Brenda Risner

Leadership Coach


Brenda Risner

Brenda helps leaders lead better and teams team better. She helps organizations develop healthy, people-centered cultures that allow leaders and teams to achieve better results together. Her training combines sound leadership principles with culture, communication, teamwork, emotional intelligence, and mental fitness in the workplace, so leaders and their teams are healthier, happier, more fulfilled, and more productive.
With over twenty-five years of counseling, coaching, and leadership training experience, Brenda combines expertise in mental fitness and organizational health to customize coaching and training for leaders and teams. Previously a Leadership Trainer with the United States Army and the Intelligence Community, Brenda is ready to help you reach your leadership and organizational health goals. Brenda has always been driven to help others and she is passionate about organizational health and helping people grow the skills necessary to produce and maintain a healthy culture. She finds joy in helping others identify and capitalize on their strengths and build strong relationships because when people relate better, they get better results.

  • Speaker, Trainer, and Coach with the Maxwell Leadership® Certified Team
  • Certified Working Genius Facilitator
  • Certified WHY Coach
  • Certified Behavioral Analysis Trainer
  • Authorized Partner with Everything DiSC®
  • Authorized Partner with The Five Behaviors®

You can reach Brenda by email: or through her website:

Lead Like You

Leadership is about influence and impact. So how does one go about becoming a leader? Or being a good one? You start by being you. Every person has innate strengths. Get to know yours! When you become more aware of who you are—your values, your passions, your motivations, your strengths, and your struggles—you equip yourself to lead better.

Who are you? Really. Deep down. Are you a servant leader, wanting to contribute to your team? Are you a go-getter always looking for ways to improve processes? Are you a change agent, wanting to challenge the status quo? Are you a natural communicator?

Become a student of you. There are several ways you can do this.

Be honest with yourself. Sometimes it’s easy to ignore the parts of us we don’t like and sometimes we try really hard to be like someone else who has something we want. It’s important to tell yourself the truth – good and bad. If you’re good at something, don’t shy away from it, thinking it’s too aggressive or brash. If you struggle with something, acknowledge the struggle and move on. Depending on the importance of a particular struggle in your current role, you may choose to drop or delegate a task, or you may choose to focus on growing yourself in this area.

Part of being honest with yourself is also acknowledging the things you enjoy doing and admitting that you may need to let some of them go. Sometimes leaders struggle to delegate the things they love and are good at. Good leaders develop good leaders, and one way to do that is to delegate. If you have people capable of doing a task nearly as well as you do it, you should give it to them, and let them grow
in that area.

Learn more about yourself. Take advantage of the many tools and assessments available to you. There are assessments that help you understand yourself better. Discover your WHY, learn how you communicate, and identify your working geniuses. There are so many great tools out there to help you learn more about you, how you think, how you do things, and how you relate to others.

Grow yourself. Once you understand yourself, it becomes more clear where you have room to grow. Even the best leaders – especially the best leaders, are constantly growing. Be intentional about growth. Strengthen the areas where you’re already strong and stretch yourself in other areas. It may require that you step out of your comfort zone to reach your growth zone.

Lead from your strengths. When you understand yourself – who you are, why you do what you do, and how you relate to those around you, you can lean into and lead from your strengths. While we need to grow our skills in areas that are a requirement of our roles, research supports that growing areas where you are already strong has a greater return on investment. Consider further growing your strength-areas and grow your team members to fill the gaps. 

Celebrate your uniqueness. No one else has exactly the same combination of strengths as you. You are unique and special. While it is always great to have solid role models and you can learn from them, you don’t need to be someone else. You need to be you. Let your personality shine!


Leading yourself first is so important in developing your best self. Let’s not stop there. We said that leadership is about influence and impact. While you need to be constantly leading and growing yourself, your focus should be on leading, growing, and caring for others. Regardless of your style, every good leader genuinely cares for her people. To lead effectively, you need to invest in your people, empowering them to be their best selves. You can apply the principles mentioned above to your people.

Be honest with each other. This includes the ability to have productive conflict, respectful disagreement. It means providing honest, constructive feedback to your people – and accepting it from them. Create a culture of accountability. It means acknowledging each person’s areas of strength and challenges and working within them.

Learn more about each other. Get to know your people and encourage your people to get to know you and each other. Listen well. Know what drives each person. Know what personal and professional challenges they are facing. Learn what each person’s professional goals and aspirations are. Build strong workplace relationships. This helps to build trust, which is imperative to effective teamwork, growing influence, and leading well.

Grow your people. Invest in the professional development of your team. Encourage them to grow into their potential. Support their professional goals as much as you are able. Give them opportunities to stretch into growth zone activities.

Let your people utilize and lead from their strengths. Like when leading yourself, as you better understand the strengths of your people, you can encourage them to work with and through those strengths. This may mean adjusting roles within a team, giving more responsibility or opportunity, or empowering them to approach a task or project in a different way.

Celebrate what makes each person unique. Every person has value. Every person has a unique set of strengths and characteristics. As you recognize and celebrate those strengths in each of your people, you are allowing each person to shine, creating impact and enabling your people to influence and impact others.

To lead authentically and well, you need to lead yourself well, being intentional about self-awareness and growth. You will multiply your influence by leading others, being intentional about investing in, empowering, and getting to know your people. Through it all, you will recognize strengths and choose to celebrate what makes each person special. By doing this, your influence will contribute to the growth of others, and have a lasting impact on your people and your organization.