The Medium is the Message: Conversations with a Corporate Intuitive
Chicago-based corporate thought-leader and intuitive Dr. Therese Rowley has spent time at the top of the corporate ladder as management consultant and strategic planner for some of the biggest companies in the US, including Kearney, Inc. and AT&T. Armed with an MBA and PhD among other degrees and certifications from prestigious institutions, she now uses her learned skills and inborn talents to coach business leaders, CEOs and entrepreneurs as they seem to break through barriers seen and unseen toward remarkable success.
She has written blogs for The Huff Post, Medium and ChicagoNow.com about Conscious Business and Intuitive Leadership. Her media interviews include Dr. Mehmet Oz, Chicago's NBC and ABC affiliates, and WLS and WGN Radio.
Business Traveler USA sat down with Dr. Rowley on the eve of this new year to find out what 2021 may have in store as well as what we can learn from the troubling times we are currently experiencing. For the sake of terminology, “Reading” is capitalized throughout.
BT: As you have known and seen your intuitive skills in action since you were young, how did you come to the notion of using your gifts as a tool for business, and integrating more conscious awareness into the corridors of corporate America?
DR. ROWLEY: When I took a college course in organizational psychology, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. It is a discipline that studies, honors and enhances the human dynamic in business. As I used that discipline to facilitate large scale business change, I became aware that if I used my intuition to tune into the energy of a leader, a team or an organization, I would be more helpful in making space and skillful interventions for the emotional elements of the change process at the right time. That, in turn, would advance transformation rather than delay it.
When a facilitator of transformation, say for a business-wide technology implementation, ignores the human element or doesn’t deal skillfully with the emotions of the employees, those feelings come out sideways resulting in sabotage or other kinds of delays. I came to understand the facilitator as both the instrument of change and the lightning rod for the anger that advances the change process.
BT: What is the reception you get from business associates you talk to about consciousness and its place in business and industry?
DR. ROWLEY: First, it depends upon geography. I lived in Boulder, CO for a couple of years and then in the Bay Area for nine years, where mindfulness, intuition and meditation were researched and discussed in the late 80s and early 90s. By the early 2000s these methods were inculcated into work.
Chicago, where I next moved, is about 10-15 years behind the West Coast in its experimentation and openness to the creative side of the brain. Thankfully, now there are only a few places left where personal awareness is not seen as a critical part of leadership. A leader’s ability to self-reflect, acknowledge the truth and learn from mistakes, represent basic skills these days. A decade ago, the Wisdom 2.0 Conference in California included businesses like Google and eBay CEOs on the same panel with Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, a global spiritual leader and peace activist. By 2015 Google, Target and General Mills had mindfulness classes.
Having said that, it is only recently that more professionals know the term “intuitive coaching” in business. Two years ago, I told a gentleman I’d met at a reunion of a “Big Six” consulting firm where I worked many years ago, about my intuitive work. He said he understood, as he had six intuitives whose advice he used regularly. Those intuitives were working at a very basic level of prediction for his financial models’ success.
My work goes much deeper and is not as well understood. Some 98 percent of my clients are referred by other clients.
BT: Has that changed over the years for you – say, from skepticism to wide open reception? If so, what do you think accounts for that?
DR. ROWLEY: We now have evidence through:
- Quantum Physics, which mathematically proves the existence of simultaneous universes and explains remote healing
- Science of the Brain, which now researches intuition
- Near-Death experience research and data, which speaks to the continuation of life “on the Other Side”
BT: You have been very instrumental in helping individuals going through grief and pain, and children diagnosed with learning disorders. What part of your busy day would you say is devoted or focused on the corporate client or company mission?
DR. ROWLEY: Most of my day is corporate focused and 5-10 percent is parents (often professional or business leader client’s) who want me to help them better understand and support their children.
The reason that my work is primarily with business leaders is because after 30 years of working with leaders in facilitating enterprise-wide transformation, I have come to the conclusion that the consciousness of a business leader IS the consciousness of the business. No business can expand beyond its leader's capacity to reach outside the paradigm or ecosystem in which the business was built, bring in new possibilities and then help the company's employees make meaning of these possibilities for themselves and their stakeholders. (I'm currently writing a book on a Business Model of the Future, developed through my work over the last several years with the CEO of the Chicago YWCA that has successfully transformed a 140-year-old nonprofit to a new social enterprise-business model).
BT: Please describe some session examples of business leaders or entrepreneurs – some of the reasons they may have sought your advice and how you worked with them to resolve their concerns.
DR. ROWLEY: As an example, one of my clients is the CEO of a construction company. He gives me an address, and I can tell him what is going on with that company and its leaders, as well as the challenges he may encounter should he decide to do business with them. My intent is to advance my client's understanding of himself and advance his development through intuitive data.
