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I was 35. I had one young child and was pregnant with twins. I was a senior program manager at a public sector consulting firm. After soul-searching, I knew that I wanted to continue the inspiring work that I got to do as a consultant, but I also knew that something had to give. I was about to have three children under two years old.
I knew that as an employee I could design, launch and deliver impactful training, conferences and coaching services. I knew that as an employee I could bring in funding. I knew that as an employee I could move mountains and out-perform. So why couldn't I do this for my own organizations, on my own terms, on my own schedule? Why couldn't I design the work that I felt most connected to without having to do all the obligatory work that I "had" to do? I had always loved the coaching part of consulting. And as a leader, my favorite part of the job was developing people and supporting their growth.
I envisioned that the perfect balance for this upcoming chapter would be to coach women leaders in their own journeys to bring their gifts to mission-driven work, while also thriving personally. I imagined that this work would be so energizing that it would feed my soul and would be time well spent while away from my babies. But could I do it?
I reached out to my own coach, Michael Melcher, and asked for advice. He wrote me a long email full of wisdom. He advised to just start coaching as the best way to test out its viability. He advised me to come up with some other word for coaching. He told me to not get bogged down in branding and just take one day to put up my website.
I headed to the shower (my thinking space) to come up with a name. The lyrics from "Winter Wonderland" came to mind, "later on, we'll conspire....as we dream by the fire...and face unafraid, the plans that we made, walking in a winter wonderland."
"Conspire," I thought.
I liked it. It was not the typical, airy, dreamy lofty coaching word. I envisioned groups of feminist world-changers gathering to upend norms, to disrupt ways of working and living. I thought that Conspire captured a kind of coaching that would empower women to the point of system change. The smashing the patriarchy kind of coaching that stretched us beyond our limits, that rooted us in our individual and collective power.
And then I found a definition of conspire online that sealed the deal: "Conspire: Literally, to breathe together (with); breathe in unison or accord, as in singing."
I would be with my clients, deeply, breathing together. I would gather women in circles of meaningful, interconnected growth and development. Together we would express the thoughts some would say we ought not to think. We could voice our dreams and our fears. We would be honest and vulnerable. We would drop the facade and share our failures and struggles. We would navigate uncharted waters. We would explore ways of living and leading and share our journeys. We would come to believe in collective reslience, leadership and the possibility of transforming our organizations and our world.
Conspire Coaching & Consulting LLC was born. I registered the business with the state of Virginia. I created the website on Weebly (the very same one that I still use!). I started taking clients.
This was July 11, 2011.
I believe in celebrating milestones and achievements and the way I wish to celebrate this anniversary is to gather with you, honor the ways you've supported women through Conspire's programs, honor the ways you've been supported and celebrate each tiny thoguht and major life decision that has made you who you are and has contributed to you bringing your gifts to the world.
We conspire with mission-driven women to lead, succeed and thrive in their careers, lives and organizations.
Individuals: We envision women who are enlivened, empowered and emerged. Our members have clarity of purpose and lead from strengths.
Community: We bring communities of women into the practice of seeing each other's strengths and potential. We envision multiplying communities of women-fueling-women's success and impact.
World: We conspire to unlock the potential energy & contributions of 51% of the human population. When this potential energy, thought power, and talent is unleashed, we will solve even the most difficult problems and transform the world.