About Alison

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Bio

I’m deeply committed to helping CEOs achieve their goals—the big and the small, whatever they are, whatever it takes. Whether it’s connecting a start up with investors, leading an organization through a game-changing visioning process or providing tools that lead to pivotal personal growth, I meet my clients where they are and help them get to where they want to be. It’s when a client achieves something they weren’t sure they could that inspires me most.

My diverse background helps me understand today’s leaders and the challenges they face. Everything from my time as a CPA with Ernst & Young, to completing my MBA from University of Chicago, to years of experience as a strategic planning consultant and running divisions of Fortune 500 companies, I’ve learned and experienced a lot about leadership, strategy and execution. Even after becoming a credentialed coach and working with more than 75 Seattle area CEOs , I’m always adding to my tools and capabilities to ensure my clients get the expertise they need for their specific challenges.

The number one thing you should know about me: I ask a lot of questions. That’s how I get you to stretch your thinking. My job is to ask better, smarter, tougher questions—the types of questions that you haven’t thought to ask yourself, that challenge you to look beyond the obvious, that require courageous answers that reveal the unexpected. With the intention of helping you grow faster, my questions are purposeful, informed, and candid—just like me.

I have curated two TEDxes. TEDxPugetSound in 2009 and again in 2011. Both events were targeted toward CEOs and helping them reconnect with their passions and bring their ideas into action.

TED Conferences

TEDActive 2013, TEDActive 2012, TEDActive 2011, TED2010, TED2009

Areas of Expertise

Voice Finding, Connect people, Why Discovery, Coaching CEOs

An idea worth spreading

If leadership is defined as the ability to attract willing followers, I know of only two types of successful leaders: those who vividly paint a compelling picture of the future they are creating and those who have your back.

I'm passionate about

Running, Yoga, my 9 year old son, coaching CEOs and entrepreneurs, Why Discovery, TEDxRockCreekPark, Conscious leadership, creating community

Talk to me about

You, who you know in DC, What makes a successful TEDx

People don't know I'm good at

Frankly, there's not much that people don't know I'm good at because I can tend to tell people everything I'm even moderately good at in a "mom, look at me, no hands!" kind of way.

My TED story

I attended my first TEDActive in 2009 and wanted to do something with the passion that was sparked by attending. Soon thereafter, the TEDx program was introduced and in 9/09, TEDxPugetSound was born. The Great Recession provided the impetus for the 2009 event theme: The Art of Living, Integrating Life’s Passions. The event’s intention was to reconnect CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners with the passion that inspires them to lead their companies. Simon Sinek’s “Start With Why” talk so resonated with the audience that his video was viewed thousands of times and was uploaded to TED.com. TEDxPugetSound 2011 occurred on 2/10/11 and it's theme was, Dreaming Out Loud: Transforming Ideas Into Action, and celebrated innovation beyond capitalist purposes. Our belief is that innovation represents the highest form of living. TEDxRockCreekPark is next, slated for May 2013, and the result of a transcontinental move. The theme will be: Learning: to unleash your potential

Comments & conversations

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Alison Whitmire
Posted about 2 years ago
Paul Gilding: The Earth is full
While Paul's not wrong (his argument is somewhat intuitive), how about a few more facts, charts, graphs, timeline, something?! By producing no facts/evidence, assumptions, there's nothing to dispute. The talk feels dark, pessimistic, and sensationalized, very Chicken Little. And yet, it's still a good talk and something we need to hear. Maybe that's the point.
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Alison Whitmire
Posted about 2 years ago
What idea is worth creating a disruption & what, who, where, how would you disrupt?
The change I want to make to me is behave and relate to others and myself in a way that considers the long term, not just right now. I want the way I relate to my son, my husband, my family, my friends, to consider not just the small petty thing that has hold of me now, but the importance they have in my life. That's the biggest change I want to make. And it's totally worth it. And it's a work in progress. :) And it's VERY uncomfortable in that petty moment.
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Alison Whitmire
Posted about 3 years ago
Should anyone be able to upload their TEDTalk to TED.com?
I believe that allowing anyone to upload a video to TED would hurt the brand. I trust the TED brand to stand for quality and that anything that's made it on TED.com has passed through a quality filter. I don't want to have to BE that filter. I've got too many other things to filter in my life. It would be like crowdsourcing the TED brand. While it's an interesting idea, are the people who would do the crowdsourcing like the people who are paying for the brand (sponsors, attendees, etc.) IDK.
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Alison Whitmire
Posted about 3 years ago
Steven Johnson: Where good ideas come from
I screened this talk at TEDxPugetSound on Thursday night. It was a hit with the CEOs in the room. There is part of his talk where he talks about one person having part of an idea and someone else having another part. It inspired me early in the planning process for TEDxPS to have everyone register an idea and then we created puzzle pieces that people got at check in which matched them with someone else at the conference who had a complementary idea. It was a lot of fun and created some positive energy.
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Alison Whitmire
Posted about 3 years ago
Brené Brown: The power of vulnerability
I was so struck by Brene Brown and her talk that I showed it to all of my CEO groups and discussed it at length. It was interesting to me how, even after seeing the talk, most if not all of the men over 50 viewed vulnerability as a weakness. They couldn't get their heads around vulnerability as necessary as Brene suggests. What she doesn't talk about is when it's safe and when it's not safe to be vulnerable and how to be smart about when and to whom you reveal yourself. (I suppose you could say it's always safe, and not many of us are that thick skinned. I'm not). Brene's talk gave me a deeper understanding of myself, my own needs and how I want to be. It gave me courage to show up as me more of the time.