For 10 years as a coach, I’ve had the honor of helping introverted women with big hearts to build a personal and professional life built on their natural gifts and their heart-centered values.
I myself am an introvert with a big heart and I once felt like a total misfit, with all the anxiety that goes with that, but thanks to some soul searching (including with the help of a coach), I have come to a place of celebration and ease with being true to myself in my personal and professional life. It’s not perfect and it’s always evolving, but it really works for me.
It first meant discovering what my unique strengths and values actually were. I couldn’t see it. Turns out most of us really don’t know these things about ourselves, no matter how “together” other people may seem on the outside.
I believe our loud, fast, money-driven culture needs more of the gifts we sensitive souls have to offer. So I’m determined to make it easier for other so-called “misfits” (who I now call “black swans”) to do what you’re here to do, and be who you’re here to be.
I’m not about pushing you to do anything. (There’s already too much of that in your own head. Right?) One of my introverted clients described her experience with me like this, starting with our first phone call:
Val introduced herself – her voice was so warm, kind and calming…was this really a coach?! You mean they’re not all full of extroverted energy ready to burst at the seams…this was a great start! …[After working with Val,] Not only did my business take off wildly, but I’m learning to live ‘out of my head’ and ‘into my heart’ which has completely changed my life.”
~Cindy S. of Calmer Spirit
[Read more comments and client stories]
You can “meet me” in this video story about me. (It’s focused on how I got into business/career coaching services, and I have since expanded to personal life coaching too.)
I help people all over the place, thanks to the phone and videoconference tools. I also see people in my office in Northampton, Massachusetts (in Pocumtuck territory, now commonly called “Western Mass.”).
Welcoming and Inclusive
I’m committed to being welcoming and inclusive of all races, religions, sexual orientations, gender identities, cultural or class backgrounds, and abilities, and I’m grateful that my coaching experience includes that whole range. I continue to build my own cultural awareness and competence. Social and racial justice issues are near and dear to my heart. I know it’s a lifelong learning process too so I won’t always get it right. I welcome you sharing your perspective with me. [Full Inclusion statement.]
It’s also true that my approach appeals more to women, and that’s why I focus on women on this website.
My Superpowers (Psst, you have superpowers too.)
- Empathy. (People who meet me feel deeply seen and understood.)
- Seeing the genius in you – even when you can’t see it.
- Helping you see where you are on the “map” so you can find solid ground and then reach for your dreams.
- Some kinda crazy-good intuition.
- Making networking, marketing, and socializing much easier for introverts.
- Getting you unstuck.
Val is gentle, kind and compassionate, and the work she does packs a surprising punch. I walk with my head held higher now…” ~Janice Beetle [Read more client stories]
My methods are informed by these approaches or beliefs:
- It doesn’t have to be that hard. When it feels hard, it’s time to get help.
- I’m not about pushing you to do anything. Connecting to deep inspiration works better.
- Authenticity is the most effective way to reach your goals, personally and professionally.
- Breathing is essential. (Mindfulness is a key factor for happiness and success so this naturally comes up in all my work.)
- You don’t have to spend a fortune to make your mark, but you do have to invest something — strategically.
- Work should feel joyful. And it is possible.
- Optimize everything with Love.
My Experience and Credentials
- Former wallflower who enjoys socializing, on my own introvert terms.
- 10 years as a self-employed professional coach (and a lifetime of informal coaching)
- Self-supporting business owner even during a down economy.
- Extensive training and experience in adult learning, training, and group facilitation.
- Longtime practice in meditation and mindfulness.
- Featured expert in the media – on introverts, self-employment for introverts, heart-centered work, work-life harmony, marketing for introverts, and related topics.
- Graduate of the Coaches Training Institute, accredited by ICF. (Loved it!)
- Committed to following the International Coach Federation (ICF) ethical standards.
- Former Chair, Western Mass Coaching Alliance.
- 20+ years in health and human services.
- 20+ years in management (non-profit and business worlds).
- 20+ years in marketing and communications (non-profit and business worlds).
- 15+ years helping with websites and web marketing, especially for healing arts professionals.
- 20+ years experience in public speaking, from schools to international conferences.
- Inbound Marketing Certified Professional
- Successful experience in a range of settings — including education, health care, human resources management, and web marketing.
- 5 years of training in conscious communication (also known as non-violent communication [NVC] or mindfulness communication), a powerful tool for heart-centered and direct communication.
- Longtime veteran of 12-step living.
- Love-based activist: anti-racism, intersectional women’s rights, LGBTIQQA, human rights, peace.
- Former illustrator and ad designer (award-winning).
- B.A., Tulane University (Double major: Sociology, Latin American Studies)
More importantly, I’m a confident introvert who is living my purpose.
For the real-deal credentials, check out my client testimonials.
Oh, and if you’re like me, you might enjoy knowing my “type” from various measurements, like these:
- StrengthsFinder Top 5: Connectedness, Empathy, Strategic, Relator, Activator. (No wonder I ended up in coaching!)
- Myers-Briggs Type Indicator: INFP
- Enneagram: 1w9
I think all of these findings have been good validation for me, that I’ve chosen a field that aligns with my natural strengths, and I love helping others find their easeful alignment too.
People Who Inspire Me
Oh I could go on and on but this could give you a window into my inspirations:
- Desmond Tutu
- Marianne Williamson
- Michael Bernard Beckwith
- Rosa Parks
- John Lewis
- Mahatma Gandhi
- Gladys Tantaquidgeon
- Lyla June
- Rachel Carson
- Spring Washam
- Van Jones
- John O’Donohue
- The Divine Mother
In other words, I’m inspired by Fierce Love, which is another way of saying Love in Action even when it’s hard to do.
My Coaching and Consulting Business History
I first opened my own business in 2008 as a consultant for service professionals (e.g., healing arts) who wanted help with communications (e.g., web and social media), because I already had a good reputation for it.
I soon found that many of my clients had fears that got in the way of their marketing, such as networking or self-promotion anxiety, or fear of exposure. So my natural coaching style kicked in, and we’ve all been a lot happier and seen more results since then.
After some additional coach training, I started calling myself a coach more than a consultant, but I bring both skills to my work. I switch hats as needed.
Then I added personal coaching, especially coaching for introverts. I’ve been doing something like coaching for ages under different names (mentor, program manager, human resources manager, friend, listener). It’s been a joyful birthing process of bringing more of the real me to work. It’s an ongoing journey and I’m so grateful for it all.
Hey, if you’ve read this far, you’re the kind of person I love to hear from. You can contact me here. Thank you.
Want One More Story?
Whenever I work with Val (and I’ve asked her support many times), I come away with clarity, lightness, freedom and it feels like a lamp has been lit for me.
Val has a special gift for helping her clients to feel safe, relaxed and calm. Her way of working is just SO RIGHT for me as an Introvert. She gives me the chance to think as slowly and deeply as I need, and she has a beautiful way of helping me to bring out my own truth. She works in a gentle, kind way with so much compassion – yet she’s not afraid to ask the hard questions that helps me to get clarity in the uncomfortable places.
I am SO loving her unique combination of strengths that helps me to face my “Elephants”, while staying soft, open and spacious. Her strategic thinking has helped me see beautiful possibilities where I was unable to find them by myself.”
~Liesel Teversham, EFT Coach for Sensitive Souls, London, England