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033: Kate Nasser: After being hit by a meatball

Kate Nasser Show Notes

Kate Nasser graduated from college with the goal of being a high school math teacher. After three months of teaching she was hit with a meatball and realized this was not what she wanted to do with her life. Needing to support herself she found a few jobs in computers and was miserable. A friend suggested that she see a career counselor. Listen to Kate tell her story of how she got over her career hump and what that counselor told her that changed her life.

Kate Nasser felt leadership within her as early as kindergarten.  She befriended a heavy set little girl in her class that others were bullying. They stopped making fun of the little girl and started to include her and play with her.  Kate at age 5 didn’t know that what she did was leadership yet this desire to help others with her strength was always there.  She was the youngest of four daughters and had to hold her own. The inner strength kept pulsing and was turning her into what she is today. The challenge was getting comfortable with her strength and living it without overwhelming others.

The journey wasn’t smooth. There were people in college and early job days who shunned her. It was lesson after lesson in becoming comfortable with herself even when it meant being alone.  It taught her many different avenues for solving problems, overcoming challenges, and building connections. Graduate school for Masters in Organizational Psychology was another set of lessons learned from the interactions in the classroom.

Ultimately all these lessons and Kate’s strength spelled her destiny of self-employment as The People Skills Coach™ for leadership, teamwork, customer service, and employee engagement.  The underlying message of all her work is: Interact and lead with courage AND balance.  Achievement is not the big challenge. Balance is!  Her blog posts often take on the challenge of balance in leadership as do her workshops. She is working on her first book about quickly spotting and adapting to personality types without losing your sense of self.  Very powerful tool for success and happiness.

Kate has also created a forum for others to discuss, share, and learn about strength, balance, and interactions. It is the #Peopleskills global Twitter chat Sundays 10amET and associated 24×7 online community.  She also wanted to readdress the issue of bullying and the chat features an online #Stopbullying rally once a quarter.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen and @katenasser will help you get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet

“I have grown in my business insight when I am learning to samba.“ -Kate Nasser Click to Tweet

“You can be honest without being blunt.“ -Kate Nasser Click to Tweet 

“You can succeed without insulting people.“ -Kate Nasser Click to Tweet 

“Be open-minded, not indecisive.“ -Kate Nasser Click to Tweet 

“Somebody has a different view, okay, you don’t have to fight them on it.“ -Kate Nasser Click to Tweet 

“You can’t be passive in your life.“ -Kate Nasser Click to Tweet 

“I hate the word follower; everyone is a collaborator.“ -Kate Nasser Click to Tweet 

“When it comes to fast leader, the key word is sooner.“ -Kate Nasser Click to Tweet 

“Learn as much as you can, everywhere you can, regardless of whether you think you will use it.“ -Kate Nasser Click to Tweet 

“Dancing is my sanity get away.“ -Kate Nasser Click to Tweet 

“When you love what you do you don’t need to retire.“ -Kate Nasser Click to Tweet 

“Start sooner and speak up sooner.“ -Kate Nasser Click to Tweet 

“Success does not come from waiting; start sooner.“ -Kate Nasser Click to Tweet 

Hump to Get Over

Kate Nasser graduated from college with the goal of being a high school math teacher. After three months of teaching she was hit with a meatball and realized this was not what she wanted to do with her life. Needing to support herself Kate found a few jobs in computers and finally was hired by a large pharmaceutical company and was totally miserable. A friend suggested that she see a career counselor. What the counselor told Kate was a total shock. Listen to Kate tell her story of how she got over her career hump and what that counselor told her that changed her life.

Advice for others

Be open-minded, not indecisive.

Holding her back from being an even better leader

Know how

Best Leadership Advice Received

Inspire people, don’t overwhelm them.

Secret to Success

Self-awareness and courage

Best Resources in business or Life

Inner strength and inner talent.

Recommended Reading

Mental Toughness For Women Leaders: 52 Tips To Recognize and Utilize Your Greatest Strengths

Contacting Kate


email: info [at]



More Resources

54 Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Competencies List: Emotional Intelligence has proven to be the right kind of intelligence to have if you want to move onward and upward faster. Get your free list today.

