Jennifer Herold: Leading with Courage and Authenticity
Jennifer Herold brings a wealth of experience to her role as a CREATiON Companies professional facilitator and coach. The founder and CEO of Vaughan Herold LLC, she has a background in corporate facilitation and coaching spanning more than 10 years. She is a Certified Dare to Lead™ Facilitator, based on the work of Dr. Brené Brown and a Certified 3 Vital Question Trainer. Jennifer's diverse life experiences, including being a former college athlete and a professional broadcaster, have shaped her approach to facilitation and leadership development.
Jennifer utilizes various tools, including the Leadership Circle 360 assessment and the Enneagram, to delve into motivations rather than just surface-level traits. She believes that sustainable organizational change is best achieved through a "Learn, practice, debrief" structure that takes place over time.
Jennifer Herold's expertise as a professional facilitator and coach is rooted in her extensive training and professional experience and a commitment to creating safe and engaging spaces for growth and development. Her passion for guiding courageous leaders shines through in her work, enabling individuals and organizations to thrive.
We recently sat down with Jennifer for a short discussion on her approach to facilitation.
Q: What experience do you bring to your role as a professional facilitator?
Jennifer: My experience as a corporate facilitator and coach, combined with my corporate background in marketing, has provided me with a unique skill set. I spent 10 years honing my facilitation and coaching abilities, working with various organizations. Additionally, my time as a college basketball player taught me the importance of understanding an individual’s role on a team — knowing when to step up to lead and when to play a supporting role for others. I have spent countless hours in front of both small and large groups, guiding conversations for learning, growth, and change.
Q: What makes a great meeting or retreat?
Jennifer: A great meeting or retreat is first characterized by creating a safe space that encourages open and productive dialogue. It is important for everyone to understand the purpose of the time together and align on expectations and agreements to get to their desired outcome. As a facilitator, my role is to provide "guard rails" that help guide the experience and provide new tools they can immediately implement in the meeting and when they go back to their workplace. The environment also plays a significant role, and I often choose unique venues like the Stone Cottage to create an atmosphere conducive to open communication and frees participants up from the daily distractions of an office atmosphere. Bespoke curation of agenda items contributes structure to the conversation while allowing flexibility based on the energy and information revealed by the participants. I start by constructing a “Containers” that guide the group toward their desired outcomes. It's essential to have a plan but remain adaptable and help participants put theory into practice.
Q: How does having an outside facilitator help a meeting or retreat?
Jennifer: A professional facilitator brings several benefits to a meeting or retreat. They enable senior leaders in the group to fully participate and experience the event without the added responsibility of facilitation. The facilitator sets an even playing field for impact and ensures that the meeting stays on track by managing airtime and guiding discussions. When any team meets, there is a lot they are brining into the room that influences the experience. Having an experienced facilitator creates opportunity to leverage the best of each individual and their relational dynamics and acknowledge and address any unproductive behavior or patterns that could be getting in the way of the team’s success.
A facilitator can also bring new tools and frameworks that support the goals of the group, whether it be team development, planning, strategy, culture, or recalibration.
Q: How do you ensure everyone is engaged and actively participating?
Jennifer: Ensuring active participation and engagement requires reading the room and understanding the energy within it. Establishing outcomes and agreements beforehand sets the stage for inclusive participation. I encourage all voices to be heard, emphasizing the importance of listening without judgment or interruption. I often initiate check-ins at the beginning to start with connection and give each person an opportunity to speak. Privacy and confidentiality are non-negotiable, allowing participants to feel comfortable contributing their thoughts and ideas.
Q: Tell us about a hobby or life experience that has made you a better facilitator?
Jennifer: I feel that I have been blessed to have such a wide range of life experiences that have informed how I show up as a facilitator and coach. From being a former college athlete and a trained broadcaster, to 15 years in the corporate world and decades working with amazing organizations, I have continued to grow and evolve. A pivotal moment early in my career, when a CEO pointed out that I had great content but had removed my "self" from a presentation. It reinforced the importance of bringing my unique qualities to the table. I believe that people and performance matter and that we need whole humans that are prepared and empowered to achieve great things.