Who I Am
Writer, poet, passionate voice.
Message savant who gives voice to what’s not yet being said.
In whose presence luminescent language emerges.
Ambitious woman with a track record in business and a strategic brain.
Dancer’s spirit in the body of a middle-aged mom.
Intuitive guide committed to your living in alignment with the True Spirit of your Work.
Here to help you step into full ownership and expression of the bigger, deeper energies that want to move through you.
How I got here – the long version
My reverence for the power of words came to me early. At age 3, my parents tell me I threw myself on the floor kicking and screaming and shouting “You used the wrong word! You used the wrong word!”
My passion in high school was dance: choreographing and performing. My teacher, Elvia Marta, taught Afro-Latin Jazz Blues, and showed me how to first challenge my body, then pour every ounce of passion into my performance. She showered every student with love, no matter how clumsy, slow, or lacking in natural talent.
At 19, my dance teacher in New York told me I had the chops to be a professional modern dancer. I injured myself, then quit dance altogether, rather than defy my father, and his assertion that “God didn’t give you the body of a dancer, but he did give you a brain, and I hope you’ll use that.”
I finished my degree in research psychology at Columbia University, and took up acting, despite having neither training nor an ounce of knowledge about the industry.
Over the next eight years, I got my acting training (Riverside Shakespeare Academy), figured out how to navigate the industry so I could actually get paid work (Actors Information Project and RSA’s Career Development Course), and learned to feel and express my emotions. I was cast in roles ranging from a hippie-type at a regional theatre, a (soon-to-be-deceased) police detective in an indie thriller you can still buy on Amazon, and as a mud beggar at a Renaissance Faire, doing three shows a day spoofing Shakespeare and Greek tragedy in a mud pit with two men.
Since none of that brought in the big bucks, I supported myself teaching and doing curriculum-development at a test-prep company. Despite the severely dysfunctional office dynamics, I had fun hanging with the other young, Ivy League and artist types, debating the fine points of grammar, skirting copy right law replicating official test questions, and creating programs, including a program teaching writing to junior-high kids that some said was the best thing to ever come out of the R&D department.
In 1991, at the age of 26, my life fell apart.
After a blissful spring and summer falling in love and shooting the indie film, I came back from a long-planned trip to Europe to find my boyfriend had married someone else in the nine weeks I was gone. Days earlier, while traveling, I’d found out that the home I had grown up in had burned to the ground, along with the cat, the family photos, and all my childhood and college memorabilia, in the Oakland Hills fire. My parents separated shortly after, and the test prep company, through whom I’d made most of my money for the last five years, put all freelance R&D work on hold for 4 months.
It brought me to my knees. I cried daily. I could no longer pretend that everything was ok, or that my life was in any way on track. It cracked me wide open. Thank goodness.
I got into therapy, where I cried more, and began questioning everything I believed about myself, my family, love, and the world, a process which healed me, sustained me, and helped me to find meaningful love and work (thank you, Eric).
I took up karate three times a week, to build my strength of body and spirit, and to act out the profound anger I felt at being abandoned and rejected. (I found it helpful to visualize my boyfriend’s head when I practiced knee kicks.)
I began to separate from a circle of friends who seemed unable to hear, understand or make room for the depth of grief I was experiencing. Who seemed more interested in having someone to keep company on a Saturday night than on forging authentic connections with each other.
I let myself sink into oblivion. Spending my Saturdays watching content-free TV like Knight Rider, and walking alone through Central Park. Letting my life go empty as I slowly rediscovered myself to be someone different than I’d already known.
In 1993, I discovered the brand-new industry of coaching. By 1994, I decided I was a better coach than actress, and that coaching was more likely to bring me the money and satisfaction I was looking for.
As an early adopter of coaching, I got to hang with the big players in the coaching industry. I taught teleclasses for Coach U. I was a charter member of the PPCA (which was later absorbed by the ICF). Thomas Leonard tapped me to expand his work on distinctions and then commissioned me to write an original email series on the power of words to spur personal growth. I was tapped by author Laura Berman-Fortgang to head the committee to write the International Coach Federation’s official definition of coaching (no longer what they use, unfortunately). I was one of the first 40 people to be awarded the Master Coach certification.
Did I know anything about building a business? Only about as much as I knew about acting when I jumped into that!
Coming from the world of the starving artist, making money was never my focus. Just out of college, I lived on as little as $600 a month (and my rent alone was $450). Although I managed to build a full coaching practice in about two years, 1995 was the first year I had ever grossed more than $20,000.
After years of disappointing romantic relationships, I met Peter in 1995. We moved from New York City to Santa Fe, New Mexico, so he could study massage (he’s now a State Park Ranger and runs a business showing people the night sky in New Mexico). We married and had our amazing son, Jasper. We moved into a somewhat bumpy co-housing community with kind neighbors, beautiful land, and a view up the river to the mountains.
