“Dr. Wilson-Starks,
Thank you again for the coaching that you provided to assist my growth. I have been applying the coaching and am pleased with some significant results with a team member. You discussed how to approach the behavior based feedback in a positive manner and spending more time with the person and finding more opportunities to build the relationship. The past few months we have had valuable conversations each Friday by discussing leadership articles and how that each of us incorporate new things in our jobs. This has allowed me to build the relationship and give feedback on their performance. We are able to evaluate what we say we are doing with what we are actually doing.Big strides with one employee and much work left to do with building a relationship with another.

I appreciate what you did for me. Great coaching and modeling.”

Cory Flummerfelt, Probation Supervisor,13th JD Probation Department


“As a result of my long-term work and relationship with Karen I have been able to move my School from last place to one of the top three at the University. In addition, we are the only School that is in a growth mode. We have greatly enhanced the reputation of the School, doubled enrollment, grew philanthropy and maintained faculty and salaries during a recession, and created a number of successful strategic international partnerships. We are now actively remodeling our facilities and creating a culture of research. Karen’s interventions and strategic coaching have helped me build on strengths, recognize and establish unlikely partnership opportunities, better speak the language of others, and move forward effectively in the face of challenges.”

Craig R. Jackson, JD, MSW, Dean, School of Allied Health Professions, Loma Linda University


“I was new to my senior leadership position and having a difficult time navigating in a new environment. The issues were related to conflict resolution and learning how to chart a strategic course.

As a result of participating in the coaching I gained a greater sense of organization with my senior and executive leadership, was better able to identify the mission of the School, and took steps to move us toward our strategic goals.

We also had more open conversations in our senior leadership meetings. People felt comfortable speaking up, sharing their ideas, disagreeing with each other, and disagreeing with me. There was an openness to make suggestions.

Karen pointed out not only my strengths but also my limitations. She helped me to compensate for my limitations by surrounding myself with the right choice of people. Learning that I didn’t have to do it all and that I didn’t have to know it all was liberating.

My growth in leadership was in direct proportion to my growth on a personal level. So we were even able to identify some personal issues that were interfering with my leadership. It helped to identify some of my blind spots both professionally and personally.

I also learned how to take a step back and view situations a bit more broadly and less personally. She taught me to look at the broader implications of a situation including my contributions as well as system contributions to issues. I really learned how to evaluate situations more objectively and to get a broader view of challenges.

Karen is candid and very honest in a way that encourages you to grow and change. She doesn’t pull punches; however, she does it in a way that encourages growth. You always know you are hearing truth from her.

I think the thing that has cemented the relationship is that I can really trust what she says to me. She’s not going to sugar coat it. If I’m doing well, I’ll hear about it. If I’m not doing well and I need to change something, I’ll hear about that as well. She also offers, “Here are some ideas we might want to talk about to help you.”

I wish everyone I knew in leadership had her as a coach. She and I really hit if off well. I work well with her. Not only is she intuitive but she also modifies her approach to suit and fit the needs of the person.

We have a magnificent relationship and I have benefited so much from it.”

Craig Jackson, Dean, School of Allied Health Professions, Loma Linda University


“When I first started working with Karen I was less confident, unable to articulate what I wanted, and still reeling from a conflict that did not go well. As a result of our work together I am now more strategic and can better see a big picture view. I am clearer about what I want and now ask for what I want both personally and professionally. I am also better at letting go of what I can’t change and at remaining objective in conflict situations. In general I am more proactive, positive, and skilled at difficult conversations. What really made a difference for me was Karen’s practical approach, her patience, listening, pointing me in the right direction, her different perspectives that expanded my viewpoint, and the role play practice sessions that helped me prepare for real world conversations. I greatly appreciated the dedicated time to think about my career development and the tremendous support I received from Karen.”

