This TalentWhisperers website is a continuous work in progress just as I am myself. The intended audience is people interested in transforming, growing and becoming more effective in leadership roles based on insight gained from decades of experience of myself and eventually others.
Currently, the blog posts, reading suggestions etc are from / by CD; however, it is set up so that other contributors may later also be accommodated.
I have started capturing learnings from my experiences here as the next generations of leaders were asking what I learned on my journey. I currently leverage my industry experience and training as a teacher, sports coach, Co-Active coach along with a Humble Consulting approach in helping mentor, advise and coach people within and outside my current company. The thing I struggle with the most perhaps is not coming across a believing I have all the answers as I share what I’ve learned from so many talented and insightful people so far in my journey – far from it indeed. I’m learning more each day and discovering new and better ways of seeing and doing things.
In 35+ years in software engineering (29 since becoming a manager, 27 since becoming a director and 20 since becoming a VP), coaching and teaching, I’ve had the luck, benefit and honor of working alongside some of the most incredibly kind, brilliant, inspired, competitive, collaborative and productive people in small and large companies in two cultures (experiencing rapid growth before, during and after 3 acquisitions, 2 IPOs, and coaching and competing in national and world championships). Whether leading teams of engineers, managers, players on the field or classrooms of students – mentoring, teaching and coaching have always been an aspect of those responsibilities I have thoroughly enjoyed.
After having been a K-8 Teacher, sports coach and enjoyed mentoring folks, I learned of Google’s Project Oxygen where they concluded after much research that the most important behavior exhibited by their best managers was being a good coach, I decided to look into enrolling in the best coaching certification program I could find. I’ve since completed the 5 courses needed towards a certification as a Co-Active coach with CTI and as recognized by the ICF to add to my toolkit and experience in helping others grow their leadership skills.
As a horse whisperer, I learned to quietly and without a word can connect with a horse I’ve never seen before and ask it to move around an arena, change speed and direction, walk backwards, follow me, nuzzle its head on my shoulder, … It’s also important to recognize that it’s a dance that both beings contribute to. You make less progress with a horse if you only see yourself as leading them – appreciating their hesitations and desires to move in another direction are useful cues to pick up on and work with. So too can we as Talent Whisperers quietly and deeply move and motivate others to grow, develop and broaden their impact.
My ancestral journey of episodic curiosity got a boost between 1914 and 1920 when my grandfather Friedrich Dolezalek worked with Albert Einstein in Berlin and my dad was inspired by this fascinating man whenever he came to visit their house. As a fifth-generation physicist on my father’s side, my fascination on how things work and my belief that our understanding of the world is just a series of ever refining theories that are tangentially approaching the truth has remained alive and become stronger with time.
My fascination of acquiring and sharing knowledge also comes from my mother’s side where I became a fifth-generation teacher. Her vigor and fascination with learning new things continues to this day at age 98. Here she is just two weeks after having gone through a stroke and internal bleeding and having the doctor tell me I should just let her go…
My life purpose of leaving a positive impact on humanity had its roots solidified around 1933 when my father, the head of the young democrats from Berlin at the time, stumbled into large room while looking for a rest room which Hitler and Goebbels enter after him. After hearing the two have an animated conversation, he decided to shift his focus from fighting against the communists to do everything he could to prevent Hitler from coming to power.
My physical body took its first breath on December 12, 1961 in Lowell, MA.
My soul and empathic curiosity had a rebirth in 1979 when I rounded a corner at U.Va. on the way to class found myself face to face with a man I’d never seen before. We both stopped, smiled and looked deeply into each other’s eyes and souls; it felt like I recognized a kindred spirit that I had known for several lifetimes. To this day I clearly remember the sensation that he looked into my soul and knew me better than I knew myself. We then both smiled, nodded, bowed towards each other and went on our ways. It wasn’t until the next day upon seeing his picture in the paper that I first learned of this person known as the Dalai Lama.
My heart sprung to life in Munich in 1985 when I first heard Kristy’s laugh at another table in was both our favorite Greek restaurant Kytaro. Destiny had our paths cross several times afterwards and I’m now blessed to have her as my life partner, muse and greatest inspiration.
My occupational path that has spanned a wide variety of engagement has provided access to a wide variety of of brilliant and passionate people and experiences:
Kleen-Rite, Corp – First paycheck was as a janitor cleaning floors in federal buildings First “promotion” when boss discovered I knew how to fix cleaning machines.
- Kasemir Construction – Built a house from the ground up doing carpentry, masonry, flooring, roofing, plumbing, electrical work, etc.
- Darden Business School (U.Va.) Executive Program – waiter and bartender to pay for school. Got to meet lots of interesting execs.
- Atmosphere Sciences Research Center– Acid Rain Data Analyst – Results published in Scientific American
- Ultimate Frisbee – Player / Captain / Coach of National Champion Teams. Tournaments in the U.S., Austria, Belgium, England, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, and Sweden
- Softlab, GmbH – Lead engineer, architect and consultant for Germany’s 2nd fastest growing independent software house at the time – acquired by BMW
- Cooperative Solutions, Inc. – At its time, the most heavily funded ($29M) start-up company ever – Promoted to site director for product BU when acquired by Bachman, Inc
- Informix, Inc. – One of the big database players in its day – acquired by IBM
- BroadVision, Inc. – VP Engineering at 2nd fastest growing company on Nasdaq in the dot com days – joined pre-IPO
- San Mateo/Santa Clara Public/Private Schools– Taught all subjects in K-8, learned about growth mindsets, knowledge acquisition, etc
- Intuit, Inc.– Director, Engineering – Spear-headed disruptive internal SAAS startup and learned about small businesses
- Yahoo, Inc.– Ran Yahoo!Games Engineering as the biggest social gaming site of the time
- IMVU, Inc.– Director, Engineering – Improved agile and continuous deployment at the company behind the book “The Lean Startup” and the world’s largest virtual goods catalog.
- Twitch, Interactive, Inc. Exec V.P. Engineering at Rapid growth/paradigm shift in video streaming – “unicorn” acquisition by Amazon for ~$1B
- Pure Storage, Inc. Director Engineer at the fastest growing infrastructure company to date – joined pre “unicorn” IPOing
- Prosper Marketplace, V.P. Engineering at one of the pioneer FinTec companies.
For fun also a small selection of CD’s poems.