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“Knowing and wearing your power is the best accessory to any outfit” with Dr. Karen Semien-McBride and Chaya Weiner

It’s okay to fail. Failing is a badge of honor. Do not worry about what others think, focus on what’s in your power to change the world for the better. Power is not a bad word for women. Knowing and wearing your power is the best accessory to any outfit. As a part of my series […]


It’s okay to fail. Failing is a badge of honor. Do not worry about what others think, focus on what’s in your power to change the world for the better. Power is not a bad word for women. Knowing and wearing your power is the best accessory to any outfit.


As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Karen Semien-McBride, of the CEO Institute Executive Coaching Program, Renowned Business Coach & Strategist, Social Psychologist, Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker, and Mentor. Dr. McBride, a business strategist, and social psychologist has created a program to elevate women. Her research has provided data and tools that are effective in getting results for women to be successful professionally and personally.


Thank you so much for joining us Dr. Semien-McBride. What is your “backstory”?

I have over 25 years of experience in the field of organizational leadership, business development, change management, strategic planning, public speaking, mentorship, marketing, social psychology, accounting, human resources, human equity, finance, executive coaching, compliance, entrepreneurship, consulting, business administration and higher education. 10 years of my career was spent as a C-level executive.

I am one of the most sought-after executive trainers and motivational speakers for non-profit organizations and small businesses. In 2004, I founded the non-profit organization AORW (Association of Rejuvenating Women) now the CEO Institute, which supports coaching and mentoring women who want to advance their professional careers, businesses, and work-life balance.

A product of California Baptist University, I received my Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and was awarded a Master’s degree in Organizational Management from the University of Redlands. In 2012, I was awarded a Doctoral degree in Business Administration/Management from Argosy University which has solidified my professional classification as an expert in the areas of business leadership, change management, marketing, strategic planning, business finance, and higher education administration. In 2016, I was bestowed my Doctorate of Humane Letter in Psychology from Phillips Graduate University. One of the highest degrees that can be granted for non-academic work. The honor was granted for my work and research on the Social Psychology of Business Administration.

Can you share your top three “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support women’s journey towards better wellbeing?

  1. Give yourself room/time to process and reduce reacting to people and issues. Example: When the text or email comes across give yourself some time to process your response. Set your expectations by asking for some time to return the response. It’s okay to do that with everything…
  2. Set Your Expectations — be mindful that everyone does not operate the same way you do and if you do not share your expectations, you may not be happy with an outcome. Example, if you say they/he/she should know what I want. There is a 73% chance or more you will not get what you want…Hence, set your expectations.
  3. When engaging in conflict, interact, not react. It makes for less pressure and a better outcome.
  4. Bonus: Join the CEO Institute: Executive Coaching Program…it is life-changing!

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

Wow, where shall I start? When I first started executive coaching women, one of my clients was dealing with issues with her marriage. We did some great work to help address some issues where she could do better and be more mindful of her mate’s operational style (i.e. interact, not react, set expectations). Her husband was aware I was her executive coach. He sent me this large bouquet of flowers thanking me for his new wife…LOL!

Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Yes, since I have a passion for this work, I started with not many processes in place. Such as, how my clients paid was very loosely established. Because of that, clients would reschedule, and other clients would lose preferred appointment times because I was holding slots for clients that had not paid. I realized very quickly that even though executive/life coaching is my passion and my calling, I do have to maintain the business. So, once I partnered with my sponsors, it was necessary to put processes in place for reschedules, set up a recurring payment and fee assessment for late reschedule. Regardless of executive/life coaching being your life’s work and passion, it is just good business practice to have processes in place.

When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

I help women manage pressures by changing their perception and reactions to life’s challenges. My work supports a balanced YOU…work/life balance.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I have several mentors and a coach. As a professional woman, my research has shown that we need a non-judgmental space to be able to share, vent strategies and simply brain dump. Although we all have different operational styles, we are still women working and living in a male-dominated world. I am grateful to each mentor who supported and encouraged me to become my authentic self. My coaches pushed me to do this work on a grander scale to help as many women and organizational leaders as I can reach their full growth potential.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

The movement would be to abolish toxic and crippling fear. I am specific about toxic fear and crippling fear because this is the type of fear that stops us from achieving our dreams. It takes young peoples lives through suicide. It smothers love, it stops hope and the list can go on… At the CEO Institute, we work to change the perception of fear. We identify pressures that stem from fear and replace fear with opportunity, will, drive and thrive.

What are your “3 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

  1. It’s okay to fail. Failing is a badge of honor.
  2. Do not worry about what others think, focus on what’s in your power to change the world for the better.
  3. Power is not a bad word for women. Knowing and wearing your power is the best accessory to any outfit.

Do you have a “girl-crush” in this industry? If you could take one person to brunch, who would it be?

Michelle Obama

Sustainability, veganism, mental health, and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

Mental Health. To address my positions, I will speak from a business and organizational perspective. As a social psychologist, I research how business and psychology intersect. Within a business structure, human behavior is not included in the leadership discussions. People are not trained for conflict resolution with proven methods in psychology or organizational change. Since 2010, there has been a steady increase in stress-related workers compensation claims. Depression and other stress-related mental strains are now being diagnosed as work-related injuries. Although this is not what people would deem mental illness, it is and women are in the highest percentile of the claims.

We need to create healthier work environments, true equity, fair compensations, healthy living benefits, applicable leadership training, and applicable executive coaching to build organizational team bench. This is just one form of mental illness that is becoming a major concern. To quote something I read recently that rings so true, “People do not leave jobs, they leave bad cultures and bosses”.

Lastly, of course, there are other issues of mental illness such as misdiagnoses, medicating illnesses that do not need medicating, the need for counseling, therapy, and clinical support. We need a disruption in the Mental Health field to address the real needs of people.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

On IG and Twitter: @drkarenexecoach

Facebook and YouTube: Dr. Karen Semien McBride

Website: www.mkcircle.com

Thank you for these fantastic insights!

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