True Leadership for the 21st Century

What they don't teach you in B-School

About Us

The world has changed radically: we’re now networked, digital and global, facing business challenges of increasing complexity, making the relevance and challenge of leadership ever more compelling.  In over twenty years of executive coaching and leadership training, John McConnell and Virginia Rhoads have guided successful leaders on the path to becoming extraordinary leaders who meet and shape the challenges of the modern world.  They have pioneered proven methodologies to engage people mentally, physically and emotionally— unlocking vital new skills and producing tangible results.

Individuals and teams come to Jempe Center from companies including Hornall Anderson, Microsoft, DDB Seattle, Skanska, Equity Office, Find My Past, Citrix, Intertox, Boeing, Expedia, Nike, Holland America, Capital One, Rational Agency, Wilburforce Foundation, Wilderness Awareness School, Pacific Market International, Redbird, HFF and Seattle University for a myriad of reasons. Many leaders have reached the top of their professions and need to take stock, highlight assets and identify liabilities, then set goals for what’s next. Some have received workplace feedback and have specific traits to smooth out, improve on or acquire. Others are at a mid-career intersection and not sure which road to take. An increasing number want a vision, and plan, for an exciting Third Chapter. What sets Jempe Center clients apart from the rest is a willingness to dive in, get honest, achieve authenticity, do the work required - and have an appetite for adventure.


During individual sessions a plan evolves, taking into account challenges, obstacles and goals, while working on the whole leader using targeted skill development, mind/body integration and the practical application of psychology, somatics, martial arts, equine therapy and neuroscience expertise. We often use a Leadership Circle 360 feedback instrument to gather data from stakeholders to clarify areas for development.  Areas of focus include embodied leadership (breath, stance, alignment, personal power and presence), team development exercises and dynamics, mental agility, stamina, social intelligence and emotional resilience. Leaders learn to manage their time and energy more effectively, approach challenges with effortless grace, overcome and recover quickly from setbacks, truly elevate their game. The work is high impact and transformative, unleashing latent capabilities, answering that call to compelling greatness with far-reaching consequences for personal and professional achievement.  For work emphasizing team development we use the Leadership Circle "Leadership Culture" survey to help the team identify their strengths and areas they want to strengthen.

Retreats are where the intensive teamwork happens, usually over three days, in a highly engaging process, designed to grow individuals and bring out the best in a group. Retreat participants take the ferry to Jempe Center on Whidbey Island, in Washington State, where John McConnell and Virginia Rhoads live. It’s an idyllic spot on 14 acres of pasture and forest (Virginia takes one of the horses to pick up the morning newspaper while the morning tea’s brewing) and ideally situated for slowing down, examining motives, receiving feedback and returning to the office with a solid game plan and new stellar skills to put it into play.  Jempe Center retreats have also landed in Ecuador on a dirt airstrip, then taken a canoe deep into the Amazon jungle. They’ve trekked through the mountains of Patagonia, had powerful breakthroughs in mystical India and sailed the Puget Sound on a 133-foot hundred year old schooner (and National Historic Landmark) called the Adventuress, where the tides, sea-life and bracing air awaken participants from the corporate grind of quarterly results, to address what’s really going on, and make significant and long-lasting changes.  

Pricing: Jempe Center works in partnership with clients who are ready to make a commitment to creating sustainable results in a combination of 1:1 coaching (in-person, phone and video conference) and team retreats.  Contact us to explore the fit between your needs and our services and to learn our pricing structure.

To learn more about our perspective on how to select a coach, getting the most out of coaching, and more, listen to John's recent interview on the Career Cue Podcast.  


Clients can expect a multiplicity of outcomes from individual sessions and team retreats.  Jempe Center builds stronger, more effective leaders who foster extraordinary teamwork and generate sustainable business results.

Individual Outcomes

  • Identify real strengths and superpowers, build a signature presence as a leader.
  • Root out coping skills that used to work but now seriously limit effectiveness and hold the leader back - break bad habits.
  • Achieve sustainability, endurance, stamina, resilience, risk-taking, inner strength -  take the leader to the next level of responsibility, salary and position.
  • Develop a sense of ease and a connection to what’s important.
  • Find a stronger voice.
  • Overcome burnout, rediscover passion for the business.
  • Make better decisions and choices.
  • Learn flexibility and creativity to solve problems.
  • Gain a fresh perspective - “tune up” as business/life changes over time.

Team Outcomes

  • Create a leadership culture where people are real, trustworthy, and have each other’s backs.
  • Embody signature leadership presence and elevate each other to do their best work.
  • Build a strong leadership team that is passionately inspired, deeply committed, and creatively collaborative in creating brilliant work and meaningful impact.  
  • Eliminate gossip, politicking, decisions not sticking and unaddressed conflicts.
  • Operate as a world class leadership team that loves working together and delivers sustainable results.
  • Grow high-functioning cross-generational teams.
  • Solve trust issues within and between teams.
  • Ensure the team grows together as new challenges arise and new members join.

Company Outcomes

  • Resolve conflict within business partnerships or leadership teams to move on, stronger and more committed, with better tools.
  • Get ready for succession planning. Who’s ready? What do they need? How can leaders scale up to new roles? How can the Board support the new structure?
  • Discover and attract ideal clients that are aligned with where you want the business to go.
  • Foster collaborative partnerships with your customers -- you are committed to each other’s success.
  • Engender greater ownership of bottom line results from leaders and team.
  • Develop a more sustainable business capable of weathering changes in economy, culture, and customers.
  • Break the “Wall Street cycle” of short term gain at long term cost so you can create a sustainable and successful business.
  • Manage transitions: company growth spurts, expansion, contraction, change of direction.
  • Become a force in transforming your industry to serve a greater good.