Inspiring Courage – Real World Practices for Moving Your Career Forward

— By Debra Prentice, Market Development Director

Arrow Solutions Group attended a new 2018 WICT leadership development workshop to inspire courage. The event was hosted by Slolam and offered training, a panel discussion, and engaging activities to assess leadership gaps and to gain answers for action to elevate courage.

Davi Machen, Senior Leadership Development Professional at Comcast started the event with insights on courage and networking, and later moderated the discussion panel. During the afternoon, a common thread in having courage was to also to have a trusted network. Machen advises to open oneself to networking and she provided the following eleven networking tips (from a previous workshop):


Davi Machen - croppedEleven Networking Tips:

  • Focus on them, not you. It is just human nature to try to relate to the story others’ are telling. Give them your full, attention and focus on them instead of say, “me too”.
  • Practice curiosity, and ask questions.
  • Be yourself – authenticity always wins.
  • Keep easy questions handy.
  • Have a wing woman (or man), but do not use them as a crutch.
  • Be realistic with expectations.
  • Smile – it makes people feel comfortable.
  • Be a giver, not a taker. Machen expresses the importance of giving first, and under the right circumstances asking later.
  • Share a story, hear a story.
  • Stay present and in the moment.
  • Execute on your follow-up plan.


“Courage will never be an app” — Walston

Panel Discussion - cropped

On the topic of courage, Machen moderated a panel discussion with Sandra Walston, Courage Speaker and Consultant; Todd Heskett, Managing Partner (Watermarq Consulting); and Isla Bragg, Consulting Leadership (Slalom Consulting).


Isla Bragg – Consulting Leadership, Slalom Consulting 

Take internal dialog outside of your head and make resolutions actionable.

Isla BraggBragg shared her story of being offered a challenging new role, and was brought into that role because she was known as a person who can make things happen. Bragg advises that even having courage under new challenges, she learned a great deal and her new role has “been the most impactful 9 months” (of her career). There were no defining moments that made Isla more courageous in her work, but she moves self-doubting ‘internal dialogue’ to outside of her head by having a discussion with a trusted person in her network. When she is anxious, she determines the root cause and makes resolutions actionable. 


Todd Heskett – Managing Partner, Watermarq Consulting

Todd Heskett 2Have a trusted network so they can shoot holes in your plan….

Heskett shared his story of courage by taking a position that required international work – requiring him living in the U.K. for 14 years. Heskett states, “I didn’t know if I was the right person” as the Global Head of Procurement, but by “stepping into courage and being afraid – owning it – and stepping into that space” he was able to become more courageous and effective in his work. Heskett also advises both men and women to have the courage to build their networks (or build their village). “Find inspirational people and get to know them. Courageousness (means to have)  the confidence to get the negative voices out of your head.” Heskett also cautioned against the “imposter-syndrome” where an individual has so much self doubt about their accomplishments they fear they may get exposed as a fraud.

In addition to ensuring that you ‘own your courage or fear space’, having the ‘confidence to get the negative voices out of your head’, and having a trusted network – Heskett made recommendations on managing risks. When he looks at taking a risk, he will analyze the outcomes of that risk and “bounce ideas off of my trusted network so they can shoot holes in it.” In this way, Heskett utilizes his network to have his ‘blind spot’ for items his missed when analyzing outcomes.


Sandra Walston – Courage Speaker and Consultant

Unless you are running from a saber-toothed tiger, fear is just an illusion…

Walston is known as a “courage expert” and has written books and published several articles about courage on her website. Walston says that only 11% of women say they are courageous, and most women will not say they are courageous, they are “just doing what I have to do.”  Walston advises that simply being comfortable and using the word courage, is a good start to becoming more courageous. She advises not to discount yourself, in fact – courage “is old french that means of the heart”. Walston used to volunteer with 11th hour hospice patients and she states, “You don’t want to come home at night and look yourself in the mirror and say – dammit I wish I had more courage today.”

Sandra WalstonWalston says that the key to having more courage is to work through your fears and to “be a rebel with a cause”.  She says that “unless you are running from a saber-tooth tiger, fear is just an illusion”. Fear stands for: False Evidence Appearing Real. “We all fall into a pot hole on the yellow-brick road, but have the courage to get back up.”





