I've Charted So Many New Courses

Hey there — I'm Cali Harris.

My work has looked less like climbing a corporate ladder & more like playing on a jungle gym.

The call of curiosity, the drive to learn, the stumbles, and the pressures of a "do more faster" mentality led me to change course many times in my career.

Charting a new course in your life's work is exciting, terrifying, inevitable. When you feel most stuck is usually when a new course is calling.

If you orient to your core values, that journey becomes easier, clearer and full of purpose.

your core values are your north star

For most of my career, I wasn't crystal clear on my values. I was already living according to them, like an operating system running in the background—but I couldn't name or apply them in an intentional way. There was so much happening just below the surface of my approach to work, waiting to be uncovered. 

When I got clear on my personal values framework—what I call my North Star—I felt more ease. Less uncertainty. More confidence. Less second-guessing & over-analyzing. More conviction in my life's work.

My core values have led me to make better, bolder decisions in my relationships, in my hobbies & passions, and in my career. 

I want to help you find and follow your North Star.

I work with entrepreneurs, CxOs, investors, and senior leaders in organizations that serve startups. My 15+ years in entrepreneurship has afforded me a 360° view of the startup ecosystem.

My superpower is holding a mirror up to your genius...through evocative questions, frameworks that work, and the deeply-held belief that when you uncover your values, you live your purpose.

My North star:

Lead with integrity
Curiosity, always
Extend invitations
Build autonomy
Connect the unexpected


Boogieing to '60s soul music, talking to someone (everyone) about their work, riding my Harley around Colorado, or lost in a bookstore.

daily rituals:

Making aeropress coffee, scribbling in my bullet journal, checking email more often than I should, and belly-laughing.

From There to Here

Wrapped my undergrad degrees (ethnic studies & journalism), while slinging beer at a brewery-restaurant, and dancing and teaching salsa and ballroom dancing.

Started a freelance biz. One of my clients—a startup founder—offered me a director of communications role. I joined the startup (& earned some startup scars). Half the startup eventually got laid off, including me. Ended up joining Techstars, a startup accelerator program, as employee #13-ish.




Got hooked on Twitter in its early days, and it opened up a world of creators and entrepreneurs to me. Started volunteering at and running local tech meetup events... we're talkin' tweet-ups, Ignite, and community manager events. Also started my master's degree in social sciences.

After running partnerships programs at Techstars, I got an offer I couldn't refuse: to build a new entrepreneurship & innovation program at the University of Colorado. I mentored grad & undergrad students, connected the university to the community, and learned that, dang, I am not patient enough for academia.


Keep going

Got myself laid off from the university (yes, there's a story there!). And against my best intentions to take a different route, I returned to Techstars to help build a new startup ecosystem development practice.

The Year of the (Start of the) Pandemic. I left my job at Techstars, in the middle of the pandemic, to launch North Star Rising. Foolish? Smartish? We'll find out...




Spent most of my time on planes, from Louisville, Kentucky (where I picked up a bourbon habit) to Taipei, Taiwan, helping community leaders grow & improve their startup ecosystems. It was the most intensive learning phase of my career so far—especially around why values-centered leadership matters.

Currently working with incredible clients (maybe you, too?), completing a leadership coach training program, and following my North Star.


I hope you'll stick around...

North Star Rising supports leaders and their teams to create values-centered work through pragmatic (not dogmatic) leadership development.

I work independently and team up with values-minded collaborators to deliver content, programming, and experiences to you and your team.

Why North Star Rising? The North Star is a point of reference that has long helped travelers orient themselves in unfamiliar terrain. Values can serve as your North Star as you navigate your life's work. Are you ready to watch your North Star rise?

The Values That Drive This Work

Values make a difference. They make change. They make right. Acting according to values can shape, change and improve our work.


I choose to create clarity in my mission, programs and services, even if doing so is at the expense of being comfortable.

Clarity over comfort

There's no one-size-fits all approach here. I provoke, empower and equip you to chart your own course.

not prescription

Follow your North Star...

It’s all rigged in favor of your growth

view more >

Better self understanding → better leadership → better results

Curiosity is the way in; self reflection is the way out

Your North Star is Rising...

Get lost in the right direction...and chart a new course in your career & life

view more >

At your own pace,
in your own time

Don’t mistake the path for the goal; the purpose of goal-setting is not goals themselves. Instead, the purpose is growth

“Given Cali's personable style, we quickly went deep and after a few sessions, I realized that while I WAS excited about leadership, I wasn't excited about leadership within my current company. Since then, Cali has been instrumental in helping me plan and design my preferred work life.”


so they say:



From one-on-one coaching for founders to helping organizations strengthen their entrepreneur-focused programs, I'll be a compass for you and your team.

Let's schedule a 30-minute call!

let's chat