“The section of Crooked River under my balcony was drab and gray and brown, and I often sat out there to watch while the little red bridge swung open to let the big rusty barges and tenacious little tugboats follow the way of that insistent water, as it pushed them toward Lake Erie. It wasn’t slick or sexy — absent the pretty appeal of jeweled blue water. This waterway was an industrious river — a working river. 

I looked at it and thought about leadership. Our age-old attraction to leadership isn’t hard to understand. Leadership is potent. It’s uncomplicated and without the need of glamour. It’s quiet but powerfully causing change amid the crooked twist and turns and unpredictability’s of business and organizational life.” 

– Damaris Patterson Price – An excerpt from an article on the origins of the name of her leadership consulting practice, Working River. 


Keeping to 30 minutes is always a challenge for us, and even more so with our guest, Damaris Patterson Price. Damaris uses story and the power of metaphor without ever losing mooring to the practical action needed to be our best as leaders. In our conversation, Damaris refers to Shakespeare and Gulliver’s Travels, but the emphasis remains, as her book promises, on straight answers about how we can unlock our truest leadership power.  

Here are a few highlights from our conversation:

  • What is a leader? The perception and attraction to becoming a leader can be the title, the money, the status, the power — in short, positional. This drive comes up empty and self-serving overall. The best leadership is to become your best in service to your people, your customers, and all stakeholders.  
  • Permission – Give yourself permission to claim your gifts, to step up and stand out. This can be especially difficult for female leaders wary of appearing arrogant. 
  • Humility – Confident, yes! Arrogant, no. The tension between hubris and insecurity. Walk as servant rather than as an expert. 
  • Fall in love with your work – Become willing to pay the price. Remain ever curious, ever learning and determined to be the best you can. 
  • Reimagining Human Resources – A consultancy; not an order taking or giving department. Solving business problems through an “HRian” lens.  

We hope you enjoy and benefit from the conversation as we did.  

Thank you for being part of this community of conversation as we collaborate to nurture A Leadership Beyond. 

Tom & Adrienne