Want to know more about me? I’m flattered!
(in reverse order)
Though my consulting work was infused with coaching, I didn’t start my coaching career in earnest until June 2013 – just after my 35th birthday! – when I first committed to business coaching with the amazing Kate Steinbacher, and shortly after enrolled in the CTA Coach Training Program, the first step toward certification.
Coaching feels like what I’ve been unintentionally working toward since 1998, when I changed my major from English to psychology with a vague dream of being helpful for a living. And that? That feels pretty great.
Coaching is an extension of a business I co-own and operate with my hubby, Rob Jones, called Nary Ordinary Business Services, a name we built around the NoBS acronym. We have a little bit of a thing for acronyms. Before NoBS, we were Floyd Information Technologies (FIT) and, before that in Greensboro, NC, we were Jones Computer and Networking (Jones CAN. Sidenote: we sold Jones CAN to friends who grew it into the company that is now Longleaf System and Network Specialists.)
Until NoBS, though, our businesses were all about the sweat on Rob’s brow leaving me plenty of time to work other jobs, for example:
- A couple of years at Lede Communication, an intimate PR firm where my friend Tamara taught me a mega ton about public relations, business writing and teamwork.
- Regular columnist in the Greensboro News & Record. This is my favorite column from the four years I wrote for them: We the People
- A year as the marketing coordinator for The Jacksonville Center for the Arts here in Floyd, VA. Until you get here, you can’t imagine how much art is packed into this wee little town!
We started Jones CAN right around the time I was wrapping up my first business, Dining with Ease, which I started puttering around on in late 2003 and closed up in 2006, when I started really hating cooking. (I like it again.)
Before that was college. I did well in college – like, ego-boosting well. I went to the University of North Carolina in Greensboro, right there in my hometown. I practically grew up on that campus while my mom got her doctorate, did a bunch of teaching and then into the administrative side.
I’m super-lucky in that my college education was paid for by my dad and his mom who, as I understand it, put aside college funds for each of her 13 grandchildren. She was wise like that. She was also a Scrabble shark and intuitive art collector.
Still, I worked some during that time, in places including Great Harvest Bread Company, Best Bagels in Town and Integrative Therapies. I learned a ton from each workplace – about baking, running a grill and insurance collections, respectively. I also learned a lot about workplace dynamics, team work, and myself at each job.
I also did a very brief stint in a group home for teenage girls. It was an experience that taught me a lot about just how much I could give away (energetically) before I was a shaky mess. Or, more practically, that working with kids in crisis was too intense for me.
I worked throughout my childhood and teens, too. My first real job was at a steakhouse when I was 16. I actually went looking for a dishwashing job because I was a wild teen and a friend told me that kitchens were all-party all the time. It was sorta kinda true. Even younger, I discovered I had a knack for selling stuff door-to-door, a talent my sister put to use when she had fundraiser candy bars to sell, and my mother discovered when I sold her greeting card collection for pennies on the dollar. I recall thinking people were surprisingly enthusiastic about that offer.
I’ve got to tell you, discovering my love for public speaking was quite a shock for me. I mean, check me out this awesome entry for my friend Lem’s video yearbook in 1993:
But then, zowie, here I am a mere 20 years later giving what I hope is just my first TED talk experience!
It all came about when I was invited to give a talk on social media marketing for artists by ‘Round the Mountain. Leading up to it, I thought my nerves were going to crush me clear into the grounds before I ever made it to the presentation but hey presto, it went pretty darn okay and sparked in me a love that has led to talks including:
- More talks on social media marketing, including for the Artisan Center on Virginia
- The NoBS Guide to Freelancing (2012), Networking for Writers (2013), and with my gal pal and colleague Bonnie Cranmer, the Guide to Ghostwriting (2014) at the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference
- More talks on networking – ’cause I love talking networking! – at the Grandin CoLab and the Black Water Loft
There are always more to come, though, so keep an eye here for upcoming classes, workshops and talks!
Family lore goes that I journaled my way down the birth canal. That’s not actually true – I just made that up. It does, however, seem as though I have always written. Not compulsively like the people who wrote the books that helped shape you as a human or anything like that, but naturally. With some vague need and a whole lot of pleasure.
These days, I write almost exclusively on our blog. I write some fiction here and there, too, but I put almost no effort into getting it published. I’ll release a short story collection for my 50th birthday. I should have enough material by then.
I have had my opinions, personal essays and reporterly pieces like professional profiles for folks including:
- Valley Business FRONT, where I wrote the cover stories What About Tattoos?and Entrepreneurial Parents: Opting for All. I was also named Contributor of the Year for 2012 which was pretty darn flattering given the caliber of contributor at the FRONT.
- The Greensboro News & Record, where I started out writing op-eds for the adventure of it but was eventually made a regular (and paid!) contributor. As a fun side note, I started my first two businesses during that time and had some hilariously awkward moments with conservative networking partners after my blatantly liberal pieces ran.
- Mother Earth News blog, where Rob and I did a few collaborative posts, me on the words, him on the photos. My favorite was the one about our septic system, Following the Flush to Septic Bliss. I promise that the only photo involved two jars, clean water and a couple of sheets of toilet paper – it’s a way of testing if the tp is really septic safe. (Spoiler: They all say they are but they’re not all being entirely honest.)
I also do a touch of ghostwriting here and there which feels to me like acting for writers. Really capturing someone’s voice is critical for fiction writers and a fun stretch out of the norm for non-fiction folks.
Volunteerism, Interests, Misc.
In the lexacon of non-English words and phrases with no exact translation is Tikkun Olam, a Hebrew phrase that is used to communicate something along the lines of: making the world a better place is our individual, personal responsibility – so get on it!
My efforts have included things like:
- Tech work for Floyd PFLAG, Floyd County Humane Society, Plenty! and the Literacy Volunteers of the New River Valley
- Working with kids in the North Carolina foster care system as a Guardian ad Litem
- Supporting business groups including National Association of Women Business Owners, vp of administrative services
When I’m not working or volunteering, I’m generally reading (novels, business books, books on how to have a better life, that kind of thing), writing, cooking, walking or hiking, or chilling with Rob and some combination of pets on our big ole couch.
Yes, I would love any questions you might have – send ‘em here!