The Last Word: Building community in the workplace

Karen Vernal, President, Vernal Management Consultants LLC
759 N. Milwaukee St., Milwaukee
Web site:
Services provided:
Leadership and team development, executive coaching, strategic planning facilitation, design and facilitation of off-site retreats.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in psychology, Duquesne University; master’s degree in social work, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Family: “My beloved husband, John, left this world Nov. 8, 2003. We have one son, Jonathan Waldbauer, age 24, who is in marketing/communications for the United Community Center.”
Hobbies: Photography, reading and movies.
Words to live by: “We are here in order to serve one another and to build community wherever we go.”

Karen Vernal says her passion for building a sense of community with other began early in her career when she served as a nun in West Virginia. Vernal and her team of consultants provide unique insights to corporate executives throughout southeastern Wisconsin.

“As early as 1630, John Winthrop, the first governor of Mass Bay Colony, offered these reflections to his fellow colonists before they set foot on land: ‘We must delight in each other, make others’ conditions our own, rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together, always having before our eyes our community as members of the same body.’

“Community evolves inside the workplace when leaders foster a level of relationship that transcends business. Effective leadership creates the environment for community. Calling out the best in one another is arguably the single biggest factor in a successful business. It is our team experience in working with hundreds of organizations, that employees who can count on their work environment as a place that supports their growth and development, invites their voices to be heard, calls them to live into the mission and values of the organization and holds them accountable are employees who are energetic, committed, creative and productive.

“For an organization to evolve into a community, leaders must practice the art of reflection. Effective leaders invest time in their own professional development, knowing that their example sets the cultural tone. Effective leaders take the time to reflect on their decisions and the impact those decisions have on the workplace community.

“We delight in guiding and supporting courageous leaders who recognize the power of building community in the workplace. Does your organization ‘always have before its eyes its community as members of the same body?'”  n


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