We had the good fortune of connecting with Karen R. Hilton and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Karen R., what are you inspired by?
I’m inspired by my family – on both sides. But at the moment, the person who inspires me the most is my husband, Steve.
In a world that seems intent on division and hatred, this man, the King of our home, epitomizes what servant leadership means. His unflinching support, his unwavering dedication and love for me and our family has been a catalyst for everything in my life and career. Despite being a world-class leader and fiercely competent technology leader himself, he can somehow make us feel like he has no greater priority than us.
The other two groups of people who most inspire me are the leaders I work with through my retained executive coaching and HR consulting practice, and the professionals and entrepreneurs I serve through my community called Rock Your Vision.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
My parent company, The Alice Project, LLC, houses two incredible businesses, both of which are focused on helping leaders master three pillars: Getting Focused, Connecting to Their Purpose & Developing Perspective – to do life on their own terms.
Since the pandemic began and we found ourselves in various states of lockdown, my goal was to give our community options for staying connected and moving forward in healthy and productive ways.
In T.A.P. Executive Coaching (www.tapexecutivecoaching.com) I’m retained as a retained executive coach and business strategist, supporting C-suite and enterprise initiatives that focus on building, sustaining, or growing impact-driven corporate cultures. I work with CEO’s and their direct reports to consult on high visibility initiatives where the stakes are high and strong leaders are critical.
Whether I’m leading a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative, managing a coaching engagement for a CEO, conducting workshops to help senior leaders navigate high-stakes conversations, my goal is to help build sustainable leadership practices with every leader I have the privilege of working with.
Within Rock Your Vision (www.rockyourvision.net) – the community-facing arm of my practice – I’m known as Chief Vision Caster and Digital Dream Designer for a growing tribe of Difference Makers.
We serve through high-quality content and community experiences designed to equip, educate and inspire productive professionals and entrepreneurs in a high-energy, fun, and engaging way.
What’s different about our community is that we have an incredibly diverse community and audience. What you will find is that very different community members can connect, do business, and do life together around the things they have in common – versus focusing on how they are different. What I’m most proud of are the comments from our community members who say things like: “What I’ve learned in Rock Your Vision has changed my perspective on what I’m capable of,” or “Karen, when I heard your story and saw the way you show up in your work, I see myself.”
And the moments that really get me choked up are when someone from our community will reach out and tell me they start their week, every week, with our livestream talk show, “Monday Morning Jumpstart”!
And the moments I know I’m making an impact are when I see community members connect and do business together as a result of their experience in Rock Your Vision.
What’s powerful in my story, like so many others, is that the success and growth that we enjoy is the result of lots of lonely days and long nights of getting quiet with the vision God gave me.
There was a time when I had no idea how I would be able to make a difference, especially in the metro-Atlanta area where there is so much talent and so many trailblazers who have and are continuing to make a mark.
It was initially tempting to play small and shrink back from what I felt like I was called to do.
What I realized was I had to do the same thing I was asking my clients and my community to do!
I had to Get Focused, Connect to My Purpose, and Develop Perspective.
And as I looked back, what I realized is that my model is one I’ve been using for a lifetime. The very thing that was calling to me as a way to inspire and support others has been the foundation of almost everything I do.
When I started in private practice, I didn’t have any of the things that you’d think a person needed to succeed. I had no cash reserves. I had no one offering to fund my idea (quite the opposite, actually). I had no family connections or major educational pedigree to flash in front of a following.
In fact, I launched my business in one of the most difficult times of my life. I had been a caregiver for my mother (whom my business is named in memory of) and eventually lost her to ovarian cancer. I felt lost, frightened. disoriented and exhausted.
It never occurred to me after such a difficult caregiving journey that I had options.
I had spent almost three decades in a traditional 9-5 job. And being in something that long can create hard-wired patterns that lock you into limiting beliefs. But what I knew for sure is that what I learned over the seven years that my mother lived with cancer was not going to be in vain.
There were so many reasons for me to play it safe by returning to a corporate job. But, at the time, the vision of helping leaders learn how to do life on their terms – professionally or personally – consumed my every thought.
There were lots of things I didn’t have, that’s true. But what I did have was resilience, scrappiness, grit, patience, curiosity, and an obsession to make a difference and an impact.
What’s most important to know about my story is what I learned myself.
I have options – and so do you.
I’m not focused on conquering the world. I’m focused on impacting my world. I’m thrilled at the idea of successfully exiting my corporate practice one day, and I’m obsessed with growing the Rock Your Vision brand to a global ambassador for leaders who want to live with purpose, but FIRST, I need to serve the leaders I have the honor of supporting, and make an impact in the territory that’s in front of me.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have so many to shout-out but there are some clear standouts. First, I want to shout-out my husband, Steve, who almost literally let me stand on his shoulders to build two businesses that I love and that make an impact in the lives of leaders around the world. His sacrifice and support are unmatched. He’s an exceptionally gifted leader himself so the fact that he has championed my vision honestly sets the standard for what it means to have someone in your corner. Second, I have a personal Board of Directors that has been my rock over the past almost 8 years as I’ve grown – Ed & Cathy Miller, Pastors Andy & Lesley Smith of Influencers Kennesaw, the sisters of VPAK, Stephanie Watts, Mark Joubert, Marguerite Pressley-Davis, David Cathcart, Kim Dudash, Lawrence Henderson, Jeff Bull, Phillip Williams, Akilah Charlemagne and Tywana Minor and Mimi Vold. These are the people who know me now and knew me when. They have authority in my life because they have invested in me when it would have been so easy to spend their time and resources elsewhere. They are a consistent presence in my life, whether I have little or much and whether my name is in lights or not. Finally, I dedicate this shout-out to the Rock Your Vision community – our members, coaches, mentors and champions. They are my reason – when I’m crystal clear and when I feel a little weak in the knees. Every one of them is an inspiration and they make an impact in their respective stories – every single day. I’m honored to play even a small role in their lives.
Instagram: @tapcoachk and @rockyourvision