Keri Bischoff felt like she’d just been punched in the gut. “You’ll never earn what you do here—especially for a woman your age,” her boss said as she announced her resignation. It was a low blow and it left her momentarily breathless. But she quickly realized his words were a gift. They confirmed what Keri already knew. She had made the right decision. A tool she’d discovered years earlier called Clifton StrengthsFinder had opened her eyes to a whole new world. She was ready to take a leap of faith and start her own business.
The first time Keri read her StrengthsFinder results, she was blown away. Finally, she had answers about areas in which she naturally excels and why she approaches things the way she does. She immediately sat her whole family down at the kitchen table and shared the report with them. She explained that her top strength is “Learner,” which means she loves to discover new things, go to school, is very curious, and asks a lot of questions. Not only did this provide clarity for her family, it helped Keri better articulate feelings that she hadn’t been able to explain.
Years later, while working in the job that was all wrong for her, a friend asked Keri to go to Omaha to attend a certification course for StrengthsFinder coaches. She’d been a proponent of the tool since discovering its impact on her personal and professional life. She had also experienced transformative results for others when she used it in a previous role as an educator working with high-risk students. Keri headed off to Omaha with her friend, open to new possibilities, not fully knowing where it would lead.
Completing the course was transformational and confirmation for Keri that it was time to make a career change. She set a goal to launch her business on the first day of 2015. And though her boss didn’t take the news well, Keri did it. She began building her coaching practice and creating unique workshops. She realized she truly came alive when she presented with her “Woo” and “Communication” strengths. She loved learning from expert leaders and helping create collaborative work teams, which was powered by her “Learner” and “Input” strengths. The journey was challenging and even scary at times, but she never gave up—it satisfied the “Achiever” in her. Finally, she was leading with her strengths and felt happy and free.
Today, Keri’s mission is to make her clients feel the same way. She works with a wide range of individuals from nuns to neurologists to help them clarify their unique strengths. By showing them their potential—and even blind spots that could be holding them back—she empowers each to become better leaders, team members, and business owners, and to build stronger organizations. They’re able to show up as their true, authentic selves, which leads to a happier, more fulfilling life. She believes the world will be a powerful place when we’re all understood and valued for who we are and the strengths we bring to the world.
Keri is also passionate about supporting the next generation of female leaders to understand their value and to live their best lives. She created “Stillwater Alumnae Program: Girl Power,” a unique opportunity for girls at Stillwater High School (her alma mater) to learn from successful female graduates who hold nontraditional roles. Students hear stories, gain insight into the speakers’ journeys, and participate in round table talks with them at the end of each session. Keri’s mantra when it comes to embracing your strengths for people of all ages: “If you can see it, you can be it.”
To learn more about Keri’s business, visit KeriBischoff.com.
Photo: Keri Bischoff Consulting
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