Hi *|FNAME|*,

The first four months of 2015 have been a roller coaster. From the highs of hosting a large, regional K9 event on the OSO Landslide anniversary weekend and seeing my executive coaching business take off at an unprecedented scale to the lows of losing one of my best friends, my husband’s brother, and other family members, and the bittersweet experience of seeing my parents moved into assisted living from their beach house on the coast of southern Sweden. I know they are both on borrowed time as is my loyal search dog Bosse who is rapidly approaching 14 years of age.
There was a reason I picked "resilience" as my theme for this year. Not even one third into it and having faced more loss in just a few months than in the last couple of decades combined, I am reminded that the question we all need to ask ourselves is not necessarily what we want out of life, but what does life want out of us? Are you fortunate enough to have found a way to match your intrinsic talent with one of the world’s deepest needs? If these questions intrigue you, then read
The Moral Bucket List by David Brooks.
So far during this year of resilience I am deeply grateful for finding every day fulfillment in making a living as an executive coach and for having found an avocation that allows me to save lives and give back to the community by leveraging my love of the outdoors and my K9 companions in search and rescue.
My thanks to everyone who has made this life of mine possible by intersecting with me in so many different ways. I know that there is perfection and learning in the challenges being thrown my way in 2015. Keep it coming!

Enjoy the mix of professional and personal highlights below - loss, learning, and reflections, K9 search and rescue, coaching and peer group events, and family experiences - a medley of stories!

Suzanne Elshult, Your Executive Coach
In This Issue:
What's Crackin Yak?
2015 has been a stellar time for my Peer Executive Coaching groups. I cannot think of a single disappointing session! And renewal rates suggest that our membership continues to receive great value from our community. Our success is anchored in the culture we have grown and the pride we collectively take in “being the content” for our sessions. What differentiates us from other offerings is our community, our commitment to learning, our exploration of powerful questions, our focus on interactions, and our sharing with each other. We strive to engage in “top-of-mind” topics that rattle our cages a bit. I fondly refer to some of our sessions as “managed chaos".
My marketing and human resources executives have been exploring a variety of topics together ranging from how to best assess internal capabilities and set priorities, riding the waves of change, creating synergy and creative partnerships between HR, Marketing and Chief Technology Officers, grappling with predictive marketing, rethinking employee engagement, and staying ahead of healthcare trends to several free-flowing sessions.
We also continue to enjoy our Wine Socials which have increasingly become joint events where we also invite our greater community of “friends” (for example prior members that have gone to a “dark place” – consulting - and are no longer eligible for membership, or guests we have invited to act as discussion catalysts). I have to admit I really love seeing my marketing and HR execs having a good ole’ time together. The Black Bottle in Bellevue continues to be my favorite Wine Social hangout, but this summer we will be exploring a new venue in Seattle, Motif with a great rooftop bar for sunny summer days.
I have already started planning some great sessions with my Peer Executive Coaching groups this fall. Britt Provost, Eileen Fischer, and I are designing a fall kick-off session on developing your own professional/personal brand! More details later on…
My individual coaching practice has continued to grow and I have also done some recent project work with executive teams using a 360 degree feedback model to create transparency, team, and focus. It has been particularly enjoyable to become increasingly immersed in the high-tech arena which is booming here in Seattle.

It amazes me how diverse my client base is and how easily I seem to be moving in and out of contrasting environments. Visualize high-tech with a bar, cozy lounging areas, and signs at the employee kitchen urging you to “please put on our shoes” to stodgy boardrooms in traditional industries like banking. The unpredictability is what keeps me engaged. My coaching clientele continues to be a mix between virtual and face-to-face. So far this year my clients have been in Ohio, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and the Puget Sound. My long-term sight is still set on continuing to globalize my practice.
Featured Yak Post
4 Nuggets: HR Executives and Well-Being Strategies
Suzanne Elshult, Executive Coach/HRNow

Last fall I became aware that there is a corporate shift underway from narrowly defined wellness initiatives to well-being strategies that are part and parcel of a more comprehensive engagement package. My initial reaction to this shift was that this is just marketing at work, re-packaging the same old same old and trying to give wellness a fresh feel. In truth though, well-being strategies today often include, not only the typical wellness components we have historically talked about, but a whole range of physical, emotional, social, career, financial, and spiritual components making it a more holistic approach. Coming to this realization helped me make a personal mindset shift this year. This well-being perspective has given me a fuller and more meaningful way to anchor the choices I make that go beyond just diet, exercise, and weight. It will be interesting to see where we are heading in corporate America. Here are some nuggets on well-being from our March HR Peer Executive Coaching session. Read More
Recent Blog Posts:
Stepping Into My Own Fear: My friend’s gruesome death changed my life forever by Suzanne Elshult, Executive Coach/HRNow 
January 31, 2014

“Burned into my memory are the images of him, on that slick rock, grasping for something, anything, to hold on to, as he slid slowly but inevitably toward the edge."

Marketing Executives Riding the Waves of Change by Suzanne Elshult, Your Executive Coach, HRNow
March 19, 2015

At one of my recent roundtables I eagerly listened as my marketing executives discussed how their jobs have evolved.
March 18, 2015

A couple of weeks ago two dozen+ of my HR Executive Peer Group members met to discuss the shift from wellness to well-being strategies. 


NEW NORMAL: OK for brands to support good causes & make money by Suzanne Elshult, Your Executive Coach, HRNow
December 17, 2014

Last week my marketing executive per group explored rebranding.

