Accelerating success for individuals and organizations

Accelerating success for individuals and organizations

Whether you’re an individual at a career transition point, an executive seeking to excel in challenging conditions, or an organization looking to optimize the performance of key players or teams, Klavens And Company can make the difference.

We offer career coaching, leadership development, and organizational consulting to help you reach your goals, as an individual or organization.

We find that most challenges contain the seeds of opportunity and transformation. We know that each situation requires an attentive ear and an open mind — not a formulaic approach.

As seasoned professionals, we draw on a vast repertoire of experience, yet we approach each engagement as the unique situation it is. We begin with careful listening. Each client has different needs and a different context. We design a process that works for your particular circumstances.

Our approach balances big-picture strategy and hands-on tactics; it evolves as conditions change. We are committed to working flexibly and creatively with you to help you succeed. We are inspired by your success.

Cissie and George’s professionalism, combined with their unique and flexible style, allowed us to course correct when we needed to ‘zig’ rather than ‘zag’… this approach has accelerated our success.”
— W.S., VP Business Solutions, International Healthcare Corporation

Seeking Seed Round Funding From Angel Investors


For a first-time CEO, leading a small team of co-founders at a pre-revenue start-up, life can be exciting on many days but terrifying on others. Working with George Klavens has helped keep me grounded while riding the emotional roller coaster that is part of the challenge I currently face.

Executive Coaching Experience

My team and I are seeking seed round funding from angel investors on the strength of our prototype product and testimonials from a line-up of prestigious, but non-paying, trial customers. If we secure the funding, then we can turn our prototype into a commercially viable product and generate revenue from the customer relationships we’ve already built. That’s the gamble we’re asking investors to take.

My conversations with George are particularly valuable. We talk about the challenge of leading and coaching my team members during a very stressful period of time. With George’s coaching, I go into these discussions focused on the team: their perceptions, reactions, assumptions, and attitudes; he reminds me to think about mine as well.

George has decades of experience coaching executives, and that shows in every session we have. He’s a professional who listens, absorbs what I say, and observes how I say it. He has a great deal of perspective on the challenges I face. There’s no storyline I can tell him that he hasn’t heard before, nevertheless he approaches it with respect and openness. He doesn’t make judgments or draw conclusions for me, as he helps me organize my own thoughts and feelings so that I can make my own decisions.

No matter how my current business venture turns out, the coaching process is enabling me to make full use of the experience so that I can carry the lessons learned forward with me.

— M.R., CEO, Start-up Technology Company

Effective Communications for Difficult Situations

George Klavens has brought empathy, insight, and business savvy into our coaching sessions. He can listen to descriptions of a wide range of business situations and immediately pick up on the idiosyncrasies of the participants and the realities of the business context. His comments and recommendations are at once pragmatic, actionable, and confidence-building. I have benefited greatly from his coaching, both personally and professionally.

Executive Coaching Experience

I work as a manager in Information Technology in a corporate environment. IT is one of those functions that is pushed and pulled for a variety of reasons: cost cutting, offshoring/outsourcing, and plain old political maneuvering by other business functions believing that influence over IT is an indispensable source of power. IT is also an easy target for blame when other business functions are underperforming, so managing this function is not for the faint of heart.

George Klavens has helped me grasp situations I have confronted in this capacity many times over. We dissect situations to figure out what’s behind the behavior of individuals and organizations. He challenges me to think more deeply about what’s motivating individuals I work with, rather than just responding to their words and actions. Without his coaching, my temptation was to slip into very defensive mode. Yet with his help, I am able to come up with simple, pragmatic actions for communicating with difficult people and resolving difficult situations.

Through my work with George I now have a better understanding of my own communication style and I more effectively manage relationships with difficult co-workers. I have become more self-aware in a positive way, and I’m able to approach my leadership responsibilities with a greater confidence. He reminds me that self-development and improving one’s leadership persona is a process, that organization change takes time and, as a result, I see my challenges as journeys rather than one-time transactions.

In summary, I used to get knocked off track on a regular basis; these days I am more resilient. I had been able to use my analytical skills and intellect successfully on technical matters, but now with George’s help, I feel empowered and capable of navigating not just technology, but also the much greater challenge of interpersonal and organizational behavior in my work.

— T.S., VP IT, publicly traded Financial Institution

Only Knew What Job I Didn’t Want


HM was the youngest-ever managing editor of an established periodical. While she loved writing freelance journalism pieces on the side, her full-time job made that difficult. She felt professionally confused; she was unhappy in her job and unsure whether or not to change careers. While she felt a passion for journalism, she was worried about the future, because of the shifting nature of the field. She went to Cissie not knowing what she wanted – only what she didn’t want.

