Carla founded Leadership Beyond as an answer to the growing need of managers to get practical leadership advice. As she has been a manager and an interim/turnaround manager for many years, she is familiar not only with the day in and day out challenges of executing leadership knowledge with the ongoing workload but also with implementing change process successfully. In a sense, she develops stronger organizations by building better leaders through unique tools and methods. She offers:

  • Accelerated leadership in organizations
  • Growth of productivity and accountability
  • Increased innovation and inspiration

Carla is the author of Leading through Change: Six Principles for Leading People in Unpredictable Times.

Meet Carla
For more than 20 years I have been studying the field of leadership development, both as an executive and a coach. As a teacher and lifelong student, I continually work to increase and expand my knowledge of the field. I am an international leadership consultant with a passion for igniting change.

I began my career on the Public Affairs faculty of Leiden University (the oldest university in the Netherlands, founded in 1575) as well as at the University of Indiana. Eventually, my interests shifted, and I made the transition to executive work, where I helped direct middle managers in the fields of finance, engineering, computer systems, and more.

For the past decade, I have been working as a leadership mentor and consultant. I hold a master’s in law from Erasmus University as well as a master’s in history from Leiden University. I live with my husband in Colorado.

Known for my direct and open communication style, insight, and dedication, I have been involved in the turnaround and leadership development processes of many organizations. Will yours be next?

Getting Started
Whether you’re the senior manager of your organization who wants to realize your vision or you’re simply looking to improve your leadership, I have the potential to help you realize your vision for better leadership. Contact me today to get started!


An Interview with Carla

Why did you become a mentor?
I became a mentor because when I worked as an interim manager in different organizations, I realized that I was always hired too late. Most of the time, I was hired when managers already had been fired; employees’ morale was at the bottom line, and productivity at the lowest levels ever.

And I also knew that when I became a manager in an earlier stage of my career how difficult it is to get good support. At the time, I found a lot of informative leadership articles and trainings, so I understood the basics of “how-to” leadership, but I had very little information on how to deal with the challenges, emotions, and personal interactions that came along with leading change.

My leadership coach at that time was wonderful, but she knew things through studying books. She had never been a manager nor led a larger change process herself. She could ask good questions but hadn’t the wisdom that you only get from experiencing being a leader yourself. I couldn’t call her and talk about the challenges that I was facing or just get some practical advice. I sometimes felt alone in my leadership role.

When the first manager called to ask if I could mentor him in a change process, I realized how much I could give to other managers by providing that service for them, especially in a stage early enough for them to be successful.

And that’s what I have been doing from that time on. I’m truly in love with the work that I do.

How long have you been a mentor and how did you become an expert at supporting managers in realizing their vision?
I’ve been interested in leading people my whole professional life. Even before I had my first managerial position, I followed a two-year leadership program in the evenings. But I became an expert by actually leading people.

My first leadership position in an organization was manager of a legal department. Within two years, I was promoted two levels above, leading the managers of managers. The following years, we went through a major reorganization.

I learned a lot in the three years I held that position, but I also became aware that more employees in the same organization doesn’t mean you learn more about leadership. I quit and started my own company that specialized in leadership and change processes. That gave me a chance to work in many different organizations and cultures.

I did that kind of work for about six years until I realized that I was always hired too late. The last seven years, I have been mentoring managers who want changes in their team or organization or want to grow leadership.

I hold an M.A. in law from Erasmus University in the Netherlands.

Who are your clients?
I work with people who are a lot like me. They want to make a difference in an organization. This could be by growing leadership of their managers, leading a change process themselves, or improving productivity.

They don’t shy away from new methods or ideas. They understand that leadership is about BEING a leader and having a good strategy. They are practical in the sense of wanting to see results. They are willing to do the work needed. I work with people who understand how toxic leadership can be in an organization, and who under no circumstances want to be to be one of those toxic leaders. I work with people who want to be that crucial person in an organization who increases the health of the organization and the growth of the employees.

