Three questions for two new Kenning partners

Laurie Burkland Waller (L) and Annie Howell (R)

Two valued associates of Kenning, Annie Howell and Laurie Burkland Waller, recently have been elected as partners in our firm.  Both bring impressive credentials, a lifelong passion for helping others grow, and a history of delivering high client impact.  We are honored and excited to have them deepening their commitment to our community of reflective practitioners.

In the spirit of all of us getting to know them a little bit better, we recently asked each of them three questions about their work at Kenning.  Here’s what we learned.


What makes Kenning the right professional “home” for you at this stage in your career?

I was introduced to Kenning as a thought-partner in the field of leadership development over 12 years ago while I was consulting and coaching independently. Every time that we collaborated over those years, each of us left with a richer understanding of our clients’ needs and opportunities, and a deeper satisfaction for our practice. In hindsight, it now seems inevitable that our thought-partnership would eventually lead to an official Partnership, which I consider a significant commitment to growing not only our work with each other but also our ideas.

For years I have encouraged clients to seek out career opportunities at the intersection of their skills, interests, and values; I am excited to accept the invitation to join the Kenning partnership and follow my own advice. My experience and passion areas line up with Kenning’s pursuit to build leadership and organizational capacity with our clients, and the alignment of values is clear. Not only does Kenning provide opportunities to be self-directed, work flexibly, make strides toward professional mastery, and advance my purpose of helping clients achieve greater performance and improved satisfaction, but also there is another outstanding quality, Kenning’s people. Working with and learning from brilliant professionals have always been drivers for me; my Kenning colleagues are some of the smartest, most experienced, and down-to-earth professionals with whom I’ve worked. We collaborate in an unhindered, straightforward way to deliver exceptional impact for our clients and I am honored to be a member of the team.


What unique perspective do you add to Kenning’s multi-faceted approach to developing leaders and organizations?

It is true that we have a multi-faceted approach at Kenning, but of course our interests in supporting individual and organizational development are closely aligned. I suppose that my specific lens is focused on adult psychology as a constructive developmental activity. By that, I mean that I am fascinated by how adults construct their realities in qualitatively different ways. More importantly, I am invested as a coach and consultant in helping these individuals to see how they currently make sense of things, and how that sense-making might subconsciously contradict their intended goals.   I believe that once this perspective is more explicit, individuals can be more authentic and effective as leaders of their complex organizations – and their lives.

As an experienced coach, business leader, and management consultant, I team up with clients to help them look at themselves objectively, survey their environment with intelligence and strategic insight, identify options for where they want to take their careers or companies, and co-define a focused road to success. The perspectives I bring to complement Kenning’s approach come from a variety of sources. My MBA perspective and affiliation with business school executive education programs inform my commitment and capacity to produce tangible business results. My change management consulting experience supports my strength in implementing transformations successfully. My long-distance running interest brings out both discipline and endurance in helping clients anticipate and overcome their most difficult challenges. Finally, my leadership experience and team sports involvement have reinforced that an enthusiastic, prepared, dynamic, fast-paced, relationship-oriented style gets stuff done while also having fun.


How would your clients describe working with you?

I am deeply curious and compassionate about the clients I work with. For that reason, I listen carefully to what is most important and at stake to each person, his or her peers, and the organization that they serve. I have been told that this deep listening not only feels important to my clients, but it opens new and honest insights for them that they might not have had if their coach/consultant were merely offering pre-formulated solutions. Because I am a constant learner, my clients also say that I am accessible and humble rather than out of reach. Finally, I like to smile with the people I work with, acknowledging that this sense of humor comes through trust and sometimes through challenge.

I have been very fortunate to collaborate with global, high-achieving leaders across industries and functional areas. My clients describe me as a welcome source of strength, insight, clarity, creativity, objectivity, and accountability. They tell me they feel challenged and encouraged throughout the coaching process in which they iteratively apply new mindsets and skill sets. When clients refer me to their colleagues, they generously introduce me as their biggest fan, greatest resource, and secret weapon to achieve success and satisfaction.


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Contact Annie and read her full bio here.
Contact Laurie and read her full bio here.