2017: Year In Review

While I say this every year, 2017 was a particularly pivotal year for Kaleidoscope. In no particular order, here are a few highlights on why we are brimming with excitement and ready for more in 2018:

  • The company moved to Cortex Innovation Community, which we knew would give us world-class office space, but what we did not anticipate was the strong sense of community & quality networking we gained from this decision. Oh, and did I mention the unlimited supply of Sour Patch Kids and wasabi peas? Don’t take my word for it, you have an open invitation to come and visit, anytime.
  • Our team participated this month in the International Luxury Hotel Summit in Miami. The opportunity to share leading best practices with some of the best and brightest in the hospitality industry was so inspiring… the sunny weather, amazing dining scene & art fair happening at the same time were merely icing on the cake. The trip doubled as our staff holiday party so, yes, I am already thinking how I’ll ever top this next year!
  • Pantone has declared Ultra-Violet (associated with ingenuity & visionary thinking) the 2018 color of the year. Anyone who knows me knows purple is my jam. So, if for no other reason than this, 2018 promises to be a very, very good year.
  • Last, but most certainly not least, were the client relationships forged – and strengthened – this year. Our clients are, in no uncertain terms, how we exist. The faith they put in us has our team waking up every day excited to impress, serve, and perform at the highest level. To the non-profits, the liquor distributor, the real estate developers, hoteliers, and other valued clients, you know who you are. We extend our heartfelt thanks, wish you a joyous holiday season, and raise a glass in anticipation of another year as a proud and highly motivated extension of your team.

Note: if you read this far and are not already a client, let’s talk 🙂

Happy Holidays!


#DigitalDetox & Why Technology is Like Chocolate

Me? Take time away from my cell phone? Nonsense! We manage social media for a living. Our people need us!

This had been my mentality for years. Until recently something shifted. This tech addict went on a quest to see if I could increase my productivity, focus, and overall well-being – and in turn our company’s – by doing the impossible: taking a scheduled break from technology.

I have to admit, I was scared. Uncertain of this new terrain. My iPhone had become another appendage, a third limb. But with recent articles like this one in TIME & this in FastCo, I had to believe there was something to the idea that technology use has diminishing returns after a certain point.

So I decided to give it a whirl and forego looking at my phone after 5 p.m. for one week and here are the 5 things I learned along the way:

1) Technology is like chocolate

My husband was the person who was most excited about this challenge. He has for a long time wondered how someone could be so dependent on technology. After only one week of not looking at email after work, he noticed me being more present with him and the kids. Less distracted, more focused on the task at hand. I didn’t hear my daughter say even once, “mommy can you put your phone away?”. Yes, I’ve heard that on more than one occasion, sadly. So, the takeaway was: like, chocolate – and every other delicious, tasty, not great for you treat – technology is a wonderful thing, in moderation.

2) Acceptance is the first step

Just being aware of how often I was tempted to look, check, scroll, respond was a great exercise. The mere act of reflection is an important step toward positive change. This was very much the case with trying to wean off of around the clock use of my phone and other devices.

3) Faster is not always better

If I were being honest, I had become a slave to the ding of my phone. I got a little surge of adrenaline at the sound of a new email, text alert, or other vibration. Each one required my (immediate) attention. Or did it? The act of waiting to respond yielded perhaps the most surprising & yet important takeaway: faster is not always better. While our clients do appreciate our sense of urgency and timeliness (they’ve told me so), not one of the evening emails were urgent. And by waiting to respond until the next morning, some had even taken care of themselves!

4) Sleep Is life-giving

My sleep improved. You’ve heard this before, right? Not looking at your phone before bedtime yields better Zs. After this little experiment I can vouch that it’s 100% true. I didn’t just sleep better. I experienced a much more mind and soul-nourishing REM sleep that escaped me when I was burning the midnight oil by the comforting blue light of the phone. Incidentally, I am now wholly convinced that REM sleep leads to heightened creativity… but that’s a post for a different day.

5) It was really, really difficult

I’d be lying if I said this was easy. But such is life for an addict trying to give something up. And, while challenging, the break was wholly worth it. I don’t know what exactly I thought would happen, but my fears of angering clients or friends with my slower response time were unfounded. And my little girly loved that my hands were free to help her on the monkey bars, read her a book with my undivided attention and hug her extra tight. The even more difficult part is looking in the mirror and admitting that this took effort.

So now I need to schedule the next break from technology. Surely there’s an app for that? I’m Cabanne and I’m a recovering tech addict.

Follow me @Cabanne01 (Instagram), @Cabanne (Twitter)!

“If I’d Known Then”: Finding the Right Mentor

“Time is our most precious gift.” Kaleidoscope CEO Cabanne Howard recently sat down with Crain’s St. Louis for their “If I’d Known Then” column, an ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Cabanne’s mistake? Spending time on unfocused networking and mentoring relationships. It wasn’t until after starting her own company that she finally recognized what a really meaningful mentor relationship could be and the potential for that relationship if you can harness it in a more strategic way.

Get her take on the power of finding the RIGHT professional mentor here.



We’re on the Move!

What do Uber, Square, Centene & Kaleidoscope Have in Common? 

These companies – and a host of others – are all part of the Cortex family. We are thrilled to share that Kaleidoscope Management Group’s new headquarters are located in the Cortex Innovation Community at CIC @ CET.

