A Journey of Empowerment and Transformation: An Interview with a Visionary Leader, Judy Ryan

A Journey of Empowerment and Transformation: An Interview with a Visionary Leader, Judy Ryan
Photo Credited to Judy Ryan

In this illuminating interview series, we explore the world of professional and personal development and empowerment through the eyes of a trailblazing industry leader. With over two decades of experience, Judy Ryan, the visionary CEO of LifeWork Systems, has touched countless lives, both in the workplace, at home, in schools, and in many other settings. This full-fledged training and consulting firm specializes in culture transformation, leadership development, cooperative practices, and adopting responsibility-based concepts, terms, tools, and processes.  In order to meet today’s speed of change, diversity, complexity, and technology, leaders require the nurturing of exceptional leadership in all people, no matter their age, title, role, or tenure. Judy Ryan’s unique perspective on why she started LifeWork Systems and how their approach differs from others in her industry is a story worth sharing. Join us as we uncover the inspiring story behind their journey.

Q: What drives you to keep growing in this industry daily, even when things can be frustrating?

Many executives and senior leaders struggle with really important questions like:

I love what we create when our responsibility-based culture model is adopted fully and what happens within the people and organizations when they do. People are and want to be great, and when you create the dynamics in which they can confidently learn and demonstrate this, major challenges dissolve, and people begin to create what they most want to create. This moves them from discouragement to encouragement. It always makes me think of this Emily Dickinson wrote: ‘If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain; If I can ease one life the aching, or cool one pain, or help one fainting robin Into his nest again, I shall not live in vain.” There are so many ways people suffer unnecessarily, and seeing that dissolve keeps me going. In fact, here are some testimonials to illustrate what drives us to keep growing and serving:

What people say about CultureEX Advantage

Esse Case Study in which the staff fully manages the culture internally now.

Culture change that is improving Life at Work AND Home

SVP Operations on Productivity 

COO, Erin Stamm on Before and After Culture Change 

Q: Why did you start your company?

When I learned the individual psychology of Alfred Adler, I knew it would be a huge benefit not only in my life and that of my family but in the lives of millions of people in every kind of setting. I have loved everything I’ve learned and taught to others and have not lost my passion for it. It’s that helpful and powerful! I also knew it was important to scale a model that brings out the best in all people and frees them to innovate, collaborate, and achieve their greatest visions!  I see hope and relief in people as they are supported in being empowered, lovable, connected, and contributing in psychologically safe, trustworthy environments without fear or a sense of limitation.

Without knowing it initially, I eventually saw that it made sense to take something that was giving me and those I was working with so much success, validation, support, and joy in loving their lives, that I would want to spread it to as many people as possible. I have always been finely tuned to unrest, disharmony, and unnecessary suffering, and I could see a way to take the system I had been using and bring it to anyone who wanted to grow, innovate, create incredible outcomes, and heal. I did not know the words for it at the time, but now I know I’m creating shared power, personal responsibility, emotional and social Intelligence, internal motivation, effective communication, consistent support, psychological safety, trauma-informed practices that improve mental health, inclusion, win/win dynamics, harmless ways to address negative behavior, how to help people recognize broken trust and fix it, encouragement strategies, living by purpose and values, freedom WITH responsibility, and more.

Q: How do you feel your company differentiates from other companies in your industry?

After 21 years in business, we know organizations recognize the need to evolve towards the kind of model we provide. Many are reading, listening, or watching thought leaders like Simon Sinek, Bessel van der Kolk, and Gino Wickman, and organizations like the McKinsey Health Institute or Deloitte, where each is describing the importance of a responsibility-based, purpose and values-based, shared power culture model. They know that it is vital that everybody is trained and supported to be both leaders and followers, to think critically, and to develop trust between people; this is also called a Teal model. They are now clear that this is the kind of model necessary for the evolution of organizations at this time. 

Executives generally know the importance of an engaged workforce. They also easily recognize situations from real-life stories that they can relate to and understand the difference between good and bad communication. They also recognize an effective approach versus something that makes the situation worse. Here is the daunting task…How do they train, instill, and create an engaged workforce process across a group of people, no matter the size? Across different shifts? Get them all engaged in the same process of how they treat each other and those they serve. That’s where we come in. 

We do not provide a one-time training session, a campaign, or a management mandate….we provide a way of life inside of organizations that becomes instilled into each and every person. This then naturally permeates the organization, and each person is self-monitored and self-directed regardless of whether leaders are there or not. Executives cannot be everywhere at all times. To have an engaged workforce takes a process that involves the entire workforce. Then, each does the right thing even when no one else is looking. 

This is a daunting task: cultivating responsible, fully engaged people. Leaders know this and how it impacts productivity and profitability, yet have no way of knowing how to pull it off well and sustainably. Our implementation is a differentiator because it’s proven, comprehensive, guided, integrated, and supported for long-term sustainability. Our implementation is based on best practices from education and allows every person to manage its adoption and ongoing maintenance. 

Q: What pain point does your company help solve?

LifeWork Systems solves the pain that comes from the common belief that people are broken, untrustworthy, selfish, lazy, uncaring, inadequate, and inferior. Instead, we provide conditions, conversations, terms, tools, and processes based on the belief that people are and want to be great and that it’s important to bring the best out in individuals and teams. Most people suffer because they have been conditioned to think badly of themselves and as if they do not deserve happiness or personal power until they arrive at a different state of being. The pain point we’re solving is the problem of operating from a problem orientation, the pain of living from fear and limiting beliefs instead of hopeful, inspiring, supportive ones. A problem-orientation and limiting beliefs about people are the ROOT CAUSE of every struggle and weakness individuals and groups suffer. By solving this, we ensure that people become purposeful, inclusive, respectful, trustworthy, caring, and accountable. They become the best version of themselves.

Executives and Senior Leaders: Take the LifeWork Systems Culture Wellness Assessment and get a free report.


This interview series provides a captivating insight into the remarkable journey of an industry leader dedicated to transforming lives, organizations, and communities. Her approach and organization foster empowerment, hope, and fulfillment. Through transformative insights, Judy Ryan works to inspire others to embark on their professional and personal journeys of growth and empowerment. 


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