Elizabeth H., Department of Navy


“What was most valuable to me in working with Karen was her way of making me think and teaching me how to get my people to take responsibility for their own solutions. Karen is very practical and I enjoyed her perspectives and helping me to develop ways to approach different situations. I am now in a better position to develop a future leadership pipeline and to help my employees to deliver better and faster for the organization. I have also become a more flexible collaborator and that has improved how others see me both in and out of the team and function.”

Upper Middle Manager, Global Manufacturing Company, Frankfurt, Germany


“When I first met Karen, I was feeling “stuck” and I didn’t really know how to proceed toward my target markets: stay-at-home moms and people who are health-conscious. I struggled to communicate with them in a way that would elicit a response. So we worked on being clearer and more precise in my correspondence to them.

As a result of my relationship with Karen, I think I am more conscious of being clear in my call-to-action with business prospects and in writing in non-scientific terms. I also worked on asking questions instead of being turned off by people’s initial negative responses. I’ve learned to use other people’s terminology and communicate my products’ benefits by naming the specific challenges my target markets face. Karen was good at putting herself in my shoes as a business person offering products and benefits while at the same time, coming from my target markets’ perspective.

I appreciated Karen’s professionalism, congeniality and sense of humor. She asked good questions and also paused to let me think and take notes.

Karen helped me to better handle the feelings that go with a prospect not being interested in an offer even when they obviously need it. I am working to find a balance between initiating and following-up without breathing down anyone’s neck. I also communicated my part-time availability more clearly and directly with my top level leadership which relieved some tension regarding performance expectations.

I always looked forward to talking to Karen and now I want to put to work what we discussed. What I’ve learned tells me where to go next. She has really helped me with some foundational thinking and I feel that I’m set up for progress down the road.”

Jane Bridges, Independent Business Owner


“When I came into the coaching relationship I indicated that there were some situations that had recently occurred with my supervisor at work and that our time could be best spent focusing on that. I am still in the same job and my relationship with my supervisor has improved.

As far as achieving the goals, Karen helped me plan how to get multiple routes/sources of input on crucial feedback areas. These multiple sources included co-workers and friends. She also helped me to approach conversations and interactions with my boss in a more exploratory way – in a way or manner of discovery, kind of “what is it you’re looking for” and “how could this look different”. It was a very non-directive and more exploratory approach that worked better with him.

I’ve seen growth in my self-awareness, acknowledging to myself that no matter how hard I try there are always going to be certain individuals that will be more difficult to engage and collaborate with and I need to learn to be more adaptive rather than expecting them to adapt to me.

Also, I always need to take the temperature of the company culture on how things are approached and discussed. That’s probably the primary way I’ve grown- increased self-awareness and becoming more adept at working with certain people and certain organizations.

Karen has a very Socratic style of questioning. The process is very open-ended and makes you think. She does a great job of playing devil’s advocate and trying to problem-solve and address different variables and different angles that could possibly come up. She challenged me to think on my feet and really assess all kinds of scenarios that could occur and at least have some type of formulated foundation for how I could approach those challenges.

The homework action steps and new ways of approaching situations are relevant, useful and extremely adaptive – they can be used in almost any situation. What I learned with her doesn’t just apply to my current job. It will probably apply to almost every job I have from here on out.

Also, I’m a Christian and just being able to acknowledge a spiritual dimension to the process of working things out was helpful. She always has a spiritual framework as well as every other type of clinical framework.

I always had the feeling that no matter what she was up to or even if she was on the other side of the world she would always be willing to be there for me in the moment if I needed her. And the fact that she’d be willing to do that for me meant a lot.”

Justin A. Dewberry, Regent University, MA Clinical Psychology


“I needed help. We became directors of a world-wide ministry and inherited an already established team. We came in from the outside to find a lot of issues and challenges. Some team members were highly educated and experienced and had been doing this ministry for years. We were the new leaders and we didn’t know how to get a turnaround in team attitudes toward us. We knew our attitudes also needed to change, but not exactly where and how. We needed help-someone to speak to our hearts about how to deal with change.