Show Transcript: 

[expand title=”Click to access edited transcript”]

033: Kate Nasser: After being hit by a meatball


Intro: Welcome to the Fast Leader Podcast, where we explore convenient yet effective shortcuts that will help you get ahead and move forward faster by becoming a better leader. And now here’s your host, customer and employee engagement expert and certified emotional intelligence practitioner, Jim Rembach.


Jim Rembach:    Thanks, Kimberly. Okay, Fast Leader legion, I am excited because I get the opportunity to share with you somebody who’s really been a mentor to me for many years I look up to her. She’s one of those folks where when you think about quotes and soundbites in your head you hear her voice, her name is Kate Nasser. Kate was born and raised in Upstate New York where she was the youngest of four daughters and had to hold her own. As young as the age of five, Kate felt leadership and the desire to help others when she befriended a heave set little girl in her kindergarten class that others were bullying. They stop making fun the little girl and started to include her and play with her. This inner strength kelp pulsing inside Kate but her hump was getting comfortable with her strength and living with it without overwhelming others,


Her journey wasn’t smooth, after being shunned in college and early jobs, Kate learned a valuable lesson in becoming comfortable with herself even when it meant being alone. It taught her many different avenues of solving problems, overcoming challenges, and building connections. Ultimately all these lessons and Kate’s strength spelled her destiny of self-employment as the people skills coach for leadership team or customer service and employee engagement. The underlying message in all of her work is, interact and lead with courage and balance.


Kate has also created a form for others to discuss, share and learn about strength, balance interactions. It’s the People Skills global Twitter chat Sundays at 10 AM Eastern and associated with a 24/7 online community. Kate Nasser are you ready to help us get over the hump?


Kate Nasser::   I’m ready.


Jim Rembach:    I’m so glad you’re here with me today. I’ve given our listeners a little bit about you but can you tell us what your current passion is so that we get to know you better?


Kate Nasser:     Sure. My current passion is twofold. Certainly, in my personal life I’m doing something now for  10 years that I wanted to do in the very beginning and that was be a dancer. And of course, my father said no, and that was the end of it, I wasn’t even allowed to take ballet lessons like most little girls, so no pink tutu for me back then but I did some dancing in college and Jazz that sort of thing but about 10 years ago I found Latin dancing and I have the most, the most incredible teacher, coach in New York City and it has become a learning experience not just in Latin dancing, because he’s not a typical dancer in terms of being totally focused on dance, he is actually a business man, there’s a little bit of philosopher in him, so I have grown in my own business inside and he told me the same thing about him. From the interactions that we have when while I’m learning to samba, how do we get to that, I don’t know but it’s quite true. And then my business, my big passion, is what it has been for 27 years, this is my 27th year in business, and it’s all about teaching people and coaching people to interact in a positive way without losing the honesty. Because people think that it’s okay if you’re going to be authentic, just tell people whatever—[Laugh] No, you can be honest without being blunt, you can succeed without insulting people and that’s where the whole passion connects there. 


Jim Rembach:    Gosh! Kate, I think that’s an awesome story. Thanks for sharing both of them. For me, there’s something that really stuck out when you started talking about learning to dance, and the interaction and the development and growth that came outside of dance, by opening up your network and your mind and I think that’s phenomenal. If you think about one thing that you would give as a piece of advice to others in regards to that learning and growth development that you gone through, what would it be?


Kate Nasser:    Be open minded not indecisive. He and I, my dance teacher during the personality scale he’s an analytic, he’s a driver analytic, I’m an expressive driver so he wants to go to the flowchart and I teach this when I teach adapting the personality type. Here it was right in front of me every Saturday a real life experience where I had to do it and he has come to learn it from me. So, the point is that be open minds, someone’s a different personality types, somebody has a different view. Okay, you don’t have to fight on it you can listen, you can express yourself, he and I have influenced each other to the point now where he quotes me and I quote him, it is incredible [Laugh]. 


Jim Rembach:   That is incredible and I think it’s that’s a great piece of advice, thanks for giving it. Now, you are one of those folks like I had mention that a lot of times I think about soundbites in my head and the way that we pull those things out in our memory a lot of times they are associated with some voice, some inflection and passion and absolutely Kate you have it and I appreciate all of that in you. But we have to be energized from a lot of things in our lives, you talked about just those stories and how they give you energy and a new found perception and view and belief and all that, but we look at quotes on the Fast Leader show because they do inspire us. Are there some quotes for you that do that, give you that energy?


