Always ahead of the curve, Karen Valencic develops leaders and teams to engage through the phases of cutting edge innovation – making it fun and profound. By design, her Spiral Impact method keeps her clients ahead of the curve.
Karen’s own challenges as one of the very first women engineers at Delco Remy Division of G.M. spurred her on to find better ways to engage that bring out the best in all stakeholders. Now, with 20 plus years focused on developing leaders and teams, Karen brings a unique balance of both logic and soft skills to promote engagement and innovation.
In 1992 she founded Spiral Impact, which imparts a distinct perspective on performance improvement as she blends science and martial arts to inspire practical skills for collaboration and influence. Karen authored Spiral Impact: The Power to Get It Done with Grace, the handbook Giving Deliberate Feedback for Leaders, and produced the audio program Strengthen your Balance and Focus while Driving. Karen channels her vibrant experience into team and leadership development, professional conferences, coaching sessions, etc. – tailored to your individual needs or your organization’s specific goals.
Prior to establishing Spiral Impact, she spent ten years as a project engineer in product development at Delco Remy, Division of General Motors including a year as manufacturing resident product engineer. She earned her BS in Mechanical Engineering from Tri-State University, now Trine University, in Angola, IN.
For over two decades, Valencic has been a devoted student of aikido, the Japanese art of reconciliation. Aikido uses position rather than force to diffuse and protect the opponent’s life as well as your own. Spiral Impact is grounded in those same concepts.
Even more, she is Director of Mentoring with the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association, Indiana Chapter and board member with Spotlight on Nursing. She is Past-President of the Central Indiana Chapter of the American Society of Training and Development; formally an adjunct professor and Executive-in-Residence at Butler University and a former adjunct faculty with the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership.
More profoundly, Karen is the mother of two daughters, who she raised as a single mom in a wonderful collaboration with their dad. Her company, Spiral Impact, has proven to help countless individuals at both home and at work. Read on to see just how...
3. How did you first become interested in martial arts and were you ever intimidated to try it?
Like many people, I was very intrigued with martial arts and very intimidated to try, until I learned about aikido. Aikido is based upon position – not force. So there is an honoring that comes with it. It is about respecting your opponent as well as yourself.
4. What was it like being a project engineer in product development?
I love the work I did. It was all about learning and problem solving. I believe engineering is a fabulous education and recommend it as an undergrad degree regardless of what you want to do. It teaches critical thinking and process which is helpful in anything you do.
2. Many psychologists have stated that what you enjoyed doing most as a child could reveal your greatest passions later in life. What were you like as a child and what did you like to do for fun?
I dreamt of being a singer when I was young. Barbara Streisand was my idol. Though, I couldn’t carry a tune. Now, I am somewhat of a singer except I speak. Feels like the same dynamic to me.
1. Your life appears to be anything but boring. You own your own business, Spiral Impact, which helps others to reach success through the teachings of martial arts. Did you ever dream that this is what you would be doing for a career?
I began my professional career as an Automotive Engineer. Had you told me back then I would be doing this now, I wouldn’t have believed it! Actually, the work I do is grounded in the martial art aikido, yet is also very much based on physics.
6. Do you ever get nervous before speaking in front of a crowd and, if so, how do you combat this?
Every time I speak I am nervous. If I am not nervous that worries me more. The anxiety helps my
adrenaline and if it isn’t there I can be a little flat.
5. What has been one of your greatest career challenges and how were you able to address this?
Ongoing business development is something I am always innovating. It evolves and changes constantly.
7. What is the best piece of advice that you could give to young people entering the career force today?
Seek advice, and be sure to listen to yourself. Just because someone is older or more accomplished doesn’t mean they know about you and your calling.
8. Who would you recommend your book, Spiral Impact: The Power to Get It Done with Grace, to?
Anyone who deals with people! It is written in a format that really applies to just about anyone interested in improving relationships whether personal or business.
9. How can people get in contact with you for your speaking or consulting offerings?
firstname.lastname@example.org or (317) 257-0684
If you would like to learn more about how Karen could help you, check out the following:
Based in Chicago, Jessica reports on career motivation, marketing, entrepreneurship, and many other topics. She is devoted to helping others see things in a different light.