Career Coaching Experience

Cissie took me through a systematic process that was also flexible. She allowed me to express my career concerns and frustrations, without boxing me in or interrupting me. I particularly enjoyed the homework assignments – which allowed me to look inward at what is important personally and professionally. She coached me through job interviews in different fields, always teaching me how to be professional and put my best foot forward.

Cissie helped me set up a game plan for making a graceful exit from my current job and finding new work. Surprisingly, I also learned that I was not yet ready to let go of journalism. However, when I am ready to move on, I now have the skills to approach prospective employers and interviews, ask the right questions and follow up.

I am clear now that I am not just a journalist, I am a communicator. Through my work with Cissie, I now know that these skills are transferable and valued. She taught me how to listen to my instincts when it comes to a career, and I am now more confident and productive as a result.


HM successfully competed for a fellowship that sent her to a major European city where she spent a month writing articles based on her investigative reporting. While abroad, she decided to return to graduate school for a doctorate. She will continue to write and teach while taking courses.

— H.M., Communications and Journalism Professional

No Longer have to ‘Leave Myself at the Door’ in Order to be Successful


LA was successfully selling large-ticket information systems in the medical electronics industry, but she had lost her passion for the business. Each day, she dreaded going to work and worried that the quality of her performance would decline. But she felt she could never do anything different because she’d been in the same industry for such a long time. She came to Cissie to find out if it was possible to make a change.

Career Coaching Experience

When I first started working with Cissie, I felt that in order to continue my success, I had to pretend to be someone other than who I really am. Cissie first encouraged me by giving me examples of people who had made major changes in their careers. Then she helped me to envision what my life – not just my work – would look like if I were “at the top of my mountain.”

As Cissie listened to this vision, she helped me clarify what my true priorities were, and I was much better able to define what I wanted in both my personal and professional life. These priorities then became the building blocks for my job search for work I’d feel passionate about. After many informational interviews that Cissie helped me obtain, I had new ideas about what areas would meet my criteria.

What I know after working with Cissie is that “the top of my mountain” will change as my life changes, and that future job adventures await me.


LA became the development director for a large not-for-profit health-service institution. It was a major change from her first career and a step in the right direction. The work she does today is not remotely related to her old career, and she loves it. She uses her natural talents and those that she has honed throughout her professional life and is having both great success and great fun. Best of all, she no longer feels that she has to ‘leave herself at the door’ in order to be successful.

— L.A., Major Gifts Officer, Educational Institution

Never Had a Sense of Clarity About my Career Path


ES never had a real sense of clarity in terms of her career path. She felt that she had “just stumbled into” jobs, without any strategy or consideration. Finding herself at a career transition point, she came to Cissie to get some clarity about her future and what career she should pursue.

Career Coaching Experience

My journey with Cissie proved to be very successful, but in a different way than I had anticipated. What I learned was that success in terms of this experience was not being able to say ‘I want to be this or that’ – it was having a clear picture of what I wanted from my career and where it belonged in the larger context of my life.

With Cissie’s guidance, I learned to listen to and trust many of my instincts, but also to challenge myself to go outside of my comfort zone, and to open myself up to a greater variety of possibilities in order to better understand what was truly important to me.

Her expertise is broad and deep. She is accessible as a person – sensitive to the ups and downs of the career transition and intuitive about dealing with people. And she is generous with her time, her experience, and her support throughout the journey.


ES uncovered her true passion and transitioned into a career as a project manager.

— E.S., Project Manager, Software Company

Mastering the Turbulence of Organizational Change


George Klavens has a masterful way of approaching the difficult issues that business executives face. His extensive experience with organizations of various sizes, along with his years of practice in psychiatry, give him a unique capacity to coach individuals and enable him to help clients navigate and master the inevitable turbulence of organizational change.

Executive Coaching Experience

As the Chief Operating Officer of an early stage technology development company, I was taken by surprise when recently confronted with a move by outside Directors to promote me to Chief Executive Officer at the expense of the Founder. George was able to guide me, as I evaluated my own hesitation, and help me sort out the motivations, for good and bad, of various players. We were then able to plan and execute an approach to the issue, which ultimately benefited me and the founder, as well as advancing the goals of the entire company. He helped me turn a big problem into a great opportunity. Many coaches are very good at one facet of these problems but few can handle these multi-dimensional problems with the aplomb of George Klavens.

Moreover, George is an invaluable collaborator when I need to think through business decisions involving setting priorities, allocating resources, and vetting potential investors and partners. He helps me clarify my thinking leading to sound decisions and beneficial outcomes. George has introduced me to interested parties, which might result in the international expansion of my company. I could not expect more of a coach, and I have come to value George as a friend, colleague and partner in my exciting adventure.

