Kristin’s Chorus

Excerpted from “Finding Work When There Are No Jobs”
AFTERWORD: Quick Portraits of People Who Found Work By Thinking Differently

Kristin was a teacher. She had always been a teacher. It’s all she knew how to do.

She had begun teaching in high school. Then special education for emotionally disturbed kids. From there, came the learning that what she was really good at was being a coach.

And as she got better, she realized that coaching adults was where she excelled.

She went into corporate training, talent management, all sorts of different titles that all came down to the same thing, helping someone else get better at what they do. That was it.

To her, it was like a chorus. Or better yet, a duet. Singing together just sounded better. And when she was teaching teachers, managers, or writing the training, or delivering the work, planning or training sessions herself, and she was at her best, it became like a chorus.

She loved every minute of it.

Up until the time when there were no jobs. Teachers were being laid off in every city. And if you worked with adults? In business? To help them reach their goals? That was like being a blacksmith.

So Kristin got in the job search line. And it made her very tired, very fast. She knew the goal was to sell herself. She’d done sales training that had generated millions and millions and millions of dollars for the folks she supported. She’s even sold her training. But selling herself was different.

It was as if she was trying to sing every part in the chorus herself. It just wasn’t working.

So she started thinking. She had spent her life helping others be better singers. Why stop now? So Kristin decided that she’d be quiet.

Perhaps he wisest move by anyone in a helping profession.

She decided she’d be quiet and let the other members of the chorus sing her praises.

Kristin wrote this letter. And in the letter—SHE was quiet. She used other people’s words. She made her own chorus. She used variations of the letter for 50 organizations where there might be work. No jobs. Work.

And in 2 months she had three offers for work.

The letter was successful.

Now Kristin gets to sing in a chorus where everyone is on key. And they are all singing the very same song.

Dear Ms. White;

Speaking directly to your three criteria for the Program Manager role; I thought I’d share the words of others on what kind of a fit I’d be:

Collaboration: Beth Ohura.
Chicago Public Schools Director of Professional Development.

I’ve known Kristin Smith for a number of years, Kristin has a success record for building leadership capacity for the full spectrum of educators all over the world, but Chicago is her home. In my role as Chicago Public Schools Director of Principal Professional Development, and later as a CPS principal, Kristin has demonstrated in our interactions a commitment to the children of Chicago above and beyond. Having been in both the private and public sectors, she brings a unique set of talents. As a staff developer, Kristin puts others first. He is enthusiastic and articulate, and sensitive to the people with whom he is working. She has an amazing ability to strategize so his methods match the learning needs and styles of the people in front of her. This is particularly important for reaching CPS teachers, as the various school cultures tend to be so idiosyncratic and unpredictable at times. She will know where to facilitate, where do provoke thinking, and where to push, always with an eye to getting others to develop their own voice and sense of efficacy. I think this makes her a great match for your programs, because what Kristin relishes more than anything else is making other people successful. I strongly urge you to consider her for a position.

Curriculum Development and Delivery: Robert Alexander. Vice President. Southern Data.

Kristin invigorated our leadership development program at Southern Data. She is a thought leader who knows how to implement. She developed programs that were known for pertinent content that challenged status quo thinking. These programs allowed senior leaders to evaluate current leadership skills and to embrace new skills. Her in depth knowledge of this practice area gave her a tremendous amount of credibility with the leaders at Southern Data. I would recommend Kristin to any organization looking to increase their leadership skills.

Delivering the training: Melissa Waller, Vice President. Telecom Inc.

I was privileged enough to have Kristin as an instructor/trainer for a year long leadership candidate program I was involved in at Telecom. Upon initially meeting Kristin, I was immediately drawn to her charisma and approachability.

She is one of the best motivators I have ever been around; she is a very positive and creative thinker who has a very real talent to put context around anything that comes up in discussions. Her knowledge and ability to ‘link the world together’ are a very rare combination. She always promoted an atmosphere of true and honest knowledge sharing among the group involved and never made you feel like any comment was unwelcome.

She genuinely cares about others and I loved to witness her in action. I was in ‘awe’ of her everyday. I’ve never met anyone who is more inspiring and who promotes the growth and development of others like Kristin does. She is one of those people that you just enjoy and you find yourself wanting to be like her – Anyone that meets Kristin will be blessed in many ways. Her spirit, knowledge, enthusiasm and professionalism will benefit any person or any organization he is ever involved with.”
As you review the mountain of resumes composed of folks talking about themselves; my hope is that you’ll remember this note—composed of other people—not me—talking about what I could bring to your company.

And it would be a true joy if this prompted a conversation with you.

Take Care,

Kristin Sang

3 Responses to “Kristin’s Chorus”

  1. Tom Simeone Says:

    Okay, Roger. This is the first excerpt that really makes me feel like I get it. It’s an excellent example and really well presented. Thanks, Tom

  2. Ted Schneider Says:


    I like the idea of others singing praise and explaining how they were impacted by your efforts and work done. A unique approach to the job search. I will definitely share it with a few people I know out of work.


  3. Dale Says:

    Great idea!

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