As a part of my Leaders Leading People program I was afforded the privilege of attending an 8 hour training class presented by International Institute for Learning, Inc. The class was entitled “Leadership and The Power of Acknowledgment”. The course was skillfully presented by the author of the book of the same name Judith W. Umlas. Class attendees were provided a copy of The Power of Acknowledgment and asked to read same prior to the actual class.

I am currently working on my 36th year of continuous service at this facility in the Product Development Laboratories. I have seen more than my share of what at times become labeled as “the flavor of the month” in efforts to change the fundamental culture or work habits of our labor force.

In my humble opinion the course taught yesterday should be considered by your group as a mandatory part of any curriculum for employees having direct reports within the Powertrain facility.

I have had the pleasure of interacting with most if not all of you in some capacity on previous occasions and would hope that you recognize that for me to see the value in expanding this training thru the entire supervisory and managerial ranks has merit for your consideration…This isn’t a feel good about you program or process. Done correctly from the heart I believe the simple act of acknowledging people can have more of an impact on changing attitudes at our site than collectively all the other initiatives I have seen in my career.

I would respectfully submit we will be harder pressed to reach World Class status if a corner stone in the foundation on our journey is the lack of not only the knowledge but the heartfelt implementation of Leadership and The Power of Acknowledgment. Thank you for your time and consideration of this request.

Dale Williams, Supervisor, Engineering Product Development, Volvo Powertrain North America


Customer Testimonial by:

Robert Bulger, PgMP, PMP, PMI-RMP, OPM3 Certified Professional

Vice President — Health, Safety, Environment, Quality & Enterprise Program Management

NANA Development Corporation, based in Anchorage, Alaska


Like Judith W. Umlas, Robert Greenleaf (the founder of Servant Leadership) knew that you cannot build community, much less earn trust, without acknowledging colleagues, expressing gratitude and offering recognition. If Greenleaf were alive today, I believe he would say that you cannot be a servant leader without being a Grateful Leader.”

Don M. Frick, PhD, author of the authorized biography of Robert K. Greenleaf: A Life of Servant Leadership

Judy’s book takes a bold step in juxtaposing the importance of appreciation with corporate value, increased engagement, personal satisfaction and bottom line results. It serves as a road map for leaders to cultivate a more engaged, value-driven workforce.”

Joanna Durand, Managing Director, Citigroup

“Grateful Leadership” is a power resource with clearly presented insights and methodologies. In today’s world of cost cutting and expense management, the value of personal acknowledgment and gratitude is greater than it has ever been. I have personally found that the simplest gesture, or words of appreciation, can yield positive results that can’t be achieved with merely a salary. These are human concepts that can transcend across any industry, and I feel this book is a must read for any manager or team leader, in any corporation.”

- Richard D. Vega, Senior Vice President, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney

“A big thanks. I did really enjoy the session, and I really hope to attend future sessions with you.” 

- Stefano Riva, Senior Project Manager, Thomson Reuters

“Listening to Judy’s keynote speech was inspiring for me and for more than 800 Project Managers who participated in Project Management Day in Helsinki, Finland, last summer…Judy’s presentation on The Power of Acknowledgement was something new and concrete for our project management culture. I trust that every participant gained new ‘tools in their box’ to work with their project team and stakeholders. Judy was able to convey this inspirational message in a practical way to all of us. It was also highly appreciated that she was available for one-to-one discussion during the seminar.  

I hope that more people will have the opportunity to receive this message, which is very human touch in working life as well as out of office.”

- Tero Karjalainen – General Manager, Project Management Services, Wärtsilä Finland Oy

“Judith’s work is simple, powerful and beautiful. Cultivating gratitude and appreciation are at the heart of what it means to be a conscious leader. Grateful leaders help create business cultures filled with trust and authenticity and suffused with love and care. This book is a deeply engaging and practical guide that will help leaders at all levels more fully express their humanity and thereby create more endearing and enduring organizations.”

