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Meet Heather

Workplace Wizard, Culture Crusader, Leadership Luminary, Training Trailblazer – these are just a few ways Heather Polivka would be described by people who enjoy alliteration.   Heather is the Founder and CEO of Awesome People Leaders (APL), and as the Chief Architect of Awesome, she's the spark behind creating workplaces that buzz with energy and innovation. With over two decades of transforming company cultures, she has helped create countless working environments in which people don't just work—they flourish.


Valued by her clients as a trusted advisor and change agent, Heather's accolades include being honored as NAWBO Top 10 Women Business Owner of the Year and inducted into the 2023 class of 100 Women to KNOW. Her expertise was further sharpened as a scholar in the 2023 Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program, adding an elite edge to her already awesome skill set.


Heather's methodology? It's not rocket science; it's better. It's a fusion of deep theoretical expertise delivered in simple and actionable strategies that enable awesome cultures, awesome leaders, and well, just being awesome. Before APL, she led a cross-functional team in a Fortune 6 company resulting in a culture transformation enabling an effective integration of over 20 acquired businesses, transformed their employer brand in the talent market, and drove 400% growth.


Beyond the boardroom, Heather is passionate about helping other women entrepreneurs find their awesome, serving as a SCORE mentor and Co-Chair of the Catalyst Fund to empower early-stage women business owners. She also is active in social advocacy for child abuse prevention and anti-racism causes.


So what's Heather’s secret? A blend of cross-functional savvy, a keen eye on business strategy through people development, and an uncanny ability to turn grand visions into bite-sized, actionable realities. All of this is coupled with her engaging style, deep empathy, and a deep sense of joy and wonder.  Heather Polivka isn't just about what's possible; she's about making it happen, with a healthy dose of awesomeness.

Heather's Fans

“Heather is a passionate leader with great marketing acumen. I was particularly impressed with her ability to create the vision and strategy for large scale initiatives. Heather is a strong partner who can see what is possible and influence others to make it happen!”

Becky McEuen

Chief Human Resource Officer at Northstar Memorial Group

“Heather is a visionary leader with the keen ability to bring to life an organization’s culture. She not only has a strong ability to influence, motivate, challenge and drive excellence in execution, but she also is impactful in her ability to drive engagement deeply within teams and throughout an organization. ”

Rebecca Gish

Global Employer Branding Leader at Kimberly-Clark

“Heather is a natural leader and visionary who has the unique ability to translate her diverse background into creative, practical solutions that are thought provoking and forward thinking. Heather also has the rare ability to communicate a clear direction and influence others into action towards a common goal. Heather’s results speak volumes!”

Lisa Burton

Partner at Tercera

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