Life has a way of bringing us together with others for learning, evolving, creating, and transforming. When two people are synchronistically connected, the seeds of inspiration are planted, leading to the development of a partnership of strength and turning a vision into reality.
Dayna Wood and Jennifer Carey, co-founders of ic3 consulting, share with me their road to success as a strong presence of leadership in the corporate environment. You will be motivated by their ability to stretch themselves, taking what they have gained from experience, to grow their business, helping CEOs, managers and C-Suite executives to take soft skills and apply them in their daily interactions with others.
They believe we are all interconnected, there is a sense of responsibility both personally and socially that can’t be ignored. Through their hard work, trials and tribulations, and the will to succeed, Dayna and Jennifer are paving the way for leaders to take themselves and those they lead to new, improved and more valuable levels.
Eileen: Starting your own business and being an entrepreneur is rewarding. What brought the two of you together to start ic3consulting? What was the creative process like that has led to your success? You must have had a vision when considering starting a business together. How did this vision take shape and how has it evolved over the years?
Dayna & Jennifer: It was 2004. We were both attending the University of Florida, fulfilling a Master’s and Specialist degrees in counseling, and learning myriad skills around human dynamics, relationships, personality types, creativity, and systems.
That summer, we went to Spain together to attend a four-week Spanish language and Flamenco dance intensive. While there, we traveled around the country as much as we could, and over several long bus trips, we discovered that we had similar dreams and visions for the future.
We both wanted to teach business managers and employees the strategies and techniques we were learning in grad school. It became apparent how valuable it would be for businesses to adopt, develop and use those skills with their employees and customers – and with their own families and communities. We started to sketch out a plan, and the seeds for ic3 consulting were planted.
ic3 consulting, firmly rooted in mindfulness and imagination, was founded on the revolutionary idea that by educating businesses on how they can best care for their employees, they will, in turn, provide exceptional care for their customers and begin the shift towards responsiveness to our world at large.
Once we finished our degrees, our paths diverged for a while landing Dayna mostly in New York City and Jen mostly in Boston. We spent the next several years gaining valuable experience both in the business world and in our private counseling and psychotherapy practices.
A decade later, we’ve come back together to make our dream a reality. We’ve channeled all our business, psychotherapy and counseling experience into ic3 consulting: the go-to resource for companies who are eager to create highly empowered teams, improve employee engagement, and create an intentional company culture where work is experienced as rewarding and purposeful.
Eileen: Engagement and communication are key components of your training. Tell me more about how they are empowering for your clients through your retreats, workshops, and services.
Dayna & Jennifer: Beginning with communication, you’d be surprised how many breakdowns in business begin with breakdowns in communication. We recently had a CEO say something along the lines of “I can get why you need these (soft) skills, but we (leadership) do not know HOW to employ them.”
What we took from this exchange is that we cannot assume people know these skills, even though they can feel somewhat “intuitive” while explaining them. If you have a CEO who is open and willing to not only understand the benefits of these “soft skills”, but also to putting in the work of learning and practicing them, change is possible.
When there is a lesson, and interactive practice (which retreats lend themselves to), then follow up refreshers and accountability, a new habit and new implementation of soft skills is achievable to any company open and willing to receive them.
As our brains evolved, humans became capable of higher-level mental functions such as complex reasoning, abstract thinking, and imagination. However, there are certain needs that still must be satisfied (from the more ancient parts of our brains such as the brainstem and limbic system) for us to function at optimal levels.
These include safety – or avoiding harm – as well as satisfaction and rewards. Within companies, this translates as psychological safety, a sense of security and trust in the company, and teams that have moved beyond survival and self-focus to the rewards found in collaborative work.
Learning to listen and learning to express yourself in a constructive and effective way is monumental in impacting the company culture, the collaboration, and innovation process as well as employee engagement.
In terms of engagement, we work to help companies make sure the employees feel connected to their work and connected to their colleagues. There are various ways that we make this a part of our work including helping employees align with the mission as well as utilizing their gifts.
Lastly, there is a societal shift taking place and a redefining of business and leadership. It is becoming understood that success in a highly interconnected world necessitates a shift towards consideration of the human element of business.
Eileen: What inspires you to take risks and support each other daily?
Dayna & Jennifer: In our psychotherapeutic work with individuals and groups, we have to continuously assess when fear starts to take hold – both within our clients and ourselves. There are many types of fear. Some fear is extremely beneficial because it keeps us alive. However, the majority of fear isn’t productive (False Evidence Appearing Real). It leads to reactivity and keeps us small.
I’ve (Dayna) learned to identify my “staying small” fear. For me, it presents itself as knee-wobbling, stomach-churning fear, and these are the times I know I must step forward if I am to choose growth. It is hard, uncomfortable and vulnerable. I make mistakes, but then do my best to learn from them. Because of our practice in self-examination, we can consistently support each other in this continuous growth.
For me, my relationship with Dayna is one of trust and openness. This definitely gives me the sense that together, we can do this and whatever obstacles or F.E.A.Rs that come in the way, I can speak openly to them with Dayna and that type of support helps me keep those F.E.A.Rs at bay rather than getting in the way of us accomplishing our goals.
Eileen: Who has been an important part of your personal and professional growth? Why?
Dayna & Jennifer: There are a number of important people who have contributed to our growth including thought leaders, professors, and clients.
A few of the academics who we look up to and who have greatly influenced our thought process are Brene Brown, Daniel Siegel, and Iain McGilchrist.
All are avid researchers teaching us common themes in humanity and serving as role models of their own humility. Two professors also come to mind as making a major impact on how we view the word – Dr. Wittmer and Dr. Parker. They helped instill the counseling seeds from which we’ve built this company, which you can read in our story above.
Our Advisory Board has also been a wealth of invaluable insights and words of wisdom. It is difficult to properly give tribute to spiritual influences but to name a few: Pema Chodron, Wayne Dyer, Don Miguel Luiz.
Last but not least, we have been so fortunate to do deep, meaningful and profound work with our clients and in our process of helping them, they teach us too.
Eileen: What is your favorite quote?
Dayna & Jennifer: “Empathy is the wellspring of creativity.” ~ Ami Vitale, National Geographic Photographer
This quote speaks directly to the heart of why I (Dayna) do this work. I believe it is the responsibility of those who hold a place of influence within our society to begin to shift our culture to one of ethical responsiveness, actively attending to the challenges we are currently facing as a shared world.
And, there first must be an understanding of one another (empathy) if creativity and innovation are to offer constructive responses to these challenges. Empathy and creativity, both higher-level mental functions, are the key ingredients to effectuate positive systemic change.
“Healing is not only a matter of time, it’s a matter of opportunity” ~ Hippocrates.
Our retreats give businesses the opportunity to heal, to learn and to grow. You need the time to focus, the expertise to gain the skills and the opportunity to collaborate. When companies allow the brief OPPORTUNITY to do this, their company has the chance to grow exponentially.