Adventures of Karin Bellantoni Chief Provocateur at Blueprint Optimist, Fairy Godmother, Raconteur, Entrepreneur
Adventures of Karin Bellantoni
Chief Provocateur at Blueprint
Optimist, Fairy Godmother, Raconteur, Entrepreneur
Every week we will feature the adventures of one amazing woman. We aim to celebrate the varied and colourful roles
women play within industry and business. Experience inspirational, real stories by real women; Interested in being
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“Karin, you don’t see the glass as half empty or half full, as the saying suggests. You see it as overflowing, and you have
a large pitcher frequently refreshing other peoples’ glasses” Mary Bookman
Mary spoke these words to me in a conversation we had about her companies’ business growth strategy. I felt so honored
I grabbed a pen to memorialize the compliment. When life brings challenges I refer to my collection of feedback and use
it for fuel to relight my fire.
You see, no matter how great things are in any moment, they always change.
The better you are at changing and really embracing change, the easier it will be to get farther in life.
Driven at a young age to succeed, survive and navigate my way via the road much less travelled. Most of the paths I
walked down were risky, unsupported and had no safety net. No one taught me how to grow and change. Literally, there
were bets against me.
Little did I know these would be drivers for critical skills in helping my career take off and that I would be lucky enough
to work with amazing companies by teaming with high powered executives, early adopters, entrepreneurs and hard
working sales directors.
How do you break out of the paradigms dealt you in life? Look for the ways these paradigms, and breaking them, will
support you in your development. If you didn’t get to go to a University, become a self taught life long learner.
Acknowledge your independence and your self -starting abilities they can be as marketable as anything you learn in
school. If you got passed over for the promotion you deserved, decide you will get something even better and develop
your tenacious drive.
The skills you get from fighting back and building desire are always the ones that make you who you more successful
and outstanding. Build your identity capital.
Growing and changing does not mean you have to leave anything or any one behind. Relationships change again and
again over time and may look different however new beginnings create opportunities you couldn’t imagine until you
took that risk. Then choices become plentiful.
It is your life. Who else can lead it?
Personal leadership is what gets you out off your graffiti littered street in Queens, New York and brings you to a home
with an ocean view in Laguna Beach, California. The sound of waves vs. gunshots, the feeling of safety vs. fear-it
worked for me!
At a young age I learned that fixing problems makes you valuable.
Sometimes it was luck, most of the time it was because I just knew the questions to ask. Early on I just asked questions
over time you figure out what the right ones are.
Caring about people drove me to solve the problems, the skills came later.
Solving problems by getting the root cause came naturally to me as I was always the kid who said why…and why is
that… and why…. Even juicier than finding the root cause is being creative enough to develop the fix.
By being chosen you may not be choosing.
Many people wait to be chosen by not being clear about what they want. They get hired because someone needed then
and not because they really wanted that job. When my career has been at its most successful is when my thinking,
designing and preparing for change habits are firmly in place.
I know women that master this and others who feel unnerved if the silverware drawer is not organized but devote zero
time to organizing their future. Change is easy to master when you are being on purpose in my thinking.
Make sure you are choosing.
I have built a career that naturally uses my creative and analytical skills. I have managed and led teams to great success,
created and developed products & services for B2B and B2C business giants, built and developed many start-ups, and
sold my own after 3 years of hyper growth. I have facilitated strategy sessions with lots of smart people in many types
businesses. When it comes down to it; most of what business is about, is solving problems and building trust.
Choose who, you do business with.
I love business and have an ability to quickly assimilate how businesses work regardless of the type, service or product.
I am passionate about building businesses and have synthesized skills from taking on challenges that were a stretch for
me but gave me a broader based skillset than had I not tried new things. My career choices have been in management,
marketing, sales, sales management, human resources, recruiting, training and strategic partnerships. I chose to be a
leader in my own life, first.
The airlines have a profound message when you are preparing for a journey. Please put the oxygen mask over your
own face before attempting to help others. As a sharing oriented person or giver knows this can be difficult.
This is a shift that most women need to master before you can achieve true balance in your life and success in your
career. If you do not take care of you, no one else will.
Formative years shape you but don’t define you. You can always change!
Leaving High School in the first month of tenth grade was a decision, a choice and a destiny. While I don’t recommend
this path to others, it worked out great for me. Somehow they let you test for the GED before your friends graduate! In
my case my only parent had a tough job providing, I needed to get into the workforce sooner rather than later.
Spending three more years in a room with insane, volatile and hormonal people (teenagers) seemed crazy to me. I could
learn so much more on my own in the same time period. Sometimes I think about what would have happened if I had the
internet when I was 15!
By the time I was 19, I was a wife and a stepmother. At 21 I was a wife, a stepmother and a homeowner. My husband did
not encourage my burgeoning career at Citibank and it was causing me stress. When I was 22 my only sibling was killed
in a car crash. What little family I had handled the situation very poorly. My marriage struggled another 2 years and
officially ended on my 25th
birthday. During this time of tragedy and before my 23rd
birthday I was promoted, and
became the youngest female branch manager in the New York Banking Division history. The responsibility was
tremendous, the business customers and their struggles with growing and managing their businesses became fascinating
to me. This seed was planted and my path didn’t always seem as clear but today I see exactly how my choices, against all
odds, adversity, personal tragedy all led me to a career rich with stories of change, growth and breakthrough innovations.
My very challenging first 25 years created courage that I inspire my clients with, the glass has overflowed.
Change, more change and always changing.
Currently I am utilizing a wide breathe of knowledge gained over years of experience to solve problems converting old
school business to new school business. I take on projects that mean something to me and work too many hours. I have
experience as a strategic advisor to dozens of emerging businesses helping them accelerate growth.
In a start up I typically serve as a virtual chief of staff to the company’s’ founder. In a seasoned company I assist in
reinvention or modernization of the business strategy.
Since I returned to my homeland (New York) in 2009 the abundance of change moving at the speed of light has got me
thinking. People are living longer more qualitative lives and the American idea of retirement at 65 will be available to a
select few… women need to ask themselves: If I live until I am 90, what do I want to do in my 80’s, 70’s, 60’s and 50’s,
etc? What change could I be preparing for next?
My work allows me to show up as creative and productive in the world. I never imagined a not working in some way,
now I am giving more thought than ever to the different careers I may want to experience. Life is saturated with more
profound and satisfying experiences when approached proactively and strategically.
Strategic Planning 101
Where are you now= Reality check.
Where are you going=Your goal(s).
How will you get there=Your plans, your support, your blueprint.
There are so many new and exciting innovations taking place. Entire industries will be disrupted. And now that I come to
the end of my story I want to say thank you and leave you with this:
Think about your own choices.
What do you want to influence?
How can you create and support change?
Change for you and change for the world.