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The Even Better Podcast

Oct 17, 2022

Sinikka Waugh and Kristen Boldt discuss 5 Ways to Build Conscious Leadership.

I don’t like thinking of myself as a lawyer. We all know the adversarial stereotype that label conjures up (absolutely not me!). Even outside the stereotypes, a lawyer works for the good of one side. That isn’t me either. My instinct always looks for the bigger picture, the story behind the story, and how all the different pieces work together because I know that it is in those nuances that our solutions usually reside.

I prefer to think of myself as a tensegrity artist with a law degree. In art and nature tensegrity refers to structures created through the balancing of different tension elements to create structural integrity. As a metaphor for relationships, tensegrity refers to the omnidirectional give and take dynamics at work in all our interactions. We exist in dynamic relationship to each other. We are autonomous individuals and interconnected through our relationships and community.  When we bring these dynamics into harmony everyone has what they need as an individual and the integrity of the larger system, whether a family, a business, or a community, is strengthened.

My work focuses on the system level. There is a great story about a guy walking through the woods who hears a baby crying in the stream. He pulls the baby out and starts to care for it and soon hears another. He rescues that one and calls for more help. Soon there are many people pulling the babies from the stream, setting up feeding stations, housing etc. Finally, one person asks, maybe we should go upstream and find out how they are getting in.

I am that person.

I work with systems because my instincts always take me “upstream”. What excites me about this work is the shift I see in individuals when the system is redesigned. When our systems are healthy it is easy for people to live into their highest selves, to use their gifts to be the contributions they are called to be.

All of my work, through Conscious Contracts®, collaborative facilitation, and mediation, is focused on how we can best create harmony through healthy systems and healthy people. I have learned over time that I am most effective when I work for the good of the whole. Some refer to this as serving as a neutral, but I like the term poly-partial. A neutral is not invested in anyone, a poly-partial is working for everyone.

I am an Iowa girl. I grew up in Des Moines and graduated from Roosevelt before heading to Tennessee for college. My 4 years at Vanderbilt University gave me a bachelor’s in communication and taught me that I am truly a Midwesterner at heart, so I came back to Des Moines to work for the family business for a few years before going to law school at Drake.
I have two amazing daughters, also Roosevelt grads (go Riders!) and 2 goofy cats. The arts have always been a big part of my life. I love the theater, I play the harp and I have been singing in church choirs since I was a kid. I think I have always been drawn to the arts because that is how we tell our deepest stories. It is said that what is most personal is also most universal. Our stories are what bring us together, the shimmery thread woven through our human tapestry. Our stories connect us and these days we desperately need more connection.