How was TeachingHorse, LLC created? A message from Co-Founder and CEO, June Gunter, Ed.D.
I had been working in the field of leadership development for 15 years when it hit me that most of what we understood about how to lead was no longer true or useful. The world had changed and our beliefs about leadership had not. I was watching people with the character to lead say no to the job and I began to understand why.
Our leadership beliefs are littered with clichés like, “It’s lonely at the top.” “There is no rest for the weary.” “Never let them see you sweat.” “All the responsibility falls on your shoulders.” Truthfully, who would want that job? Grappling with these truths, including my own deeply personal experience with them, set me on a path to find new ways of thinking about leadership. Ones that create healthy, sustainable communities.
My first step was to return to my roots. I had grown up with horses and remembered how much of my character was shaped by life with animals and in nature. And I found the perfect guide for my new path. Her name is Yani and this horse has given me the education of a lifetime. One of the greatest gifts I have received is the opportunity to combine my love of horses with my talent for developing leaders and teams. I look forward to sharing them with you. Contact us at 919-333-9961 or firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.
TeachingHorse has worked with thousands of leaders to develop the skills required to become confident in uncertainty and share leadership in complex systems. TeachingHorse clients include:
- Cisco Systems, Inc.
- The Cherokee Preservation Trust
- The William C. Friday Fellowship for Human Relations
- Ingersoll Rand University
- Noblis Leadership Development Program
- The NC Small Business and Technology Development Center
- Kaiser Permanente
- Umicore, USA
- UNC Kenan-Flagler School of Business
- Vistage International
In partnership with the Center for Creative Leadership
our clients include:
- Ardent Mills
- Carlisle IT
- Catholic Healthcare Initiatives
- Indiana University Health
- Kone Americas
- The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
- The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
- The Women’s Leadership Experience
What do horses have to teach people about leadership?
In a herd of horses, leadership is shared. The lead mare sets the direction and pace of the herd. The lead stallion keeps the herd together and protects it from predators. Each member of the herd has a role in protecting the health of the herd. All of the horses in the herd contribute to the socialization of new or young members, teaching them what behaviors are acceptable and correcting those who behave in ways that could compromise the health of the herd. The ever-present goal of herd leadership is health, harmony, and unity.
Leaders are chosen based on their ability to demonstrate four capabilities. First, leaders must demonstrate that they are paying attention and can detect even the most subtle shifts in the environment. Second, leaders are able to give clear direction on how to respond to the shifts. Third, leaders are able to follow that direction with focused energy, providing the herd with guidance on the pace with which to respond. Fourth, leaders display congruence of their inner and outer expressions. Ultimately, the herd members must know that the leaders have their best interest as their source of motivation at all times.
To gain our confidence, leaders must demonstrate that they are paying attention to what is going on in their communities/organizations, are able to give clear direction with focused, inspiring energy, and are so authentic that their intentions can be fully trusted. Confidence in leadership makes a community or an organization agile when the time for change can no longer be avoided (Gunter, 2007).
The Diamond Model of Shared Leadership (to the right) was developed at TeachingHorse, LLC as a simple framework to guide decision-making in the midst of complexity and uncertainty. Each of the learning experiences with horses is designed to develop individual and team capability to share leadership using enhanced skill in paying attention, setting direction, focusing energy, and being congruent.
June Gunter, Ed.D.
Co-Founder and CEO of TeachingHorse, LLC.
With 30 years of experience in leadership development, June brings depth of understanding and clarity of purpose to preparing leaders for innovation and transformation. June holds a Doctor of Education degree in the field of Adult Learning from North Carolina State University. She is a Certified Equine Guided Educator (CEGE), Certified Equine Interaction Professional (CEIP-ED) and the author of TeachingHorse, Rediscovering Leadership, Bloomington, Indiana: Authorhouse, 2007.
Beth Hyjek, MFA
Co-Founder, Creative Director, and Facilitator
Beth holds an MFA from St. Mary’s College of California and BFA from New York University, Tisch School of the Arts. She is the photographer who captures the moments of learning and transformation that occur between people and horses. Beth is also a certified equine specialist.
Senior Associate Facilitator
David is a leader in the field in equine guided leadership development with over 29 years of experience as an internationally acclaimed trainer, speaker and coach. He is a founder of the Acorns to Oaks leadership development firm.
Ann is the CEO of Evans Consulting, LLC, a lifelong horsewoman, gifted leader, RN and retired healthcare executive. Ann is also the Secretary/Treasurer of The Cloud Foundation dedicated to preserving Wild Horses and Burros on our public lands.
Christine is a Certified Equine Guided Educator (CEGE), certified Equus Coach, and founding facilitator of the Stanford Red Barn Leadership Program. Christine is the founder of One Legacy Coaching, LLC and author of The Mother Within, Amazon, 2015.
Karina Gendron Gilliard
Karina has been a member of the facilitation team for over 5 years, a professional horse trainer for 15 years and is also a licensed veterinary technician.
Morgan is PATH international certified equine specialist and has been a member of the facilitation team for 3 years. Morgan is also an equine specialist with Triple Play Farm and a master’s candidate in Clinical/Community Psychology.