Having courage will take you outside of your comfort zone

In order to learn, we must go outside of our comfort zone – and we will find courage along the way

The final part of the afternoon was an interactive discussion led by Julie Holunga (Chinook Executive Solutions) and Evan Roth (Executive Coach and Consultant).

Roth and Holunga advised that our brains are hard-wired to take us to comfort and follow the path of least resistance, and having courage may take us out of our comfort zone. In order to learn, we must go outside of our comfort zone – and we will find courage along the way. The following are 6 tactics (and small steps) Roth and Holunga recommends on finding a path towards courage:

  • Go to work a different way. By taking a different path to work, you are are re-wiring your brain and creating a path to be more creative.
  • Ask yourself what you’re avoiding (or what you’re fearful of), and why you are procrastinating.
  • Be curious – do things that excite you
  • Take a risk
  • Ask yourself, if I knew that I could not fail, what would I do?
  • Try to learn something brand new.


Presenter Information:

Davi Machen - 2

Davi Machen is a Senior Leadership Development Facilitator in Colorado for Comcast University who moderated this event for WICT (Women in Cable Telecommunications) – Rocky Mountain Chapter. Davi also is a Director of Leadership Programming, on the board for WICT – Rocky Mountain, and owns her own personal consulting company. She has a personal passion for leadership development by influencing action through the realization of individual behavioral styles, utilizing effective collaboration, facilitation, and creating a trusting relationship. Davi enjoys spending time with her daughter and son: her daughter is a second year law student at the University of Iowa, and her son lives close – developing his career and education pursuits.

Comcast Corporation:


Isla BraggIsla Bragg is a Practice Area Director for Slalom Denver, and is responsible for Delivery Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness & helping clients translate goals into operational outcomes through exceptional initiative delivery and a focus on people. After relocating form the U.K. to the U.S., Bragg focused on growing and re-imagining the organizational effectiveness and delivery leadership teams at Slalom.



Todd HeskettTodd Heskett is a Managing Partner at Watermarq Consulting, LLC – a global consulting company with a presence in the U.S., U.K., and New Zealand. During his corporate career, Todd held numerous leadership roles in the US an Europe – heading functions to include customer service, operations, and distribution. Currently he helps executive leaders transform their areas of responsibility by leveraging his military experience and his passion to think outside of the box. Todd has supported leaders multiple industries, but the core of what he does had remained the same: helping leaders focus on their individual development pathway to achieve sustainably better results.

Watermarq Consulting, LLC:


Sandra Walston - 2Sandra Walston is a human potential consultant who studies courage. She is based in Denver, by has been a 21 year trailblazer in the field of feminine behaviors of courage and non-gender courageous leadership. Sandra is a witty, provocative, and insightful speaker. Sandra is also a published author with publications in magazines such as Chief Learning Officer, The Ziglar Weekly Newsletter, HR Voice, Training & Development, and The Washington Executive. Sandra is also an internationally published author of two books: COURAGE: The Heart and Spirit of Every Woman | Reclaiming Forgotten Virtue and COURAGE: Difference at Work: A Unique Success Guide for Women.

for a complete bio and publications, visit Sandra’s website at:


Julie HolungaJulie Holunga is a leadership trainer and coach with Chinook Executive Solutions – working with leaders in the professional services and technology fields. Julie shows her clients how to tangibly reach the next level of success, which they define themselves.  She previously served as a project manager for Alumni Career Services at Harvard Business School and has built relationships with leaders at Wall Street firms focused on the efforts to advance women into positions of leadership.

Chinook Executive Solutions:


Evan RothEvan Roth is an Executive Coach and Consultant leading Roth Consultancy International, LLC. His company is focused on assisting executives, boards of directors, and management teams to succeed in all facets of business performance. Evan is known as the executive coach who “serves the few who influence the many”. His goal is for clients to thrive and achieve in the corporate world. His approach is tailored towards the individual and has included assignments in executive effectiveness, emotional intelligence, goal attainment, team dynamics, change management, energy leadership, and conflict management.

Evan Roth’s website: