Here I stand, in a work of my choosing, across all that is possible to change.

Crystal Kadakia

Credentials

  • BS in Chemical Engineering
  • MS in Organizational Development
  • Master Naturalist
  • Cognitive-Based Compassion Training
  • Strategic Planning Certificate from the U. of Virginia, Darden Business School

Publications:

  • The Millennial Myth: Transforming Misunderstanding into Workplace Breakthroughs
  • Social Equations: The STEM Professional’s User Guide to Building Positive Relationships
  • Designing for Modern Learning: Beyond ADDIE And SAM
  • Your Career: How to Make IT Happen textbook

I began this consulting practice in 2011, starting with coaching individuals, then speaking to audiences, and finally taking on the work of change initiatives. I started because of a small, simple reason: the workplace was not making the most of human potential. Since we all spend a lot of our lives there, this was a big deal to me!

After a decade of working with corporations, I shifted the same expertise towards supporting organizations that are furthering a cause I care deeply about: to shift society towards living in sustainability with the natural world and preventing climate change from worsening. It became clear to me that organizations are funded for the frontline sustainability-related work they do — but not their people operations. And that is a big problem. 

As climate change worsens, every organization in the sustainability sector — whether an educational nonprofit, a technology startup, a private foundation, the public sector, or corporate CSR group — is going to be a place for answers. And if staffing, including volunteers, is uncoordinated or inadequate to provide a response at scale, we cannot accomplish our mission.

Put another way: If our employees and volunteers are burned out now, what does that tell us about the future?

I was born into a lifetime of building bridges across paradoxical differences, embracing complexity, and relentlessly elevating what is possible over what can’t be done. My parents are immigrants from India and raised me in Austin, Texas. In a brisket-eating yet liberal community, I had no choice but to bridge my Indian heritage with Texan culture. And to do it in a way that helped me see possibility, not shame or blame. As I got older, duality continued to drive my life experiences. I scored exactly the same on the math and verbal components of the SAT. I was clearly both right brain and left brain, an ambivert on the Myers Briggs, and on and on. I’m lucky to have experienced many different culture clashes which have put me in a unique position to help others understand the possibility in what’s different.

It’s noticing what is different and bringing about different in organizations where I’ve made the most impact. Change doesn’t live in the status quo. 

For more about my books, speaking, and thought leadership:

My Values

My values are very important to me because they tell every client what to expect when they work with me. 
intentional-leadership

intentional leadership

I think about the why and then design, taking action that purposefully rather than randomly advances an organization or team.

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Unshakeable Resolve

Together, we have the faith and courage to do our work. I give my clients what is necessary to move forward, even if it's unpopular with some individuals.

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Honor the Story

I seek to hear where a person or organization has been without judgment and with the open acknowledgment of the past's role in the future.

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Free From Labels

I empower myself and others to unapologetically yet respectfully show up as ourselves, free from the labels others might presume dictate our behavior or thoughts.

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Integrative Thinking

I see the best "third way" in between seemingly opposing approaches. I approach others and the organization of leading from the wise middle, using the possibility of who they can be.

Hear the proof

“Really it was that beautiful balance of Crystal holding our team’s trust and internal culture with really practical set of tools to anchor us in our process and outcomes.”

Kristal Ibarra-Rodriguez
Sierra Club Staff

Something that stands out to me is the consistency of her presence — that’s kind of extraordinary in itself. Week after week, she was bringing the same presence, the same level of analysis and insight, the same level of pushing us forward and that never flagged. I felt like I could totally rely on her, always being there at the highest level.”

— Patrick Murphy, board member Sierra Club and Managing Consultant, Point B

“She always knew just what question to ask to bring us right back to the center where we needed to be.”

— Mark Walters
Sierra Club Volunteer and Sierra Club Foundation Board Member

“This is a time where every organization needs to be thinking about what they do with an equity lens and Crystal is very sensitive to that. We just voted on the resolutions and it was such a relief to see them almost all unanimously passed. I think it’s going to make a huge difference to the Sierra Club.”
Loren Blackford,
Sierra club, Former President of the Board of Directors
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