"I am so much more that what I do. It is the who of me that influences my ability to be exceptional at what I do and why I love doing it!"
I am a 2x TEDx Speaker and Keynote Speaker and pull from my mother's influence — my first authentic leader – to create stories about life, leadership, and acceptance that connect with people. I'm a master storyteller with thought-provoking ideas about "race" and "difference" that force people to re-examine and often shift their perspectives and belief systems. My approach to everything I do is with honesty, authenticity, and vulnerability and the intent to leave people better than I found them.
I’m a transformational leader who specializes in Continuous Improvement. As a Six Sigma Black Belt I work with organizations to streamline their processes and improve efficiency but what I really do is empower their employees and build strong teams. I got my start in Corporate America when I was 17 years old and I worked my way up the proverbial corporate ladder. I’ve led and influenced large and small teams, led multimillion dollar business initiatives, and transformed thousands of lives. I have a Bachelor’s and Master's degree and many certifications that say I’m an expert at what I do. I’ve been a high school teacher, college professor and now facilitate workshops for corporate and adult learners. But, none of that defines who I am. I give that credit to my mother who taught me, at an early age, everything I needed to know about “good leadership”.
My mother was born in 1924 in the very segregated Woodlawn community on Chicago’s south side. I don’t know the full details of her life growing up, she rarely spoke about it. But I can guess what she had to deal with and what was obvious to me was that she didn’t allow her experiences to create hatred in her heart
"I came into this world to spread love and help others reach their highest potential by falling madly, deeply, wildly in love with themselves!"
She made history in California when she adopted me as a single parent and she never talked about it. I found an aged newspaper in the bottom of a drawer when I was cleaning out her home after she passed. The story talked about the courage it took for my mother to choose to be a single parent and commit to raising someone else’s child as her own.
Instead of raising me in a world familiar to her, Momma created a brave new world for me. She exposed me to upper class white culture by taking me to 4-star restaurants and shops in Beverly Hills, Hollywood, and other “glitzy” and predominantly white areas in Los Angeles. She exposed me to Jewish, Catholic, Baptist, Protestant, and New Thought religious and spiritual practices. She introduced me to African, Mexican, Japanese, Irish, and other European cultures because she wanted me to know that the world was big and accessible and I belonged anywhere I wanted to be or could afford to be.
She taught me that the only stupid question was the one I was too afraid to ask. That a closed mouth doesn’t get fed, so if I want or need something I better speak up or forever hold my peace. And most importantly, she taught me that I wasn’t born Black so that I could become a victim of my environment or be shackled by the history of the enslaved Africans that came before me. I was born of African descent because that’s how God chose to create me. We all come into the world of different cultures and experiences and we are all divine expressions of love. It was important that I knew that my life was as valuable as anyone else’s. Not more than and not less than but equally valuable.
My mother embodied courageous love and raised me with intentionality. This included instilling confidence, accountability, boundaries, navigation, guidance and unconditional love - my foundational principles. I joined the Navy when I turned 18 and became the leader of our company. It showed me one thing that was true to my core. That I was a natural leader with heightened self awareness and a willingness to serve others, lead from my heart, speak truth to power, and inspire my team to be the best version of themselves.
My mother had a high school education and worked as a Clerical Typist for Caltrans but she was the Chief Executive Officer of our household and she led by example. She taught me what’s possible when you can take yourself out of the equation and focus on serving others. I’m living proof of that possibility which is why I’m so passionate about creating that possibility for new and emerging leaders.
This realization led me to develop my groundbreaking Kaizen Your Culture organizational program and Lean into Love keynotes, which integrate Lean Six Sigma and DEI principles and methodologies upon a framework of L.O.V.E.:
Listen with the intent to learn,
ORGANIZATIONS HIRE ME TO:
Deliver thought-provoking, inspiring, and engaging keynote speeches.
Teach and implement Kaizen Your Culture and Lean into Love to operationalize DEI and continuous improvement
Inspire and increase innovation, productivity, and employee retention and engagement.
Provide transformational leadership development, communication, DEI, and wellness/self-love coaching and workshops.
Work with new and emerging leaders and teams as a Coach & Team-building Facilitator.
I am also the celebrated author of the award-winning coming-of-age novel Salmon Croquettes. I love my Tibetan Terrier, Tashi, my weighted blanket, breakfast for dinner, and Self-love Sunday, my favorite day of the week.
I was born Kimberly Denise Mitchell on July 28 to a 16-year-old unknown mother, and immediately became a ward of the state of California.
