I’ve been a personal coach since 1995, and became International Coach Federation-certified as one of the first Professional Certified Coaches in 1999, during the initial rollout of coach certifications. I am now credentialled as a Master Certified Coach (MCC). I am a graduate of Coach University, the premier coach training program in the world.
My prior business and education experience include training, facilitation, project management, and computer systems work. I worked as a training and education specialist at Polaroid and as a systems analyst at a mid-sized, top notch consulting firm, Abt Associates. I have also run successful freelance businesses: as a database application developer, and now as a personal coach.
The mother of two young women and married for 30 years, I understand first hand the challenges of creating balance and integration within a full life. In addition to work-life balance issues, I also have direct, personal experience with career change and midlife transition.
I graduated from Northwestern University, spent some time on the West Coast, and then found my way "back East" to Boston and began teaching English as a Second Language. I met my husband through some mutual friends in a Chinese restaurantfor a good looking Harvard Law student he was remarkably un-arrogant. Got my Masters at Boston University and started my teaching career there.
Jon and I were 25 when we got married. We had our first child, Emily, when we were 30. About halfway through that pregnancy, we realized very late one Saturday night sitting around the kitchen table, that after the baby was born, he very much wanted to stay home full time to parent, and I very much wanted to go back to work full time at BU. And thats exactly what we did. At the time, 1978, it was a very unusual thing to do and lots of people thought we were nuts!
Sarah was born three years later. By that time we were both working part time, which we did for many years. We had a strong commitment to egalitarian parenting and breadwinning. Eventually Jon went back to work full time.
From teaching at BU I moved into the corporate world, working in Training and Education at Polaroid, which I did for many years. While still at Polaroid I made a transition into software work, first automating my offices local program data, and then a few others. I couldnt get enough of it; eventually, I left Polaroid and freelanced database work for several years. I then went to work for my best client, a research and consulting firm.
My Workaholic Years
When I went to work at Abt Associates as a Systems Analyst, I negotiated an 80% position so I could be home 3 afternoons a week with my kids. I had a sitter the other 2 days. I gave myself permission to work as much as I wanted to, and my drive and ambition, which had been on hold for many years, came into their own. I worked all the time! I frequently went back to the office in the evenings or worked at home.
I remember one Fourth of July up in New Hampshire with my family. I sat on the blanket holding our spot for the fireworks that would come later. Jon, Emily and Sarah went off to play mini-golf, and I sat there with a 30-page printout of a C program and finally found the bug that had been making me crazy for days.
My life was WAY out of balance. I had zero time to myself. I used to get my house key and my office key mixed up. I had very poor boundaries between my work and my home! I was frequently "at work" in my head, even if my body was home. These years my husband worked full time at the law firm where he became a partner. I was the primary parent in terms of logistics and the myriad details that keep a busy household running. I think of these as our 90-mile-an-hour years, which flew by in a blur.
Finding My Way to Personal Coaching and Better Work-Life Balance
Eventually, the 90-mile-an-hour life stopped working. As my daughters became teenagers, I realized that to stay in touch with them the way I wanted to, I needed more time with them. At the same time, I had really "teched out" in my systems work I reached a point where I just never again wanted to even hear about a new operating system! Through a very challenging and non-linear process, I eventually found my way out of the systems job and into my own business as a career coach and work-life coach, while learning how to parent my adolescent daughters and how to recover from years of running on empty.
Staying in Balance: Walking the Talk
My daughters are now in their twenties, living on their own (more or less) in other New England states. I feel very connected to them. They come home often and we have those family dinners again and do a lot of laughing and talking. Its always good to see them and be together. The challenge of parenting continues its just different now.
I love doing the work I do. I get to work with incredible people,
up close and in a way that makes a big difference for them. Whether
its about work/life balance, career advancement or satisfaction,
or midlife transitions, when people hire me, they are ready to move
forward, and thats very compelling for me. One thing that
helps me stay in balance is structuring into my schedule other intense
activities besides work. I make sure to keep singing: one year I
made a CD with two friends, and for the last two years Ive
been singing weekly with a small a capella group. My fitness regime
(which was totally new for me) has now become pretty central for
me; last year for the first time I rode a 2-day, 170-mile charity
bicycle ride across MA, and Im riding it again this year.
I make a point of staying connected to friends and community. And
probably most central to my balance is my relationship with my husband.
After all the years we co-captained the crush of activity that our
household was were finding the empty nest to be another
very good stage of life.