WHY I COACH
As someone who grew up as always having defined myself solely by my mind, academic achievement, integrity, and intellect, EXCELLENCE was a value hard-wired.
I was offered a scholarship to go to Manhattan School of Music as a prep student on Saturdays while I was still in high school.
I attended Northwestern University, an institution demanding both academically and musically, on a full scholarship, and so incredibly grateful that I did. There I found myself surrounded by a group of highly intelligent and talented peers, and a world-class professional music faculty. I excelled there and began singing professionally around the country as a respected concert singer with major symphony orchestras and world-renowned conductors while still in school.
After receiving both my Bachelors and Masters degrees from Northwestern University, I enjoyed a successful national and international career as an opera and concert singer, and voice and master class teacher. I performed and recorded with the likes of orchestras and conductors including but not limited to: Chicago Symphony Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Houston Grand Opera, Zurich Opera, Mainz City Opera, James Levine, Georg Solti, Neville Mariner, Carlo Maria Giulini, and David Zinman, among others.
After returning to the states, I became a bodybuilder and personal trainer, having completely transformed my body losing over 70 lbs., as well as a health, weight-loss, natural pain management, and anti-aging consultant.
I survived two devastating traumatic brain injuries 23 and 18 years ago and a devastating car accident 17 years ago that cut short my rewarding career and drastically altered my life. I lost language for 6 weeks and it was many months before I was able to even use and get around on a walker. I was lost. My entire sense of identity had centered on excellence: my mind, and my voice, both of which were hard-wired to a pursuit of perfection and an aversion to mediocrity. I had to relearn unassisted how to brush my teeth, shower, use the phone, etc. It was years before I was able to read, concentrate or engage in any discussion with anyone, for language felt like constant translation. Disability caused me to live a very small and isolated life. I’ve had several reconstructive facial surgeries performed in the ER and lost my career, identity, self-esteem and purpose in life. I was lost due to brain injury, multiple spinal injuries and post-concussion syndrome. Unaware of the devastating disability and toll that brain injury incurs on both the body and mind, I was filled with misplaced guilt and shame over where I found myself, and also continued to blame myself for the crippling effects of the strong AEDs (anti-epileptic drugs) I was first prescribed for years, until we found some which allow me to function normally.
As a result of all of this, I eventually discovered several things:
- my own inner resource of enormous personal strength and vulnerable resiliency,
- the gift of enormous compassion,
- that there is great opportunity in challenge, and
- that I’m very good at picking myself up and hurling myself forward.
After a long recovery, I studied, among other things, psychology, NVC, and Kabbalah and yearned to study more.
I have always loved to teach and nurture students: as a child, I taught ballet classes in my backyard to neighborhood children and put on ballet recitals for their parents; as an elementary and high school student, I tutored other students in math and science; and in college and beyond, I taught voice lessons, coached musicians, and eventually taught master classes all over the world. So, with my background and the fact that I love to help others, it seemed natural to find my way to coaching. So I chose the top coaching institution in the world: iPEC . I’m an iPEC Certified Professional Coach, an Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner, a Certified COR.E Performance, Leadership, and Wellbeing Dynamics Specialist, and an ICF accredited ACC coach.
Although I spent many years lost and scared, through my experiences I also discovered the inestimable gift of strength, grace and resilience as a result of surrendering to adversity with authenticity and vulnerability. Not easy but, oh, what a journey. You never know what gifts you’ll discover. I even discovered an art talent I had never had prior to the TBIs.
With my company, Forward to Success, I’m dedicated to helping professionals, creatives, and performing artists, especially opera singers, achieve optimal success, realization of their potential, life and career transitions, and passion, purpose, balance, and wellbeing in EVERY aspect of their lives by helping them integrate their personal and professional lives and find the great opportunity in every challenge presented without sacrificing clarity of vision and 100% presence in the moment. If anyone would like to reach out to me, I can be contacted at info@ForwardToSuccess.com.
Stumbling forward and falling on your face is always preferable to staying stuck. Dig into your life with full appetite! Like a pearl in an oyster, you never know what you’ll find inside. And the journey is so worth the ride.