Claire Brown Kohler
The founder of We Empower Leaders, Claire Brown Kohler is passionate about working with businesses and individuals to help them achieve more, earn more and produce more. She is on a mission to transform leadership, believing that the quality of the leader has a direct effect on the success of a business, determining the level of both client and customer satisfaction and retention. As a Business Coach and Consultant and Leadership Trainer, she brings over 30 years of executive level corporate business experience, having led, with her partners, their profitable and award-winning former company to millions of dollars in sales. Leading that staff of 250 employees along with a repeat team of 300 volunteers taught her firsthand the most effective leadership traits. She is also a Certified John Maxwell Leadership Coach.
She is a powerful business resource – offering business coaching, business strategy consulting, and leadership training in addition to being a public speaker. As a coach, she asks questions to help you discover what works best for you. As a consultant, she brings her years of experience to offer insights, perspectives, and lessons she learned along the way. She offers two ways of working with her: individually or as part of her TAB, The Alternative Board peer advisory groups. Clients work with her to set goals, determine priorities and plan strategies– with measurable results.
Many of her clients are business owners looking to take their business to the next level or who are struggling with challenges and change. Her techniques include teaching more effective leadership skills, creating short- and long-term goals with plans for accomplishing those goals, and looking at their business with a fresh perspective based on her vast experience. She becomes their accountability partner, cheerleader, advocate and strategic planning collaborator.
She assists in developing strategies that will help her clients confront challenges head-on. Helping them gain a clearer focus, increase their productivity and create a clearer path to success forms the backbone of her sessions. She becomes their part-time business partner who helps her clients think through all the options to make the best decisions.
Claire, along with her partner Alex A. Pilkington, using their years of leadership experience and study, have created proprietary material which they use in their leadership development training sessions. This training and coaching focus on the Five Qualities of Effective Leaders.
- Commitment to Embrace Change
- High level of Emotional Intelligence
- Ability to develop Strategic Leadership
- Commitment to Servant Leadership
- Ability to develop Intentional Connections
She is objective, discreet and honest. Holding her clients accountable, she makes sure they stay focused on the big picture. She strives to motivate and inspire her clients to take new approaches and to focus on self-development. Listening to her clients is a high priority for her. She brings enthusiasm, what she hopes is an engaging sense of humor and an easy-going conversational style make clients feel at ease. Her clients tell her that they experience a better work life balance while improving their business and their bottom line.
This is what two clients said in an anonymous survey about working with her:
Claire has a stellar instinct for human behavior and team dynamics. Our 1:1 sessions have helped me figure out where to focus, what to brush off, and what to push further on when I find myself in muddy waters with a project or conflict.
Claire is an excellent coach and really breaks down barriers between teams in order to improve cohesion and efficacy within the organization. She helps each individual grow and improve to meet their leadership capabilities.
In 1981 she was one of the founding members of Philadelphia TLA (Theater of the Living Arts) Entertainment Group. In the course of the company’s 33 year history, TLA ran 2 movie theaters and 7 award-winning video stores in the Philadelphia area and New York City, operated 29 international film festivals, distributed films in both the United States and the United Kingdom, and generated $16 million annually with over 250 employees in the US and the UK. She held the roles of CFO and COO and was the Director of Production for all of the 29 film festivals.
During this time, she was involved in all aspects of the business: business planning, staffing and training, systems development, contract negotiation, retail and online business management and business expansion and growth. She set all employee and store policies, routinely mentoring and coaching employees to reach their optimum levels of achievement.
She was a founder of and served on the executive committee of the Philadelphia Film Festival board of directors, and was also one of the founding members of the Philadelphia Cinema Alliance.
In 2014 she became a certified leadership and business coach and speaker. Her corporate background and leadership skills contribute to a coaching program that benefits both private and business clients.
FShe feels strongly about giving back to the community. She was one of the founding members of the Philadelphia Film Festival and the Philadelphia Cinema Alliance. She was a SCORE mentor and a member of the marketing committee of SCORE Montgomery County, PA.
Alex A. Pilkington, MS-MSL
Alex A Pilkington brings over 25 years of military, private, family owned and operated, corporate and entrepreneurial leadership experience having held leadership roles across industry sectors from high-growth startups to global Fortune 500 organizations. He has also started and operated two companies of his own, one of which he sold after five years.
Alex draws his extensive leadership ability and experience from his service as a United States Army Ranger and SOF Operator. He’s completed many of the U.S. Army’s most prestigious and challenging leadership schools and programs, trained with many of the world’s most elite special operations groups and highest government agencies. This experience coupled with his professional journey enables him to offer a truly unique perspective and insight and bring a higher level of awareness to leadership and organizational challenges.
With a depth of experience growing and operating companies, resolving complex people, operations and growth issues to building resilient leaders and organizations, he more than understands that successful, sustainable growth, both professionally as well as personally begins and ends with effective leadership. Only once this is realized can true growth begin to happen.
After separating from the U.S. Army, Alex joined a small Masonry construction company doing primarily residential work in the local area. During his time there, he saw high turn-over rates, constant lay-offs, poor team work and varying levels of workmanship all of which impacted the company’s ability to win higher rate and longer-term work. Alex, taking what he had learned from his time in Special Operations about leadership, building teams, strategy and tactical planning engaged the owner of the company and began to build out a more sustainable model. What resulted was a complete business transformation from a small localized company to a major competitor in the tri-state area. Wining larger residential contracts as well as now doing large scale commercial work accelerated revenue growth from $500k yearly to over $15 million.
Realizing that he found something he loved to do and saw a need for it, he decided to start his own consulting company after attending computer school. Boot-strapping his own venture proved to be a much bigger challenge than he had anticipated. But relying on his strengths and building new ones and adapting, he was able to build a team and win contracts that grew in scope and revenue quickly. After running the company and growing it to almost $2 million EBITDA in 5 years he decided to exit and sold the company to the first employee he hired. He then sat on their advisory board for several years, guiding the company to experience exponential growth and eventual acquisition in 2015 at $22M.
Over the following years, Alex held executive leadership roles in other growth-oriented companies and in 2009 he co-founded a company and served as the COO and CSO.
Under his leadership, he grew these companies inorganically and through mergers & acquisitions, strategic partnerships and national expansion. He was responsible for building out both functional and operational elements of the business and setting them up to scale, restructuring leadership teams and business models to developing the strategies and the tactical plans to achieve their growth initiatives.
He has held full executive oversight of Business Operations, Human Resources, Marketing, Sales, Information Technology, Business Development, Profit & Loss Management, Strategy Development and Execution and Risk Management. He has built and managed global and local teams and direct reports too.
Alex is actively engaged in the local business community, is a business advisor and leader coach and is an active member and advisor to veteran owned start-ups where he volunteers his time to help veteran entrepreneurs launch their businesses. In addition to this he is also a mentor to students of his alma mater – Michigan State University where he regularly meets with undergrad students to help and guide them as they prepare to enter the business world.
Alex considers himself a student of life and vigorously seeks out opportunities and experiences that will challenge and push him to grow both personally, professionally and physically. And-even more than building and growing businesses, Alex enjoys engaging and collaborating with leaders and leveraging his background and experience to help them achieve their business goals and improve their work life balance.
Alex has a Master’s Degree in Management, Strategy & Leadership from the Broad College of Business at Michigan State University. He also holds a Bachelor of Science in Business from the University of Phoenix and received his Project Management Certification from Boston University.