Karen Geiger — Leaders at Work: On Life and Meaning

karen geiger

Karen Geiger develops leaders for the 21st century workplace. She is a leadership and organizational development advisor and executive coach. Over a 25 year career as owner of Karen Geiger & Associates, Karen has helped corporate and non-profit clients diagnose and adapt to rapidly changing workplace issues and challenges. Along with her client service work, she has had a rich career as an academic: she served as associate dean and director of the Executive Leadership Institute at Queens University and director of Leadership Initiatives at the McColl Graduate School of Business. Karen previously served as senior vice president for work/family programs at NCNB/NationsBank (now Bank of America). She earned an undergraduate degree in sociology from the University of Rochester, a master’s degree in education from Indiana University-Bloomington, and a Ph.D. in leadership and change from Antioch University.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in leadership in the workplace and how we personally invite into our lives exactly what we must learn. 

In This Episode
In This Episode


  • Karen explains how she starts all her engagements and what her favorite clients do.
  • She talks about what is most important in her work and what distinguishes her practice.
  • She discusses common leadership issues arising in workplaces today, the assessment tools she uses, and the philosophy that guides her consultancy.
  • She shares a lesson she learned about her own behaviors as a young employee.
  • Karen explains what good and poor leaders do.
  • She reflects on growing up, the influence of her parents, what she studied in college, and where and how her career began.
  • Karen talks about a life-threatening traumatic incident that changed the course of her life.
  • She discusses the leadership of Hugh McColl, CEO of NCNB/NationsBank/Bank of America and what she learned from him.
  • She shares the advice she would give to anyone who wanting to become a better leader.
  • Karen explains the concept of ‘sacred contracts’ and how it informs her life.
  • She talks about the challenges and reward she had as a parent.
  • She shares what is on her mind about what might be next.

Mark Peres adds a personal word that begins this way, “When Karen Geiger talks about the value of time and living life on her own terms, I’m drawn to a very different idea of an MBA…”

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