Today we’d like to introduce you to Kathryn Keeton.
Kathryn, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I always had an interest in psychology; I knew I wanted to do something with psychology as a career but was looking for something that had a measurable impact on a larger scale. The idea of being a clinical psychologist was never appealing to me so when I discovered Industrial-Organizational Psychology as a field study during my undergrad at UT Austin, I was ecstatic– I/O Psych was such a perfect blend of my interests in psychology and my desire to see that measurable impact (whether it was improving employee satisfaction or performance, or realizing measurable outcomes for the organization in terms of their performance, culture, and bottom line.
That led me to my path today– starting with pursuing my doctorate in I/O Psych at the University of Houston. My program was very applied-focused, which allowed me the opportunity for multiple internships and consulting experiences with different organizations in Houston that covered a wide variety of industry including healthcare, oil and gas, and eventually aerospace.
After graduation, I eventually accepted a position to work as a contractor for NASA and got exposed first-hand to the leading researchers of team and leadership development. It was an amazing time and definitely shaped my perspective on how teams work and I gained invaluable experiences that would help later in my career.
I never thought of myself as an entrepreneur but I am a life learner and I like to always be involved in multiple things at one time. So when a fellow NASA colleague (and I/O Psychologist) suggested that she and I and one other friend/colleague/I-O Psychologist start our own consulting business doing executive coaching, leadership and team development, and generally I-O Psych consulting work for organizations, I thought it would be a fun thing to try on the side. Over time we grew our business on the side enough that we had to make a decision— and so we decided to go for it, eventually leaving NASA and focusing more of our energies into making this company successful.
Over time, we have developed Minerva into a thriving I/O Psych consulting business, serving organizations within Houston, Texas, and across the nation. We specialize in leadership and team development as well as executive coaching but enjoy providing a variety of organizational psych services to organizations.
When asked how we got to where we are today– we worked really hard. We stayed up late after our regular job was done and did what any entrepreneur has to do— starting out, we did all of the marketing and business development, running the operations, as well as providing the services that represented the cornerstone of our business.
Has it been a smooth road?
Not at all– there are always bumps (and continue to be) along the way. Definitely having to decide when to leave our ‘regular’ jobs to try and make it with this Minerva idea that we had. I don’t think there is any real answer here– eventually, you just have to decide to be ready to take the risk. From research on successful entrepreneurs, we do know that they are good at taking calculated risks. This is what I think our team constantly strives for– gathering as much information about important decisions as we can– and then making decisions that often prove to be calculated risks on our part– and we just hope for the best (and learn from the rest!).
Having to learn on the fly (and this continues) how best to market your company, build your business development, etc. We lean on our mentors and from the start developed an Advisory Board that regularly advise us on what we are doing and how we can do better. We also network with others to find talent that can help in the areas that we don’t have expertise.
We also have to practice what we preach– we have team conflict just like any functioning leadership team. So we constantly have to use our own strategies and best practices that we teach other organizations within our team. Communication and transparency is key and we take that part of our work very seriously, constantly looking for ways to improve our team dynamic (which impacts our efficiency and effectiveness as well).
We’d love to hear more about your business.
Minerva represents a team of Industrial-Organizational Psychologists that are experts in their field. We regularly consult with organizations to help them improve employees, teams, and their own organization by applying evidence-based practices pull from psychological science.
We make work meaningful and effective by:
-Improving Human Resource Management Practices
-Measuring and Motivating Employee Engagement, Well-being, and Potential
-Providing Behavior-based Coaching and Team Building
-Guiding Organizational Development
We specialize in executive coaching, team and leadership development, and organizational assessment. I am most proud that we are a company that works for the social good. Beyond our credentials, our quality service, and our track record of making a quantifiable impact for organizations we serve, we also contribute 30% of our work helping charities and not-for-profits achieve their goals (working pro-bono). We provide discount and free services to organizations working for social good.
In addition, I think our experience sets us apart from others. Three out of four of our managing partners all have experience working with high-performing teams (NASA astronauts and flight controllers, firefighters, medical doctors and healthcare personnel, etc.)– we know what makes a good leader and high-performing team and are able to translate that knowledge into trainable skills that any employee can benefit from and apply to their own work on the job.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Houston is a great place to start out for a business like ours because the industry is so diverse– we serve oil and gas, healthcare, tech, aerospace, etc– and that diversity only continues to increase.
- Executive Coaching Sessions start at $200/session (discounted rates for packages are also available)
- Team Simulations (up to 40 individuals) start at $5000 per day (8 hours; includes two simulations)
- Website: www.thewisdomthatworks.com
- Phone: 888-661-7874
- Email: email@example.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thewisdomthatworks/