The Board of
Private Enemy #1

Board of Mis-Directors

These are the guys you don't want running your life - but all too often, they do. More...


Board of Mis-Directors Tactic: Take It Personally!

On The Relationship between the Board of Mis-Directors and Distractions and Seductions

Just What Is a Raging Magma Life?

Distractions? Seductions?

See our
PhenomeNEWS articles:
on Dreaming Together
on Internal Dialogue
on Distractions and Seductions


About Our Workshops

Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute; what you can do, or dream you can, begin it; boldness has genius and power and magic in it.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Diana Kardia and Karen Williams - Raging Magma Life ProductionsAbout Us

This Partnership | Karen Williams | Diana Kardia

About This Partnership
Just as each individual has their own uniqueness, each partnership has its own signature.  We first glimpsed ours as we worked together on a volunteer project - we had a similar way of balancing the details and the big picture.  As we explored creating a business together, the sense of synergy and complementarity grew, as did the sense of excitement.  We quickly realized that what we created together expressed the best of each of us while also producing something more, bigger, beyond our individual imaginations.

Now, if you've ever been in this kind of interaction with another human (we sincerely hope you have!), you know that all this wondrous potential is exactly where things start getting interesting.  Being two pretty strong willed individuals (read:  opinionated and stubborn as all get out), we quickly discovered our capacity for disagreement.  And choosing a route that required us each to actually live up to our potential also brought with it all the doubts, resistance, and sabotage tactics that such a journey entails.  Phew!  

But this is exactly where we learned (or rather, are learning) to understand what makes us a partnership.  Remember that initial glimpse?  We have a similar way of balancing the details and the big picture. On the surface that means we work well together cleaning up the typos while making sure the overall message is as clear as it can be.  What that really turns out to mean is this:  we are both excellent mapmakers.  We willingly immerse ourselves in the details, even as they take us into unknown territory, and then we use the specificity of that experience both to understand the larger terrain and to chart a course through it.  Equally important, we are not just technicians (although we do love the technical...).  Each of us brings a radical compassion and a ruthless curiosity that helps us turn any experience into something to be learned, gained, turned toward the light.  And with that we remember, and remind each other, just what all the fuss is really about.  Together, we turn the Board of Mis-Directors into a parody.

The other important signature in our partnership is this: we both like to write. So, you'll see our individual bios are rather long!

About Karen
My original background is in Information Systems.  For 15 years, I worked for a pretty wealthy private university, moving from a programmer/analyst position to senior project leader, working with almost all of the administrative information systems and as a database administrator - so I got a good view of the breadth of systems as well as an in-depth understanding of how they worked.  This has been an obvious benefit in my technological work, but also taught me much about systems in general, including human systems.

There were lots of things I liked about my job at the university: people, variety, the academic environment.  However, overall I knew it was not what I wanted to be doing and I left in 1998 to pursue - what - life, my dreams (actually, first I had to figure out what those dreams were), travel, joy.  I spent the first few months taking care of my dying father and looking closely at my life possibilities - taking into account the profound lessons I was learning with my father's process.

When I began my own consulting business (Blue Mountains Productions LLC) I started out with web design, but quickly found that my clients - mostly small businesses - needed lots more than that.  My work with Blue Mountains has expanded to include graphics and animation, video, e-commerce, search engine optimization, web marketing, and typesetting.  Though I sometimes kvetch about the fact that I pretty much constantly have to be learning lots of new stuff, I actually love the stimulation. One of my main talents (or sources of pleasure) is problem-solving, and this perpetual walk at the edge of the unknown feeds that.

I also love my clients.  By and large, they are very talented and smart people who are doing very interesting things about which they are very passionate.  I enjoy working with them, and I enjoy using my technical and artistic abilities (and sometimes business and common sense) to help them succeed.

For the past ten years I have been seriously engaged on a spiritual path.  My personal work there has included substantial leadership training, built on my own increasing maturity.  Over the years, I have learned a lot about running a business and working with people, but through my spiritual path I learned even more, and from different perspectives - all the more surprising because I had no idea this would be one of the benefits.  This has given me a very different sense of working with people and on business development, and very much influences my work.

In my years in the computing industry, and in life, I've encountered many people who have a strong desire to have their own businesses, and who have very good ideas. Sometimes they do fine right out of the starting gate, but often there's some missing piece: they are uncertain about the quality of their product, so they never quite finish it; they don't know how to market it, so they don't; they start off strong but become overwhelmed with the details of the business; they don't know how to use technology to their advantage, and don't know how to find out. Seeing these gaps, and knowing that they are all quite resolvable, was one of the main reasons I am now part of Raging Magma Life. That, and meeting Diana, who has a set of skills that is wonderfully complementary to my more technically oriented experience.

What else?  I love drumming, singing, and other musical endeavors.   I enjoy writing.  I study martial arts, love hiking and traveling generally, and do lots of other things.  I love variety, and have managed to stuff a good deal of it into my life.  And I find there's always something more, different and interesting ahead.

About Diana
In a somewhat circular logic loop, my academic background is in academia:  specifically, I studied how colleges and universities work, how adults learn, and how complex organizations function.  For 15 years I worked primarily in academic settings and with college and university faculty and administrators on an array of topics including effective teaching, developing and respecting diversity, critical thinking, experiential learning, and effective academic departments.  I've administered a $2 million budget and a staff of 30, written grants, speeches, and reports, conducted retreats and multi-day trainings, and taught and conducted research in the fields of statistics, psychology, education, and women's studies. 

What I've enjoyed most about this work is spending time with smart people on interesting problems.  All my life I've been attracted to those moments, conversations, and situations where something more is possible but there are no guarantees of getting there.  I love a good a challenge and I love the learning, courage, honesty, and the sheer grit and determination that a good challenge requires. I also have great respect for how this terrain necessitates hope and humor and is made possible only with a foundation of health and happiness as a means of returning again and again to the fray. 

For me, the ability to maintain these things (along with my sanity) rested on leaving academia as a place of employment.  I still work regularly with academics as a consultant and coach, but I now know I do this best when I'm simultaneously investing in my physical, spiritual, emotional, and sexual development--aspects of me that were never fully fed in the intellectually-focused milieu of academia.  In recent years I have been an independent consultant and executive coach and have also been developing a seminars based on the foundations of intergroup dialogue.

I am involved in the same spiritual path as Karen, and have likewise benefited from the training and challenges to be someone who has the authority to make a difference in my world, who is able to take full responsibility for my own participation, and who is willing to be accountable to the people and things that really matter in my life.  I currently live in two states (Arizona and Michigan) and when I'm in Ann Arbor I live in intentional community where I learn more about group dynamics and coempowering relationships with my neighbors. I have also learned immense amounts about vision, leadership, and showing up to what's important as the mother of a now 13-year-old boy.

When I'm not talking and being with people, most of my favorite pastimes revolve around words.  I write poetry, songs, essays, fiction, and more, and edit multiple newsletters.  I, too, study martial arts (Karen is one belt rank above me, but I'm working on closing the gap), and I dance as I often as I can. 

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