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30 Years Leading Young Adult Leaders

Kathy Graves Farley was born into nature in Honolulu, HI and this exposure to the power of the water set the tone for the life that has followed. When Mom and Dad took a military transfer to Southern California, Kathy wasted no time becoming a surfer and spending her days outdoors every moment she could. From an early age Kathy also had a profound interest in proving she could do anything she set her mind to do, and quickly learned that doing things right was the only way to do them. 


A family friend and neighbor took Kathy under his wing. His entrepreneurial spirit was contagious. She looked up to him and she was hired to work for his firm. He became her first mentor. He told her that she was capable of any job she wanted to do. The importance of focus, be willing to grow and change, and to set the bar higher at every accomplishment.   


Kathy proved herself worthy with every accomplishment, and then set about starting a family. In fact, it is the importance. of family that became so central to the development of her leadership style. Unfortunately, Kathy found herself as a single mom In the early 1990’s and living in the mountains of Southern California. She began her search for any job that could pay the rent and put food on the table for both her and a baby, and it was simply fate that put her in an administrative position at the outdoor science camp that would become her passion. It’s  family-like atmosphere, nurturing environment and love for the joy of kids that told her, “I belong here. I’ll do everything I can for this place.” Success had proven a driver for everything she had done before, it would surely work for the camp!  


For every responsibility she took on at Arrowhead Ranch Outdoor Science School, she excelled and was continually given more important work, along with the authority to get things done. Soon she was on the management team and taking the camp’s message to schools throughout Southern California. When the ranch went up for sale, Kathy approached the owners with her vision for the camp and the opportunity turned into her ownership of the school. 


This started Kathy as the leader of leaders, for young adults. Upon taking over the programs she realized that an 80% turnover in her leadership staff was making her life miserable, and there was a tad too much drama amongst the young leaders . She committed herself to successfully training and creating opportunities for every person joining her staff. Her training manuals, curriculums and leadership styles were all coordinated to create the best possible experiences for her team… and she would expect the best from them, too. Within three years, her attrition was just 20% with the scores of seasonal cabin leaders and science teachers. The positive reviews and reputation for the camp surged, and Kathy’s programs for leadership succeeded as staff sizes grew. In her near 30-year tenure as owner of the Ranch, Kathy trained, motivated, managed and supported more than 650 young adult leaders that would impact the lives of a staggering 350,000+ grade school kids; it is simply an astounding number of lives shaped by her philosophies of team, caring, success and leadership involvement. 


Now, having sold the Arrowhead Ranch Science School, Kathy is transferring her experience, tools and lessons on accepting the roles of leadership, enjoying the journey and positively impacting both a team and its goals. It is her call to arms for young adults everywhere. Kathy has published her lessons learned in a motivational book for young adults that takes the “scary” out of leadership and empowers young people for great accomplishments and self-actualization, setting them a confident path, for life. Her knowledge learned through tens of thousands of hours developing young leaders is captured in the pages of Kathy’s book “Krushing It!” 7 Keys to Successful First Time Leadership. She shares her high energy, positive and humorous speaking engagements on college and high school campuses. She also continues to do personal coaching for young leaders 18-25 years old, as well as holding workshops for first-time leaders 14 to 25 years in age.  


Kathy encourages you to reach out to her for a warm conversation about the importance of putting the right things in place for first-time leaders and her process for assuring their success that has been proven time and again. 

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The Kathy with  “K” story.


It’s quite simple...


When I was quite young I was always asked if I was a “K” Kathy or Cathy with a “C”. I didn’t realize there was another kind of spelling. There was a black and white comic strip character name Cathy that came in the papers every Sunday. I never thought it was funny, perhaps I was too young to get the jokes, but the comic strip Cathy spelled her name with a “C” and had dark hair. Being young and impressionable I thought all the girls that spelled Cathy with a C had dark hair, so all the blondes must be with a "kK" I was so naïve! Later in life when I ran the outdoor science school, all of the staff adopted nick names. and there I was, still as an adult, stating that I was "Kathy with a K”. It became a thing and stuck. It has stayed with me all these years and I still announce when asked, that I’m Kathy with a “K”. And that is a very good reason to call my first book KRUSHING IT!... with a "K"  :) 

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