The Power Within: Self-Awareness Drives Business Growth
In this series of Management Team Profile Bios, we invite you to get to know the dedicated individuals who drive our organization. Discover their inspiring stories, remarkable achievements, and unwavering commitment to our shared vision. Join us as we introduce you to each member of our leadership, one profile at a time.
Kieran Canisius – CEO and Co-Founder
In Kieran’s world, there’s no room for turning a blind eye to pressing issues. She firmly believes that, whether within organizations or relationships, ignoring challenging topics is not just unproductive but a major roadblock to progress.
For her, the key is to face these uncomfortable matters head-on – to acknowledge, understand, and tackle them with purpose. In a recent interview, Kieran emphasized, “We don’t shy away from failure; we embrace it as a powerful teacher. Every failure, ours or our clients’, carries a valuable lesson.”
What truly gets under Kieran’s skin is witnessing or being part of situations where tension lurks beneath the surface, or goals remain unfulfilled due to passivity. Be it calling out the unspoken issues in the room, challenging the status quo, or breaking free from stagnant thinking, Kieran passionately and decisively brings these neglected issues into the spotlight. Why? Because she firmly believes that progress and innovation thrive when we address what others choose to ignore.
This pragmatic yet empathetic attitude was reinforced and structured during Kieran’s tertiary studies. The Dutch university she attended embarked on a then-novel ‘problem-steered’ pedagogical approach where students were continually given issues that needed to be solved (rather than the theory that had to be applied). By working backwards, students were encouraged to inquisitively peel away the different contributors and find a resolution with intuitive-driven policies that consider instead of restricting human behaviors. Therefore centralizing the problem or issues, and getting “comfortable in the discomfort”. This method was almost second-nature to her.
Kieran grew up in the United States with strong ties to her Dutch culture. She hardly ever announces herself as either one or another. She proudly calls herself both American and Dutch (which she self-describes as making her ‘enthusiastically rude’), and she’s good with that. She believes that while this way of self-acceptance can be disarming to some, it is essential in international business, enabling connections on many levels.
This self-aware and abundant mindset may have been from her upbringing. From a young age, she was conscious of the difference between her parents and other parents in the United States. How they spoke, led their lives, and dressed were noticeably divergent from those of mainstream US at that time. She had two forces tugging at her simultaneously – one being the very present life in front of her and the other being the very strong familial ties to the Netherlands and Dutch culture. Instead of seeing these as competing forces that needed to be simplified and reduced, she revelled in the plurality of it.
When talking with Kieran, the look in her eye and the tone in her voice invokes a sense of genuine interest and deep thinking. While she exudes a sense of quiet confidence, her level of excitement spikes when she discusses business issues. Talking to CEOs, founders, and thought leaders about both challenges and successes in building businesses keeps her fired up. She does not seek shelter in finding quick fixes. Instead, she enjoys the uncomfortableness of rapid changes of direction because she knows that this is the pathway and experience of finding a suitable and appropriate, not generic, answer to a problem.
The influence of Kieran’s personality on Seuss+’s modus operandi is plain to see. The interactions with their clients skew towards the human side of the spectrum rather than being transactional. They believe that performance is best harnessed when behaviors and attitudes are considered. This positively affects the quality of output and productivity.
Moreover, Kieran’s expertise extends seamlessly into the life sciences sector, where her keen insight has led to remarkable transformations. With a knack for aligning different functions, she excels in selecting and managing vendors, ensuring seamless compliance with industry standards. In the life sciences arena, precision and reliability are paramount, and Kieran’s ability to navigate complex vendor relationships and ensure adherence to stringent regulations has been pivotal in the success of many life sciences organizations.
If personal self-awareness can result in a more rounded individual and better connections, just imagine the great results organizational self-awareness can produce.
Kieran Canisius is the CEO and Co-Founder of Seuss+. She held previous roles at DOCS International (now ICON) as Global Business Director, European Business Development Manager, and Director of CRAcademy. She holds a Master’s Degree in Policy and Management of Health Sciences from Maastricht University in the Netherlands. She was born in the United States and is fluent in both English and Dutch. She lives in Amsterdam with her husband, son, and daughter.