When we met Karen we were overwhelmed with our responsibilities. We needed discernment on how to think correctly to manage all the changes happening in our organization. There was a lot of challenge for our team too since all of this change was being dictated to them. They were being asked to accept us as the new leaders and to accept our vision. Our directives and our way of doing things were not necessarily the way things had been done in the past.

While I was in the “Leading Change” workshop with Karen, I saw that the problem was with me. I saw that I was the problem. I expected the team to change and to do it now. “Either get on the bus or get off the bus. The bus is moving.” We didn’t want to hear any more complaining. I remember sitting in her session and thinking, “We’ve heard your side and understand your point of view, now either get on the bus and accept that this is the way things are going to happen or essentially get off the bus.” I remember sitting there thinking, “We did not give them enough time to process it all and to discuss it with us.”

Also, coming in new, we wanted to quickly get moving in a positive way. We thought, “We are going to do things differently, it is going to be a great organization, and we have to have unity because that is Christ-like.” However, we didn’t give them enough time. I came away from the “Leading Change” session thinking, “Slow down, go back, and let them do some more discussing and talking it through.” This thought was planted pretty deep into my heart as I sat in that session.

When we got back home we applied the principles exactly the way Karen explained it. We gave them more freedom to talk about their struggles and we set parameters on how that was to be done. We adjusted our thinking and gave them more time. We were more gentle, gave more grace, and we changed our mindset. I went into her session thinking how am I going to change them and I came out thinking, “I’ve got to change.” I had to be willing to change myself. Since I have a problem with patience and I’m a “get on with it” type person, the Lord has really been working on my patience which was really the problem. I wanted them to jump and jump now. I can’t say I am totally there yet. I am still growing.

As a result of the changes we made, the team started to become more of a team and to function like a team showing respect for each other and listening to each other. I can’t stress that enough – the respect for one another. After several meetings, they also said they appreciated our leadership and I don’t think they would have said that if we had continued with our “get off the bus” routine. We now have a functioning team, a godly team, and a Spirit-led team. When you are Spirit-led you have the Lord’s blessing and the Lord’s favor so there is unity.

95% of the team is still here.

When I saw Karen a year later I said, “I’m still here, I didn’t quit”, and I also said, “Thank you because I’m not sure I would have still been here if I had not attended your session.” “There is every possibility that the leadership role would have been too hard without applying what I learned from Karen’s “Leading Change” workshop.”

God used Karen to speak to my heart. When we were sitting there, she wasn’t just a trainer buried in her notes. I’ve seen many others where it is all about the training and they don’t connect with the people. And I thought she was very approachable when I was sitting there beside her. She told me after the session, “Call me and send me an email.” It wasn’t about “I’m the trainer and you come to my session” but it was “I’m available to you before the session as a person and I’m available to you after the session. I care about you”.

She looked into my eyes, had a warm facial expression, and her body language was open. The words she was speaking into my heart were what I needed – the style, the approach, the tools. Even though I don’t have my notes from the session in front of me, it comes back to what God through the Holy Spirit wrote on my heart and that never leaves you.”

Leader of a Christian ministry


“My coaching with Karen helped me to learn to take a pause and control my emotions. I was then able to consider different perspectives, say things better, and get to solutions that previously would not have happened. I find that I am now also able to use the same strategies of asking open ended questions, considering a wider range of alternatives, and slowing down emotionally to develop my direct reports. In the company I am better heard, more respected, and more influential when suggesting a different pathway forward.”

Upper Middle Manager, Global US Corporation


“What was most valuable to me in working with Karen was her way of making me think and teaching me how to get my people to take responsibility for their own solutions. Karen is very practical and I enjoyed her perspectives and helping me to develop ways to approach different situations. I am now in a better position to develop a future leadership pipeline and to help my employees to deliver better and faster for the organization. I have also become a more flexible collaborator and that has improved how others see me both in and out of the team and function.”

Upper Middle Manager, Global US Manufacturing Company