Kate Nasser:    I love inspirational quotes, I find them—in fact, in one of the darkest and most difficult times of my personal life which was affecting my business life for a while, not in terms of what I deliver to the customers, but when I’d be done working I’d sort of ‘emplowed’ and I needed to be able to pump back up because the next day I still had to be on as it were. I found DVD, and I’m sure now it’s online, they had this quotes that came up a music behind it and it was only like a two minute DVD and I remember there was one day I was in this office, I sat here I watched that inspirational DVD 13 times in a row before I felt lifted up and out of what was weighing me down. I could quote quotes for two hours, I think for me it’s probably this one, let me see if I can get it right, ‘Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead. Don’t walk in front me, I may not follow just walk beside me and be with me.” But that’s not mine, I don’t want to take credit for that and I will have to look up where I found that. But again, I’m always looking for this balance and leadership has always been defined traditionally as somebody out there telling you what to do, I always hated that. I mean, you can’t just be passive in your life, and I hate the word follower, to me, everyone is a collaborator you’re not on the leash being dragged along. Again don’t walk behind me I may not be leading every moment and don’t walk in front of me I may not follow you but walk beside me, be with me, that’s the one that I think says it all.


Jim Rembach:    I love the depth of what that provides for us today in regards to talking about the multi-generations within the workplace, everything that were having to deal with. Especially at my age, aging of parents—young kids, Oh, my goodness. Thanks so much for sharing that. We talked in your bio about being one of many, talked about your dad not allowing the tutu in the house, [Laughter] we’ve all had humps to get over, can you think of a time where you’ve had a hump to get over and it really defined and shaped you?


Kate Nasser:    Oh, yeah. It absolutely hands-down, this is my story if anybody wants to hear my story. I came out of college thinking that I was going to be a high school math teacher. I did that for three months. After being hit by a meatball I realized this is not what I want to do with my life because in college—when you study math unless you happen to be Einstein, which I wasn’t, I had to work hard, we we’re study Calculus at midnight this is tough stuff, but I love math I was good at it and I love teaching, so I thought that’s perfect for me.


I realized very quickly that, “Okay, I’m not going to do this, this is not what I pictured teaching to be. So, the first stump was, “What do I do now? I have to get a job, I have to support myself.” I went in to computers, just because that’s what the job availability was. So, I got in to computers, I was working at my first company, left there and went to another company. Second company was—they had technology older than the first company so, I was travelling backwards in my career, which is not a good thing to do. Then I finally landed a job with a very, very large pharmaceutical, well-known pharmaceutical company –Made it, right? Why wasn’t I’m happy, I’m was still as discontented, I was like always at home, I’d come home from work and I’d be angry and just—whatever. 


And a friend of mine said, “You’re incredibly smart. You’re young, you’re talented, what the hell are you doing being so disappointed and so angry all the time? Why don’t you go and see a career counselor? And maybe they can help you, and see knew of one—it was a private one not to the corporation I was working for. I went to her she did the personality indicators, it’s funny because this is what I do now giving a lot of this things, and she came back to me after—we talked for about two weeks. She came back to me and she said, “The reason you’re not happy is because you want to be self-employed.” I said, “You’re crazy! I never even had a lemonade stand, what are you talking about?” 


And she is very, very—I remember what she said and she had this papers about me and she pushed them across the table at me like this and she said, “Data doesn’t lie, Dearie.” She said, “You came to me that was the first big camp, you chose.” She said, “You want to change your life in some way.” So, she gave me an exercise to do for two weeks, it seems like two weeks has always been the magic number, so she said, “Here go home and do this exercise for two weeks and then come back to me.” And she said, “A pattern will emerge at the end of the exercise and you will see where you want to go” she was absolutely correct. Then I had to start putting into place a plan to leave and start my own business, and of course, that means saving up money there’s a lot of planning it is not just flipping out the door. And it was two years, not two weeks, two years to the day that I left and started my own business and that was 27 years ago. 


