Olalah is the chief executive officer and chief strategist at YellowWood Group, a consultancy she founded in 2003. As a result of her leadership, she has earned several awards of merit over two decades, including one for leading the company to record growth despite a crippling national recession and another for guiding the company and its clients through the uncertainties of a global pandemic. Prior to founding the firm, which specializes in strategy development, Olalah worked in a number of enterprise legal, operations, human resources, and administration roles with broad responsibilities.
An accomplished business strategist, Olalah has served as a Braintrust Contributor® for Forbes Small Business and as a featured expert for the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal. A trusted small business source for the media, Olalah's media credits include BBC, NPR, New York Times, Marketplace, and Fox, as well as CBS, NBC, and ABC local affiliates.
What started out as a birthday surprise from her husband, turned into a harrowing moment of faith over fear. Near the end of a fun afternoon of ziplining, Olalah got stuck mid-zip in the bow of the longest zip of the course. She dangled hundreds of feet above the ground as her husband, the rest of the crew and the zip guides watched in disbelief from the safety of the platform. Both of the zip guides called out to her, but she could only hear their voices as faint whispers. The safety of the platform was several hundred feet away and she was stuck due to a slipped hand break that slowed the momentum of her zip.
Olalah looked on to see her horrified husband and the concerned faces of the zip guides who began to ready themselves for her mid-air rescue. They yelled once again and this time Olalah could hear the words, "come get you". She motioned back to them. She was going to self-rescue; a technique they demonstrated during pre-zip safety. Olalah knew it would be a challenge to get to the platform. Self-rescue would require her to turn around backward and pull the dead-weight of her body, using nothing but her upper body strength, the rest of the distance of this famously long zip. One hand and count. One hand and count. It seemed like an eternity, she recalls. She felt some tugging on her gear. It was one of the guides. She successfully made it to the platform. She had self-rescued... like a boss!
What Olalah Shares As The Parallels To Leadership ...
The competitive landscape is ever-changing and it takes more than out-of-the-box thinking to stay relevant. Business leaders in both private and public sectors tap Olalah for insight and imagination about a strategic approach for achieving relevance and impact in their respective industries and sectors. Sometimes, Olalah facilitates internal strategy planning huddles for leadership teams to help them clear the path. Other times she steps into a fractional c-level role for a company and works alongside its leadership to help them do "a big thing".
Olalah works primarily with privately-held, business to business companies, but is happy to consider consulting opportunities in business to government and not-for-profit.
A self-proclaimed high-functioning introvert, Olalah delivers practical and purposeful messages and musings to audiences across the global. Known to break fire codes with record attendance, Olalah's stage presence makes you feel like you are sitting in her livingroom. Called a 5-foot-3 powerhouse in a pair of pumps, Olalah uses bits of humor, whimsy and occasional random acts of dancing to ensure she delivers both a great message and a great experience. She freely admits that taking improvisation lessons helped her release her stage jitters, well for the most part.
Whether the topic is helping business leaders win at strategy, being an inclusive communicator, or exploring the forces that fuel the small business economy, her goal with every presentation is to help people see the answers that are hiding in plain sight.
Status: Married, 2 adult children
Pets: 8-year old Havanese
Favorite Color: Purple
Favorite Season: Fall
Favorite Food: Salmon
Favorite Drink: Pepsi
Sweet or Salty: Both!
Superpower: Seeing what's hiding in plain sight
DISC: D/I and D/C
MBTI: INTJ (Yes, she's an introvert)
Clifton Strengths Top 5:
Meaning of her first name: Nothing. It was her father's idea (she's still in therapy about it)
Best advice she's received: Don't share your big dreams with small minds
Best advice she's given: Hire people who can help you solve tomorrow's problems today
Mantra: "How you treat people matters"
Copyright © 2022 Olalah Njenga. All Rights Reserved.