About

My career has been a wild ride of my own making.  In the beginning, I took the safe route because “they said” it was the smart thing to do. But smart isn’t always exciting or challenging or inspiring.

I had my own secret career ideas I wanted to try, even though I knew nothing about them. I was told, “You can’t or shouldn’t do that,” “That’s too hard for a woman,” or  “You don’t have the know-how.” So I did it anyway, extracting all the learning I could.

Here’s my bio in a nutshell: I went from being a high school English teacher to a Fortune 500 energy company senior manager. That took some doing and some time. The real challenge was learning the ropes.

I was a true misfit in that company because I was:

  • A woman manager—and there were only two others when I started
  • An educator and not an engineer
  • An outside hire with no internal relationships
  • Inexperienced and unschooled in the industry

I was so naïve about how things operated in a big corporation that I just started to work my way. I learned as I went and was fortunate to have a group of VPs and a boss who were fabulous, generous, and principled men who wanted me to succeed and were willing guides.

What I learned from them was not what you get in training class or at a professional conference. They taught me how to navigate the politics, avoid being blind-sided, protect myself from bait and switch assignments, build a strong brand, and develop great people as a reward to myself, them, and the company.

As I moved around from consumer programs to HR, customer service, and then change management, I realized that what I had accumulated were the skills and insights that would help me successfully influence the positive and skirt the negative. These were the survival skills that come from peeling back what’s on the surface and uncovering the reality below it.

I left the corporate world when the company and I had extracted the best from each other. There were others remaining who could take my place. By that time, I had already stoked my entrepreneurial drive.

As a girl I had dreamed of living on a farm with horses. That dream was not going to come true unless I made it happen by myself. I started taking riding lessons at 30, bought my first horse at 38, then another. I wanted my own place to keep them, so I bought a small farm that needed work but it filled the bill. 

In short order, I was breeding thoroughbreds for the racetrack and warmblood sport horses for the show ring. I knew nothing about either industry beforehand and had never seen anything born until I foaled my first thoroughbred alone early one cold, rainy morning. I was fortunate to breed many winners while learning how the complex and often bizarre horse industry works. 

In the course of things, I partnered with a friend on an equine art business, mainly because I was a collector and knew nothing about retail sales. I learned a ton about buying, pricing, merchandising, and being a partner. There were plenty of bumps in that road, but it was a fun business for many years. 

I had gotten a taste of consulting well before I left my corporate job when I did a freelance job for my small animal veterinarian, something which also got me in two cover stories for Veterinary Economics magazine. That led to a five-year sidelight that I gave up when my corporate management responsibilities got too great.

When it was time for me to leave big business behind, I knew what I wanted to do—coach and consult with individuals and small businesses to help them solve problems and improve performance. So I launched my practice, Big Picture Consulting. Anytime I can pass along what I’ve learned to help someone else feel the satisfactions of success, I’m there. 

So now you know why I write this blog and why I wrote Business Fitness—The Power to Succeed—Your Way. I enjoy this wonderful and still sometimes wild career ride and am happy to have you sharing in my discoveries.

9 thoughts on “About

  1. Hello Mrs. Lennon, well that’s how I knew you. Please allow me to introduce myself, I’m Donna Hosfelds husband, it’s so nice to kind of meet you again.
    I too have become a fan of reading your blogs and can relate to what you are saying. Keep them coming.

    • Shahrzad,

      Thanks for your kind words. I’m delighted that you visited my About page and enjoyed a peek at my wild ride! I’m also grateful for your congrats about the new site. I’m still recovering from the pressure of it all! Great to hear from you!

      Stay well,
      Dawn

      • Thank you so much, Dawn! I think you’ll enjoy having the self-hosted site (especially now that much of the work of changing everything over is done!).

        Looking forward to continuing to read your great posts-

        Shahrzad

        • It is such a reward to read your complimentary words about my posts and your encouragement. Yes, I do think the worst is over and actually it went pretty smoothly considering. I think I got lucky all around.

          Hopefully, I’ll get the hang of the new site features in due time. Please never hesitate to give me feedback…it’s a special kind of lifeline.Thanks again.

          All the best,
          Dawn

  2. Hello Dawn , I really like your site . It is filled with lots and lots of information and knowledge . Being a fresh business graduate its my honor to have access to experiences and learning of successful and self made people like you .

    Hope to gain insight of the professional world . I love to learn and share . Thank you for sharing all this information with us .

    • MK,

      Thanks so much for your kind words and interest in my perspectives and experience. It’s an exciting time for you, being newly graduated and now pursuing a career in the business world. It can be daunting to make sense of the intricacies and to make your way through them. That’s why I write…to help demystify some of it.

      So thanks for reading and if you have thoughts or questions along the way, I hope you’ll comment.

      All the best, ~Dawn

  3. Enjoyed your “about” page. Thanks for sharing your life journey here. Your website has tons of information for people like me who are learning “the ropes” in corporate career which is at entry level right now.

    • Tay, thanks so much for your kind words about my life journey and website. They mean a lot. I know how confusing the work world can be when starting out. I try to use my blog to demystify lots of aspects of the corporate world and then offer strategies and tactics to navigate it all.

      I am always interested in learning more about the “big questions” that people like you wrestle with as they try to deal with the maze of their careers. Would you mind sharing the 3 most challenging questions/issues/obstacles that confound you? If you’d rather share that directly, please email me at dawn@consultbigpicture.com. Who knows maybe you’ll inspire a next book for me! Thanks, either way. ~Dawn

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