How does a mentor differ from a coach or a trainer?
A coach asks questions to help you tap into your own wisdom and provides you with helpful resources. A mentor is a coach PLUS—a mentor adds something to the coaching process: their advice based on their own experience. Most leadership mentors have been managers themselves. They have been there.

A mentor differs from a trainer. A trainer gets hired to transfer knowledge—for example, by doing exercises with the attendees during a certain time (one-day or two-day sessions). A mentor supports you not only in building your knowledge but also in implementing your gained knowledge. In my experience, that’s where most managers need support: in the actual implementation. They know what; they need help implementing it.

I am not a leadership trainer. Just like personal fitness trainers work with clients who want to achieve a stronger body over a longer period of time, a leadership mentor works with managers who want to become stronger leaders or want assistance with realizing their vision. I support you in knowing how to strengthen the core leadership in your organization and anchor that to create a healthy organization with inspired employees.

What kind of personality do you work best with?
I work best with people who are ready to engage in a long-term process, not a short-term fix. My clients tend to be committed managers who want to make a difference in their organization. They have a busy schedule that sometimes interferes with their leadership focus. They understand that support is necessary for their success as a leader and are ready to invest in a process that works.

What kind of personality or client do you NOT work well with?
Working with me is not for every manager. Not every manager is willing to acknowledge that they need support themselves or that their direct reports do either. Some managers assume that they need to be able to address every challenge or process themselves. Hiring someone is considered failure.

I encourage you to work with someone else if you are not open to new ideas and willing to try them. I also encourage working with someone else if you think that leadership development in an organization has to happen in a very short-term time frame.

How do you work? What can I expect?
Working with me is focused on your success. To be successful, we first clarify your needs, and then we decide together on a process that works for you and will get you and your organization where you want it to be. The approach is customized. No “It worked there, so it will work here” approach.

I have been working with people across the world. My work is powerful. It’s deep. You can expect a lot of value and success.

Does your mentorship really work?
Yes. I’ve included client testimonials on my site so that you can see that it does work. Here’s just one example of a client testimonial:

“As Director of Human Resources at Naropa University I often needed Carla’s help with change management processes.  Carla helped the organization and our top managers immensely.  As a result, managers became aware of the needed changes and of their own leadership role.  Because of Carla’s capacity to create an open and trusting environment the managers were able to have honest and direct conversations about our change processes.  Carla is sensitive to business needs as well as human needs.  She is an excellent listener, recognizes key issues that need to be addressed, and is able to stay on target when providing coaching or training.” James Robinson-Long

Why do I need you? Can’t I just do this on my own?
How’s that do-it-alone-thing going for you so far? If you look at any goal that people achieve—take writing a book for instance—you’ll find a long list of thank you’s to people who supported the person on their way to that achievement. The truth is that we thrive with support. Being a manager or a leader can be lonely. It’s good to form a team with your mentor. An outside perspective supports us to play our best games in life. That’s why sports teams have coaches.

I want to develop as a leader, but my boss refuses to pay for it. How can I justify this expense?
The organization I worked for didn’t pay the sum of the two-year leadership program because I didn’t have a managerial position at that time. I did it anyway. I invested in my future and I got my investment back in two months time just by an increase of salary.

I remember the first time I hired a mentor. It was a huge expense for me—much more expensive than the two-year leadership program. It didn’t come easy, but I knew I needed the help. And it did pay off.

If your boss is not paying for your leadership development, then you have a choice. You can choose to slow down your development and take a training here and there, maybe read some leadership books, or you can believe in yourself and take control. Then you are a leader. You lead yourself to success. Your investment will pay back big time by acknowledgment of your leadership by your current organization or another one if you make the next step in your career.

Developing your leadership is an investment in your success and career. How much is your success worth? How much are inspired, productive employees worth? Priceless.

If I’m not quite ready to get started, is there a way to sample your work?
Sure. I’d love for you to sign up for my complimentary E-Zine, where you can read articles, get resources, and find out more about what I do. All you have to do to sign up.