Stephanie Clohesy (KNFP 4), Consultant, Clohesy Consulting, Cedar Falls, Iowa.
This article was originally published in the January 2006 issue of the KFLA Newsletter.
Stephanie Clohesy focuses her work on the ”intersections” in equality and social justice issues. Through her consulting firm based in Cedar Falls, Iowa, she helps make social change by assisting organizations in becoming more effective at achieving their mission.
For example, Stephanie describes, ”When a new philanthropist creating a new foundation successfully discovers a mission that connects his or her own inner passion with the great needs in our world, then I know I have unleashed long-term change. When well-established foundations or nonprofit clients find their way through a thorny landscape of challenges, then I know I am contributing to more effective social change work by that organization.”
Her approach is ”to have deep and loving relationships with each client-organization so that my learning, and theirs, is maximized, and our willingness to change and grow through our work is maximized.”
Consulting has been an effective way for Stephanie to make a significant leadership contribution. She says, ”Not that many of us have visible positional roles for most of our lives. We are, instead, working deep within systems, consulting, teaching, mentoring, contributing to social change, but usually not leading the charge. I have done both in my life. But mostly, I have accomplished good things by being behind the scenes.”
She points out, ”I think the Fellowship took me off the path of positional leadership. I find that rather paradoxical.”
Her Kellogg Fellowship also gave her a new approach to problem-solving. ”Through the opportunities of the Fellowship I discovered how the interdisciplinary nature of problems has to change every solution we construct.”
Recently, Stephanie has begun to look for new ways to approach her work. She explains, ”I’m at a crossroads. I’m thinking about how to scale-up the impact of my knowledge and skills from client-by-client success to broader impact.”
Stephanie is also redefining how she practices self-care. ”My mother claims that my first sentence was, ’I’ll help Mommy!’ and I have been defined by wanting to help ever since. Like most women, I’ll put others’ needs before my own. However,” she says, ”I think aging may be the one experience that shifts my thinking and priorities. I find myself seeking more time every day to take care of mind-body-spirit.”