Happy New Year <<First Name>>,

As we are starting a new year it is a natural time for all of us to pause and reflect. 2015 has been a year of high highs and low lows. It was a year of "resilience" with significant losses and grief as well as successes. I look forward to 2016 and my new theme of "flow". Being in the flow has something to do with being able to effortlessly continue to build community in everything I do. And doing so in a way that supports staying focused on what is important, letting go, and doing a better job of embracing disruption. I feel strong, resilient, and committed to live the life I want every day, every moment. We truly are the authors of our own stories.

Talking about stories, enjoy the medley of stories in this Yak Newsletter. You will find a mix of personal and professional reflections, memories, and lessons learned. And you will meet some fabulous people that are making a difference in the world.

Thank you for sharing my journey.

Suzanne Elshult, Your Executive Coach
In This Issue:
What's Crackin Yak?
Running peer executive groups with senior executives here in the Puget Sound area continues to be a powerful source of personal fuel. Being passionate around "building community for leaders" has resulted in a vibrant, professional "tribe" and many lifelong friends. Our peer coaching sessions are provocative and we take pride in our focus on relationships, fresh and unconventional thinking, and powerful questioning. Our whole focus is on interaction and sharing!
Meet Karissa Bodnar, the youngest member of the Marketing Executive Roundtable. Karissa has an incredible future as a creative entrepreneur and as someone committed to making a difference in the world. Karissa's  success story actually came about after she woke up one night several years ago with an idea of how she could use her love for mixing beauty products in her kitchen to make a living and combining it with a way to give back to the cancer community - her best friend passed away from a particularly aggressive form of cancer. After wiping out her savings account and "going for it", she now runs a successful start-up selling "beauty products with a cause"  and was recently featured on the Today Show. Check it out! We are so lucky to have Karissa in our group.
Peer Group topics in 2015 have been as engaging as they have been varied. We have had deep and thoughtful conversation around building our own personal/professional brands, creating engagement, leading, being the catalysts of change and embracing disruption, and reflecting on "immutable laws and top customer demandments" (thank you John Steckler) along with some more technical topics. We will start the new year by questioning how we have been managing performance (HR Executives from Google, Zumiez, and Intellectual Ventures will be discussion catalysts for this session) and diversity over the last thirty years and exploring new and fresh perspectives on marketing leadership.

We also continue to enjoy our Wine Socials and found a great new summer venue in Motif in downtown Seattle - check out the rooftop bar - for sunny summer days.

My individual executive coaching practice is well established and most business nowadays comes via word of mouth. Interestingly social media works well in tandem with my business model, particularly as many of us now are "friends" on Facebook and in other social media. "Out of sight = out of mind" and social media is definitely allowing all of us to stay “in sight.” Many coaching assignments are increasingly coming from former clients that are in online relationships with me. Success today is so much about developing and maintaining important connections using both traditional and non-traditional media and approaches. Plus a commitment to generosity, sharing information, and helping/supporting others keeps coming back in great and unpredictable ways.

Both the peer coaching groups and individual coaching practices challenge me to be on top of my game. Coaching assignments come from all types of industries and size organization. This past year there has been significant work with leaders in high tech but also in healthcare, retail, construction, and more. The typical client is a high performing senior executive who is prepping for a bigger job and accelerated leadership, though I also occasionally work with mid-level leaders. Presenting issues also often fall into areas of increasing awareness of self and others, expanding tool kits for competencies such as influential and coaching skills, maneuvering complex organizational/political environments, and matters of emotional intelligence. I learn from every client. Who else has a job like that? Grateful!

This year is coming to an end with some bittersweet goodbyes to several long-term clients - and a couple of new assignments. And so the new stories and journeys begin....     
Featured Yak Post
Should HR Drive Change? Are We Asking the Right Question?
Guest post by Randy Rothschiller

Peer learning communities, like the HR Executive Forum which Suzanne has formed, bring real, everyday challenges front and center. Actual experience, successes and failures, tips and tricks, and even huge warnings flow through the room. We share our playbooks. Participants have a chance to distill common successes (or failures) in hopes of enhancing their own playbook. On this day, as we surveyed one another, we learned that we each have experienced at least one of the three organizational change roles. In fact most of us were currently engaged in some change process, and all three roles were represented – live! Many have moved fluidly from one role to another. There is no single way nor just one single role. Read more...
Recent Blog Posts:
December 18, 2015

Another lively and provocative discussion occurred amongst Human Resources executives from companies all around the Puget Sound region.

I had lunch recently with a colleague who coaches HR professionals on how to become more strategic.


Constant Change is the New Normal: it’s time to re-think OD. Guest post by Randy Rothschiller 
June 2, 2015

In our recent HR Executive Forum, a peer coaching community built by Suzanne Elshult of HRNow, some 20 or so of my peers and I explored “OD”.

