Our Mission

Our mission is to support women to stand at the vanguard of leadership in the 21st century. Women are emerging as exceptional forces of social, political, economic and spiritual transformation. Now more than ever it is vital that women restore authenticity, integrity and transformational vision as the centerpiece of effective leadership. Our role is to support you in doing just that.


Our Vision of Leadership

Exemplary leaders move beyond the trivialized notion that leadership is simply a function of external success—taking a company public, going to Davos, or being featured on the cover of FastCompany. All of these achievements are valuable but they miss the point. Our experience shows that at its core, leadership embodies the following qualities.


that generates bold visions and holds steadfastly to them, setting aside received ideas about what is possible.


that galvanizes those around us to speak and act from the heart.


that models courage and fiercely ethical behavior.


to develop organizations that enshrine values that provide lasting benefit beyond those organizational walls.

Our Approach

We believe true leadership is a matter of personal excellence. True leaders have the ability to:

Understand and work with the mind, to respond appropriately to stress and move past self-limiting ideas.

Connect with the heart, to stay in touch with our authentic selves, so that the work we do has deep meaning for ourselves and the world around us.

Stay grounded in the body, to ensure that we prioritize self-care, use our energy optimally, and have access to the wisdom of our deepest intuition.
In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Our Conundrum as Women

Women are coming into their own as leaders as never before. Women are running for office - and winning - in record numbers. Women are becoming entrepreneurs more successfully than ever, developing ground-breaking products and services, while fueling job creation. And we now see wide recognition that organizations where more women serve on boards and in executive management do better.

While the world is beginning to recognize the magnitude of our contribution as leaders, we continue to face unique challenges. Unlike many of our male counterparts, ambitious women often juggle conflicting and demanding responsibilities without the support we need to thrive. We know that authenticity is the key to great leadership, but may have stifled our instincts for so long to succeed in a what remains primarily a man’s world that we can hardly hear our own voices or act on our deepest calling. And in our outcome-driven culture, it is easy to focus on career skills at the expense of the self-knowledge and self-care we need to come fully into our own power.

Our deepest fear is not the that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
Marianne Williamson

Our Clients

Our clients are ambitious women who are committed to bringing integrity and wisdom to their role as leaders. You may be working towards a promotion, changing jobs, starting a new business or reconsidering how to balance life and work. After years of rising success, perhaps you’ve hit the proverbial “glass ceiling” and find that colleagues who once championed you are now pushing back. Whatever your particular situation, you know you want to take yourself and your vision to the next level.

Inner Skills, Outer Excellence

We approach your goals from the perspective that personal mastery is integral to your external success. For this reason, we focus on developing inner skills that support effective leadership, including:

  • clarity of vision
  • resolve in the face of challenge
  • the ability to bring wisdom, compassion, integrity and joy to your work

For women, this often means putting yourself back at the center of your life so that you can focus on cultivating the self-care, networks of support and resilience you need to bring your vision most fully to life at work and at home.

Our Services

Our experience shows that women leaders thrive best inside networks of support. For this reason, we deliberately work with you as a team, unlike most coaches and consultants. This approach enables us to provide you with the dynamic support of two sets of skills, experience and perspectives, aligned inside a shared vision of excellence.

Individualized Coaching

The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.
Coco Chanel

Our individualized coaching program takes you through a process of lasting personal transformation that integrates the intelligences of the head, heart and body. This custom-designed process includes clear short and long term goals as well as a selection of personal practices to support those goals. More details here.

The Leadership Circle

A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
Margaret Mead

The Leadership Circle is founded on the idea that enlightened leadership is a team sport. The Leadership Circle offers you a chance to step out of the busyness of life and brings you together with a group of accomplished peers. More details here.

From The Blog

The Heart of Mindfulness

A Sioux saying has it that the longest journey we’ll ever make is the journey from our head to our heart. As an Ivy-league trained academic, some part of me still winces when I hear this kind of adage, thinking … Continue reading

The Power of Coming Back to Joy

Joy is rocket fuel. It energizes us, gets us into motion, and keeps us there. When our joy quotient is high, we have more resilience. Daily drudgery doesn’t interfere, setbacks don’t deter, and injustices don’t d... Continue Reading

When To Lean Out

As crucial as it is for women with inspired goals to lean in, if we are going to make those goals a reality, it is equally important to master the art of when and how t... Continue Reading

Lean In To Yourself

Building a vision from a place of authenticity is absolutely essential for attaining the kind of achievements that are personally meaningful as well as impressive ... Continue Reading

Who We Are

Karen Gifford

Karen Gifford is co-founder and Principal at Broad Ventures Leadership. Previously, she worked in the financial industry, first as an attorney in the private sector and at the New York Fed, where she was Counsel and Officer in the litigation and enforcement group. Her work there included the successful defense of a claim by the Central Bank of Iran for over $1 billion and co-heading an investigation into misconduct in the sales and trading of leveraged derivatives at Bankers Trust. She later worked as a consultant at Promontory Financial Group, advising global banks and financial companies on regulatory issues and conducting investigations. Karen has studied and practiced meditation in a yogic tradition for over ten years and also teaches meditation. The financial crisis and its aftermath gave her an opportunity to observe in real time the importance of inner skills such as detachment and resilience for effective leadership. Karen is active in the start-up world as a founder, investor and advisor. She holds a J.D. from Yale Law School and an A.B. from Vassar College.

Marina Illich

Marina Illich is co-founder and Principal at Broad Ventures Leadership. A Columbia and Oxford University trained educator and leadership coach, Marina is dedicated to helping leaders develop the agility, vision and authenticity needed to succeed in today’s global marketplace while adding genuine value to the world community. Previously, Marina was a scholar and professor of Religion with a specialty in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism. A Tibetan speaker and interpreter, Marina trained for over 20 years with Tibetan Buddhist leaders, learning how they implement self-awareness and "inner-training" to generate leadership skills including resilience, strategic vision and effective communication under conditions of extreme political and social volatility. Marina also co-founded and directed The Compassion Project, a non-profit dedicated to teaching mindfulness and self-regulation principles in schools, prisons, and medical centers. Marina holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University and is a certified coach from IFC-accredited New Ventures West, where she has also served as supporting faculty Her passions include qigong, travel, and anything Italian including short-pull cappuccinos.