Courtney Feider has spent her career nurturing her creative streak as an agency owner, corporate marketing executive, and serial entrepreneur.  Today she uses her unique experience to help leaders design strategies in the face of change as an Executive Coach and Organizational Brand Strategist.

We sat down with Courtney to talk about her new book, I Heart Creativity: A Guide to Defining Your Creative Purpose and Anchoring Yourself in Change.

What inspired you to write a book about creativity in leadership?
Throughout my career I have witnessed the tension between creativity and the stereotypes that define “leadership.”  Because of this dissonance, I think many people have shut down the practice of creativity and have no muscle memory for pushing ideas out of innovation into creation.  My book leans into the idea that everyone is creative, and that if we develop awareness of that creativity and exercise it, then teach it to our teams, our entire perspective and marketplace approach will shift.  Creativity is an ROI-focused business strategy, not an adult session with coloring books.

Who did you write I Heart Creativity for?
I wrote the book for everyone, but it resonates more deeply with those who want to find some meaning and personal growth as a part of their creative journey.  I have seen all job types and walks of life, both men and women, and people of various ages respond to this content, but the common ground is always a desire for emotional safety, personal respect, and connection.

What was the most rewarding part of writing this book?
During the research process, it became clear to me that the concept of putting creativity and novel idea development on the daily business agenda is finally acceptable, and even a skill that forward-thinking companies want their employees to develop and use. I have been fighting against this tide for my entire career, so it’s refreshing that the moment to share this information is now.  I like that I am giving people something personal, easy to read, and informational.  That feels good.

What was the most surprising part?
The initial response.  I sent out a wave of early drafts to a variety of people I know and respect in business, and almost all of them told me that they finally feel they have permission to open the floodgate of creativity.  That they are walking into uncharted territory and they know they need support to grow this skill set.  And that they are reconsidering the personal impact this can have on their lives and balance as they apply this in the business setting.

How does I Heart Creativity coincide with the work you do with leaders?
This book is a foundation that helps me open up conversations with individual leaders, their teams, and their organizations.

I work with leaders in three ways.

  1. One-on-one on executive presence and offering executive coaching.
  2. Side-by-side with a leader on a team, helping them to apply what they have learned themselves and use cascading mentorship to make sure their team is up to speed.  This often happens in seminars or workshops.
  3. Closely with one leader to reorganize and rewrite the strategy and the approach as it relates to the marketplace.  Helping them to bring their innovations, their newfound creativity, and their adjusted culture to their audience in a fresh and authentic way.

I Heart Creativity is available now on Amazon.