We had the good fortune of connecting with Kelly Wendorf and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kelly, what do you attribute your success to?
I want to list five: the first is my absolute love for what I do. I love it. I believe in it. I feel privileged to do it. I am one hundred percent confident that what I do changes lives and I live fully into that knowing. I think that good success of a brand has to do with the transference of that enthusiasm and confidence. Second has to do with making one’s niche as narrow and as clearly defined as possible. I used to cast a wide net with the kinds of clients that I would work with. But now I’m very selective. I only work with high performers. I only work with people who are one hundred percent committed to making their lives amazing. And I only work with people who inspire me. Third… it has to do with genuinely caring for people. If clients feel totally cared for, if they feel they are special (because they are) and deeply valued and respected for who they are, what they are showing up for, and who they want to be, that is a powerful way to bring people into the fold of your work. Fourth is a commitment to learning and growing. I am constantly reading, unlearning, learning, re-learning and strongly believe in having a coach to keep me accountable to my values. And lastly, but most importantly, I would not have any of the success that I have without a great support team at my side and who has my back. It takes a village to raise a business, and that village, and its wellbeing, is primary.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I own EQUUS – a leadership development organization that specializes in transformative change for individuals and companies. Along with my co-founder Scott Strachan, we run and operate Thunderbird Ridge – our discovery and learning campus. It is 11 acres on the foothills of the mountains in Santa Fe, New Mexico and there we engage our clients in experiential learning activities that ignite deep insight and change. Our award-winning process is called The EQUUS Experience and engages with our herd of horses (and a donkey) to teach people how to live more authentically, robustly and successfully. Our horses are strict and opinionated teachers who reflect back to people who they are minus the stories they tell themselves about themselves. We also offer remote courses, classes, ‘Wisdom Circles’ and coaching. I never chose this business…it chose me, through a very unconventional and challenging life education. Looking back now, I see those ‘tectonic shifts’ in my life were preparing me to assist others with their own lives. I was always a horsewoman, but was equally passionate about the human heart and the conditions humans need to become compassionate, kind, happy and to thrive. EQUUS reflects my studies, experience and research in neuroscience, contemplative wisdom, nature-based intelligence, indigenous knowledge, masterful coaching and systems theory…all threads that to me create the perfect platform for human transformation. I want the world to know that we have so much more dominion over who we are and who we can become, and that our partnership with nature, and ancient wisdom practices, can ground us so that we can build relevant, innovative and contemporary solutions for a rapidly changing world.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Oh that’s easy. We’d start with a baptism of tequila tasting and red and green chili enchiladas (we call that mix of chili ‘Christmas”) at Marias or La Choza. Then we’d go and listen to the live music at the historic plaza in downtown Santa Fe. I’m an early bird so we’d go to bed after that, and wake up super early to strike out on some of the gorgeous trails here in the Sangre de Cristo mountains. We’d probably do Raven’s Ridge and head up to the top of the mountain. Then we’d head home and build a fire outside and look at the stars. The next day we’d go to one of the petroglyph / cave dwelling sites – Bandalier or Puye. Then we’d want to spend some time with some of the locals here…the Pueblo people. Perhaps we would go to a Feast Day…where we could watch the traditional dances. Or we’d go visit the buffalo at Nambe pueblo and talk with the Buffalo Keepers there. Or chat with our friend Thunder Bear, a Tesuque / Nambe Pueblo member who takes care of our herd of horses and who has many many stories of his people, and the land here, and the important things that happened here before the white people came. At some point we would want to go shopping…heading to pick up an awesome cowboy hat at one of the specialists here…Montecristi or O’Farrell Hat Company. Then we must visit Keshi, to pick out an authentic Zuni hand-carved fetish. We need one more hike after breakfast at Pasqual’s – Tent Rocks, or the beautiful water fall at Rio Emedio. You have to put Meow Wolf somewhere in there too. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
So many! My team at EQUUS, most especially Stephanie Handley who started out as my assistant and has grown to Operations Director. Without her I don’t even believe I’d be writing these words. Dr. Rick Hanson is an author on many books on the neuroscience of change. He has been a friend, mentor and inspiration to me and my work. ‘Uncle’ Bob Randall is the Listed Custodial Elder of Uluru in Australia who taught me many things about our ‘right relationship’ to all of life as humans. He is a mentor, friend and spiritual teacher to me. My horses – who are my co-facilitators of transformative change with my clients, are strict teachers in the art of relational dynamics and authentic living. My mother, who has always believed in me. She is a liver cancer survivor and at 84 years old runs circles around me and has taught me that life is an endless field of possibilities, and to never buy into the victim mindset. And my two adult children – Dakota and Mackenzie – who teach me how to be a better human every day.