Artistic, grounded, free-thinker meets polished, resourceful, strategy-focused leader. After a 14-year career in the creative branding industry, Karianne made the leap to chart her own path. Knowing that her passion, skills and experience leading the global branding and marketing strategy for companies like State Farm, GE and Hewlett-Packard could be applied to more meaningful challenges, she launched Lofti, a brand education agency, in 2017.
In her first 18 months, Karianne and her team coached over 250 leaders and entrepreneurs through private consulting and original branding workshops focused on developing authentic, powerful stories. Applying the same multimillion dollar concepts she used to craft the world’s strongest, most recognizable brands, she advises individuals on how to refine and leverage their story to get them to their next level of greatness, in either their career or business.
This year, she’s excited to make her services even more accessible through the launch of Lofti Academy—an online resource designed for go-getters who want to better define their brand, on their schedule. She will be offering several digital branding courses in Lofti Academy, each comprised of easy-to-follow videos, worksheets and checklists to equip leaders with the tools needed to talk about their careers with the kind of confidence that commands a room.
In addition to Lofti, Karianne is an experienced speaker, panelist and moderator. From local venues in Chicago like EvolveHer, General Assembly, and the River North Business Association to international gigs in London with Second Home, she loves talking all things brand strategy, digital marketing, career transitions, small business ownership and women in technology. And, when she’s not immersed in the branding world, she is putting her music degree to work as a paid singer throughout the Midwest (if you ever see her out and about Chicagoland, come say hello!).
She describes her 2019 intention as, “being more completely courageous in incorporating more of my authentic self into every single thing I create, build or share, professionally. It’s what I ask my clients to do every day, and if they can do it, I should be able to as well, right? Right. So, I’m starting here...
Honestly, I’m a bit of an old soul hippie at heart. I love yoga and dance classes, practicing qigong, birding, singing at local events, and reflective time playing my crystal sound bowls. In 2019, I am launching my first podcast and YouTube channel where I will feature amazing female leaders and entrepreneurs and am excited to share more about the real me - a polished, savvy brand expert mixed with a curious, quirky adventurer. Essentially, I consider anywhere that provides an opportunity for community and connection through nature, movement or music my happy place.”
Karianne is eternally inspired by the artists, poets and creative minds that bring perspective through their words. A quote that she has always carried close to her heart is one by Marianne Williamson, the author of a A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”:
“Our deepest fear is not 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. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
She first came across this message while still wearing her corporate executive hat noting, “it hit me in a deep and powerful way that still resonates with me daily.” Her favorite thing about this quote is the challenge it sets for each of us to find our true greatness, and then give it back freely to those around us.
Instagram: @kmwardell @getlofti