In one Reading, I said to this CEO, "Your gift is charisma, so you easily sell jobs based on how well the client likes you. You place a high value on relationship and approval. In this instance, (as I intuitively perceived the address and potential client company), this client will not like you. This decision maker is focused on efficiencies and results. You became good at gaining the approval of others because you are afraid that you couldn't meet objective expectations (and I tell him in greater detail about the source of this fear-based belief). If you practice (here I offer energetic exercises) so that you respect yourself more than only relying on someone liking or approving of you, this client will want to do business with you."
That CEO worked with me in coaching over a year and said he credited the work we did together for the $11 million increase in revenue in a year.
The point of the Reading is to facilitate the leader's development by showing the choices and power the client has to expand the relationship with his or her self; and the potential to expand the business in question by attracting other kinds (and a higher volume) of clients.
BT: How do you make your skills accessible to those heading up or working in businesses that could use your input? What types of questions or challenges might you best be able to help?
DR. ROWLEY: If it is a Reading for business leaders or professionals, it may start with a work challenge – whether it is about engagement in a potential merger/acquisition, new venture, new direction or choice point; it may be challenges with a business colleague or a professional choice. It could be about understanding others' motives and the politics of a business process. Inevitably, the intuitive data will refer back to how the leader has drawn in this challenge, and his/her responsibility to do the human homework of personal development.
If the Reading is part of a business coaching call, I may go back and forth between the business's energy and the leader(s)' energy, regarding everything from business growth to potential executive hires to key vendor choices to why the business is not moving in the expected direction. I also offer strategic business insight and recommendations (as a business consultant vs. specific intuitive perception).
BT: Are there some surprising success stories?
DR. ROWLEY: A board member who was blocking the way of the CEO who was my client, is one example. I did a very deep healing for that member. Shortly thereafter, she left the board. Two years later, she ran into the CEO and said shortly after she left the Board she got divorced, changed careers and is very happy.
Lee, a CFO of a large company, was being left out of meetings and didn’t know why. I read the field and said it had nothing to do with him personally, but he should create an exit strategy because what they were deciding to do would not work. The CFO left after six weeks and the company was in trouble about three months later.
Jim, a business owner of a niche company, top in its area, was going to form a joint venture with a company they had researched and liked. I Read the company and told them that the company was not as deeply expert in the area they were focused on; it would cost more than they anticipated to make up for the gap that would show up later after they dove into the joint venture. They did further investigation and confirmed the intuitive data. They backed out of the deal, saving tens of thousands of dollars.
BT: What are some of the major pain points you are seeing in this area of your practice?
DR. ROWLEY: Business leaders have to become more intuitive to take advantage of a new marketplace whose barriers-to-entry in almost any industry are lower than ever. Due to technology disruption, there is too much data to use the slower, rational side of the brain. Leaders have to use their intuition and be aware of their beliefs about potential and possibilities in the unknown. In other words, if they believe that things like pandemics and social movements are scary and very limiting, then they will not have access to their intuition so that they can become more innovative. Limitations are simply new design principles that can foster innovation. That is a belief that allows all businesses to expand, even in – and especially in – challenging times. Intuition, and therefore innovation, will not work when fear-based beliefs underpin decisions.
Also, traditional businesses that are not engaging their labor force when the talent supply is limited, are losing on many levels. Millennials are the largest consumer group in history since March of 2016 and many of them are conscious consumers demanding that companies act on their values or else they won’t work for them. Companies have to become conscious about their leadership, their purpose and how to consciously and proactively operationalize their values with all stakeholders or they won’t survive.
Technology allows transparency that can move us from monolithic companies to the democratization of commerce where “conscious” business rules and wins.
BT: Please take the pulse of the US, if not the planet. How would you describe these times from a “channeled” perspective?
DR. ROWLEY: We are moving as a collective toward greater consciousness; light through the body rather than by transcending the body. We are interpolating frequencies between physical and spiritual – it is rocking the planet on its axis as well as creating the context for individual shift in consciousness.
BT: What can individuals do right now to learn to “tune in” to their own higher selves for the guidance they need?
DR. ROWLEY: Be quiet; be still; stay there; stay with curiosity. When the body resonates with “yes” or a sensation, voice or image that moves them, they will know it.
BT: What keeps you up at night?
DR. ROWLEY: Thinking about how to support our culture in understanding that intuition is both gift and skill. And to create and grow more access points toward a developmental pathway so that children are no longer “misdiagnosed” as "learning disordered," and adults don’t feel they are crazy because they are intuitively gifted or aware. We also need to make intuitive intelligence a critical leadership skill to take us to a sustainable world.
Therese Rowley, Ph.D.
As a skilled intuitive, consultant, and thought leader, Dr. Rowley supports leaders making strategic decisions with intuitive data and deepens their access to intuition. Her work with Fortune 500 and smaller company leaders in facilitating large scale change in industries such as telecommunications, manufacturing, market research, marketing/communications, real estate development, and financial services spans three decades.