“We must have a relationship with our work that is larger than any individual job description we are given. A real work, like a real person, grows and changes and surprises us, asking us constantly for re-commitment.”
– David Whyte
- Bridging the practical and inspirational
- Communicating in a straightforward, direct manner
- Getting to the core of the matter
- Supporting people’s uniqueness
- Trusting we have the answers inside of us
- Educating others and providing tools they can use the rest of their lives
The Red Glasses
When I was a young girl, I wore a pair of red plastic glasses wherever I went. Those glasses have been with me at each desk, at each workplace to remind me of my threads – who I am and who I’ll always be. When a colleague started to design the Coaching for Clarity logo, he decided on the red glasses as the basis for the image because of how they inspire me and how I hope to inspire others. The heart shape conveys my style – clarity with deep caring.
My Career Story
Clients often ask me, “Have you ever had career confusion or dissatisfaction?” Of course! Most often the things we are most gifted at doing for others are things that have been a source of pain or unshakeable focus in our own lives. I have always been intrigued by career and its place in life, and have striven to find purpose in it. This curiosity and drive has led me through corporate and non-profit work, as well as entrepreneurship.
I spent 9 years at Nike, mostly in IT. While IT was intellectually challenging and paid well, I was missing the kind social contribution I craved. To help get that need met, I was actively involved in Diversity Leadership within the company, which led me to pursue a full time stretch assignment in the Office of Global Diversity. I was responsible for project managing the first ever assessment of how global employees felt company culture affected their career. It was sent to 16,000 employees in 7 languages, with a 58% return rate. There was a gold mine of information and I was hooked on understanding what contributed to (or got in the way of) peoples’ satisfaction at work.
Not much long after that project concluded, I realized I wanted to be in service to individuals for more of my day – to have my time and energy support a non-profit organization. I cut my hours to 32 per week at Nike and spent my Fridays exploring – my gifts, my budget, my career aspirations and of course the Portland non-profit sector. I had a list of things I wanted very specifically in my next job (including walking to work, using existing skills, growing new ones, a certain salary), things I didn’t want (having to update my resume – funny now, since I love doing resumes!) and things I didn’t need (employer provided health insurance). People I shared my list with told me I would never get all of it.
A year after my exploration began, I left Nike for Incight , with all of my needs and wants in place! My role was to help college students with disabilities around the nation transition from education to career. I created innovative mentoring and internship programs, training students and employers alike. I guided a caseload of 80 students varying from certificate holders to PhDs, helping them identify their innate talents, define the work they wanted and create the concrete plans to start their careers. It was a joy and a stretch. I fully enjoyed my 3 years there, but with the economic downturn I was laid off in 2008 – and heartbroken.
I took the layoff as a sign to take the jump and pursue my desire to start my own practice. I knew for quite a while that I wanted to help people from all walks of life find joy in their work, so in the summer of 2008 I started Coaching for Clarity. It has been one of the biggest challenges and adventures of my life. As part of my practice from 2009 – 2013, I was honored to do contract work part-time for the global career development firm Lee Hecht Harrison, providing coaching and workshop facilitation for countless organizations, including going back to Nike and supporting their employees in advancing their careers at the company. Since November of 2013, I have been focused on my own practice 100%. This work asks for the best of me every day and I love the challenge, the work, my clients.