And a few years ago I found her business card in the back of my desk drawer, and how you clean out every so often, and I thought, oh, I wonder I spend so many years, I wonder if she’s still around. And I thought, what the heck. And so, pick up the phone and I dialed the number and it was her, she was still there. And I said, “I don’t know if you still remember me? My name is Kate Nasser before I could finish the sentence she said, “Oh, I remember you.” [Laugh] I like, “Okay, is that a compliment? But I wanted her to know, I really wanted her to know what a difference it made in my life, but that was it. If I had one thing to do over, and that’s sort of the message I want to send to everybody—I hope I’m not jumping ahead on your questions—but the message I would send to everybody when it comes to fast leader the key word is, “sooner”.


Most people think of fast as doing things quicker, chaos and rush-um-um, it’s sooner. Just like when they say, “I don’t have enough money to start an investment.” And they say it’s not how much money you have, it’s when you start. The people who invest $10 and they start at the age of 15 or something, you’ve seen that and they’ve worked out the numbers. It’s the same with achieving success, start sooner. And I got a whole list of things I could give people on what to start sooner. 


Jim Rembach:    I think you bring such a breath of freshness, Kate. And giving that definition of fast leader oftentimes I have to do the same thing, it’s not about doing things quickly. The beauty about fast leader is what you just shared and that we can learn from others so that we can do the right thing a little bit sooner, and that’s going to make us faster leader we’re going to learn better and we’re going to get over those humps faster when we learn about the things that others have had to go through. 


Kate Nasser:    I love your word, learning. In fact, I was teaching a class years ago, it was a four-day class on consulting skills on how to help people who want to become consultants, and I always started the class with this one message, “Learn as much as you can everywhere you can regardless of whether you think you will use it.” I am constantly learning, constantly I learn from listening to you, I learn from reading books, I learn from doing, I learn from teaching. Every time I teach I come home I’m pumping up the energy for them, and thank God I’m and extrovert so it doesn’t drain me, but I come home all energized there’s always one or two things I learn from my students my customers, keep learning. Oh, my Gosh! It’s like a free feast—


Jim Rembach:    Yeah. And it’s amazing when you opened up your opportunities to learn more just by taking the dancing class, just amazing.   


Kate Nasser:    Yeah. Dancing is my sanity getaway. 


Jim Rembach:    There’s one thing, I do also a lot of studying in Appreciative Inquiry which is based in positive psychology, and one of the things that appreciative inquiry talks about is unlikely pairs. What that means as far you’re learning is concerned is that you need to seek out others that are different from you because that will give you greater opportunities for learning instead of having somebody who thinks exactly like you. But the key is to be open for it, like you did mention earlier. So, go and find some unlikely pairs. Kate, thanks for sharing those stories. Now, you talked about your work, you talked about how that is continue to develop, you talked about doing it for many years and I know that it’s something for you that it has become part of your DNA and I don’t see you ever stopping, I just don’t.


Kate Nasser:    People are starting to say, “So, when are you going to retire? I’m think about first of all I’m age-wise if you look at it I’m not close to that. But my heads said always said, “Why?” [Laugh]  Why? You’ve heard this this is an age old quote, “When you love what you do, you don’t need to retire.” What I’m fascinated by, and again I’m always learning, there’s a lot of people who were in a job, good job, career and then they do retire because when you’re in a company sometimes they indirectly force people out of certain age, you know they deny it. But I have close knowledge of at least 3 people who have gone on to do other things and they are happier than I have ever seen them. And for one, it’s another full time job but she went from being very big time HR Director at a large pharmaceutical company to teaching business and HR but not in a business school she teaches it a fashion design school and she’s always telling me about how her students are teaching her about fashion. Till I slide up, the clay mine have been lighting up 27 years so whether you love what you do right now, and you want to stay in it forever, or whether you are having a job and it’s a good job but it doesn’t really light your fire, when you do leave don’t be afraid that you’re going to think, “Oh, my what am I going to do in retirement? Am I going to be bored?” No, you’re going to find what’s really in you, it’s just right now you may not know what that thing is.


