Leaders have a new resource to add to their libraries and daily lives. 

author Whitney Breer

Whitney Breer

Published through Fielding University Press, the business novel Leadership Starts with You: A Leader’s Quest for Leadership Excellence, penned by international executive coach, motivational speaker, and current Fielding Human Development doctoral student Whitney Breer, highlights modern leadership. It encapsulates the theory of leadership excellence in a compelling story about a fictional character named Kathleen Battlefield.  

Kathleen is in line to take over the family-owned business, but her father pulls the rug out from under her just before she is handed the reins. Angry and hurt by her father’s decision, Kathleen embarks on a journey that spans the globe to discover the secret of leadership excellence, which kindles a process of self-exploration. 

“In Leadership Starts with You, Whitney Breer offers a treasure chest full of insightful leadership lessons,” said Michael Manning, Ph.D., Faculty, Center for Values-Driven Leadership, Benedictine University, and Fielding Graduate University.Written as a business novel, Whitney entrances the reader in the journey of a neophyte leader taught by wise mentors from around the world. If you are an executive coach or teacher, this book is chock full of great ways to work with your clients and students. For leaders, this is a must-read that provides reflective examples that will aid your own leadership journey.” 

Breer’s own career and leadership journeys have been anything but linear. After obtaining her pre-med undergraduate degree, she planned to become a medical doctor. She worked in research, development, and other sectors for a while, and eventually, she discovered that her purpose and passion in life lay elsewhere. 

Over time, she moved to Germany and Japan – and then back to Germany. She earned several Master’s degrees and completed various coaching certifications. Her journey in life has been enriched by her role as a mother of twin boys, who are now in their mid-20s. She started her journey of becoming a Ph.D. at Fielding in January 2022 and is in the Human Development doctoral program. 

In 2010, during the global economic recession, Breer left her job to become an independent consultant. Today, she is a top organizational consultant, keynote speaker, trainer, and coach with over 25 years of global experience. She specializes in leadership development, change management, resiliency, and non-violent communication. One of the central themes of her work is compassion. 

“Compassion is not sympathy – it’s empathy,” Breer said. “It’s about stepping back and not judging a person or labeling them and, instead, trying to understand what drives their behavior and the needs behind their actions. For example, when I see people frustrated, sad, or angry, I wonder what’s driving that behavior. So, what do they need? These needs are normally traced back to their personal value systems. If people stopped judging others, treated others with more kindness, and reached out to people with compassion, the world would be a better place. This mindset helps me as a coach and an organizational consultant when I am called to mediate and resolve conflict in teams. It’s always heartbreaking when I meet disengaged, angry, frustrated employees. It takes a lot of work to heal those hurts, which could have been prevented in the first place.” 

Her focus on compassion and positive psychology eventually led her to fulfill a lifelong dream of writing and releasing her first book. Through her work, she has witnessed the power of authentic, positive leadership, so she decided to craft a business novel. 

Leadership Starts with You introduces the PRISM model and ways readers can implement the model in their daily lives as a leader. Breer’s approach, however, is to weave in the model with elements of storytelling. 

“The reader can feel pain through the main character, Kathleen Battlefield. They can experience it through her eyes without feeling judged for their own behavior. So, it’s not about finger-pointing or blaming others for not doing a good job. It’s about experiencing it through her eyes and, hopefully, subconsciously thinking, ‘Oh, maybe I can try that out as well.'” 

Leadership Starts with You was a bestseller in Germany, and Breer kept the English rights, so she decided to approach Fielding University Press to publish the English version. The rest, as they say, is history. Since starting her doctoral journey at Fielding, Breer has appreciated Fielding from multiple angles, such as its scholarly approaches, flexible learning style, and engaged faculty and students. She knew the book would find its home with Fielding University Press. 

Ultimately, Breer hopes that Leadership Starts with You will resonate with leaders – regardless of their specific walks of life or leadership track. She aims to achieve her personal and professional goals through her purpose statement: “My energy and positive mindset have a ripple effect on those around me and inspire them to create the change they want to have in their lives.” 

Leadership Starts with You and its related materials and work will continue to have positive effects on readers for years to come. 

Leadership Starts with You is now available in print and e-book formats. 

Purchase Leadership Starts with You
Listen to the podcast that corresponds with the book

About the Author: Kaylin Staten

Kaylin R. Staten, APR, MPRCA, is a writer and accredited public relations practitioner based in West Virginia with two decades of professional communications experience. She serves as Fielding’s Associate Director of Communications.

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