In a sea of competitors led by males, Monark was founded by two passionate entrepreneurs with a bold vision.
Monark was founded on the idea that there had to be a better option for leaders and individuals interested in leadership growth and education. Both founders, Amanda and Kelsey, have research backgrounds but worked on the applied side in organizational and leadership consulting for over 8 years. Together, they have over 15 years experience in studying, hiring, assessing and advising leaders of all kinds. In this timeframe, they administered assessments, engaged in developmental planning, and led strategic facilitation. In adopting a traditional model of consulting wherein we participate in episodic engagements with external organizations to conduct assessments and provide some strategic planning, we became disillusioned with the lack of meaningful change in the industry (and it’s hard to find fault - there is clearly a lack of alignment and accountability in achieving desired outcomes!).
Personally speaking, I competed in elite sports from a young age and have always been passionate and endlessly curious about leadership and coaching. In particular,I’ve been fascinated by the complexities of sport, like how a team of less-skilled underdogs can beat a top-tier team with the world’s best talent.This curiosity led me to the view that most of the unexplainable and intangible elements of success are the result of great leadership. In my college studies,I became really interested in how these learnings in sport can translate into the workplace given the many similarities between the two environments. Fast forward a few years to when I met my co-founder, Amanda through our previous employer, where we ran a profitable consulting practice and research centre.What we saw over and over again was that leadership development interventions were failing. Broadly speaking, they’re not timely, contextually relevant, and are often not personalized to what a leader needs. Furthermore, leadership training can be very expensive and as such, it’s often not provided until a leader is in the top echelons of their firms, which can become tricky because at that point they might not benefit as much from the training or can be a bit more resistant and stuck in their habits. So for a number of reasons we were hitting the wall with not only our practice but what we saw in the world, and felt that we needed to be part of the change we see happening in workplaces across the globe - workers that are demanding more autonomy, more flexibility, and more learning and growth opportunities that are customized and self-led.
One of our founder’s experience as an athlete has also supported exploration into how the principles of successful performance can be applied in corporate organizations. High-performance development in sports is well-understood; athletes and coaches regularly use all kinds of data to track progress, they receive immediate feedback when honing skills, and are therefore, able to adjust behaviours in real-time - everything gets measured. The same cannot be said for corporate leaders. This also isn’t just our beliefs. We’ve worked with executive teams, senior leaders, and directors who express their frustration around the lack of transparency and value-add. Generally, when organizations want to engage their high-performers or teams in leadership development, they hire external consultants, executive coaches, or send leaders to one-week executive business school programs. Worse, leadership development is not yet digital. The industry is stale and broadly speaking, most in this space rely on one-off reports, in-person learning, or falsely sell the belief that leaders can transform their behaviours by listening to a keynote from someone famous. It is because of these experiences and learnings that we knew there had to be a better way; a more accessible, simple, and affordable solution that integrates into a leader’s daily activities continuously and seamlessly.
It is our humble opinion that there are so many bad leaders leading in the world right now, and they’ve been able to excel because of things largely outside of actual performance (hiring biases, networking, favouritism, etc). And even though it’s shocking, it’s not surprising, because there aren’t solutions or products on the market that support real leader development. We’ve realized it’s the small things that have big effects when it comes to leadership (saying thank you or writing a quick email with feedback after a meeting), and technology can help teach and nudge leaders in these small, daily habit changes. This is where Monark comes in - a leadership solution for the modern workforce - evidencing real outcomes, and fun enough to actually get people interested in the hard-work of change!