I met Kathryn Mayer about a year ago, after she was connected to me by Shel Horowitz, a friend and colleague. Shel is a book marketer and editor who helped Kathryn publish her first book and market her second. My role was to offer content and copy edits to Kathryn for her third book, “The Productive Perfectionist: A Woman’s Guide to Smashing the Shackles of Perfection,” which she expects will be available from Collaborative Competition Press in the early months of 2024. Kathryn is a coach to CEOs and executive leaders, and she is wise, determined, thoughtful, methodical, and incredibly hard-working. I enjoyed working on her manuscript. It felt like a book project and professional development, all wrapped in one helpful package. What follows is a conversation my editorial assistant Lynn Moynahan had with Kathryn about “The Productive Perfectionist.” It is the first of two parts.
When did you launch KC Mayer Consulting?
In 2005. I spent 15 years in the corporate world in talent management roles and hired a lot of coaches and people like me. I had gone through career coaching when I was young in my early twenties, when I left my tennis teaching job and was trying to figure out what to do with my life. I did a forty-year plan, and I knew I had always wanted to go into business for myself. I was entrepreneurial and wanted to do something creative. When one of the companies I worked for went through a big merger, I took a package, and that allowed me to start my business.
How would you describe your work?
I do three things:
- I offer executive coaching, coaching people who are trying to have a greater impact and influence as leaders.
- I offer training, running workshops and virtual sessions on leadership development topics focused on women in leadership positions.
- The third thing I do is team building, working with leadership teams and doing a lot of team building. And related to that, I’ve also done facilitation of leadership of people in leadership roles.
Who do you serve, and how do you help them?
Most people are in the business world. I do have scientists, businesspeople, and a variety of professions. A lot of my clients come from big banks, technology companies, pharmaceuticals, academics, engineers, anybody in a leadership role who is ambitious and wants to figure out how to grow their career and navigate the politics, deal with conflict, manage people, build their networks, and learn to have difficult or crucial conversations. When it comes to individuals and companies, it’s about them trying to grow their leadership skills, and I’ve done a lot of work with companies trying to improve the number of women leaders, in fields like engineering and investment banking, in which there’s a dearth of women leaders.
How many books have you published in the past?
I’ve published two books, and I’m working on finishing a third that Janice has helped me with as the editor. The first was called “Collaborative Competition: A Woman’s Guide to Succeeding by Competing,” and it is based on my experience working in investment banking and consulting, which was fairly male-dominated. My second book was “How to Stay Sane and Successful in the COVID World,” which I wrote during the pandemic. With both books, I gathered a pilot group of people to conduct my research.
What inspired you to write “The Productive Perfectionist?”
Partially my own journey of overcoming perfectionism. It’s a journey that continues. There were a lot of books out there by well-known authors who said, “Women just need to get over perfectionism. You just put a Band-Aid on it and get over it!” And I was like, “Gosh, it’s taken me about forty years to get over it.” I saw my clients and many other people who were struggling with perfectionism, believing that they should just get over it, but I don’t think it’s like that. I wrote my book from a practical perspective and, again, had two focus groups in which I tried out these ideas I’d gotten from a lot of books and my own reading and experience.
What is your goal in publishing?
The big picture is to provide a greater resource to people who need help. The second goal, from a business perspective, is to see if this can launch me into doing more groups on perfectionism. I like being able to run groups because they can help a lot.