On September 9, 1967 Frances Champion became the first Black woman in California to adopt a child as a single parent. And I became Glodean Champion.
I was always the tallest kid in the group! One of the best things my mom ever did was to insist I be proud of my height. She constantly reminded me to "Stand up straight!" I've been standing straight and proud ever since.
In 4th grade I reached for a violin and the teacher handed me a cello. By the time I reached high school I was also playing the upright bass, bass guitar, xylophone, bells, and cymbals! I was in every band Lynwood High School offered.
Prince's album, Controversy, changed my life. It taught me that being true to oneself is the most important thing we can ever do. Are you being true to you?
I graduated at 16 with no interest in college and no idea what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Mom said, "get a job or go to college." So, I figured out a way to get a job as a Receptionist at a CPA firm.
I joined the Navy in 1985. Two days into boot camp I became the Recruit Chief Petty Officer, leader of my company. This experience revealed my natural leadership skills.
After many years in Corporate America I stepped off my path to the C-suite and returned to the classroom. I graduated with a BA from Mills College and an MFA from California College of the Arts in 2008.
My first short story, Heathens, was published in Woman's Work: an Anthology.
In 1991, I moved to San Francisco. A few years later, I found a new career in Information Technology. I started at the Help Desk and worked my way up to Network Engineer before I found myself in management.
Mills College reconnected me to my inner artist and educator. In 2007, this photo along with three others were published in the book, Black Artists in Oakland.
In 2010, I walked into my first classroom as a student teacher at City Arts & Tech Charter School and discovered my love of educating children.
On November 29, 1996 I lost my anchor. Somehow, through my grief, I focused on the love she pored into me and the life she'd given me. I wouldn't be the me I am without her and I still thank her for it.
In 2008, my photographic exploration into colorism, The Brown Paper Bag Test, was featured in the Color(')s Within: The Inner Splendor of the Black Female exhibit.
In 2008, I moved to Chicago to finish my novel. I began teaching at Chicago State University in 2009, as well as Columbia College. There's nothing more rewarding that enlightening young minds.
In 2011, I followed my love of educating young minds to Ghana where I was a volunteer English teacher for an orphanage in the village of Bawjiasi, about 60 km NW of Accra.
I found teaching opportunities in the best places. One of my favorites was as Workshop Leader for the Neighborhood Writing Alliance in Chicago.
In 2013, I worked for the BEST leader of my career and he introduced me to Lean Six Sigma. We became the Continuous Improvement team and I excelled at leading Kaizen events.
I helped this group of IT professionals improve the company's NPS process to increase and effectively measure NPS responses.
The Communicate Like a Champ workshop with the Senior Leadership Team at VOX Network Solutions!
On March 24, 2021, my debut novel was published. It has receive great reviews and been considered a "catalyst for change, love, and greater understanding.
I used compression planning to help the team of Job Developers set their regional goals and outline their plans for future events and activities.
My keynote speech on leadership at the Extreme Leadership Experience, 2020. It was a tribute to my mom, my 1st Extreme Leader.
In 2021, I drove from my home in Monterey, CA to as far south as Macon, GA. Along the way, I talked to people about love and all the things that connect us. Over 50 people agreed LOVE is the bridge that connects us.
Graduation day from the Extreme Leadership Certification workshop! I love these folks!
As like many people, the 2020 murder of George Floyd made me ask the Universe what I could do to help make the world a better place. The answer came back, "Love" and I've been living in my purpose ever since.
In 2022, my vision of being on the TEDx stage came to fruition - TWICE. In "The Power of Place and Purpose in Our Lives" I share how moving to Monterey, CA saved my life. My next TEDx is out in February 2023.
WHAT PEOPLE SAY
"Glodean was able to see great abilities within me, more than I could see in myself, and helped bring it out of me. She has taught me that if I believe in something, do it. And if it doesn’t work out, it’s always better to ask for forgiveness."
AIMEE GARCIA, PROJECT MANAGER
"I was amazed by Glodean's level of professionalism and knowledge. Her ability to facilitate with multiple people and personalities was impressive. Her witty sense of humor and outgoing personality really made the day enjoyable!"
JENNY HUGHES, CAREER EDUCATION / OUTREACH SPECIALIST
"If I had to pick one of Glodean's best traits, one...more important than her unrelenting positive attitude or uncanny ability to meet unrealistic deadlines, it would be her clarity. She can express a concept in as many ways as the listener needs to hear in order to understand."
ELIZABETH COOK, ENGINEER