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Karen Schmidt shows people how to have more satisfying careers

If your audience is looking for advice on how to advance their careers I can help. My presentations address a range of popular event themes and can be delivered as a keynote, interactive workshop or panel discussion.


Career Pivot

How to wake up and turn your career into reality

Research by the Gallup Organisation has found that across all countries only 13% of people are in their dream career (Gallup call it being engaged). Another 17 % are in their nightmare career actively disengaged, contributing nothing and being kept alive by the system. The remaining 70% are not engaged. They’re like zombies, mindlessly sleep walking through their careers.

This keynote is designed to help people wake up and turn their dream career into reality.

  • What happens when you start sleep walking in your career
  • The difference between a career dream and a dream career
  • The real reason career change usually fails
  • 5 step pivot process to make your dream career a reality


Future proof your career

How to design a career that lasts

The workplace today is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. We are facing threats on many fronts including AI, outsourcing and the gig economy. Careers for life are a thing of the past. It’s easy to see why so many people are concerned about the future of their career. It doesn’t have to be that way if you can figure out how to future proof your career.

Your audience will learn how they can position themselves for career success into the future. They will discover:

  • How to read the warning signs that your career isn’t future proof
  • The 5 career scenarios you want to avoid
  • The hidden motivation behind the interest in future proofing
  • Why following career trends is a mistake
  • A 5 step pivot process for creating a future proof career


Accelerate Your Career

5 ways to get your career into top gear

The workplace today is highly competitive with more people going after fewer opportunities. Qualifications and hard work help but they aren’t enough. What you need is something to set you apart from the rest, a way to accelerate your career without causing you to burn out.

Your audience will learn about the 5 key attitudes they’ll need to get ahead in their career regardless of their field. These attitudes are like cogs in your brain that when activated can help to get any career into top gear. They will discover:

  • Why qualifications plus hard work no longer equal guaranteed career success
  • How knowing where your unhelpful attitudes about work come from will help you to succeed
  • 5 attitudes you need to develop if you want a successful career today and into the future
  • 3 simple steps to get your career into high gear starting now


Career Refresh

How to get your career back on track

We all spend so much time on our careers that it’s easy to become stale. Some people mistake this for needing to change careers and later find out that doesn’t solve their problem. What if instead you could find a way to make the most of the career you’ve got by simply hitting refresh?

Your audience will learn simple yet effective strategies and tactics that will help them to enjoy their work regardless of the circumstances around them. They will discover:

  • Why we all need to refresh our careers on a regular basis
  • How to recognise when you’re starting to go stale at work
  • One simple career boost you can do right now
  • The 5 step F.R.E.S.H. formula for reviving your career


Think like a leader

Mindset shifts that will make any career thrive

If you aspire to have a great career developing the right mindset is vital. Getting results in your career isn’t about changing what you do so much as it is changing how you think. You need to think like the most effective leaders if you want to get ahead.

Delegates will walk away understanding:

  • Why your mindset matters to your performance whether or not you are a leader
  • The 3 mindset shifts that will position you for success: purpose, focus and the right locus of control
  • How to let go of old thinking and embrace a new mindset
  • A simple way to start and finish your day with the right thinking
  • How to turn on your leadership radar and get results


Foundations of effective leadership

Skills that grow successful leadership careers

If you’re just starting out as a leader it can seem overwhelming. Some people describe it as being “in the weeds”. It doesn’t have to be that way. You can find a way to succeed by following the same principles used by gardeners. By learning some basic tools you’ll quickly find you stress less, smile more and see results from your team.

Delegates will be introduced to Karen’s “leader as gardener” metaphor and discover:

  • Why you need a solid foundation of skills to be an effective leader
  • A philosophy of leading that will help you better understand your role and your team
  • 5 basic skills that will help you to become the best leader you can be
  • 3 simple yet effective questions to ask yourself everyday to help you lead


Challenge accepted

Successfully navigate the challenges of leading

How they handle challenge is the real test of a leader’s skills.

The best leaders know that hidden amongst any challenge is an opportunity and the key to success is knowing how to make the most of it. That means you need to be the one driving the situation, not sitting back in the passenger seat waiting to see what happens.

Using the metaphor of driving a car, delegates will learn about:

  • How successfully navigating challenge can change your outlook
  • Why you need to be defensive when handling challenge
  • 5 type of challenges you need to master
  • A strategy for helping you face any challenge with confidence

Dance of collaboration

Step beyond teamwork and move up as a leader

The best leaders know their success depends on their relationships. That’s why they learn how to partner with people to create a positive outcomes for everyone. This isn’t about being a team player, it goes beyond that. Successful collaboration means knowing the right moves to make and executing them in a way that doesn’t step on anyone’s toes. It’s a dance that high performing leaders have mastered.

Karen’s metaphor is that collaboration is like ballroom dancing. She uses this to help delegates learn:

  • Why collaboration is the key to sustainable career success
  • What style of collaboration is right for you
  • How to choose the right collaboration partners
  • The 5 steps that put rhythm in your relationships


My experience


I have over 15 years experience as a speaker at events in 8 countries throughout the Asia Pacific region.  My qualifications include a Bachelor of Adult Education degree and I am the author of 5 books on leadership and personal development. Combined with my background in Human Resource Management and a further 20 years spent helping people advance their careers I have first hand experience and stories to share.

I’ve spoken at events with up to 1,000 people using both sign language and foreign language interpreters. I’m a flexible, low maintenance speaker and can easily adapt to your changing needs.

My style is energetic, entertaining and authentic. I enjoy interacting with my audience before, during and after my session so everyone gets the maximum benefit from your event.

I’m available for conferences, professional development days, retreats, networking events, webinars and podcasts. I can present keynotes, deliver breakout sessions and facilitate panel discussions making me a versatile addition to your speaking program.



What clients say

“Karen is remarkably easy to work with. She is professional, reliable and always delivers what she says she will. On top of that, her sessions are creative, inspiring and most importantly, applicable. Guests always leave with ideas they can implement immediately and easily. As an event organiser this is a recipe for success. I recommend Karen without reservation.” Joanne Nyland, Manager Alumni Services, Griffith University School of Business

“Karen provided a wonderful session at our 2018 event on mindset shifts that help team leaders thrive.  This was delivered in a very relatable and memorable way offering delegates a new perspective, which they will be able to take back to their businesses and use now and in the future.  It was an absolute pleasure having Karen join us for the event!” Madeleine Sawyer, Future Leaders Forum Organiser, Caravan Industry Association of Australia

“Delegate feedback showed they were very impressed with your presentations. They loved your gardening analogy, combined with your engaging and animated presentation style.” Nicola Young, Conference Chair, Association of Queensland Nurse Leaders

“Karen is very passionate about what she does. Her session is considered to be one of the popular ones during this year’s Asia HRD Congress.” Grace Rudd, Conference Organiser, SMR HR Group, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

“Karen’s enthusiasm and genuine interest during our initial discussions, along with her great ideas immediately sold me on her. She then delivered a session that was professional, engaging and practical”. Dr Sarah Schroeder, QLD Young Water Professionals co-ordinator, Australian Water Association

“Karen is a vibrant, entertaining and informative speaker and brought a great dynamic to a crowd of over 100. Her presentation appeared effortless and polished and she engaged the audience in a thought-provoking discussion with wit and humour.” Allison Radcliffe, President, The Association for Women in Insurance QLD