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Meet Kimberly Svoboda of Aspiration Catalyst® in The Loop

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kimberly Svoboda.

Kimberly, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
After 25 years of working for Fortune 500 companies, primarily in the technology sector, I was ready to go out on my own. During my time in corporate roles, I focused on developing new strategies and building high performing teams in sales and operations leadership positions. I discovered that I had a knack for working with people and a strong passion for leadership development. Executive coaching was something I had been attracted to for many years, after working with some great executive coaches myself. Developing others fuels me and I love helping teams/people make the impossible POSSIBLE.

In between my 25 years in the corporate arena and starting up Aspiration Catalyst®, my family (husband and two daughters ages 7 & 11) and I traveled around the world for 8 months. We visited 5 continents and 26 countries and had the time of our lives. We rode horses through cloud forests, trekked through the Amazon jungle, climbed Macchu Picchu and Waynu Picchu, rode the waves in Australia, snorkeled in Thailand, toured the desert on camels in Jordan, petted a cheetah and a hippo in South Africa, worked with orphans in a school in Kibera Slum in Kenya, and spent the summer visiting castles, parks, rivers, and spent time with friends and family throughout Europe. During this time, I crystallized my vision of my business and founded Aspiration Catalyst® upon our return.

We focus on developing all leaders at Aspiration Catalyst®, but I am most passionate about helping women move into leadership roles and increase their effectiveness. I was the first woman sales manager early on in my career and there were times when it was very lonely. As the years went on, there were more women who made it into the leadership ranks but they were still among the minority. Diversity in leadership and the boardroom bring richness and higher performance to organizations and I believe that now is the time for more women to lead.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Not a smooth road at all! I’ve had my shares of successes and failures. I always seem to learn more from the failures. Being one of the few women leaders I often found myself on the outside looking in. This made me want to not engage with the men that were excluding me, which was the wrong thing for me to do, and my behavior alienated me further. Thankfully there were people invested in my success who showed me the way to connect with my peers. This was a valuable lesson for me.

I learned that I work best in environments where my values are in alignment with the organization. One company I worked for, had very high accountability. The next company I worked for, didn’t value accountability as much and that was a problem for me. I found that the right fit is critical.

Starting my own company has been full of trials and tribulations as I navigate the road of being a first-time business owner and being solely responsible for all aspects of the business. I sorely miss the awesome IT departments that were only a phone call away. I’ve bought some things I didn’t need, invested in programs that were unnecessary, and slowly worked my way into my niche. I worked with non-ideal clients at the beginning and found it to be pretty difficult. When I work with clients that are my ideal clients, it is so wonderful! Every experience is valuable, and every year gets better. I know when I am working with the right people and company because I walk away more energized after our time together. I’m very fortunate to work with amazing clients who truly want to invest in their employees, their self development, and make a positive impact on the world.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Aspiration Catalyst® – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
At Aspiration Catalyst®, talent development is our passion. We work with organizations to provide executive coaching and leadership development programs. We utilize leadership competency models combined with the powerful Clifton StrengthsFinder tools. Our clients develop great leadership skills and achieve high results. Because our clients are thrilled with their results we have a very high referral rate. Almost every client we’ve worked has referred us to someone else who has also become a client.

What sets us apart from all other development companies and executive coaches is real life business experience combined with a deep expertise in strengths and leadership development. We love what we do and are really good at it. This is a key benefit for our clients in helping them achieve growth.

A portion of our profits are donated each year to charities that empower women and children, which is a passion for us.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
We have a BHAG of impacting 100,000 leaders and having them show up as amazing, empowered, and effective and a strong focus on getting more women into leadership positions.

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