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Meet Kathy Koultourides of KKNOW HOW in Fountain Hills

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kathy Koultourides.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Kathy. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I began my career in the early 1980’s as a business-to-business sales rep in Chicago. I sold security, fire alarm, CCTV and access control systems. I was the first female sales representative ever hired in the electronic security industry back then. I pride myself on being a trailblazer for the many women who followed. During my ten years as a field sales rep, the company would send their new hires to Chicago to ride with me to learn the job. Along the way I created learning objectives for the field rides to put some structure around the two weeks the new hires spent with me. Little did I know, those learning objectives would become the genesis of my proven approach to sales onboarding later on in my career.

After successfully growing three sales territories in Chicago, I was promoted to sales manager and moved to New York where I led a team of seven sales reps in the Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse markets. Again, I was the first female sales manager the industry had ever seen. With a couple of years of sales management under my belt, I was promoted to General Manager where I had responsibility for managing a $3M P&L, 52 employees, 2,800 customers, and three offices.

After a company reorganization, I was asked to head up the company’s sales training academy at the corporate headquarters in Philadelphia. I did very well in this job and decided to continue on the sales training path when the company was acquired by ADT, our number one competitor. As luck would have it, I landed the job of National Sales Training Manager at Aramark Uniform Services in Burbank, California. It was there that I decided to learn everything I could about adult learning, eventually pursuing and earning my Certified Professional in Learning and Performance credential from the American Society of Training and Development, now known as the Association for Talent Development. In 2004 I was awarded National Sales Trainer of the Year by Sales Marketing and Management Magazine for my blended approach to sales training.

In 2007 I was recruited by Allied Waste, which brought me to Phoenix, where I served as Learning and Talent Development Director. At Allied, I designed and developed the customer service onboarding program for a brand new call center in Indiana, I designed the training and train-the-trainer for the rollout of a brand new CRM to 1,200 field sales representatives, and I played an integral role in managing organizational-wide change during the merger of Allied Waste and Republic Services.

In 2012 I was offered a global position that I could not pass up. I hired on at Univar, a leader in chemical distribution, as Vice President of Global Sales Force Development. I created the overall vision, strategy, and roadmap for sales training, I led a Lean Six Sigma team to completely rehabilitate the company’s broken sales onboarding process, fixing decades of broken tools and broken promises to new hires. Eventually, the company relocated the corporate headquarters to Illinois, and I decided that I really like Phoenix and declined to relocate to Illinois. So, I took the proverbial “retirement package” and left Univar and started my own learning and development consulting firm. I named it KKNOW HOW – the two K’s are silent and are a play off of my initials. The words “know how” speaks to the three decades experience I bring to employee performance improvement.

I work with small to mid-sized companies that don’t have a dedicated training staff and help them create their employee training and development strategies. I provide a variety of services from instructional design, eLearning, a fully supported learning management system, new hire onboarding, sales and customer service skills, sales coaching and leadership development. I also consider myself as a “tuck-in acquisition” for larger companies who are training departments need help to get work done.

In my spare time, I am writing a book titled Lucifer Leadership and the hidden cost of deviant behavior in the sales force. My book shines a light on a certain type of salesperson who has the capability of derailing an organization by inciting other salespeople to engage in illicit activity. Throughout the book, I use real workplace horror stories to build a case for the determinants that can identify this menace so that it can be eliminated from the organization, or never hired in the first place. My forthcoming book is expected to be released in 2018.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I was fortunate to land my first client six days after I launched my business, but that turned out to be a double-edged sword. The project required 330 hours of work. So, while I was busy making magic for my client, and knocking the project out of the park, I had little time to prospect for additional clients to fill my pipeline. In addition to that, I had the typical start-up struggles – the creation of a business plan, website, legal entities, accounting, setting up bank accounts, insurance, marketing, managing sub-contractors, and partner agreements, etc.

After decades of working for Fortune 100 & 200 companies, I found myself in the position of CEO, COO, CHRO, CLO, CIO, CSO, CFO, and every other functional head! And, right when you think you have your head above water, you have a computer problem. There’s no “IT” department or “help desk” to turn to. You have to figure it out yourself or hire someone to help, and let’s face it, how long does that take? The first few computer problems really set me back. I don’t think that any business is a smooth road. It is a learning experience and constantly evolving.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the KKNOW HOW story. Tell us more about the business.
KKNOW HOW provides customized training solutions to improve the performance of your employees. We specialize in new hire onboarding, sales and customer service skills, coaching, and leadership development. We provide these solutions through online learning, instructor-led, self-study, and a blended approach to these methods. We are known for our ability to customize all of the content to the client’s culture and vernacular. We are most proud of the incredible amount of real-world experience coupled with learning and development innovation we bring to our clients.

What sets us apart is the KKNOW HOW difference: We align all training with the client’s business plan and strategy. We accurately identify the client’s unique strengths, values, standards, traditions, and language to ensure maximum training relevance, interest and content absorption. And, finally, KKNOW HOW defines line-of-sight outcomes and results by identifying specific expectations for new on-the-job behaviors they will observe and measure after the training.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Early in my career, I had a sales manager who had a cross-stitched placard on the wall behind his desk that read “Luck is the event when the prepared mind meets genuine opportunity.” I don’t know the author, but I will always remember the quote, and I’ve recited it many times throughout my career. Given this definition, I would say that I’ve been pretty lucky in life and business when I’ve been prepared and pretty unlucky when I have not.

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1 Comment

  1. Marvin Huck

    December 6, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    Hey Kathy Way to go!!! If you ever need a reference let me know. PS Would love to have a brewski with you somewhere down the road. How about Erie, Pa.

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