Courtney Peterson

Cues and Views

Lotus leader Courtney Peterson, in brief.

Courtney Peterson

Home: Silver Spring, MD.  Age: 46.  Birthplace: Harrisburg, PA. Profession: Human resources executive, leadership coach, mediator, professor. Organization: Edison Electric Institute. Pronouns: She/Her/Hers.  Alma mater: University of Pittsburgh (undergrad); Robert Morris University (grad).  I also earned an executive certificate in leadership coaching at Georgetown University.

Current project: Growing my leadership coaching business, Lotus Leadership Coaching, that I started in 2020.  Recent professional development: Joined the faculty at Georgetown University in the School of Continuing Studies, teaching human resources courses to graduate students. Latest accomplishment: Joined the board of the SHRM Foundation, whose mission is to mobilize the power of HR and activate the generosity of donors to lead positive social change impacting all things work.  What’s been your big (or biggest) leap? Leaving a comfortable leadership role where I had been for nearly twelve years to jump into a completely new industry.  It has been the best decision of my career.  Recent travel or adventure: I had a blast sneaking off to San Juan, Puerto Rico and Turks & Caicos during some of the dark days of the pandemic, once I was fully vaccinated. Last book read: Where You Are is Not Who You Are, by Ursula Burns.

Personality profile: I view my life and personality like the lotus flower.  Beautiful things can emerge from hard struggles.  What one word would your closest friend use to describe you? Generous.  What is your greatest joy? Holding safe space for others and ensuring they feel seen and valued. What is your guilty pleasure? San Pellegrino water.  What occupation, other than your own, do you most admire? School teachers.  They are such heroes of our society.

What three emojis best describe you? 🌳🤩️🌞.

What book have you repeatedly read? Quiet, by Susan Cain.  What movie have you repeatedly watched? The Five Heartbeats.  What’s featured prominently on your home or office wall? An oversized metal lotus flower.  Who has had the greatest influence on your life? Both my late mother and my grandmother, who unknowingly infused a CEO mindset in me  from an early age! What is the best advice you received in your career? Own your voice, trust your gut, do the work, take up space. What modern technology innovation do you most appreciate? Instacart delivery. I use it for everything!

What change are you working on to effect in your profession or field? As a leadership coach, I am especially focused on trying to help clients with “both/and” thinking. For example, we can be both a masterpiece and a work in progress at the same time.  What mega-trend most excites you? I love that so many workplaces are are now focused on creating cultures of belonging and prizing empathetic leadership.

Who would you like to spend an evening with, in heaven? My Nana and PopPop (grandparents). As a kid, what did you first want to be when you grew up? I wanted to be Janet Jackson and a college professor.  One of those came true!  What advice would you give your younger self? Sometimes you just need to do things while scared.  Fear is fuel.

Personal mission: My life is dedicated to being a people champion. Favorite quote: “Because you are alive, everything is possible” (Thich Nhat Hanh).  Desired epitaph: She brought her own sunshine.

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