At Kaleidoscope, collaboration, innovation, and community are central to our culture. When it comes to relationships, energy and inspiration is contagious. As you have likely heard before: you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. We look forward to inspiring – and being inspired by – our fellow Cortex neighbors in our new digs.

Check out a few snaps of this amazing facility.


We welcome you – clients & future clients alike – to come visit us and be inspired! Our​ new office address: 20 S. Sarah Street St. Louis, MO 63108. Read more about the Cortex Innovation District here.

The Kaleidoscope Lens on Business Talk Radio

Kaleidoscope’s CEO, Cabanne Howard, recently sat down with Michael Greenberg of Business Radio X St. Louis for their “Talk with the Top” segment, a series dedicated to sharing positive business stories about the St. Louis business and entrepreneurship community. She dropped some knowledge on the entrepreneur life, customized digital marketing strategies, and the future of social media.


Listen to Cabanne’s full interview here:

Cabanne Howard of Kaleidoscope Management Group

Looking Back to Look Ahead

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.” ~Steve Jobs

While we place such a premium on looking forward & planning ahead, I am struck this year by how much we have learned from the past. We are stronger and wiser from the many successes – and yes, occasional missteps – we have had with our clients over the course of the last several years.

Industries are being disrupted; the way we think about media has changed; the political landscape has been fundamentally altered. It has never been more true in my lifetime: the only constant is change.

So to keep up with the ever changing landscape, we look back in order to look ahead. So before January is in the rearview mirror, we are reflecting. And planning. Can’t wait to share more highlights along the way in 2017.

2017: A Year to Heal

Love Locks, A public installation in Paris, France


Everywhere I go people are bemoaning the past year. “Year from hell”, “Can’t wait for it to end”, “2017 can’t come soon enough”… you get the picture. The Presidential election, Aleppo, the passing of Prince, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, George Michael, Carrie Fisher, now Debbie Reynolds (ok, really not a banner year) all cited as reasons why 2016 will not be missed.

While I don’t argue that 2016 dealt the world some emotional blows, it’s gotten me wondering:

  • Can we find a silver lining and will we emerge on the other side stronger, braver and, ideally, more human?
  • Was this year really as bad as it’s being made out to be? Perhaps is there an element of “information is not always power” in that the constant deluge of information might be contributing to our feeling lost in a sea of news.

So on the dawn of the New Year… As I find myself in these conversations, I plan to stop, remember to breathe and acknowledge that we only have now. And if ultimately things are as bad as they seem then 2017 must be a year for healing. This process starts with each one of us. Happy New Year.

One Year In: The 5 Most Valuable Things I’ve Learned

One year ago today I set out to chart my own path… career-wise that is.

I leapt forth with hope and confidence that if I work hard and give everything I’ve got, that maybe, just maybe, I could have a successful – even thriving – business.

This celebration of 365 days in business does not in any way mean I don’t wake up every day praying that the dream will last, giving blood, sweat and tears to make it so. Now is when the real work begins: to ensure we sustain the company beyond the honeymoon phase.

This post is for those who believed in me, willing to take a risk on a new entity. It’s also to my tribe of supporters – family and friends – who encouraged me to take the plunge.

To commemorate this small but powerful milestone, I thought I’d share the 5 most valuable things I learned in year 1:

1)  Be flexible. KMG provides these services. But I say rules are meant to be broken. So if a client needs something and it’s within our capabilities, the answer is: “yes we can.”

2)  Find experts and keep them close. You’ve heard the old adage, surround yourself with people smarter than yourself, right? No one can go it alone and I took this to heart. Thank you to those who came on board and shared their talents with KMG and our clients. You know who you are and I am eternally grateful.

3)  Know when to say no. Sometimes the fit is not right. So, contradictory to what I say above, sometimes the answer is actually no. If I sense a misalignment of values or that a client has unrealistic expectations I have tried to always be honest with myself… and them, as it will serve us both better in the long term.

4)  Hustle. “Go the extra mile; it won’t be crowded.” – Author unknown. This is so true.  On mornings – and in many cases, late nights – when the going gets tough, we got going and I realize that this is one of the things that sets – and will continue to set – us apart.

5)  Be lucky. Lucky enough to work with clients who have heart and vision.  I pinch myself when I think about how fortunate I have been to learn from and partner with people who value our services and treat us with respect.

Bonus tip: Listen. Then listen some more. I am always working on this, but when I listen – like really listen hard – I pick up on invaluable feedback, insight – and even criticism – that informs what we do and makes us infinitely better.

This is list is just the tip of the iceberg and I am so far from having it “figured out” but I hope these may serve you if you are thinking about starting a business or are currently working for yourself. Do you have tips on how to start – and stay – in business? We are taking it one, thoughtful step at a time and can’t wait to see what the next 365 hold!


With love and gratitude,




This first anniversary post is dedicated to Jim, Isabelle and Theo. My hearts. You make all of this worth doing.




Thank you @prospernext for inviting us to participate on today's panel. So uplifting! #womenhelpingwomen #personalbranding

Thank you @behaviorgap for your authentic sharing this morning @cocastlouis. Making complex ideas simple. We can relate! Brilliant. #youbeyou #cocabiz