Jim Rembach:    Yeah. Just stay open piece and be a life lone learners definitely the underlying component and message there that we have to. Sometimes force yourself into it. We’re not wired to do different we’re just not. That’s the unfortunate thing, so it does take a little bit of energy units, I was introduced to that phrase the other day, to be able to do that. If you think about your goals, what is one of your goals that you’re shooting for right now? 


Kate Nasser:    Right now I am writing my first book. I’ve been blogging for years now and I didn’t even want to write. When someone tell me I should start up blog I said, “Why didn’t you just pull my fingernails out, the thought of it was so horrific for me.” Then I fell in love with it because I’m a speaker you know how it is. So, writing a book is a bit of a challenge for me because at least with writing a blog, it’s 600 words give or take, you know and bing, bing, bing—writing a book! I’ve got to organize it and also I am writing, it’s my goal, I am working on it there’s a bit of a challenge because I’m a speaker. Someone said, “Well, speak it and write it” so, that’s what I’m doing now, and then you have to go back and edit it—that’s a big goal. 


My other goal is that, I guess I’m in learning mode to how accomplish it. I want to combine the speaking and the entertainment part of my life because I’ve always been a performer at heart. And years ago I used to do musical theatre as a hobby, musical comedy show and so forth, and I had to give that up to start my own business because I was on the road all the time. One day my sister happened to be doing an engagement here in New Jersey, my sister came with me because we had to leave after that to go on a trip. So, she sat in the back of the room and afterwards she went out to the car and she was just kind of smirking and laughing I said, “What are you doing? What’s with you?” And she said, “Now I know why you don’t miss theatre.” She said, “Because it’s like watching a one women show up there” and I never forgot that. And I want to try to find venues where there’s a little bit more of the entertainment piece as well as the content of what I speak. 


Jim Rembach:    Well, Fast Leader legion wishes you the very best. Okay, Kate it’s time for the rapid part of our show and that’s the—Hump Day Hoedown. Okay, Kate the Hump Day Hoedown is the part of our show where you give us good insights fast. So, I’m going to ask you several questions and your job is to give us robust yet rapid responses that are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Kate Nasser, are you ready to hoedown?


Kate Nasser:    I’ll try. 


Jim Rembach:    Alright. What do you think is holding you back from being an even better leader today?


Kate Nasser:    Know how. 


Jim Rembach:    What is the best leadership advice you have ever received?


Kate Nasser:    Inspire people, don’t overwhelm them. 


Jim Rembach:    What is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?


Kate Nasser:    Self-awareness and courage.


Jim Rembach:    What do you feel is one of your best resources that helps you lead in business or life?


Kate Nasser:    Inner strength and inner talent.


Jim Rembach:    What would be one book, and I know that going to be tough and it doesn’t have to be a business book, what would be one book that you would recommend to our listeners?


Kate Nasser:    52 Tips to Recognize and Utilize Your Greatest Strengths by LaRae Quy.

Jim Rembach:    Intro: Welcome to the Fast Leader Podcast, where we explore convenient yet effective shortcuts that will help you get ahead and move forward faster by becoming a better leader. And now here’s your host, customer and employee engagement expert and certified emotional intelligent practitioner, Jim Rembach.Okay, Fast Leader listeners, you can find links to that book and other bonus material from today’s show by going to Nasser. Okay, Kate this is my last Hump Day Hoedown question. Imagine you were given the opportunity to go back to the age of 25 and you’ve been given the opportunity to take the knowledge and skills that you have now back with you but you can’t take everything you can only choose one, so, what one piece of knowledge or skill would you take back with you? And why? 


Kate Nasser:    Start sooner and speak up sooner. And why? Because success does not come from waiting, so start sooner. 


Jim Rembach:    Kate, it was an honor spending time with you today. Can you please share with our Fast Leader legion how they can connect with you?


Kate Nasser:    Sure. I have my website, I also have the People Skills community and you can get information on that. I’m all over Twitter, just at 50,000 followers today, not that that was the goal but it does help to have a wider audience. And of course, through my email, and I would love to connect with people. So, bring on the questions. 


Kate, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom, the Fast Leader legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump. 


Thank you for joining me on the Fast Leader show today. For recaps, links from every show, special offers and access to download and subscribe, if you haven’t already, head on over the so we can help you move onward and upward faster.