Kathleen Schafer specializes in guiding leaders and collaborating with them to discover their unique leadership path. Kathleen has more than 25 years experience as a leadership coach, published author and in-demand public speaker, guiding people to be leaders in their lives. With expertise grounded in the rough and tumble world of politics, seasoned in business, honed in academia and broadened by her own journey to create a balanced life, Kathleen communicates compelling insights to guide clients to reach their leadership potential.
Kathleen found her passion for the practice of leadership early in her career. Working as a legislative and executive government staffer in her home state of Michigan, she noticed that political officials who had all the ingredients for success would be thwarted in reaching their goals because they weren’t clear about who they were and what they wanted to contribute to in their lives. To address this gap, Kathleen helped budding leaders find their power by co-founding the Michigan Political Leadership Program (MPLP) at Michigan State University in 1992 to help emerging leaders understand how to be effective candidates and officeholders. It was the first of many of Kathleen’s leadership innovations that encourage and guide others to “live leadership,” a practice she has dedicated her career to cultivating.
In 1995, after launching the MPLP and building a successful communications firm, Kathleen founded a company whose mission was to support emerging leaders in the political process—particularly women and other underrepresented groups—and became a consultant to local, congressional and statewide campaigns. In 1996, the Dean of the Graduate School of Political Management (GSPM) at George Washington University asked Kathleen to build its political leadership curriculum. The leadership curriculum she developed and taught for 16 years continues to be the cornerstone of leadership education for generations of political professionals being educated in our nation’s capital and around the world through the GSPM’s many international training programs.
By 2007, Kathleen Schafer honed her focus to innovative leadership and developed her proprietary leadership model that serves as the basis of her continually evolving work. Currently, she assists individuals who want to devote their life to creating meaningful change in the world. She has coached and taught thousands of current and emerging leaders throughout the world, including those at the highest levels of the United Nations, United States Government, international governments and nonprofits, domestic advocacy organization and large and small corporations. She continues to be on the forefront of leadership education in emerging democracies as one of the few to teach leadership in the Middle East (Iran, Egypt and Jordan) since the Arab Spring, She is also broadening her extensive speaking in Central and South America and Europe. Kathleen’s leadership courses will soon be available in India.
Kathleen is currently based in Ojai, California, and has authored two books, Living the Leadership Choice and Choose to Lead.