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."
Subscribe via RSS
Top Yak Pick Articles
Follow this link to some of my recent favorite reads:
  • Surfing the S-Curve: How to Disrupt Yourself and Why by Whitney Johnson
  • You Probably Know to Ask Yourself, "What Do I Want?" Here's a Way Better Question by Mark Manson
  • 10 Ordinary Beliefs that Inspire Extraordinarily Successful People by Jeff Haden
  • 15 Traits that Impart Executive Presence by Sims Wyeth
  • Mentally Strong People: The 13 Things They Avoid by Forbes magazine
Yak Happenings

1/7/16  SEO in 2016: Now It’s About Branding

1/8/16  Reinventing Performance Management

1/22 - 25/16  K9 Snow and Avalanche Training Clinic with Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue/Everett Mountain Rescue K9 – Mount Rainier

2/11/16  Disruption and Renewal in Marketing Leadership

2/19/16  Have We Framed Diversity the Wrong Way the Last 30 Years

2/22/16  SCVSAR K9 Public Relations Event at the Swedish Club/Meet Suzanne and Keb and find out about K9 search and rescue

3/3/16  After Work Wine Social for MER/HREF and Friends at The Black Bottle Postern in Bellevue 

3/15/16  K9 Human Remains Detection Workshop with SCVSAR/Norma Snelling at Camp Piggot
Suzanne's Yak Space
In late July, as my husband and I were on an airplane over the Atlantic heading to Sweden to see family, my dad passed away - just hours before we arrived for our regular summer visit. I am still reeling from the loss and its aftermath. It is difficult to truly believe he is gone....we miss him fiercely and take comfort in the strength my mom - who is very soon turning 90 - has shown after living pretty much her whole adult life with my dad in a very happy and heartfelt marriage. It is hard to be a whole continent away. Summer, when we will be spending significant time together, seems too, too far away. We are so very grateful that Sara, the manager at her assisted living facility, Nyhmansgarden, is on Facebook and shows her photos of what we are up to here in the US. She just sent us my mom's first "selfie" a few weeks ago. Daughter Linnea will also be able to join us to see her grandma this summer. Incredibly, she has ten days off in between completing her residency in Ann Arbor as an Orthopedic Surgeon and starting her Sports Medicine Orthopedic Surgeon fellowship in Denver (where husband Chris is already doing his fellowship in Gyn. Oncology). So we will have three generations of Elshult woman power in Nyhamnslage in July 2016.

On another note, it is baffling how Linnea is able to accomplish everything she sets her mind to. On top of an insane schedule as a last year medical resident, she managed to place first in her age group in a 70.3 mile triathlon in September. Proud mom!

K9 search and rescue continues to be a strong commitment. What a rewarding way to give back to the world in a way that leverages my love for nature and animals. The K9 team we started building together with Bob Fuller - who sadly passed away this year - some ten years ago is now roughly 35 two-legged and four-legged strong. We have a dedicated team that trains together every weekend and we expect to field quite a few new operational teams this year. As the team is maturing we are able to do increasingly advanced trainings in areas such as disaster, snow/avalanche, water, human remains detection, and more. Keb, our young Labrador retriever, is soon turning 6 and is in her prime. She is everything we had hoped for and more and we are wrapping up the year with an Airscent Recertification under our belt as well as a recent "find" on a mission. Yes, she ate steak for dinner that evening. Good girl Keb ! :)

Keb came along to Sweden in 2015. For the second year in a row we got to train with - and deploy on a mission - with some wonderful SAR K9 handlers from Missing People Sweden and Missing People Denmark. We even got to spend a day in Denmark sharing best practices of human remains detection training with a large group of dedicated handlers. New wonderful friends and opportunities! And husband Scott got to enjoy diving off Kullaberg, just a stone's throw from from the little fishing village where my parents live. He is as passionate about diving as I am about K9 search and rescue, (with more than 300 dives under his belt and professional designations as a Dive Master, Assistant Instructor, and Rescue Diver). We miss the days when we were able to spend a lot of time together in mountain rescue and are actively exploring what the "NEW NEW" for us looks like. Recently we were able to combine forces when he came as a diver to several K9 water trainings. Our dogs had a great opportunity to get used to working water around divers and learn that there may be live scent in water (recent drownings).

In November Keb and I attended a four-day workshop at the Forensic Anthropology Center at Texas State, a unique opportunity to imprint a dog on dead in various stages of decomposition to help search teams be more effective on search mission assignments. What we did not anticipate was to end up in the path of a tornado - close call - and getting stuck in flooding with Karen Marcotte and Lori Blackburn and their pooches from Bend, Oregon. Made for more good stories and new friendships for sure! 

After stepping down from the National Search Dog Alliance (NSDA) board position last spring - just not enough time to dedicate while working a full-time business, I became authorized as an NSDA Airscent Evaluator in the fall and am hoping to also become an approved NSDA Human Remains Detection Evaluator in 2016. 

The SCVSAR K9 team is busily planning a four-day Snow Clinic on Mt Rainier this month and a four-day Airscent Work
shop in late spring with three or four nationally recognized FEMA trainers. And, we have started planning for a Regional K9 Training and Testing Event that we will be sponsoring in August for some 40 to 60 two-legged and four-legged attendees. Never a dull moment.

Bosse, our older lab, is in his fifteenth year and now retired from search and rescue activities. He is amazing, though slowing down and cannot hear well (at least when he chooses not to). In the last couple of months he has slowed down so much it is hard to believe that he made it to the top of Mt. Dickerman in our annual family ascent in the Summer (4000 feet of elevation gain on a relentlessly steep trail). He also was a champ on our summer backpacking trip to Mt. Baker and the Coleman Glacier - did some awesome stream crossings (with the drought and hot temps this year the glacier melt made for some unexpected excitement and epic storytelling)! I treasure every day with my loyal friend. You da' man Bosse!
Safe travels in 2016.  Make it a year to remember!


My Web Site:
My YakBlog:

My YakNewsletter:

Linkedin: (join my two groups: HR Executive Forum Puget Sound & Marketing Executive Roundtable


My Flipboard Magazines:


Suzanne Elshult, Executive Coach - ICF

Copyright © 2016 HRNow, All rights reserved.

My web site:

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp