Judy Ringer

The power to shift, change, or resolve a conflict lies with you. It’s tempting to want to change the problematic person or situation, but situations are what they are. We can only change ourselves.


Judy Ringer is the author of “Turn Enemies Into Allies: The Art of Peace in the Workplace” and “Unlikely Teachers: Finding the Hidden Gifts in Daily Conflict”. She provides conflict, communication, and presentation skills training based on mind/body principles from the martial art Aikido, in which she holds a third-degree black belt. Employing best practice communication models, Judy brings to life key concepts such as self-management under pressure and appreciation of other viewpoints. Her programs are interactive, experiential and energetic.

Judy writes for numerous online and print media on the relevance and application of the Aikido metaphor, including articles in the Society for Organizational Learning’s “Reflections” magazine, The Systems Thinker and “Aikido Today Magazine”. She is also the author of three CDs, “Managing Conflict in the Workplace: An Aiki Approach”; “Simple Gifts: Making the Most of Life’s Ki Moments”; and “This Little Light: The Gift of Christmas”, as well as the award-winning newsletter, “Ki Moments”.

The owner of Power & Presence Training and founder of Portsmouth Aikido, in Portsmouth, NH, Judy is also a professional vocalist and has sung in many venues, including singing The National Anthem for the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Clients from health, education, government, and business communities include the National Institutes of Health, Institute of Nuclear Power Operations, the Chicago Federal Executive Board, Federal Bureau of Prisons, World Bank Group, Williams & Connolly LLP, BAE Systems, FIRST, Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics, Express Scripts, GE, Sony Corporation, Honda of America Manufacturing, Frito-Lay, Bose Corporation, Pearson Publishing, AthenaHealth, Maine Medical Center, Medtronic, Northeast Delta Dental, Harvard Business Publishing, Wharton Leadership Ventures, the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Arizona State University Leadership Program, University System of NH, Friends Forever youth from Uganda, Ireland and Israel, Engrenage Noir Performing Arts, The National Education Association, and the States of New Hampshire and Vermont.

Where did the idea for Power and Presence Training come from?

I developed Power and Presence Training because I’m interested in what keeps us from living fully, with personal power and center presence, especially in challenging conflict situations. We can’t control what life throws at us, but we can control how we deal with life events, difficult people and work challenges. So the idea really came from my own need to be ready for anything. I don’t like to feel stuck or controlled by events. I like to have options.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I start around 5 am with meditation, then a swim, then breakfast, then a call to my 93-year-old mom to make sure she’s okay. Then down to work. Work might be screen time (proposals, email, blogging), a workshop for an intact group, or one-on-one coaching. I wind down toward 5 pm and, if I’m not traveling for work, spend time with my husband. What makes the day productive is the time I spend in the morning mediating and exercising.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I get quiet, I get off the grid, and I try not to think about work long enough that my fertile creativity shows up by itself. If I start to bog down, I stop and take a walk.

What’s one trend that excites you?

As important as the computer, tablet, phone, and associated social media are to our professional lives, I’m excited that we’re also beginning to value being present to this moment. Apps like Calm and Headspace thrill me. I love that more and more we’re paying attention to our inner lives.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I’m very organized. I love to have a clean desk, and try to leave my office squared away at the end of the day. I prioritize my calendar and get the important tasks done first.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Fear less. Risk more. Try things. Look for what there is to be grateful for. And don’t worry so much. It’s all going to be okay.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

The power to shift, change, or resolve a conflict lies with you. It’s tempting to want to change the problematic person or situation, but situations are what they are. We can only change ourselves. The only power we have is the power to change our mindset, attitude, and emotional state.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I align with the person I’m with. I listen carefully to hear what’s important to then, what they’re really going for. Whether they’re a potential staff member or client, this one thing, more than anything else, tells me if we can work together.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

I always qualify my clients. Is this someone who wants to collaborate, who respects what I bring to the table, and whose culture reflects similar values? When the answer is “yes” I flourish personally, and so does my business.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

This is a tough question because as I look back, all the “mistakes” turned out to be opportunities. When I first founded Power & Presence Training, for example, I often said yes to work that was not exactly what I wanted to do, which is conflict and communication skills training. I would say yes to a group that wanted strategic planning, and I learned that this wasn’t what I enjoyed, even though I may have been competent at it.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Go where your energy is strong! Don’t feel you have to plan the rest of your life today, but do take stock periodically. Ask yourself if you wake up feeling fulfilled, joyful, and energized to get out of bed. If yes, keep doing what you’re doing. If not, ask what needs to change. It might be that a small shift will make a big difference.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I enjoy balancing a strenuous workload with self-care. I treat myself and my body to massage at least once a month.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

LastPass is a great way to create strong passwords and keep them in one place. It’s made my work life a lot easier.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

“Turn Enemies Into Allies: The Art of Peace in the Workplace” gives the reader key skills to turn a difficult relationship into an opportunity to grow as a leader, business owner, and entrepreneur.

What is your favorite quote?

We invent our environment by our presence in it.
–Margaret Wheatley

Key Learnings:

  • You have more power than you think.
  • When you change everything changes.
  • The centered state is a conscious choice.