My motivation to start the Disruptor Studio was to tell the stories of amazing innovators and explore what makes them inspiring leaders. Each guest is unique but it is fascinating to see some of the common traits these leaders share.
It did not take long to discover authenticity as a common and critical trait for these disruptors. The ability to stay true to themselves while navigating the complexity of the environment they work in is essential to create the visionary drive that make them successful.
During my conversation with Kat Cole at the Disruptor Studio, we discussed being authentic and reconciling the perceived “conflict” of being your true self in all aspects of your life. Kat is an incredibly successful executive at a large private equity owned company and is in charge of brands that impact millions of consumers. She is also a Burner (see Burning Man), an active humanitarian, social innovator, mentor, Mom, wife….and so much more. She brings her full self to every part of her life and is very transparent about this.
How does she connect all these different parts of her life?
“The connection is me. I’m the bridge.” Kat told me while on stage at the Disruptor Studio. She continues: “[I] have varied interests. The ability to bring that forward is a level of authenticity that allows my company to get the best return in me.”
Some may want to say you need to “pick a side” and that you can’t embrace things that appear to conflict. In this clip, Kat beautifully describes how embracing all aspects of her life have put her on a path to help the organizations she is part of to be on “an incredible journey.”
An innovator…a disruptor…requires authentic leadership so you are true to your vision and purpose. Authenticity is also like a magnet that inspires others to follow you. This is essential when you are in a role of breaking new ground and challenging the status quo. When you meet Kat it does not take long to realize that authenticity is in her DNA. She always remains true to her purpose even when it creates perceived conflicts. Kat uses that friction to positively “disrupt” herself and the organizations she leads and influences.
Being a Disruptor is never an easy path but being authentic to your purpose will take you on a positive journey as you shape the world around you.