Joseph Imbriano Crafting Life From Curiosity
 
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 Crafting  Life  From  Curiosity 

I help leaders through crisis. You could say I am an ER doctor for organizations.

That’s why I created OmniKai: to help leaders around the world overcome crises and build profitable, sustainable and impactful organizations that shape a better tomorrow.

My Journey ​

My journey has been a squiggly line that dances along the spine of my curiosity. You see, my soul runs on curiosity, and my curiosity runs on asking good questions. That simple and powerful formula has led me on a journey of adventure, adversity, and transformation. 

I'd like to share a part of that story with you here.

Not getting that investment banking job out of college may have been the best thing that ever happened to me...

Just a few weeks after getting what I considered to be my "dream offer," two planes brought the Twin Towers down. Our world had changed, and I was unprepared.

  

The next two years was a struggle. I couldn't get ahead. One day, driving back from another failed interview, I realized I had to change my approach.

I asked myself: “What would I do if I had 6 months and could not fail?”

That question changed my life. 2 weeks later, I moved to China.

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Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined how my life would transform…

I fell in love with China when I moved to Xi’an. The history, the vibrancy, the dynamism - I was hooked. Xi'an became home.

So I went all in. I taught myself Chinese, packed my curiosity into a backpack and traveled the far reaches of the country to meet and learn from people from all walks of life. 

I am grateful to the Chinese people I met across the country. Because of their kindness and generosity, I became a better person. 

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After a while, I established a reputation as a fixer for international companies struggling to do business in China.

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But something was missing. I needed more…

One day, in a conversation, I heard the name “Kailash.” I didn’t know what a Kailah was or did, but something inside me realized I had to go find out.

So began a pilgrimage to Mt. Kailash in Tibet that transformed my life. 

During that 9 month journey, from Borneo to Tibet, I learned the power of forgiveness and of aligning my life with mission. I realized  the importance to continuously improve, and the responsibility to serve.

I also reflected on adversity I faced when I was younger. Those challenges sharpened my curiosity and hardened my resilience.

That meant that when the world feels like it's crashing down, I could adapt to the new reality, and remain calm, and continue to make level-headed decisions in uncertainty.

And I could use that to serve.

Afterwards, I journeyed across Asia and through Africa, stopping whenever curiosity met opportunity.

After tense presidential elections in Zimbabwe, the government kicked out foreign journalists and deployed troops to their cities. That sounded like a recipe for bad things to come. I wanted to make sure that story would not go untold, so I smuggled myself into Zimbabwe as a journalist.

It was in Zimbabwe that I decided to pursue graduate school. The most important decisions happen in the rooms at the highest level, and I wanted a seat.

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I returned to the United States in style, sailing across the Atlantic Ocean.

Cape Town, South Africa to Fortaleza, Brazil. 33 days. It was my first time sailing.

Click here to hear how this sailing trip prepared me to lead in the COVID era.

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I earned a master’s degree in conflict resolution, studying messy, intractable conflicts throughout our history. During that time, I participated in international efforts to prevent current conflicts, including in Syria before the civil war.

And I got invited to decision-making tables, where I worked on building solutions to complex challenges. I built, managed, and launched products in Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas for the global team of a finance company. I also led strategy for an international fintech startup.

Around that time, I founded OmniKai, where I focus on helping organizations face strategic, operational, and organizational culture crises. At times I advise leaders and served as an executive coach. Other times, I am handed the keys and act as a fractional (interim) COO.

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A few years later, I stepped away from OmniKai to advance U.S. critical infrastructure policy.

Every day, we worked to improve the security and resiliency of the infrastructure so critical to the daily lives of Americans - including the electric grids, water supply, transportation, communication and manufacturing sectors. 

When Hurricane Harvey devastated Texas in 2017, I deployed and led 17 teams with over 90 disaster responders to provide mass care and individual assistance to survivors. ​

For 83 days, I fought to get my teams what they needed so they could help survivors.

The privilege to serve the survivors of Texas is one of the most fulfilling moments of my life.

In 2020, I joined the Cerner team to help the Veterans Affairs hospitals nationwide transition to a new healthcare records management system - in what may be the largest such transition in U.S. history. I served the Community Care and rural health areas throughout Alaska. 

I've enjoyed using what I've learned facing challenge around the world to support much needed, nationwide, systemic change in healthcare for American veterans.

Harnessing The Power Of Community

I lay awake at night thinking about how COVID and the social justice movements in 2020 present an incredible opportunity for community transformation. I think about how best I can serve. 

If the decisions that best impact the community are made when all parties are at the table, how can we get all the parties to that table?

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Sounds like a straightforward question, but the answer is not so simple. I think back to my experiences in the worlds of business, NGOs and government - both in the U.S. and abroad.

I have worked across organizational levels - from manning a customer service desk to working on initiatives and policies at the executive level that affected hundreds of millions of lives.

Here's the reality: we can no longer afford not to work with each other. If there's one lesson we can take from 2020, it's that the cost of not working with each other is too high. We need to harness all of the vibrant minds in our communities.

This is a big and messy problem, with a complicated past. ​And finding the answer requires everyone in our community. It's time to remove the barriers so that we all can participate in shaping a better future together.