Living and Leading from the Inside Out: A KOAN Conversation with Sarah E. McArthur

Living and Leading from the Inside Out: A KOAN Conversation with Sarah E. McArthur

Jun 14, 2024

This Q&A is a preview of the June 26, 2024, KOAN Conversation with Integrated Work CEO Jennifer Lyn Simpson and guest Sarah E. McArthur, a leader and entrepreneur known for her dedication to personal empowerment.

By Jennifer Lyn Simpson

Leading in new ways requires curiosity, authenticity, and empathy — for others and ourselves. By centering humanity and healing as leaders, we nurture engaging workplaces and create the conditions for ongoing learning and creative problem-solving.

My next KOAN Conversation guest, Sarah E. McArthur, has seen how adaptability and awareness can prompt continual personal growth. As the CEO of Power of XYZ Inc., a media and production consultation agency, she works from a leadership philosophy rooted in authenticity rather than perfection, with an emphasis on ongoing self-reflection and the courage to evolve. “The most significant growth in my life has often come from challenges,” she says. “Whether it’s the challenge of learning something new, solving a problem, or experiencing the painful parts of life, growth has always helped to propel me forward.”

A commitment to personal development is evident in Sarah’s embrace of empowerment and healing practices, which she uses to inspire herself and others through insight and healing modalities. “Empowerment has been my life path; having a childhood and youth marked by trauma propelled me into a lifelong search for empowerment skills,” she says. “I have watched empowerment skills change my own life and the lives of others.”

To prepare for our upcoming conversation, I reached out to Sarah to learn more about her background and how it shapes her holistic approach to leadership and continuous growth. Find excerpts in the Q&A below, then register for our conversation at 1 p.m. MT/3 p.m. ET on June 26, when we’ll explore Sarah’s work and related concepts from the KOAN method: Breakthrough Leadership for a Divided World.

Jen: Please share a bit about your personal and professional background, and how that inspires your leadership philosophy and work at Power of XYZ.

Sarah: Personally, I have been on a journey of empowerment since my early 20s. It has been a journey of challenge, identity, and growth.

I am originally from Colorado but also lived in Puerto Rico, the Middle East in my youth, and many other states in the United States as an adult. The experience of moving often helped me to become adaptable and resourceful. Both are values I try to pass on.

My professional journey has been diverse, with a foundation built in a company that allowed me to explore various roles. From administration to customer service, from sales to operations management, I seized every opportunity for personal and professional growth. This diverse experience honed my resourcefulness, quick learning, and knowledge accumulation, which have been instrumental in my leadership growth.

With each position, I combined my knowledge with my growth experiences to help shape my leadership philosophy as the CEO of Power of XYZ.

In 2008, my career shifted to personal safety and empowerment skills after I took a life-transforming personal safety class with IMPACT Personal Safety of Colorado. I have since spent the last 16 years dedicated to bringing empowerment skills to others or supporting organizations making a global impact.

Three years ago, I embarked on a new venture, creating a full-service media and production company. Our mission is to support global changemakers in building their online digital presence. We achieve this through a range of services, including branding, web design, graphic design, podcast production, event management, and production services. This endeavor is a culmination of my past experiences and a testament to my commitment to empowering others.

I drew from my rich past experiences to build a dynamic team based on experiences along my own path.

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Jen: What values guide your work to help others find their own path/purpose? 

Sarah: My values of self-awareness, empowerment, and growth are keys to helping others on their journeys of paths/purpose. Every person is different; we all have different lived experiences, making us all individuals. Self-awareness lets us get a pulse on where we are in relation to where we want to be. It can act as a North Star to determine what skills we need, what support we need, what growth we need, or even what past wounds need to be healed. Self-awareness is different from self-shame in that it can help us move forward in a sturdy, healthy way, apart from perfection in ourselves and expecting perfection from others.

Empowerment has been my life path for me; having a childhood and youth marked by trauma propelled me into a lifelong search for empowerment skills. I believed these skills would help me along my journey to healing, wholeness, and happiness. In my journey, I learned that my path led me to sturdiness rather than happiness. Happiness can be found in sturdiness, but it isn’t the main focus. Sturdiness holds space for all of me to be who I am. Sturdiness allows for the empowered part of me and the part that still needs healing and growth. It’s a kind of inner peace settled in the past, present, and even future. I have watched empowerment skills change my own life and the lives of others.

I value growth because there is an allowance for possibilities within growth. The most significant growth in my life has often come from challenges. Whether it’s the challenge of learning something new, solving a problem, or experiencing the painful parts of life, growth has always helped to propel me forward. I have many experiences in which encouraging people created opportunities outside my comfort zone. These opportunities allowed for my own growth and expansion.

These values have been such a powerful part of my life. They are the foundation for helping others, whether clients or team members, on their paths forward.

Jen: How does Power of XYZ partner with organizations to communicate their purpose and build awareness of their brands?

Sarah: Power of XYZ takes a personal approach to brand building and storytelling. Understanding the organization’s leaders, founders, and CEO is just as important as understanding the company itself. We do this through discovery, assessments, and methodologies.

Our team at Power of XYZ is dedicated to helping clients establish an authentic identity. We then leverage our skills in media and production to bring their mission to visual life, ensuring a strong visual impact on their businesses. We are intentional with the “why” of what we do, allowing our clients to focus on what they do best and still shine in the digital world.

A brand that truly impacts those it touches is one that is carefully crafted with impact in mind through storytelling and digital excellence, ensuring our clients’ success.

Explore upcoming KOAN Conversations and register to join!