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  • Steve Dobbins

Whitney Kenter: Fostering Creativity and Connection

Whitney Kenter has unbounded visionary creativity, an audacity to dream big, and can corral energy to unlock value and potential in people and businesses. With more than two decades of experience in business advisory, financial services and executive leadership, Whitney has led highly successful entrepreneurial businesses and organizations in the roles of CEO, managing member and board member.

Currently, she is founder and CEO of Glowe Connective, an innovative advisory firm to businesses and executives that helps visionary leaders foster creativity and collaboration as key elements of the energy needed to shift and grow their businesses.

Most recently, Whitney was a founding managing member of Matter Family Office, an industry-leading national wealth management firm that advises highly successful families. Whitney was responsible for the leadership of the firm’s culture, people, branding, communication and strategic initiatives.

Whitney has also brought her passion to inspire, create and connect to her roles as a board member of House of Genius, Venture Café St. Louis, St. Louis Children’s Hospital, and the St. Louis United Way, an advisor to NEXUS Global Summit, a member of Summit, and as a U.S. Fringe Diplomacy Partnership Opportunity Delegate to Cuba.

We recently sat down with Whitney for a short discussion on her approach to facilitation.

Q: What experience do you bring to your role as a professional facilitator?

Whitney: Throughout my career, I have created environments to facilitate hard conversations, encouraging new thinking and big ideas, and developing multi-year plans. As a strategic adviser to high net-worth families, most of which were active founders and executives in their businesses, I create facilitated experiences that leverage my experience, knowledge of human behavior and creativity. I'm able to keep sight of strategic goals and, at the same time, meet people where they are and support the shifts they seek.

Q: What makes a great meeting or retreat?

Whitney: A great meeting or retreat begins with an articulation of the wanted outcomes and a deeper knowledge of the individuals in the room. This allows for an effective design of the meeting. A great meeting or retreat is one where everyone leaves able to see themselves — and the path forward — more clearly. Participants feel the time was well spent and the energy of the day doesn’t completely dissolve after the meeting is over. It's always great to be exposed to new ideas, or brainstorm new possibilities, but walking away with real next steps, and confidence about how to take them, is the best experience.

Q: How does having an outside facilitator help a meeting or retreat?

Whitney: Creativity is putting old ideas together in new ways. A great facilitator is uniquely able to take the wisdom of all the people in the room, deconstruct it, and then rebuild in a way that inspires commitment and action from participants.

Q: How do you ensure everyone is engaged and actively participating?

Whitney: Interactive is the only way to design a meeting, in my opinion. I love finding creative ways to solicit all the voices in the room and to help every person connect to the experience. I tune in to what gets people excited and use that energy to move things forward.

Q.Tell us about an experience that has made you a better facilitator?

Whitney: I worked with multi-generational families for decades and was often tasked with leading discussions around one of the most intimate and sensitive subjects — money. The goal of establishing purpose of the wealth, values for the family and then creating the structure (legal and communication) to fulfill that over decades is similar in complexity to running a business. I was in constant facilitation mode because of the complexity of the family, which similar to the dynamics at play with an executive leadership team. Navigating power struggles, generational differences, communication and cognitive thinking styles, and entrenched core beliefs while holding on to the big vision and objectives is the ultimate facilitation that extends well beyond one meeting or retreat. How can the one meeting have a positive and lasting impact on that group of individuals? That’s been my life’s work, and now I get to take all this experience and use it with executive teams.


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