Are You Poised for Excellence? This New Leadership Book Removes Guesswork.

International Professional Development Expert Talks Leadership In Boardroom and Beyond
By Kathey Porter, MBA, CPSD

Karima Mariama-Arthur is founder and CEO of WordSmithRapport™, an international consulting firm specializing in professional development and strategic corporate advisory services. An internationally recognized expert in cutting-edge adult education and complex consulting, she brings more than two decades of comprehensive, blue chip experience in law, business, and academia to the field of professional development and human capital asset growth. Her clients include Fortune 500 companies, as well as leading corporate, government, academic and non-profit entities in every continent around the globe. She is a member of the Forbes Coaches Council and her work is regularly featured by the Human Capital Institute, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Success, Black Enterprise and Speaker magazines.

Her new book Poised For Excellence: Fundamental Principles of Effective Leadership in the Boardroom and Beyond is one of the hottest new releases in leadership. I had a chance to catch up with Karima and learn more about her take on leadership and what readers, and leaders, can expect to gain from her book.

There are a million books on leadership. What makes your new book ‘Poised For Excellence’ different? How will reading it help someone become a more effective leader?

Leadership is an evolutionary process that can be learned, developed and perfected over time with practice. The book provides insight into leadership effectiveness using 40 different principles that can be leveraged to increase effectiveness, regardless of industry or expertise. It examines developing leadership excellence through four core areas: 1) Focused introspection; 2) Disruptive paradigm shifts; 3) Benevolence, collaboration and value-based service to others and 4) Fundamental calls to action.

Anyone who desires to become a more effective leader and maximize their influence, can use the book as a guide to navigate the performance challenges associated with leadership and transform their thinking and behavior at a high level. Achieving that, however, will take more than merely reading this book, or any other book for that matter. Putting what is read into practice—into action—is what distinguishes extraordinary leaders from just average or mediocre leaders.  Introducing principle-based leadership as an introspective and didactic methodology, empowers readers to take ownership of the leadership development process.

Is there one principle in particular that is common among leaders that you encounter and/or coach?

Yes…Principle 34—Say No and Own It. Most people have a lot on their plates because, well, they put it there! Most people struggle with saying no, which ultimately results in regret, as well as other priorities suffering.  I always encourage leaders to exercise the courage to walk away when others try to commit them to their agendas.

How did your background and experiences segue into opportunities to advise others on leadership?

I began my career as an advisor, but on legal matters, as a corporate attorney. I realized, though, that effective leadership was always at issue, especially where corporate governance was involved. In my current role, I am able to leverage my skills and experience as a legal advisor, along with other key professional experiences amassed in my wheelhouse over time to bring value to my clients that represent industry leaders around the globe.

What was your motivation for writing the book?

I wanted to create a body of work that could provide value to professionals, even if they were not clients. Leadership is really the foundation for everything we do in professional development and is one critical area where professionals usually need the most support.

What is the one thing you want readers to know about the premise of the book?

Leaders are made, not born. With learning and practice, you can exceed internal and extraneous expectations about what you are capable of achieving. The book is a powerful testament to this sentiment.

Poised for Excellence is available on and wherever business books are sold.

About Kathey Porter

Kathey Porter is the Director of Small Business and Vendor Diversity Relations for the University of Florida. She was recently appointed to the Florida Advisory Council on Small and Minority Business Development by the State of Florida Department of Management Services.

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