? When one of us is working beyond capacity so our best selves are not functioning, when we don’t communicate, when we don’t speak up when we see something, and more.

My passionate work... 

Working in an arena with horses and humans and being the conduit of learning through creating experiences, facilitating learning, and actions to take back as a leader is my where my happiest and highest self resides. I am now certified in Leadership Embodiment as well so the combination of the horse experience and the LE tools has proved to be a powerful and impactful combination. I have worked for the past 6 years with healthcare leaders around the country providing training for the Physician Leadership Institute. Now I’m also working with the George Washington Center on Public Leadership working with everything from FEMA to Veterans Association leaders. I find a barn where ever the client is and work with them at their location. Part of the magic is working with people and horses I don’t know and seeing how, if I stay out of the way, the horses always bring exactly what is needed. Now that I moved to Asheville new doors are opening up leading me down additional paths working with coaches and young people. I can do individual coaching sessions with LE or horses or both as well but that has not been the focus of my work so far. I am also being groomed to work with the founders to provide LE work for corporate settings. I have deep compassion and respect for leaders working in the corporate world and am honored to create a space for growth full of humor and unconditional love.

What attracted me to joining the Flowing Tree Research Team...

In the experiential horse and LE work I do, it is all about taking the experience and learning back to action, back to their daily lives, where they can become more present, resourceful, compassionate, and joyful even when under pressure. This research journey for me is about figuring out this magical thing called flow so that we can teach others how to bring that into their lives and work more often and more intentionally. And I can imagine that even in learning the aspects of creating flow, and working to create flow with your team, will create a better work environment and better team along the way whether actual flow is happening yet or not. It is a motivator, a place to reach for and grasp, and the journey itself is also creating change even before you get there. I am also thankful for an opportunity for growth in my own thinking and experiencing of life because I have the privilege of engaging with such an incredible group of people. I too will be changed. 

The methods and tools that I most frequently use are: Appreciative Inquiry, Leadership Embodiment, Somatic Movement

Education: Degree in Education and Masters in Counseling. Certified in EFLC (Equine Facilitated Learning & Coaching) certification from Coaching with Horses, E3A Certified Practitioner (Experiential Learning with Horses focusing on Corporate training) and Leadership Embodiment. Have specialized training in facilitation, fundraising, cultural competency, mediation and transracial adoption.