Category Archives: Quiet Influence (QI) Group

Connecting Down Under



Friends told me that when you go to Australia, you need to listen carefully.  “Even though you THINK you speak English it is American English. You are sure to miss things”, they said.  And they were right.

Sitting at my first session of the National Speakers Association of Australia in Melbourne, I found myself straining to acclimate to the new dialect, the humor and the slang. Learning to order coffee (“long black”) and having “brekky”( breakfast) with my new friends took some concentration. So did remembering to enter the left side of the car and walk down the street without crashing into people. They walk on the left – go figure:). Continue reading

Making Your Presentations Pop


Presentations are evolving in intriguing ways.  Quiet Influencers who can synthesize data by packing a powerful visual punch win points. Many of my introverted clients find that the anxiety of public speaking lessens when they prepare high impact visuals. These images can express more than any words.
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“May I Borrow Some of Your Quiet Courage?”



I am so pleased that Pearl Alexander decided to speak from her heart and write this wonderful piece  about her experience as an introverted HR leader. Called “Leveraging Diversity of Temperament,” in it  Pearl fully embraces who she is and calls for extroverts to let her speak. She writes, ” Despite having a proven track record, I’m still measured by the standards expected of an extroverted leader, and so I am on a quest for influencing new practices. These include teaching and coaching leaders to recognize, value and leverage diversity of temperament. The work of psychiatrist Carl Jung distinguishes the neuroscience and physical realities of temperament.  There are times when the introverted leader struggles to be visible and heard during the chatty, extrovert-led meetings.  One awaits a pause or well-timed invitation into a conversation that may never occur.  An extrovert exercising the competencies of connection and compassion can change that. 

Here is the blog post I wrote about Pearl’s well received talk at a program we presented together in Atlanta.

“I recently had the privilege of sharing the stage with an introverted leader I admire. Pearl Alexander, Senior Director, HR and Workforce Strategy at the Georgia Institute of Technology is a woman who makes such a difference at her organization and beyond.

In our time together, Pearl shared her personal reflections on embracing her role and owning her quiet strengths. She was kind enough to offer me permission to share her thoughts with all of you. I have highlighted my favorite lines in italics and will think of Pearl when I am dipping into my “quiet courage.” What parts resonate with you and why?

Introvert Moments©

I have a confession to make. Because of being an introverted leader I have not always been keenly aware of my need for belonging. It’s a legitimate need we all have. You see I have proudly worn the label and accepted the position of “not fitting in” or having a temperament that is difficult to appreciate. That is until recently.

Back in 2010, I had the distinct privilege of serving Georgia Tech as the chief diversity strategist while we searched for our first Vice President of Institute Diversity. I had volunteered for this role and was totally jazzed to be working closely with Georgia Tech’s then newly minted president, Dr. G.P. Bud Peterson. One day as I was awaiting my one-on-one meeting with President Peterson someone who knew both of us fairly well, jokingly, said to me: “Pearl, you are so quiet, what could you and the president possibly talk about for an hour?” I smiled and softly replied, you have no idea! The truth be told, an hour was never enough for the two of us. He’s an introverted leader for sure! These and other moments serve to remind me of my need for belonging. With him I felt genuinely accepted, valued, and not interpreted. As a Diversity and Inclusion and Human Resource leader, I have sought to raise my own consciousness by embracing this need for belonging and I intentionally relate to others differently.

I have always embraced my introversion; it allows me to enjoy my own company so completely. However, I must accept that it’s human and okay to actually need to belong with all types of people. Sure, I can survive without belonging, but I can’t thrive without belonging despite my temperament.
My extroverted colleagues seem to appreciate me most when they need to borrow some of my “quiet courage.” In my space they can speak their truths, their fears, and their shame. I wouldn’t trade anything for those moments and don’t want to deprive myself of connecting, forming bonds, and co-creating something beautiful together.
I’ve learned that I must be mindful that my quietness isn’t sending the wrong messages – like, I don’t want to be with you, or I don’t belong to you. After marathon meetings or brainstorming sessions, I sneak away for moments of reflection and solitude as a matter of survival. When my psychic energy is depleted, my thoughts come slower; it is harder to speak coherently, and the crankier I get!! But those moments of solitude, help me to emerge wiser, and amazingly useful! Simply put, quietness may say something. It leaves an emotional wake.

Introverts Rule (Quietly)

So many of my colleagues are quiet influencers. Julie Winkle Guilioni co-author with Beverly Kaye of  the powerfully packed book Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go  is a quiet influencer who understands how to motivate introverted employees. This great book teaches us how to have the important conversations that keep people engaged in their work and careers.

I was moved by Julie’s own account of her introversion in her recent blog entry, Introverts Rule (Quietly). Here’s an excerpt: ” For most of my professional life, I’ve admired and envied the extroverted leaders around me.  Ahhhh, to demonstrate such confidence, energy, and power. For decades, I believed that at some point – after a lot or professional experience, after having my own business, after working with executives and Fortune 100 companies, after writing a book – I would graduate to that status and express myself in a similar fashion.”

Read more about Julie’s  quiet influence insights here:

Next Gen Spokesperson Connects to Quiet Influence

F_iStock_000007431474_webRyan Jenkins is a savvy 20 something who is a spokesperson for his generation. In fact he is known as a “next generation catalyst and his Tweets and postings always keep me in the know. For instance, I learned the term “side hustle” from Ryan, having a variety of fulfilling gigs outside of your normal job.

He is thoughtful and values his quiet time, as you will read about in his well written blog entry connecting Quiet Influence to the Next Gen.

Here were a few points he pulled from Quiet Influence that are relevant for his “peeps.” Read his other terrific insights here and visit his site to sign up for updates. So worth it!

An excerpt from his post, The Rise of The Introverts
3 Top Points I Learned:
“Communal Solitude (aka coffee shops): the energy of other people, the forced focus, and the choice of whether to engage in the action heighten the experience of quiet time.”
“Too much quiet time can negatively impact your ability to influence others.” I’m guilty by getting paralysis by analysis.
“Look back but don’t stare.” When reflecting or thinking and your thoughts begin to recycle then it’s time to break the cycle and act.

Remembering an HR Quiet Influencer

One of the things we want to do in this blog is to capture your stories; of those introverted leaders and quiet influencers who have made a difference in your life and in the lives of others.

Starting off….A sad but sweet remembrance of a dear friend.

My friend and colleague Jeannie Coyle and co-author of Make Talent Your Business  recently lost a dear friend named Bill Maki. She wrote:

“One of my dearest friends and colleagues, Bill Maki, just died. We worked together and served on the board and executive committee of HRPS for over 35 years. He was definitely a powerful and much loved introverted leader. HRPS has had its share of charisma and outsized egos but Bill’s quiet influence was profound.

In my grief I have been savoring all the wonderful Bill accolades.

The Human Resource Planning Society has been central to my life and Bill was central to HRPS. All great organizations need lots of Head (intelligence), Heart and Guts. Bill showed a super abundance of heart;through his generous openness to help others and his deep caring for the people and the organization. The hole his passing left in my own heart will remind me of him forever.”

Jeannie cover

Jeannie also shared this from Dave Ulrich, a well known HR legend.

“….Bill’s legacy will be the quiet and dignified impact on the profession and on each of us. We are all personally and professionally better off because of him as a person, even more than because of his works as an HR professional.”

I think Jeannie and Daves’ tributes sum up the impact a life can have when it is about making a quiet difference. I thank them both for sharing their thoughts.