Mentor Spotlight: Karil Reibold
Updated: Aug 13, 2019
Today we're talking to Karil Reibold, President of Reibold Consulting. In her current role, she delivers strategic consulting services and executive coaching across diverse industries.
Karil has over 25 years of experience as a senior operating executive working with companies to define their organizational strategy and how they execute to achieve results that drive stakeholder value. In her career, she has raised over $300 million in equity financing and created returns on investment in excess of $15B.
Karil is an adjunct professor at the University of New Hampshire, Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics co-teaching Private Equity, Venture Capital Finance and the Meaning of Entrepreneurship.
In addition to her for-profit roles, she also serves as Board Chair for New Heights, an experimental learning program for 5th-12th grade focusing on STEAM, Adventure and Teambuilding. For the last 10 years, she has been a mentor or lead mentor for the Meaning of Entrepreneur class. She is a student mentor for Western Connecticut State University, and an advisor for the Mel Rines ’47 Student Angel Investment Fund. She is also an advisor to the Center for Women and Enterprise. Karil has a passion for innovation, entrepreneurship, creativity and a strong sense of commitment to her community and the investment in future generations.
Hey Karil, could you tell us a little about your career path and what brought you to your current work?
I began my career in Finance and because of my desire to learn that quickly expanded into operations. I love figuring out all of the critical components of the operation that form the strategy and the set of goals and objectives to achieve results.
During my time at Norwest Venture Partners, I worked with portfolio companies to develop and implement successful strategies. I loved the ability to work with different organizations, technologies and teams. I have done a lot of turn around work and I have created a methodology and the ability to collaborate.
You mentioned your love for working with diverse teams and technologies—but do you think there were other reasons you were led to start your consulting company?
I am a natural catalyst and always willing to work with people to make themselves, their ideas and their companies the best versions of themselves.
So how did you get into mentoring? How would you describe your approach, and what you try to achieve when working with mentees?
I was asked by Professor Sohl at UNH to be a mentor for the Meaning of Entrepreneurship class over 10 years ago. I started as a mentor, then moved to lead mentor a few years ago and this year I taught the class. My approach was learned from my time coaching for Girls on the Run. I provide objective support to them that isn’t a parent or professor. I have no preconceived ideas about who they are and help them think through things from different angles. I don’t tell them what to do.
What’s the biggest buzz you’ve got during your time mentoring?
When a student has a break through or finds and follows their dreams and you have been a part of the journey.
What would you say that you get from mentoring, both personally and professionally?
I feel that I have made life long connections with some students, professors and other mentors. I always learn something and grow from mentoring.
One word -- verb, noun, adjective, adverb -- that describes a Mentor's role.
Are there any tips you’d give to new mentors who are unsure what they’re letting themselves in for?
Really, just listening and building trust - I always view my mentee as a peer. It is also good to set boundaries and knowing that it is OK if the relationship comes to an end.
And how about mentees who’ve never experienced 1-on-1 mentoring before—do you have any advice on how they can approach the experience to get the maximum benefit from it?
I always tell mentees that mentors are an opportunity to connect, create synergies and a safe place to practice. I encourage them to really utilize their mentors, because anyone who is mentoring does it because they want to help. I find that mentees fear they are bothering their mentors because they know they are so busy. They should be comfortable working with them even if they are in a different place than they are. They can respect their mentor's boundaries but still create as rich of a connection as possible. This type of connection will serve you much further down the road. The way you show up makes a big difference - it shows initiative and not being afraid to ask for help when you need it.
How do you think mentoring can help create an inclusive culture?
Any time we create inter-generational dialog – we are fostering and creating an inclusive culture. We are learning about each other, finding different perspectives and breaking down perceptions.
Finally…funniest story from your career so far?
OMG too many to pick one! I have seen a lot of things over my career. I have at times looked for a hidden camera to see if I was being PunkD. I do remember one meeting where the VP of Marketing was telling the VP of Sales “you are invisible to me… I can’t see you or hear you.” I was the CEO at the time and it was unbelievable to see adults behaving this way in a professional environment.
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