- Raj Sisodia, Founder and Chairman, Conscious Capitalism Institute, Author, “Conscious Captitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business” and “Firms of Endearment: How World-Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose” 

As with the “Power of Acknowledgment,” Judith has opened my eyes to some fabulous personal and professional tools with her insights included in “Grateful Leadership.” Recognizing my global team in meaningful ways has become more difficult as the team has been spread around the globe by time zones, but I plan to use the insights provided in the book, especially from Chapter 8 (Energizing) and Chapter 10 (Well Being) to encourage positive changes in my team’s performance. Thank you for providing such great stories and ideas! 

Whenever I think I’ve figured out the concept of Servant Leadership, I run across a resource like Grateful Leadership, that opens up a new level of appreciation for what can actually be accomplished. The real urgency that’s needed to provide timely recognition and appreciation is evident in the stories included in Judith’s book, and I’ve promised myself to engage urgently with people I work with everyday to provide the acknowledgment they deserve.”

- Steven DelGrosso, PM, Director, Project Management Competency, IBM Project Management Center of Excellence 

“I was introduced to Judy’s book through a webinar at University of Maryland University College and ever since I have made the seven Principles of Acknowledgment a part of my daily life. These principles are so profound, especially principle #4, which created awareness in me of the importance of acknowledging the work of others who are doing their best. I fundamentally believe there is good in every person and therefore by acknowledging these “good works,” a person is encouraged to continuously produce and will willingly take on more assignments. As Principle #4 says, “Recognizing good work leads to higher energy, great feelings, high-quality performance and terrific results. Not acknowledging good work causes lethargy, resentment, sorrow and withdrawal.” I believe acknowledgment brings rewards to both the giver and the receiver. I am very aware that each time I acknowledge someone, they tend to give more and as a result I receive more. This creates a win-win situation and therefore I am compelled to keep Judy’s principles always in the forefront of my thoughts and do not pass up on an opportunity to acknowledge the works of others, especially those who take pride in all that they do. 

I look forward to hearing more about the Principles of Acknowledgment because although the webinar was very informative with great participation and interaction by everyone, it whet my appetite for a more in-depth discussion of all the principles with Judy facilitating in person.” 

- Marilyn F. Walker – Real Estate Asset Management, Fannie Mae, Enterprise Risk Management

“Judy’s book takes a bold step in juxtaposing the importance of appreciation with corporate value, increased engagement, personal satisfaction and bottom line results. The book really resonated with me as it is reflective of the leadership style I strive to continuously portray within my organization. Leaders who truly embrace Judy’s very tangible differentiation between saying ‘thank-you’ versus showing appreciation and gratitude, will empower themselves and the organizations they lead to create enhanced value and purpose while improving their overall productivity and reputation. With the bottom-line driving most corporate agendas, this book serves as a road map for leaders to cultivate more engaged, value-driven workforces.” 

- Joanna Durand - Managing Director –Citigroup; Chair, Citi Program Management Council; Head, Citi Global Program Management Office

“Judy is a wonderful person. I don’t feel as though she is a service provider. She is a friend. She is professional, personable and one of the best people I know. Her high integrity speaks volumes for what she does. Her book, the “Power of Acknowledgment” (POA) is one of the best book I’ve ever read. I met Judy through a condensed webinar that she gave on POA and since timing restricted her from going through all of the seven principles detailed in her book, I had to buy the book. It was a book truly worth reading. From there I asked her to do a virtual webinar for our company and it was a huge success.” 

- Cindy Szpanelewski - MBA, PMP, T-Systems, Inc. 

” Grateful Leadership” provides the missing link for leaders who want to retain their best employees and guide their companies to maximum performance.” 

- Marci Shimoff – Professional Speaker and #1 New York Times bestselling author of “Happy for No Reason,” “Love For No Reason,” and “Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul.” 

“Gratitude is more than just a secret of personal happiness; it’s a key to inspiring high performance in the workplace. “Grateful Leadership” offers essential knowledge of the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of this life-enhancing skill of emotional intelligence.”

- Michael J. Gelm – author of “How to Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci” 

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