Dede Henley has been in the field of leadership development since 1982. She brings breadth and depth as a designer, consultant, and executive coach at Henley Leadership. She is dedicated to calling forth the highest and best from her clients, their leadership teams, and their employees. Dede provides coaching that enables her clients to translate their vision into action, align personal and organizational values, increase employee loyalty and commitment, manage change, support emerging leaders, and create organizations that thrive. As a course designer, she has assisted in the creation of three internal corporate universities. She designs unique experiences for leaders to open their minds and hearts, enabling them to step into lasting and profound change.
Dede has authored numerous published articles on coaching and leadership development and has spoken on leadership internationally. Her book, The Secret of Sovereignty, earned her the honor of being named one of 100 Top Thought Leaders by Warren Bennis and Leadership Excellence in 2007 and 2008. Dede holds a Masters degree in Organization Development from Pepperdine University and has served as adjunct faculty member at Pepperdine. She is the mother of three and second-mom to three more. Dede and her husband live in Seattle.
Dede has been a champion for having more women in positions of leadership for the past 20 or so years. In her words, “I care very much that intuition, creativity, compassion and collaboration are a big part of the workplace of the future.”
Q: You’ve been identified by someone as being incredible. What do people see in you that is incredible?
DH: Well, it was my beloved nephew, so he may be biased! I know I have come through many adversities with my optimism still intact. I have been willing to grow and learn as a leader, a woman, a mom, and a friend all of my life. I have cultivated a 10 year business partnership with a woman named Carol Zizzo. She and I are close friends and our partnership has helped me to grow up in many ways. She has taught me about loyalty and staying, even when I didn’t want to.
Q: What advice would you give to an earlier version of yourself?
DH: I would say not to fret so much – it will all turn out. You will find someone who loves you dearly and will take very good care of you. You will do work that you love. You will live in a house you love in a city you love. Don’t waste a bunch of time trying to have a clean house so that your mother will approve. Love your beautiful body – it is strong and will serve you for years to come. Stop worrying about those extra five pounds and your belly. Live life one day at a time and enjoy the ride. Travel less for work so you can spend more time with your children, especially Carly, who won’t be with you after she turns 20.
Q: What is the most rewarding thing you’ve done?
DH: Cultivate a remarkable relationship with my now adult children. They are my favorite people to be with. I am also proud of the work I’ve done. The way I’ve contributed to people’s lives being better, richer, fuller.
Q: Life is beauty and pain. Tell me about pain in your life.
DH: My 20 year old daughter took her own life. There is no greater pain for a mother than the death of a child, and a suicide is devastating. Her death shattered me. I have found my way back now to life and have put together my heart and mind in a way that has made me a better, more real person. I am somewhat fearless as the worst that could happen, already has. This serves me in a thousand ways.