— P.F., Principal and COO, Alternative Energy Company

More Prepared for the Sky to Fall than to Lose my Job


DM was the COO of a mid-sized health-related association. He was liked and respected in his job, which he both enjoyed and needed. A divorced father of three college-aged children, he had major responsibility for their support. When the CEO resigned, DM served on the search team and supported the candidate who replaced him. He was shocked, amazed, grieved and confused when the new CEO let him go.

Career Coaching Experience

My experience with Cissie Klavens has been life altering. She helped me get grounded after I was terminated very unexpectedly. I was more prepared for the sky to fall than to lose my job. Cissie kept me focused on both short- and long-term goals that were crucial to my future career strategy.

Cissie’s soft but deliberate approach was one of the keys to a very successful career rebuilding experience. She is timely and flexible in her schedule, generous with her availability for review of emails or a quick conversation. She provided extensive professional hints about how to successfully navigate the Human Resource process.

My new career path took several multi-pronged approaches. Cissie kept them all straight, worked through each one and had several networking contacts down each separate and distinct path. I especially appreciated Cissie’s weekly assignments, which pushed me to take the time to answer difficult questions and strengthened me to ‘stay honest.’

As much as my family (who were as scared as I was) and friends wanted to help me during this phase, they simply didn’t have the expertise. I have been very fortunate to have the advice of an expert who concentrated on my goals and objectives and has helped me to succeed in this very turbulent time.


DM went about the task of job-loss recovery with the professionalism and authenticity that characterizes his work life. He used the experience to clarify his objectives and realize his strengths. With Cissie’s help, DM maximized his own network connections and received two attractive offers. The one he selected, a more senior job with greater responsibility, offers exciting possibilities that speak to his strengths and passions.

— D.M., COO, Professional Healthcare Association

Job Search Process Had Clouded my Vision


RH’s professional background had both breadth and depth, yet on paper it appeared somewhat disjointed. His job search wasn’t going anywhere, in spite of a recent MBA degree and solid work experience. RH felt lost. He didn’t have himself tightly packaged with a crisp message. He didn’t stand out, as is necessary in today’s job market, especially since he wanted a career change. He came to Cissie for help to identify the true essence of his talents, skills and strengths and to uncover his authentic career desires and goals.

Career Coaching Experience

Cissie has a very methodical approach—honed through years of experience —that gave me what I needed to get past the roadblocks and floundering I had been experiencing. Step by step, with small, progressive wins and coaching throughout the ups and downs, I gained clarity. I uncovered who I am, my unique value proposition, the industries and organizations I want to work in, and why I am highly qualified to work there.

I was back on my game. Cissie didn’t do it for me. Rather, she gave me the tools and guidance I needed to do it for myself. Soon I had interviews with senior-level people at two different organizations representing industries and/or job functions that were at the level, and provided the career ‘stretch’ that I was seeking.

I only regret that I delayed in contacting Cissie. I allowed my total frustration and exasperation with the whole job search/career change process to fog my senses. Had I started with Cissie sooner, I would have been on the path toward success that much more quickly.


Armed with a clear set of objectives and a resume that showcased his strengths, RH wrote a compelling letter to a CEO he saw profiled in a business magazine. Though passionate about this field, he had no prior formal work experience in the industry. A job offer followed, and today he’s in a newly created position that’s aligned with all his goals and desires. It’s a good fit and a fine career move.

— R.H., Business Development Manager, Major Retailer

Do I have to Give Up my Dream Career for Stability


MS was a freelance writer, editor and consultant, usually working in collaboration with other authors, developing book proposals or book manuscripts. He’d reached a point where the attributes of regular employment—a steady paycheck, an institutional home, a benefits package—had become very important. Yet he also wanted to retain the flexibility and the freedom of being a freelancer.

Career Coaching Experience

In my work with Cissie, I realized that the dramatic tension in my life story was my conflicting career aspirations. Specifically, I wanted the freedom to pursue further training as a professional writer and to invest time in my own writing projects. The central conflict here, in other words, was between serving near-term goals (income, stability) and longer-term goals (a wider career horizon, a more creative work life).

Cissie helped me to see that, while I did need to make some tough choices, I didn’t need to choose one set of goals over another. At the same time, she worked with me as I explored options and opportunities on each side of that broader (apparent) conflict.

Cissie’s special strength lies in nimbly shifting back and forth between the broadly strategic and the narrowly tactical. Where necessary, she helped me tackle concrete challenges, from writing a cover letter to negotiating a contract. But she always encouraged me to view those matters in the context of an evolving career vision.


MS enrolled in a graduate journalism program while practicing his trade in a steady position for a major research and educational institution. He also takes on contract writing and editing projects, which included a stint as a freelance correspondent for a major newspaper.

— M.S., Writer and Editor