After spending just a little time in Dan Kingkade’s presence, one notices he is equal parts old school wisdom and hipster contemporary. Whether speaking to a group or one to one, his cadence is always conversational and his energy engaging. Thirty years of experience is evident in his professional yet approachable manner and makes Dan a favorite training partner at Continuum’s monthly Leadership Academy sessions. At January's session, Dan educated organizational leaders on employee growth and development. Dan asserts there are simple and effective ways to engage and encourage growth and development beyond an employee’s basic competencies, to make an investment for the best chance of mutual success.
Dan’s training and development resume encompasses working with hundreds of organizations in industries ranging from healthcare, insurance, human resources, manufacturing and nonprofit agencies. Dan's experience as a former employee of Continuum EAP and diverse background in various workplace backgrounds allows him a unique insight into company challenges to bridge the desire for effective business yet inspiring employees to do their best work with a strengths-based approach.
Dan stepped away from full-time work into retirement over a year ago; soon after recognizing that retirement created a vacuum in his daily rhythm, he reached out to semi-retired friends who advised him to re-engage and pursue things he loved. He recounts the suggestion to do what is good, meaningful, purposeful, but mostly, what is optional. Dan embraced the idea and currently enjoys a part-time morning job that fulfills his desire for structure, commitment to fitness and nourishes his social interests.
This time of reflection also led him back to what he had naturally excelled at and allowed him the chance “to do his best, more often” partnering with select organizations to impart the wisdom of lived experience, proven training techniques and research-based strategies for drawing out the best in individuals and teams. Dan's primary approach in supporting organizational development involves his certification in the Gallup Strengths Finder assessment, which helps others better understand their signature talent themes and direct application of their strengths in the workplace.
Dan remembers responding to an ad in 1999 to be part of the beginning stages of training teams in engagement surveys with the Gallup Organization. Four years earlier he had joined Continuum's staff to focus on counseling, though he found the breadth of services within the EAP model to be the perfect marriage of workplace needs and human development. He also found marriage of the romantic kind with an equally talented and energetic coworker, his wife Georgette, who retired from Continuum in 2014.
In hindsight, Dan’s work experience with Continuum helped him hone his strengths while managing weaknesses. He realized being able to use his "Top 5" strengths in an EAP environment maximized his capability to quickly assess the needs of workplaces, understand how people act at work, and to become comfortable engaging audiences as his work shifted toward being one of the primary trainers for Continuum speaking engagements.
Dan is no stranger to the spotlight, though. He has performed as the saxophonist in his long time band, conducted the Nebraska Wind Symphony, and has continued to be an active trainer and mentor in the TeamMates program for eleven years. He and his wife have also enjoyed cheering on their local high school basketball team and serving as mentors to young people in their school’s community.
One of his current training passions is the psychology of humor and its impact in the workplace, noting humor is a natural platform people use to connect and feel affirmed. Dan has clearly accomplished an impressive and balanced career by taking his own advice, and inspiring others to develop their own unique abilities, but never making excellence optional.