Summary: Breaking Borders By Kate Isler
Summary: Breaking Borders By Kate Isler

Summary: Breaking Borders By Kate Isler


Make friends fast. There are always people you relate to immediately. Why wait to make friends?

You are capable of way more than you think you are. Look within yourself for strength.

Taking risks pays off.

Incremental lessons and wins are worth the risk.

Be honest with yourself about what you are willing to live with and stick to it no matter how hard it seems in the moment.

Create a vision for what you want your life to be and live it. I took a chance to create the life I pictured myself living and made it happen.



You never know who you will meet that could change your life. Be ready to listen and be open to new experiences.

When a job doesn’t feel right, it most likely isn’t. Trust yourself and move on before you are pushed to move or are removed.

Be a student of people. Always pay attention to the people around you; you will always learn something from it.

Never get into a car with someone who doesn’t have the keys.



Leadership is about having people want to follow you, rather than focusing on how you will lead them.

The foundation of leadership is to create a relationship by identifying common ground to build on.

Speak up for what you want, even if it means risking something or someone you care about. Living with uncertainty is just as bad as living with thoughts of “what if.” Risk can be healthy and result in a better outcome than simply settling.

Being a couple doesn’t mean giving up yourself. Instead, learn how to use your best qualities to complement another person.

Be open to the people around you. People will provide the most unexpected experiences, many of which will have influences on your life that you may not realize until much later on.


The Working World

Being pushed out of your comfort zone is where learning happens. Doing new things is hard for everyone. Don’t opt out of trying.

Don’t take an offer at face value. Ninety-nine percent of the time, there is room for negotiating. In the business world, accepting the first offer is most often seen as the easy way out. If you believe in your position, test the waters with a counterproposal. The worst that can happen is you are turned down.

Negotiation doesn’t have to be adversarial. By raising questions, you start a discussion, and before you know it, you are negotiating.

Self-advocating is a life skill that everyone should practice. It is easier said than done in many cases, but you will always feel better if you have represented yourself honestly. Note that presentation is everything here, and tone matters.

Innovation is often welcome and a game changer. Thinking out of the box can be a huge win. Start by recruiting allies that can help you sell the idea. Set realistic targets and test before going big.



Be aware of the hierarchy and power structure in an organization. When you are new, asking clarifying questions can speed your ramp time and ease the transition into the team.

When to take direct action and when to work through others is a critical skill to master, no matter what level you are in an organization.

When you see behavior that you admire, study and copy it. When you see behavior you don’t respect, study it just as hard and remember not to replicate it.

Watching and learning from leaders, good and bad, will help you become a more effective leader



Interviewing is tricky. Being prepared, in my mind, is understanding what you are looking for in a position and an employer and being ready for a discussion—not simply having canned answers that the employer will expect and is getting from every other candidate. You are considering spending lots of time and energy for this company, so make sure you feel comfortable having honest conversations and that you can be yourself.

People make mistakes. Acknowledging the mistake and moving forward will facilitate recovery. Continuing to review a mistake will destroy a team or project every time.

People management is an art. Understanding who the people are and what their relationships are is as critical as the job they perform. Leading people is much easier when they are motivated to follow.



Make the time to build a network that is wide and strong before you need it. It will deliver value to your career and personal development. You will learn things you didn’t even know you needed.

If there is something you want, go after it. Start from what you know and how you will be an asset to a job or situation and learn the rest on the way. Women frequently start from what they are qualified for instead of focusing on all of the attributes they bring.

If there is no specific rule, policy, or law that says you can’t do something, do it. Just because it hasn’t been done before doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

Be careful what you ask for. You might get it.



The unexpected will happen when traveling. Be ready and be flexible. Don’t let it derail your trip. Be comfortable but aware. Assess the situation and act thoughtfully.

When traveling internationally, fewer, larger bags is a winning strategy!

Communication is everything. Work is necessary; however, if you are not sensitive and listening to the people you care most about, you may lose them.


Back to the Basics

Be kind to yourself and take the time you need. Women and mothers are often too busy with others to take time out to recharge. Not taking the time will impact how you show up for those that love and depend on you.

Sometimes there is no right answer and no quick solution. Continue to be present and take one step at a time.

Fight for your relationship even when you are the only one fighting.



If you have doubts, verify. Continue to ask questions. Assumptions can have long-term consequences.

Giving up is not an option! When you know that you are headed in the right direction, and there are detours or obstacles that set you back, look at them as part of the journey and not a reason to abandon the vision. Stamina is an attribute. Build it whenever you can: it will come in handy many times in life.

Sometimes the solution is multiple steps away. Plan a path to get where you want to be and count on each step to bring you closer to the goal.

Negotiation is hard! Understanding what you are willing to live with and being firm with what you want will win every time.

Trust yourself. You know you and what you are willing to risk achieving a goal.



Personal relationships are everything in a large company. People move into different roles; taking the time to invest in building relationships that are relevant to your current job is critical. But the long-term advantage of investing in getting to know people will return a lifetime of dividends. The same is true with ignoring the relationship element. The adverse effects of being labeled as unknown, aloof, or arrogant can also follow you throughout your career. Take the time!

Parenting is a constant puzzle, and sometimes doing the unexpected to de-escalate a situation and reframe it at the moment is what kids need. Separating children to their corners after breaking up a fight (physical or otherwise) will only divide them further and allow them to rewrite the story of how they were wronged. We found forcing them together was healing. As Michelle Obama put it, “You can’t hate up close.”

There is always room for women to help other women. In technology and other industries, there is the incorrect assumption that women need to make it on their own, and there are only a few seats at the table. I don’t believe that is true. Women helping women will improve their business. If you are short a seat at the table, bring another chair.