Karren Dunkley is using her expertise as a leadership coach to change one Philadelphia school.
In her yearslong career, Karren Dunkley has successfully turned the world of education on its head, in part due to her inspirational coaching methods and motivation to change young people’s lives for the better. Dunkley recounted her experiences as an educator and life coach with BLACK ENTERPRISE where she outlined her achievements and values.
“As the founder, principal, and CEO of KND Consulting, LLC, my role has uniquely positioned me to champion and advance the mission of fairness and diversity within our organization and the broader community,” she shared. “This commitment is reflected in our extensive work with various local, state, and federal entities, where we have collaborated to create policies and strategies that promote equity and inclusion. Our involvement at these multiple levels of governance has allowed us to influence meaningful change, ensuring that fairness is not just an ideal but a practical reality in public service.”
When asked about the qualities she focuses on as a leader, she emphasized practicing integrity, inclusivity, and innovation. “Integrity is the bedrock of my leadership. It’s about more than just honesty; it’s a commitment to ethical practices and transparency in all aspects of business,” she said.
“Inclusivity is crucial in today’s global and diverse business environment. I prioritize creating an environment where diverse perspectives are not just welcomed but are essential. This inclusivity enriches our organizational culture, enhances creativity, and ensures that we make decisions considering a wide array of viewpoints and experiences,” she continued.
However, Dunkley could not overstate the importance of innovation, a trait she described as “the fuel that drives us forward.”
“In an ever-evolving business landscape, staying complacent is not an option. I encourage a culture of continuous learning, where challenging the status quo and embracing change are part of our DNA. This approach keeps us competitive and fosters a dynamic environment where growth and development are central to individual and organizational success. These values are more than just words; they are the principles I live by daily as a leader,” she says.
She adds, “They guide my actions and decisions, ensuring that we not only achieve our organizational goals but also contribute positively to the development and well-being of our team members.”
Dunkley chronicles the woes and wonders of her career in her upcoming novel, “How NOT to be a Leader: Seven Lessons for Life and Leadership.”
Poverty within the Philadelphia district is a vacuum, keeping young people from ever witnessing their dreams reach fruition. However, Dunkley has long believed that education can counter this harm. Perhaps one of her most impressive feats since stepping into education is the work she did restructuring Parkway Center City High School as its principal.
When she first stepped into the position, she envisioned turning the school into a haven for students, where they could evolve and thrive. This goal soon transformed into a reality through her unique and collaborative efforts with teachers, students, families, and the Philadelphia community. The school has reached unprecedented new heights and, with her initiative, students at Parkway Center City High School are now more college-ready than ever before with increasing graduation rates and higher college enrollment figures, according to Dunkley.
Dunkley encourages embracing technology as a new way to advance academically rather than viewing it as a threat. “The rapid pace of technological change means that the learning process continues after formal education. Staying informed about emerging trends, being willing to acquire new skills, and adapting to changing job requirements are essential strategies for long-term career success,” she said.
Some parting wisdom from the leadership coach centered on adopting a healthier, more grounded approach to the practice. “It is time to end toxic leadership,” said Dunkley. “Leaders must confront their leadership hostages by reflecting on the biases and beliefs that impede their leadership potential, advocating for self-awareness and continuous personal growth. The lesson of embracing imperfection in leadership is critical.”
Source: Black Enterprise