Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.
I bring more than 25 years of experience in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors to my coaching and consulting work. As the founder of Vista Global Coaching & Consulting, my services focus on organizational capacity building and leadership development. A certified professional coach with the Coaches Training Institute, and credentialed by the International Coach Federation, I enjoy working across sectors with executives, board leaders and management staff to strengthen their abilities and skills to guide organizations to excellence.
How would you define your professional mission?
My professional mission is to make a difference in the world through coaching and consulting services that spark transformative growth for individuals, nonprofits and socially-driven companies.
What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?
To be successful in any client-based professional service, you have to love working with people. It is all about building and sustaining relationships. While consulting engagements often include deliverables like reports, every finished product is made better if you build a strong rapport. Clients want to know you are keeping them on track to reach their goals. You earn that trust with consistent communication and project management skills. This relationship building process is fundamental to success.
What is one of your most memorable career accomplishments?
One of my most memorable career accomplishments is developing a comprehensive leadership program, from a dream to reality, within three years. Vista Leadership Academy is a 6-month professional development program combining virtual classes, coaching and an immersive retreat in Oaxaca that launched in 2016.
The accomplishment will be forever memorable because it reinforces the power of following your passion. When you have a vision that you feel in your bones, it drives you to overcome any obstacles you might encounter. The most fulfilling part of founding Vista Leadership Academy was guiding the journey and transformation of individual participants as they forge their own dreams into reality.
What project have you worked on that you’re most proud of? Why?
Beyond founding Vista Leadership Academy, I am proud of the role I played facilitating the merger of two AIDS service organizations in Wisconsin. Through thoughtful facilitation and intentional cultural integration after the merger, the combined organization is now known nationally for its success and impact in making a difference in fighting the AIDS epidemic.
I am also proud of my work with the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) in developing a curriculum for collegiate leaders. NSBE is the premiere organization promoting the advancement of black engineers, with a student-governed structure, NSBE is investing in their collegiate leaders so they are not only better leaders in their NSBE roles but better leaders as they advance in their careers.
We’d love to hear more about your career path. What led you to where you are today?
Growing up, my family owned a restaurant and the opportunity to work as a prep cook, waitress, and manager by the age of 15 was invaluable. Early exposure to hard and gratifying service work provided me with a deep appreciation for relationship-building and real world experiences.
While finishing up my MBA, I served as the executive director at a small community-based nonprofit that provided childcare services to homeless families. My work serving underserved and disadvantaged children, youth and families shifted internationally, when I joined a foundation that supported youth development program globally. This culminated in my work running an international youth exchange organization that placed 1800 high school students with host families throughout the United States.
My experiences leading 5 different social sector organizations that ranged in budget sizes of $100K to $13M annually, led me to the role of consulting other leaders in the sector. My consulting career with a national firm provided me with the deep understanding of what is required to run a successful professional services firm. I launched my own coaching and consulting firm, Vista Global Coaching & Consulting which is now in its 7th year, with the mission to make the world a better place.
What is it about your job that makes you feel it’s the right fit for you?
The role of an independent coach and consultant is the right fit for me on many levels.
On a personal level, working from my home office allows me to make the most of my fluid work style. I can be more productive with the flexibility to take breaks in the middle of the day, to practice yoga or take a walk, and revisit work in the evening. This natural productivity rhythm doesn’t align well with a traditional commute and office setting.
On a practical level, I work with clients across the U.S. and internationally so maintaining a flexible work schedule in my home office allows me to be available for clients at a time that is most convenient to them.
On a professional level, given the nature of remote or virtual work, I have been intentional in creating a great network of colleagues and partners to collaborate with so I never feel isolated. I love having the opportunity to work with individuals and organizations with diverse backgrounds and inspiring causes. It allows me to contribute to making a difference every day.
What is your morning ritual?
I take my dog Mia for a walk. We’ve been together the last 10 years and she helps me set a framework and be present throughout my day. When I wake up —and before I do anything else (no coffee, no shower) —I’m outside, breathing in fresh morning air as Mia and I stroll the neighborhood. This ritual grounds my day with contemplation. I reflect on the dreams that I had the night before and prioritize what I want to accomplish for the day. After Mia and I return, I enjoy a cup of coffee and read the local paper. By 8:30am I’m at my desk, centered and ready to tackle the work day.
What is the best career advice you ever received?
I had a great mentor when I was working at the International Youth Foundation. At the end of each year, he asked himself 5 questions. If the answer to any one of these questions was no, it was time to start looking for your next job.
1. Are you learning? 2. Are you having fun? 3. Can you still grow in this position? 4. Do you like the people you are working with? 5. Are you making a difference?
Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?
I was excited to have the opportunity to attend the Chapter launch event in Madison, Wisconsin and meet Ellevate Network CEO, Kristy Wallace. It was an incredible introduction to the power and inspiration of the Ellevate Network.