An Interview With Kristine Medyanik
I sat down with Women to Women Network member Kristine Medyanik of Shattered Glass Leadership, and here's what she had to say…
Who are your clients/customers?
I work hard to serve women in their professional or community leadership roles. They may come from different backgrounds, but they are all driven to serve and want to grow as a leader.
As very busy women serving our families, kids, or community organizations, we often forget to stop to get above the trees and check the horizon. Asking ourselves, "Am I on track? Am I going where I want to?" is so important. I know as a mom with teenagers, I have to check in with myself to be sure I'm not so busy caring for everybody else that I've left my own goals and soul work behind.
My clients come to me with these same questions. They are typically ages 25 to young at heart, and I say young at heart because we should never stop growing and learning.
How do you help your clients/customers?
I offer boutique-style overnight retreats for women that deliver expert content to help them “level up” their leadership. These are small intimate retreats, designed to reflect on where we're at with our character development. We work through growth mindset concepts, outward leadership concepts, and curricula that I have developed based on years of research.
Leadership is present in our homes, our community organizations, and our professional organizations. The content that I cover in the LevelUp Retreat applies to all of those areas.
Together we work to recalibrate our "thinking selves" and our "doing selves." Most of us lean toward one of these tendencies. For example, if you spend a lot of time thinking you become paralyzed by analysis paralysis, so it's time to lean into the "doing self." However, if we tend to lean too far into the "doing self" while stressed, we may become a bit of a bulldozer. Learning to permit ourselves to have some grace in our time is vital. Women's emotional intelligence makes us exceptional leaders in our communities and our business organizations, but sometimes we forget to take time for ourselves.
My retreats are held in a small, intimate setting in Northern Oregon. There are four bedrooms in our retreat venue, which are shared between six to ten women. Everybody has their own bed, and we have a fun time bunking up. When I offer the venue in Salem, people have the option to sleep at home, but I encourage attendees to stay overnight because we do a movie activity with wine and lava cake. It's prime time to connect.
What brought you to this line of work?
I have a doctorate in business with a specialty in organizational psychology. I've been creating professional development programs for students and faculty for many years.
Every time I'd been to a leadership event or leadership development retreat, I thought, "That's what I want to be when I grow up." When that spark ignited, I knew that I wanted to transition from doing what I had been doing in the corporate world and higher education settings to doing it for myself. Why spend all of my energy building something for somebody else when I can go where my heart wants to be?
I focus on women because the pandemic has made it evident how hard it is for us to ground ourselves when we're so busy caring for other people. Gender roles have changed a lot in the last 30 to 40 years, for women especially. Men are still evolving in finding ways to support us in these new roles. We don't have enough time to teach them how to help us and it hasn't been modeled for them, so we're in a place where we need to find new tools.
What brings you joy in your business?
Those aha moments! I developed my own personality assessment that I've given to 1000s of students and clients over the last 13 years. The quiz separates big feelings into language that makes more sense. You will always work and interact with people who ruffle your feathers, but you can choose how it affects you with the right tools. I say all of this with the caveat that I'm also imperfect, and I have to practice these concepts actively. That's part of what I love so much about it—every time I get back to it, it feels like I've recalibrated.
What defines you and your business?
My retreats are very small. Many of the retreats I've been to have been workshops or seminars where you're around 30 to 200 people—it can feel like you're being “talked at.” Then you head back to your hotel room alone. Because our retreats are a very personal, intimate opportunity, women have the chance to sit on patios and connect over a glass of wine.
The retreats are in my two homes which I have set up as really comfortable venues. It creates a different feeling. People come as strangers but leave as friends. You feel like your soul can slow down because you're not in a hotel with distractions like figuring out where to go next or where to eat.
If you need to decompress, you can breathe in the fresh air surrounded by 100-foot trees or bust out a kayak and enjoy the water for a bit. I've incorporated nature to get away from corporate settings. We're in cozy couches, with blankets and beautiful pillows. I've set everything up to feel very feminine and allow women to feel like they can bring their stretchy pants, throw their hair in a messy bun and simply enjoy the space.
With all that said, the schedule is research-based, action-packed, and rewarding. I also work hard to make sure that the conversation feels organic. People bring their own experiences and the different places they're at in their solopreneur business, small business, or corporate setting. We learn from each other.
What's the most important thing you want people to know about you and your business?
You'll get out what you put in. Learning is a lifelong process. There's always a need to get back into our learning. In our small businesses, it's so easy to be working IN our business instead of working ON our business. That's true for leadership practice as well. It's easy to settle into what we're comfortable with and forget to recognize there's a time to grow.
My retreats are also affordable so that people can take the break they need and celebrate themselves. I can keep the price points reasonable because they're offered in my own homes. It is less than what you'd typically pay for just two nights in a hotel, so when compared to other retreats, we're very accessible!