For over twenty-five years I have worked in the field of personal and executive coaching, workshop facilitation, and leadership development. I have worked with private, non-profit, and governmental organizations. I completed a graduate program in clinical mental health counseling in 2012. The focus of my graduate work was on developing resiliency in the face of adversity, whether in individuals or in community.
Throughout my journey I have been pulled forward by a commitment to explore and transform adversity into opportunities for growth, peace, and love. This commitment has provided the opportunity to work with people locally and internationally as far away as Moldova (Eastern Europe) and Uganda. The path of an explorer has been with me since childhood, and continues.
Where it all started
I grew up on a farm along the Willamette River in Oregon. The natural environment of my youth had a profound affect on my view of life. The wide and meandering river, grassy fields, the sun sparkling through the trees, the misty winter pastures—this was the sanctuary of my youth. I clearly recall my many conversations with nature.
In my view, each of us is linked together into a single living entity, and these links are not limited to the human world; they extend to the natural world and the cosmos, and all existence. Everyone and everything exists in relationship. Relationships serve as a mirror for our relationship with Life.
I’ve heard it said that we know who/what we want to be by the time we are ten years old. I recall a conversation my father was having when I was ten. He was talking about a close family friend. During the conversation he remarked, “I don’t know if I have ever heard my friend Elmer say a negative thing about anyone.” At that moment, I heard myself say, “Someday I want to be like that. I will be someone who can see the best in people and help bring it out.”
When I was 5 years old, my hero was Christopher Columbus (My view of history was out of date at the time). At that time I packed my suitcase and left home to explore the world. I only made it as far as dinnertime. Fortunately, the neighbor’s down the road invited me in for dinner. I postponed my travels until I was 18.
What I’ve and learned and come to believe
There are moments when it seems as if a gentle and still voice is authoring a novel in my life; what appears to be a chance happening is actually an unfolding narrative. My life is composed by the spirit within. Even the people I meet by mere chance often become instrumental in how my life unfolds. Likewise, I can serve in a manner that gives meaning to the lives of others, including myself. Everything links to everything else.
Life is full of unexpected twist and turns. Some people are well prepared for the journey. Others of us set out on the journey ill equipped and unprepared; led forward by an intuitive inner voice. The maps necessary to traverse the geography before us are varied, unknown, and often misunderstood. We must find our teachers along the way. Having many good teachers throughout the journey is one of my many treasures.
I have come to understand and experience people as inherently good (at our core). Of course, all of us occasionally, and some of us frequently, follow mistaken or erroneous ideas that cause suffering. The spirit to never give up, even in the face of adversity (and uncertainty), and to reach out to others, has shown me that there is good in life. Often it is in the most distressing circumstances that we find the noble side of humanity manifested in kindness, compassion, and love for others.
The Path of my Experience
After high school I left Oregon and lived on the East Coast for a year and then Japan for a couple of years. I eventually returned to Oregon to attend the University of Oregon to study Education.
After college I traveled the ‘geography of work’ for several years working with a variety of businesses in telecommunications, sales, production, and management.
By 1993 I settled into the field of consulting—providing organizational development, training, executive coaching, and leadership development services.
The foundation of my coaching experience comes from several years of conducting and documenting interviews. Starting in the late 1980s I began a practice of interviewing people from various walks of life, especially people in leadership and community development roles. These interviews continued into the late 90’s. In 1996 began a journey of engaging in specific training in ontological coaching, completing more than 30 courses and programs over several years.
In 2008, I accepted an assignment with Bethel School District (Oregon) at Kalapuya High School working with “at-risk” youth. This school introduced me to many fine youth and teachers. In addition, the open-space design of the school provided daily interaction with a dedicated and passionate staff committed to seeing the best in youth.
The experience at Kalapuya High School, along with the urging of the gentle inner voice, led me to a graduate school program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Graduate school led me to research in Eastern Europe (Moldova) to study trauma and resiliency. My studies encompassed both individual and social trauma and how to develop resiliency in the face of distressing circumstances. This research continued with a return to Moldova in 2015 followed by assessment trip to Uganda the same year.
My years of consulting and coaching individuals and groups have been further enriched through the learning and practice of counseling.
Creating a New Future Together
I have experienced numerous times the power of kindness, compassion and love in the possibility of creating a new future out of the present moment. This requires having the courage to trust and respond to the still small voice of our innermost being.
My intent is that these years of exploring the ‘geography’ of human nature, work, community, and the natural environmental will contribute to those I work with and to expanding this fundamental consideration; Life’s profound compassion and love is for all living beings.
Licensed Professional Counselor
National Certified Counselor
Registered with the Oregon Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and Therapist.
Masters of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Northwest Christian University
Bachelors of Education, University of Oregon