When I was growing up, once every summer my family went to Ravinia, an outdoor music venue, for a picnic and concert. One year as we were leaving the parking lot we got trapped in a traffic gridlock: cars from every direction moved into the intersection and none of us could move. There didn’t seem to be a way out of the mess, so I jumped out of the car and started directing traffic until the cars started moving. My dad said to my brother, “Someday she is going to make a great executive.” I was sixteen and just wanted to get home. But stepping in to lead and solve problems turns out to be the thing that I have always done.
My father was a human resources consultant and my mother an artist, so I guess I was meant to be in advertising, where I could use both my left and right brain. I spent thirty years at Leo Burnett in Chicago solving client business problems and inspiring award-winning creative solutions that connect with people. I was good at this because I had insight into people and wasn’t afraid to follow it. I can see people and problems from different perspectives and keep an open mind about solutions.
Then in 2007, after twenty years of marriage and raising two totally awesome daughters who were almost adults, my husband got a rare cancer and died eight months later. I spent a couple of years just trying to live as best I could. But I was trying to live the same life I had lived with my husband. When I sold my house and moved in 2012, I realized that I was beginning a new life. I had a new perspective about moving on after this life-wrenching event.
I also got a new position at Leo Burnett and became the head of a department where I managed the careers of more than 300 executives of all ages. I often found myself taking as much pleasure from their successes as from my own.
So I decided to become a coach. I completed training from the Coaches Training Institute and left my corporate job. Now I help others become more effective leaders, advance their careers and live their lives with more joy and satisfaction, especially when they feel a little stuck.