After moving from New York City to New Mexico, calamitous ups and down in my income robbed me of my confidence and my peace of mind. Only my sheer dog persistence and utter stubbornness (plus the fact that I was pretty much unemployable) kept me on the path of entrepreneurship.
With the right mentoring, my income crept up, and my confidence grew. I started creating original programs, like The Inspired Professional, and Work on Words (which became Put the Mojo in Your Message and now Words on Fire), and building my reputation on those. I started teaching free teleclasses to bring in new clients. My income grew up to a plateau of $75,000 a year.
In 2009, I stumbled into the world of high-end coaching. I signed up for a high-end Mastermind group I couldn’t afford, doubled my revenues, was invited to co-lead another high-end Mastermind group, and led two of my own more moderately priced Mastermind groups.
As part of that breakthrough year, I shifted my inner sense of what was possible. I stepped more fully into my life purpose, according to my hands, of the Passionate Shaman (or the Pioneering Healer). I began incorporating movement into my communication work to free my client’s writing voices and open them to the bigger, deeper, wilder words inside (the Wild Business Writing Retreat). I started to acknowledge and use my intuition more. I wrote poetry about my work, and revealed more of my personal journey on my blog.
I broke six-figures that year (though due to the mania of spending I engaged in that year, my profit actually dropped substantially), and maintained that level of income for about five years.
But after a year or two of being dazzled by the world of these high-end circles, I started to question what I’d been taught. All the business development and online marketing strategies I had taken on during those years. Strategies I’d passed on to my clients. While using those techniques had helped me grow a thriving, well-established business, they increasingly felt contrived, misapplied, alien to me. There was ample evidence they didn’t always work and for many, didn’t feel right.
I realized that many of these online marketing and business growth techniques are based on assumptions that don’t apply to my business, to my clients’ businesses. They assume that your business model is based on appealing to the maximum number of people possible. They rest on the belief that the ends justify the means, and that selling someone is always a service to them no matter what you do to make the sale.
And in the midst of this business recalibration, once again, in the way that it can, my life rose up to demand my attention.
My son developed a myriad of emotional and physical challenges that resisted conventional treatment and required constant re-evaluation and care.
As I dug in to writing my memoir, grief I had carefully tucked away before my previous life crisis swept over me like a tsunami. The grief shook me like a dog with a toy, demanding that I face this old loss in a way I couldn’t back then.
I developed rituals and practices for soothing myself in the middle of the night. I dug deep into learning about how to make peace, to move on from disappointment. I reassured those young and aching parts that yes, I would see myself to the other side of this chaos no matter how long it took. And it took a long time.
I felt alien to my own life. I no longer was sure I belonged in this house, in this town. I no longer felt myself in all the roles I played – wife, mother, business owner. l began to wonder “is this all there is?”, to question the choices I’d made, the paths I’d taken.
I turned 50.
Even as I felt forced to turn away from work and turn my attention to myself, I realized that I had long been aching to be a person who had a business. Not a business owner who tried to make time for a life around the edges of the next project, the next launch.
It became abundantly clear that I could no longer market the way I had been – three part call series, big launches, email campaigns. I didn’t have the stomach or the energy for it any more.
I decided to do the opposite of what our business culture says. Instead of pushing for more growth, I decided to find out how little marketing I could do to maintain the business I had. How simple I could make my preview calls. How few emails I could send and still fill my group.
And that worked. For a while. Until it didn’t.
And that in turn demanded that I find MY genuine, authentic, kind way to make my voice heard and connect with my audience. I sank more fully into my commitment to help people find their Potent Expression, to step out into the world as the firebrands they came here to be. I let go of the notion I needed to be something more normal, more easily understood to be successful.
I continue to be a passionate student, observer, and voice on the interplay of small business, human dynamics, and creative expression. Truthfully, the only work I really care about is the work that helps you feed your soul, to fulfill your soul’s calling and that allows you to express yourself with the full force and power of your being in the world.
I forget sometimes that not everyone thinks this way.
I am no longer caught up in the old dance of complicity with the half-truths, myths, and damaging stories about what we have to do and who we have to be to have fulfilling and thriving businesses.
I am committed to making every class or session with clients a container for Catalytic Recognition. That moment of clarity about who you are that changes forever how you move forward, that expands your capacity to be out in the world in an effective way. I am committed to helping my clients take full Energetic Ownership of the work that wants to come through them, beyond having good copy or an on-point tag line.
Like my clients, I am on the path of bringing forward the work that fulfills me the most. I have doubts. I get confused. I drift off course from time to time. I keep creating and expressing myself as best I can.
And, I never give up.
I see all around me beautiful, potent examples of creativity in motion, of passionate business and of people who allow their bigger, wilder voices be heard, who find the audiences yearning for their distinctive message.
I’d be honored to support you in finding your Potent Expression and building a satisfying life and vibrant business based on that.