I grew up in a small town Pennsylvania Dutch farm family and believed I should go to college even though no one else in my family ever had. Everyone told me I should apply to multiple art schools, but I only had one choice in my heart, everyone told me that school was very hard to get into. I did everything I could to get accepted, and I did.
This is where I learned to blaze my own trail.
I chose Tyler because I wanted to study art in Rome, Italy. It wasn’t until I stepped off the plane that I fully understood how different my life was about to become. Travel changed everything.
This is where I learned to be adventurous.
After leaving art school, I moved in with eight people and immersed myself in the Philadelphia rock ‘n roll scene. I saw live music nearly every night and surrounded myself with artists, musicians, writers, and creative visionaries from all walks of life. I dyed my hair a million different colors, wore a lot of black, danced a lot, stayed out until dawn, drank Jaeger Meister and worked only when I needed to survive.
This is where I learned to be free.
My best friend and I found four trash picked bags of fabric. We took the last $20 we had, bought 8 used jean jackets and started an alternative rock clothing business. Within three months we were on the cover of a major Philadelphia newspaper and were designing one-of-a-kind art to wear stage clothing for musicians like Alice Cooper.
This is where I learned to be bold.
I’ve never owned pumps or a business suit; I’ve never worked a 9-to-5 job. My motto for most of my life was; never work more than three days in a row for anybody but myself.
This is where I learned to be resilient… and okay with an occasional week of eating only ramen noodle dinners.
I moved to NYC to be the assistant director of an art gallery. I didn’t like it at all; it was prestigious but soulless – I left as fast as I could.
This is where I learned to make choices based on values and passion.
I got a call from a friend who asked me to style some fashion photo shoots for a magazine called d8. I said yes and in a week became the director of public relations and marketing. The magazine had a limited budget but beautifully designed, so we did everything to make it work. Including working crazy hours to design the entire thing in marathon weekends without sleep.
This is where I learned the power of an amazing, connected team.
I’ve traveled to a whole lot of countries and experienced a lot of different cultures. This is where I learned several super important truths about life.
I learned if you really what to do something, you can if you are inspired.I learned that life is about joy, experience, and meeting complete strangers who become friends in 30 seconds. It’s about relishing the way the light hits the flowers against the stone wall as the sun sets in Otovalo. Life is really about how the family in Libertad with no running water and $5 a week salaries laugh more than any family I’ve ever met before. Life is about the joy in the voice of the 80-year-old man singing a song about the street we are trying to find in Dublin. Life is about the German family opening their home and their hearts to make homesick college students feel like they are home. Life is about taking the time to slow down and really experience your surroundings and the people who are walking this crazy round ball with you.
This is where I learned life is about experience.
In my quest to never work more than three days in a row for someone other than myself I had a lot of projects and hobbies that brought in income. Painting, handmade bags, day of the dead sugar skull classes, freelance design projects, freelance marketing projects, freelance business start-up consulting, and freelance dream start-up consulting.
This is where I learned to be resourceful and believe what I had to offer has a value in the world.
One afternoon when my friend said, “I want to open a music school.” I became the business startup consultant and first GM for School of Rock. It was small and super grassroots but was a totally crazy, amazing idea. I slept very little and threw my all into it and it became everything I hoped it would. Now there were 180 branches across the country, and I help create the movement to save rock ‘n roll, one child at a time.
This is where I learned you really can create something from nothing and anything is possible.
I found out about coaching in a conversation with someone, as soon as I was home I googled it to see what it was all about. What I read changed my life. I enrolled in coach training school in less than a month. I took my first class CoachVille and announced that I would play a leadership role in the school, my partner’s response was, “you don’t even know how to coach yet” and I said that’s the easy part just watch me.
This is where I learned clear intention is everything.
My fiancé was diagnosed with leukemia in May of 2010. He fought hard for two and half years, chemo, radiation, stem cell transplant and many days in the hospital. Ultimately in October of 2012, he lost his battle. This is where I learned to be patient, to be okay with gray area and even more importantly to know that even in the darkest hours there is beauty and hope.
This is also where I learned to be vulnerable, open and courageous.
In September 2010 I was offered the position of general manager of CoachVille and in 2014 became the CXO. It came at just the right time and created an environment of amazing people and life-changing ideas. I make mistakes, I have epic failures, I do extraordinary things, and I connect deeply with people all over the world. It has been an incredible laboratory of leadership for me, and I learn something new every day.
This is where I am learning to be better and strive for mastery.
Everything above leads me to this moment right here, right now. And creating the company I’ve always dreamed of, a place for visionary thinkers where creativity and love trump credentials and experience any day. Where people really do believe anything is possible, so much so that daily they tackle everything that everyone tells them it’s impossible.
This is where I will teach all that I have learned.