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Top Yak Pick Articles
Follow this link to some of my recent favorite reads: 
  • Are You A Multiplier or a Diminisher by Liz Wiseman
  • The Moral Bucket List by David Brooks
  • Why Leadership-Development Programs Fail by McKinsey Insights
  • How Successful People Stay Productive and In Control by Travis Bradberry, Ph.D.
Yak Happenings

5/29/2015 Is Organization Design Overrated? What Business Problems Does It Solve?

6/11/2015 Marketing in the Post Digital Age

6/19/2015 Healthcare Trends

7/16/2015 Client and Professional Community After-Work No-Host Wine Social
(If you are member of the HR Executive Forum, Marketing Executive Roundtable, or one of our community Friends, please RSVP here.)
Resource Hub
Are you a marketing executive in the job market? According to one of my marketing executive clients who was on a job search recently, the books below are your must read books. They keep coming up over and over again in interviews.
  • Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler
  • The Accidental Marketer by Tom Spitale
  • Zero to One: Notes on Startups. Or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel
  • The Innovator: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson
  • Peoplework: How to Run a People-First Business in a Digital-First World by Austin Allison and Chris Smith
  • The Leadership Playbook: Creating a Coaching Culture to Build Winning Business Teams by Nathan Jamail
  • It’s Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy by D. Michael Abrashoff
Suzanne's Yak Space
My mom and dad are still “loving on each other” every day. Now in their 90s and with my dad needing more care, we three siblings had to make the tough decision this spring to move them into assisted living. My older brother Goran snagged an opportunity to have them moved into an apartment just a few minutes away from their house. In fact, just a few hundred meters above the harbor in their little fishing village. They seem to have adapted exceedingly well and I cannot wait to see them this summer. The beach house will still be there for us to enjoy. Once again I am planning to bring my search and rescue (SAR) dog Keb along for the trip and hope to link up with my K9 SAR friends in Sweden.
Our daughter Linnea is soon starting her fourth year of residency as an orthopeadic surgeon in Ann Arbor. In the meantime her husband Chris got a fellowship in Denver so they will be living apart for a year. The good news is that she was just offered a fellowship in Denver for next year. I see Colorado in my future….
Talking about order to meet the requirements of our Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Office, Keb and I recently returned from Denver where we tested and certified in Human Remains Detection with the North American Police Work Dog Association (NAPWDA). This rigorous certification was conducted over multiple days and included 7 separate tests including wilderness, building, rubble, vehicle, buried, shoreline, and obedience. We made lots of new friends and are enjoying a little bit of downtime before our next adventure in mid-May when we will be spending three days doing water training from a boat at the Washington SAR Conference followed by scenario-based K9 training with my friend Sally Olsen and her dog in Wyoming in June. The fun never ends!!!

My dogs continue to give me such joy and I dread the day Bosse, who will soon be 14 (the equivalent of 90 plus human years), will leave us. He was just retired from search and rescue last year but is still going strong. His hearing is gone - or at least selectively so - he does appear to think he has earned some special privileges at this stage of the game.

I was excited to co-host a baby shower for Brenda in April with a couple of girlfriends - Janiece and Libby. Just a few days ago she and husband Seth welcomed little Nathan into this world of ours. It seems such a long time has passed since I became a mom myself - by far the most profound and rewarding experience in my life. My daughter Linnea is my treasured "egg" forever and I would walk through fire for her. Secretly beginning to yearn just a little bit for pressure Linnea!!!

In conjunction with the one-year anniversary of the Washington State OSO Landslide, which took 43 lives and consumed me and my K9 group last Spring, I spearheaded a regional K9 conference with my K9 team for about 60 participants from several different states last month. We spent time together remembering, getting closure, training together, enjoying camaraderie, exchanging best practices, and spending time with our State SAR Coordinator sharing perspectives and lessons learned. (Check out more details in our K9 Newsletter.) Talking about lessons learned, K9Cop Magazine finally published the article I wrote with Marcia Koenig from King County Search Dogs titled "Search and Rescue K-9 Lesson Learned: The OSO, Washington Landslide Disaster Proves to be a Useful Learning Tool for SAR K-9 Teams."
I miss my friend Bob (Fuller) who joined his dog Peer at the other side of the rainbow this spring. I have known Bob and his wife Anne for decades. We have precious memories from backpacking trips, getting our first dogs at roughly the same time, and arm wrestling Bob into joining K9 search and rescue just to have him develop the same passion and commitment as I have. We often talked about this avocation of ours as a lifestyle. In our chats in the months before his passing, Bob kept coming back to the fact that outside of his family the one thing that stood out as something he valued more than anything else he had done while on this earth was without doubt K9 search and rescue. Bob and his K9 companion Peer, and I with Labrador Bosse, had many adventurous and sometimes profound experiences together. During his last days, we reminisced about the mission we were deployed on in very rough wilderness in Skagit County a few years back, a mission where Peer made a life-saving find. Wonder why we look so happy in the photo from this mission? We had taken cover on the shore of the river to watch the helicopter hoist the subject who was stranded on the other side of the river. We hardly noticed being hit by the ice cold sprays of water from the rotor wash. I miss Bob with all my heart and take consolation in the fact that he is now with his beloved Peer.
Until next time. Safe travels.


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Suzanne Elshult, Executive Coach - ICF

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