Connecter, Coach, Changemaker | Minneapolis | Connect & Achieve LLC

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©2018 by Connect & Achieve, LLC.

Minneapolis, MN

Jennifer Byrnes


There I was fresh out of college, dropped into my first corporate job with LSG/SkyChefs, an international airline catering company. I was hired to lead a struggling Operations team, ranging in age and education, ethnicity, and experience--of which everyone had much more than me! I needed to quickly connect with my team to build the relationships needed to understand the business and set a plan to improve performance.

​Equipped only with a Communications degree, a smattering of experience in service industries during high school, and innate curiosity for people, I winged it! I met in-person with each employee and asked questions designed to understand their role and perspectives regarding current team strengths and challenges. I invited questions and shared information about myself. The mutual sharing formed a "communication dance," creating a sense of comfort, trust, and connection between us. These connections turned into productive relationships, which enabled me to learn what I needed to know about the work (systems, processes, metrics), identify areas of change to improve performance, and effectively lead the team as a whole. I set our plan in action, and the connected team was energized to execute our goals. Over time, employee morale, team engagement, and overall organizational performance improved--exponentially.

This experience imprinted on me and is the foundation to the leadership model I have followed throughout my career. I have built my career and reputation successfully implementing Organizational (people) and Operational (ITSM) changes, leading with a relationship mindset. From Operations Supervisor at LSG/SkyChefs to Sr. Director at CenturyLink, I have served my teams, companies, and customers by forging effective relationships and tapping individual expertise across teams, though all levels of management, with strategic partners, and customers to set the right plan, energize the people, and achieve goals. The key to success??  Better Relationships, Better Results!

After a 16-year career as an Operations/Engineering leader with Qwest/CenturyLink--last assignment was to establish a uniform, enterprise-wide Change Management practice--I decided to temporarily step away from corporate life to focus on my family's newest addition, daughter Alana, born in 2016. During this time, I started creating a manuscript based on my experiences and observations building highly effective personal and professional relationships. My book, We're All Nuts - 5 Simple Skills to Crack the Nut on Relationships was published in May, 2018. I also earned certification as a Professional Coach in 2017, and founded Connect & Achieve LLC. The mission of my company is to help business leaders cultivate confidence in and personal commitment to successful change throughout their organization.


I earned a B.A. in Communication Studies (minored in Classical Studies) from Gustavus Adolphus College, and received my Coach Practitioner Certification from Learning Journeys, The International Center of Coaching (ICF accredited). I am an active member of ICF Global, and currently serve as Partnership Chair on the ICF-MN Board.

Being a changemaker, making positive impacts, and giving back are top priorities and fuel me. I have formally mentored others through corporate programs and continue to be active in the Gustavus Mentoring Program. I also co-lead "Gusties in Business," as well as a Women Entrepreneurs group in MN.

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Learn how you can become an expert nut-cracker to form effective relationships for personal and professional success in our ever-changing, nutty world! Connecting with others is like cracking a nut--you need to know about it to properly crack it. Forming meaningful connections that result in effective relationships are the key to success, but can be a hard nut to crack in our modern world with social media, evolving technology, and a broad generational mix.


We're All Nuts is a quick read focused on helping people make meaningful connections in our fast-paced (and nutty) world. Stories and fun illustrations entertain the reader, while taking them through modern-day challenges and five simple "nut-cracking" skills to strike meaningful connections and enable effective relationships to form. This is a creative and very timely work that delivers simple, yet powerful guidance. Perfect for new or emerging leaders, and anyone looking for a quick, light, and entertaining book!

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