About 15 years ago, I realized that my life felt a little too comfortable. I had been fast tracked in my career and and it dawned on me that I would hit the ceiling within a few years. When I hit the ceiling, I would be positioned to coast to retirement - NOT something I wanted to do.
So I applied for a teaching job on a NATO base in the Netherlands and my partner applied for medical school. We agreed to roll with whatever opportunity presented itself.
I did not get the job.
My partner started medical school at 39 years of age.
The journey of medical school resulted in me working in three countries, six cities and nine different jobs. I used these opportunities to extend knowledge base. I completed a second master's degree, a PhD in educational leadership and earned a graduate certificate in coaching, which has arguably been the most influential training of my career.
Formal training aside, my lived experiences were extremely influential in how I approach my work as a leadership consultant and coach. For example, I have come to appreciate how structures drive behavior. In NYC, I taught in schools labelled as "persistently dangerous" and "failing" schools. One school was on the fifth floor of a walk-up building near Central Park. The first four floors were shared by two other schools. Those schools were clean, had air conditioning, and happy children's work dominated the walls. Pretty hard for my students to walk up all of those stairs into a humid, non-air-conditioned building space without having some behavioral reactions.
In Detroit I coached teachers who worked in similarly tough schools. There, I observed high school students who squeezed into desks from the 1950s with bolted down tabletops and looked at windows that were boarded up with plywood. No surprise, those structures also influenced the students' behavior.
I was challenged to think differently about online learning when I taught master-level courses at Johns Hopkins University. As a skeptic of online learning, I realized that it is possible to set up online learning that is rigorous and impactful. In this situation, I saw how structures drove positive behaviors.
The next chunk of time was spent in rural Southern Illinois. In my role as Director of Organizational Development in a healthcare setting, I explored structures that helped find a balance between loyalty and accountability. I spearheaded an in-house coaching program and helped slow down leaders across the system to have vulnerable discussions that focused on how to better meet the needs of patients in the face of challenging regulations.
While in Illinois, I started North Star Coaching and am now a full-time consultant who thrives in situations where the interpersonal dynamics are messy. My lived and learned experiences have taught me time and time again that our world is fast-paced. Leadership is tough work. Things are spinning around us constantly. It is hard to slow down, pull out of the day-to-day spin and think about how we can have the most influence in the space of so many variables we do not control.
I am skilled at helping individuals and teams identify the root causes of messy situations, as well as strategies to leverage the talent within individuals towards achieving and surpassing ambitious goals.
So what does it look like when we have positive structures? We thrive. That's the role of North Star Coaching - to help you slow down to go fast by creating structures that help you achieve your ambitious outcomes.
We help you identify where you want to go, how you will get there, and hold you accountable to be your best. We believe in you!