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A Career in Three Acts

Careers are like a great novel - full of unexpected twists and turns that ultimately shape our story. My journey has been no different, taking me from the beautiful chaos of New York City to the serene shores of executive coaching. Join me as I reflect on my career in three acts.

Act I: Wall Street and Consulting and my MBA

Like any graduate of Wharton, I was swept up into consulting and investment banking. At E&Y, I consulted with fledgling start-ups in the early days of the dot-com boom as they experimented with what would be successful. I then interacted with Technology CFOs and CEOs at Silicon Valley Hardware and Software companies such as Apple and Dell, providing ratings for investors as an Equity Research Analyst. I liked it. It was exciting. But for me, it was always short term. I never wanted my boss's job and knew there was something more.

I went back to school and got my MBA at the University of Michigan, where I discovered the Center for Positive Organizations. Being in school after the grueling hours of banking and the nonstop culture of NYC - I found myself in a field on a Tuesday afternoon doing leadership games, and my world was suddenly changed. I was on to something.

Act II: Advisor and PowerPoint Extraordinaire to Executive Leadership Teams

I catapulted my immersion in new ways of seeing the world into a move to San Francisco. I joined HP and drove my convertible down the 280 every morning. Again, it was exciting. I found myself working with HR, Sales, and Finance, reorganizing a massive organization.

And it wasn’t all perfect. It’s easy to get lost in a big company. Specifically, it’s easy to feel like you aren’t having the impact you need to have. I became truly ready to try something new when I was having dinner with some awesome colleagues at HP London literally in front of Leed castle in England after my boss told me I should skip the dinner (as he did) to take a conference call with folks from back home because I would learn a lot on the call.

I wasn’t going to be involved in the call, just listening. Obviously, I went to the dinner and left HP soon after. And I moved to an amazing company called Esurance. It was much more exciting and located by the vibrant embarcadero in downtown SF. What I did mattered (well, a little bit). Importantly,I was in the center of it all. I was in the meetings with Executive Leadership. But after a few years, the job didn't evolve or change and I needed more impact. So, I went to a true startup as the Director of Finance. I didn’t make it 6 months. I no longer identified with the finance role I was in, and the demands that were placed on me were no longer either interesting or well-matched to my strengths. Trust me, they were very happy to see me go!

Act III: Executive Coach

I talk about always being a coach and my insatiable need to understand how people behave and respond. I took my first personality assessment in 1996. I read "Now, Discover Your Strengths" in 2001. The seeds were planted early. I loved discovering about myself and my community. I took my first coaching class in 2006 and launched unpackingthebox Leadership Coaching in 2008. By 2011, when I left the security of my corporate job, and I was ready! I became a full-time executive coach with my own business! It is not always pretty. Owning your own business requires hours of sales and paperwork (not my favorite). And I don’t always feel financially secure in my business. I always feel secure in my coaching. Coaching is my calling. I love helping managers in tech find more reward and satisfaction in their calling. I love helping leaders lead. I love helping those that don’t fit in find their place. I love my third act and hope to be a coach for all of the next acts.

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