Guest post from Judith Umlas, author of Grateful Leadership.

Last night I had the wonderful opportunity to acknowledge someone who truly made a difference in the path I took in life, and the fantastic career that has come about as a result of it! That was Joan Lunden, Host of the network television show Good Morning America. Those of you who have read the Grateful Leadership book know the story, but for the rest of you, I will cite the very first thing I wrote in the book.

Excerpt from Grateful Leadership, Using the Power of Acknowledgment to Engage All Your People and Achieve Superior Results, co-published by McGraw-Hill and IIL © 2013

Chapter 1 “I’m Mad as Hell!” to Acknowledgment Activist:
Years ago I was troubled by the way people spoke to me or acted toward me at my job at CBS Television while I was pregnant. So I wrote an article for Working Woman magazine entitled “How NOT to Talk to a Pregnant Businesswoman.” Overnight, I became the authority on this subject, appearing on Good Morning America and a multitude of radio stations. I achieved this notoriety simply because no one else was talking about this phenomenon publicly. I had only opened my mouth (or poised my pen) and offered some commonsense, no-brainer (at least to me) “rules” of communication to create a more respectful environment in the workplace.”

Once I saw the power not only of the written word to describe a negative condition, but the phenomenal way that getting the word out can actually change that condition, I knew the power of this combination (for years people told me they took that article once they heard about it and passed it around at work, creating real change in their environments). And this was thanks to the fabulous interview the host of Good Morning America, Joan Lunden, conducted with me on the daily show that seemed to reach the entire world! So when I heard that Joan Lunden herself was coming to a bookstore near me to do a signing on her inspirational new book Had I Known, A Memoir Of Survival (Harper Collins ©2015), I  knew I had to go and personally acknowledge her for the huge opportunity she created for me. And, when you think about it, she created it also for the rest of the people in the world who have benefitted from the messages of my books on The Power of Acknowledgment and Grateful Leadership. If I HADN’T KNOWN that writing about something and then speaking about it and creating tools for change could make a huge difference in a condition in the world, I would never have written these three books on a subject that started out being as painful to me as the improper communications and gestures by colleagues when I was pregnant at work. The subject was the LACK of acknowledgment of people at work, in families, in communities and throughout the world. I saw examples of this all the time, and it hurt me on a deep and personal level. But I knew from my experience with Joan Lunden that I could actually CHANGE THE WORLD!!! And when I see the results of the work that I do with and through IIL and its many platforms for transformation, I celebrate this and the fact that Joan and the staff of Good Morning America, who originally approved me as a guest, really gave me my chance!

So to Joan Lunden, and on behalf of all of the people who have benefitted from my work over the years, my heartfelt, deepest appreciation and gratitude for showing me the way!

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Coming soon from Judith Umlas:
The International Institute for Learning, Inc. has just finished producing a six hour Grateful Leadership On-Demand Video Interactive course. It will include on camera story-telling, as well as have rich informational material, surveys, research, etc. Judith will also be writing a regular, twice monthly column for Stay tuned for more information!

Judith W. Umlas is Sr. Vice President, author and trainer at International Institute for Learning (IIL), a global corporate training company.  She is the publisher of IIL Publishing, New York, as well as the Publisher of, the web portal for many thousands of project managers around the globe. She is the author of the ground-breaking book, The Power of Acknowledgment ©2006, IIL Publishing, New York, which has been credited with changing workplaces and lives by making use of the 7 Principles of Acknowledgment she developed. Her book on Grateful Leadership: Using the Power of Acknowledgment to Engage All Your People and Achieve Superior Results was published by McGraw-Hill Professional in association with IIL in early 2013 and You’re Totally Awesome! The Power of Acknowledgment for Kids was published in late 2013 by IIL Publishing.