Kathy Kolbe

Short bio:  Kathy Kolbe is the world’s leading authority on human instincts. She solved the riddle of how all people can be both equal and different in their creative efforts by identifying the nature of universal instincts that constitute individual modus operandi. She is also an acclaimed theorist, bestselling author, educator and the founder of Kolbe Corp a publishing and consulting company for 35 years, and is now its Chairman and Chief Creativity Officer.

Long bio:  Kathy Kolbe is an acclaimed theorist, bestselling author, entrepreneur, educator, organizational strategist, consultant and speaker, and is the founder of Kolbe Corp and the Center for Conative Abilities.  She is considered to be the world’s leading authority on human instincts and conation* and has dedicated her life to helping people to find the freedom to be themselves through understanding and using their conative abilities.

The author of multiple research studies, Kolbe has proven her long-held theory that conation is a third faculty of the brain. Additionally, over 750,000 case studies have tested and validated her theories on the inherent, instinctive nature of human conation.  Kolbe’s work has earned her widespread recognition and awards.

She has authored a number of assessment and performance tools used across the world by business, schools, families and individuals, including the Kolbe A™ Index, the only valid and reliable assessment tool for measuring an individual’s method of operation (M.O.) within the conative faculty of the brain.

Kolbe’s motivation for her life’s work is rooted in her own cognitive challenges.  A severe dyslexic, she discovered early on that instinctive, purposeful action could trump any learning disability.  Additionally, in midlife Kolbe survived a near-fatal car accident that left her unable to perform simple cognitive tasks. Rather than focusing on what was lacking, Kolbe relied on deep-rooted conative instincts to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

*Conation is the faculty of the brain that drives you to take purposeful action according to your instincts.  Conative abilities are the natural, inherent and unchanging talents that, when acted on, lead to success and well-being as you use your creative energy to solve problems.

Business Advisor

Kathy Kolbe founded Kolbe Corp in 1975 and is currently Chief Creative Officer and Chair of the Board of Directors.  Kolbe Corp provides corporate training/coaching and organizational development tools for a variety of purposes, including recruitment, retention, and leadership and team tactics/analytics.

Ms. Kolbe has advised Fortune 500 companies, business executives, government leaders, universities, professional sports teams, nonprofits, management consultants, bestselling authors and job holders to maximize performance and increase productivity through identifying, understanding, and using conative talents.  She also provides advanced training to Kolbe Certified™ Consultants who consult with individuals, managers, business leaders and corporations throughout the world.

A sought-after speaker, Kolbe has delivered presentations to audiences in 17 nations (including keynoting Management Center Europe, the Global Leadership Conference, and the State of the World Conference) and has discussed her groundbreaking work on over 300 radio and TV programs.

Educational Specialist

Kolbe is founder and Chair of the nonprofit Center for Conative Abilities.  The Center disseminates information, provides training, and educates individuals and communities in practical ways to engage conative strengths for positive purposes at the highest levels of social responsibility.  Kolbe has consulted school districts, state departments of education, and the U.S. Department of Education and has designed specialized learning materials and programs that help children excel by utilizing their instinctive strengths.  She has written over 100 children’s problem-solving workbooks, used in more than 30,000 schools in 15 countries, and has set a worldwide standard for K-12 gifted education.

Kolbe is also deeply dedicated to higher education and research.  She has authored and conducted research and has lectured at over 20 universities, including Stanford, Northwestern, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Chicago, and Arizona State University (where she taught as adjunct professor in the College of Education).

Bestselling Author

The Conative Connection, Kolbe’s first book, shook the foundations of conventional wisdom regarding the mind by identifying its third dimension: the conative.  The bestselling book recounts Kolbe’s steps in putting together the puzzle of striving instincts and the development of her methodology for building upon individuals’ innate strengths.   Pure Instinct, Kolbe’s business book published by Random House, details her experience with high corporate performers and her innovative techniques for helping them maximize their potential.  Her third book, Powered by Instinct:  5 Rules for Trusting Your Guts, is an individual’s guide to increasing personal productivity and well-being by learning to unlock the power of one’s own authentic, creative self.


Kolbe has been profiled in Time magazine’s Man of the Year issue as one of the seven Americans “who exemplify the spirit that inspires…the choice for Man of the Year,” was honored by the White House as “one of America’s Can-Do People,” and was inducted into Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism Hall of Fame.  She has received numerous other honors and awards, including the 2011 Robert E. Fox Lifetime Achievement Award honoring 30 Years of Brain Research That Maximizes Mental Energy -- Boosting Business Productivity and Reducing Personal Stress.

Kathy Kolbe resides in Phoenix, Az and is married with has five children and eight grandchildren. She enjoys gardening and spending time “getting conative” with her grandchildren.