For as long as I can remember, I was always interested in why people behaved the way they do. There was always something driving them to do what they did. And from the age of 5 I knew that I was going to be a doctor, fixing people and making them well! And then life throws you a curve ball and I went with the flow.
My first life changing experience was age 6 when my father lost his business and the home that he had designed and built especially for us. We moved to a new area, with new people. I learned that when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. And adding a bit of sweetener makes it easier to swallow.
My second life changing experience was going to university. I went to the University of Toronto, a very competitive, intense university. I had always dreamed of going to medical school and came up against intense competition and cheating. And the people who were in medical school seemed to be there for the prestige, power and money. I began to look at other options, to see other possibilities for making a difference in people’s lives. That led me to law school and to a more collegial university where collaboration and partnering were a way of being and succeeding. I learned that finding the right culture was critical to my success. And that succeeding meant partnering with others.
My third life changing experience was being diagnosed with MS in May 1988. I learned about the power of great relationships and being fully present in the moment. To take what life gave you and make it better. To see the possibilities in others and that hurdles are a way to learn and grow and are temporary setbacks. I developed a deep sense of freedom and independence, and started the practice of just doing it, taking risks and embracing what might be seen as failures as learning. That started the process of my reinvention as a leader in my life.
And then I found coaching. My older brother decided to explore coaching as a new skill and invited me to join him in the training. From the first class with CTI, the world’s largest coaching training institute, I knew I had found my place in the world. I embraced the power of co-creation, deep curiosity and leaned into my intuition to work with people to find their purpose and then to design and execute on an action plan for their life. It taught me about human vulnerability and that people’s self talk is what holds them back from success in their lives. I embraced the concept of “absolutely clueless” and began to see the world of possibilities like a 4-year-old child for whom every day is an adventure.
My fourth life changing experience had me step into coaching in a big way. My brother-in-law was dying from a rare blood disorder and he was making a difference in the world. He was transforming how bone marrow drives are organized in Canada. With help from others, he added over 2,000 names to the bone marrow registry in Canada and with his help, has helped save others. He died in August of 2009 and had over 1,000 people attend his funeral in honor of his life. At his funeral I made a commitment to step into my own purpose and get into action. To not let fear of the unknown or a false sense of security hold me back from what I was meant to bring to the world.
I fully embraced coaching and developed a leadership coaching practice that connected people to who they are as leaders, from the inside out. I let go of self-limiting beliefs that held me back from my greatness. I had spent the bulk of my professional career working in big professional services firms. I was well-paid and had created a bubble of security around me, yet I was not happy or fulfilled. I started to ask myself who I was and who I wanted to be. My children were in primary school and I wanted to be a role model for them. In the market downturn of 2009 I was let go from a major accounting firm and felt liberated. With the heartfelt support of my two children and my husband, I embarked on my new career as a leadership coach. I stepped out of my bubble of security and status quo and embraced the place of possibility and impact. And I learned to lean into those who love and support me and not go at it alone.
In 2011 I met David and Eddie through our common interests learning Tribal Leadership. We have been great mentors and role models for each other. Working with David and Eddie is like working with 3 heads on one body. We each have something we are crazy good at and the combination is enzymatic. By that I mean that, together, we help accelerate the growth, pace, and transformation of people and organizations, and we ourselves grow and are transformed in the process. We also have each other’s back and, with deep respect and pride, we challenge each other to a higher level of greatness that is greater than the sum of the parts. We are a partnership that lives our work.
What’s it like to work with me?
I work with executives and leaders who are yearning to be more than they are. They have achieved a level of success and know that something more is possible. And they have the courage and conviction to take a hard look at what is so and what is possible. I am a “calling forth” coach and tell it like it is for the sake of your greatness. I bring a level of respect, love and safety that has you explore what is possible for you and your teams. My purpose is to liberate your human spirit and bring joy, fun and love back to work. You can count on me to listen deeply, let go of judgment and shine the light on what is and what is possible.
My training as a lawyer and work in professional services, including executive compensation, provides a rich and useful context for the work I do today. What I have let go of is focusing on information and having the answers. The richer territory that is more elusive for my clients is what they don’t know they don’t know, and thus can’t even question. I have the questions that will guide you to your own answers and new possibilities. I am Cultural Yoda with the purpose of creating more conscious businesses where people feel valued and contribute to their fullest potential.
What you will get from working with me is deeper insight into who you are as a leader and what is holding you back from achieving your greatness. You will learn how to bring your full consciousness to the surface, define who you are as leader and bring it all into action. You move from autopilot to conscious choice, and your teams will take on a new way of being that will drive results. You will create the space of “gracious collaboration” where everyone has a contribution to make and how it is made is perfect just the way it is. You will see improved collaboration, creativity and innovation.
2009 to Present: Executive Coach
- Coached and facilitated workshops with executives in the hospitality industry in North and South America during a 6-month leadership development program
- Coached and facilitated team meetings with high potential managers at a consumer packaged goods company during a 12-month leadership development program
- Coached senior level professionals in professional services and investment banking firms in Canada and the US around specific leadership and relationship building skills
- Coached senior executives in various start-up companies in the technology space
- Coached new leaders in various industries across Canada and the US as they move from individual contributor to managers leading teams
- Coached women leaders who are looking to bring their whole selves to work
1984 – 2009
Partner consulting, largely to executives and boards of directors for publicly traded and privately held companies primarily in technology, life sciences, telecommunications and mining industries.
Education and Training
- Professional Certified Coach (PCC) with the International Coach Federation
- CPCC (Certified Professional Coactive Coach) with the Coaches Training Institute (CTI)
- SHRP (Senior Human Resources Professional) with the HRPA
- Approved Tribal Leader with CultureSync
- LLB in 1983 (Queen’s University, Kingston Ontario)
- Member of the Bar of the Province of Ontario (since 1984)
- BSc degree in biochemistry and reproductive biology in 1979 (University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario)
Professional Organizations and Affiliations
- Approved Tribal Leader at CultureSync
- Member of the International Coach Federation and the Toronto Chapter
- Member of the Law Society of Upper Canada
- Member of the Human Resources Professional Association
- Board and Finance Committee Member at Covenant House, Toronto, Canada
- Canadian, living in Toronto, Canada
- Married with 2 awesome teenagers
- Other interests: exercising, meditating, theatre, cycling, reading, improvisational comedy, writing, public speaking