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Karen Schmidt

Karen Schmidt

For over 20 years, Karen Schmidt has been a Front Line Leadership expert. An award winning professional speaker, workshop leader and author, Karen uses her years in human resource management, corporate education, consulting and administration to nurture managers into leaders.

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Testimonials for Karen Schmidt

”The program was exactly what I was looking for – an emphasis on development of practical leadership aptitudes, and sharing of experiences across the program leadership team to build shared understanding and teamwork.”  

Teri O’Toole, WA State Manager Migration Support Programs, Australian Red Cross


”The engaging way in which Karen delivered her unique program really connected with our farm managers and assistant managers. Everyone involved took away practical tools and information that they can use every day in almost all situations.”

Dana Bourke, Human Resources Manager, Warakirri Dairies


“Very good coverage of content that addressed our real issues. Just right for local government. You also managed to establish a good rapport with the group who are not always the easiest to get on board and committed to learning.”

Head of Library Services, Local Council, QLD


“Karen’s style is very practical and energetic. The content is current and well presented through the use of interesting and appropriate activities and group work which really encourages sharing of ideas and experiences.” 

Christine Reilly, Human Resource Advisor (Staff Development), Griffith University


“The entire team found the language from the program ideal for reflective practice, an asset critical in Early Childcare. Personally I have been able to use the concepts in performance management and appraisal situations. We will definitely be working with Karen again.”

Jacqui Taylor, Centre Director, Rainbow Station Early Learning Centre


”Karen’s approach to the coaching was very user friendly and allowed each individual to focus on the areas where they felt the most benefit would be gained.”

Manuel Pena, General Manager, Projects Queensland

Karen Schmidt Travels from QLD
Fee Range: .Up to $5000

Karen Schmidt's Biography

Karen Schmidt describes herself as a workplace gardener who is on a mission to grow managers into engaging leaders. The seeds for her role as a speaker and workshop leader were planted early in her career when she encountered disengaging managers and colleagues who were performing below their capabilities. Along the way she experienced the workplace from the point of view of a staff member, manager, recruiter, contractor and consultant working in organisations of all shapes and sizes. To add to her 20 plus years of practical experience she has a degree in Adult Education from the University of Technology, Sydney and formal qualifications in Human Resource Management and Facilitation.

Karen is the author of “Keep ‘em keen: a guide for managers on engaging people of all ages and career stages”.

Today she works with current and future leaders across Australia, New Zealand and Asia in a diverse range of industries to help them create more engaging workplaces. Her clients include corporates, government, professional associations, educational institutions and not for profits.

Karen continues to grow her knowledge base through her membership of organisations such as the:

• National Speakers Association of Australia (NSAA)
• Australian Institute of Management (AIM)
• Australian Institute of Training and Development (AITD)
• Institute for Learning Practitioners (ILP)
• Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI)

In 2009 Karen was recognised by the Global Speakers Federation (GSF) as a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), the highest level of accreditation for speakers internationally and held by only 10% of members.

She was the winner of the NSAA Queensland "Speaker of the year" award in 2006, is the 2012 NSAA QLD/NT Chapter President and a member of the NSAA National Board.

In her spare time she likes to volunteer at her local community garden and grow her skills as a social ballroom dancer.

Speaking Topics Include

Over the years I’ve learnt what works and what doesn’t when it comes to developing frontline leaders. That’s why I have designed my programs differently. I focus on:


  • Showing people how to lead from day one rather than only how to manage
  • Taking them on a learning journey rather than a series of disconnected events
  • Using short sessions with practical application in between rather than long workshops
  • Encouraging self-directed learning so they can continue on their own after the program

All my programs use my unique “Workplace Gardening Philosophy” which resonates with the practical people who lead at the frontline. It is memorable and logical, which aids retention and increases understanding so people learn quicker and change faster.



To maximise your return on investment you need to assess your current situation to determine where you are and where you want to go. My Frontline Leadership Development stocktake process assesses your current strategy and tactics to help you identify strengths and areas for development.


Budding Leaders Program

Every new leader needs the foundation skills that will help them go from surviving to thriving in their role. My Budding Leaders Program is designed around 5 key competencies that will help your frontline leaders go from simply managing their teams to leading them to success.



Once your frontline leaders have completed the Budding Leaders Program they are ready to move onto more advanced skills in specific areas. This is where individual coaching can help.