I am asked often, how, eleven years ago, at 27 years old, I came to oversee K-12 Health Education at the Oregon Department of Education. And now at age 38, I am a national school health consultant with current/pending Department of Education clients in Alaska, Missouri, Connecticut, Maine and organizations such as Clinton Foundation's Health Matters Initiative, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Colorado Legacy Foundation, Kentucky Youth Health Network and Let's Move Active Schools.
I attribute my success to many things. Internally, it comes from determination and passion for the work. I am obviously skilled at what I do around adult learning- facilitation/speaking/training, curriculum and program development, networking, building partnerships and collaborating.
My business skills? They are decent. That brings me to, Who's on my team?, something I will be talking about tomorrow at the Leadership Louisville's Best of Summit. Who inspires you? Supports you in your profession? 9 years ago I found myself starting a school health consulting business with little to no business background. I hired a fabulous business coach, MJ Petroni from Causeit, Inc. who is still my advisor and mentor today. Others on my team include my accountant, financial advisor Koko Hunt and professional mentors like Gary English, Ginny Ehrlich, Susan Telljohann and John Henry-Ledwith. People I can confide in to ask their opinion about ethics, content, processes. Creating a strong team will help you be successful in your work.
Continuing education is another driver/support. Since I was an undergraduate student at Ithaca College I attended statewide professional conferences. I still attend at least two national conferences a year. I not only go to network and gain more skills and knowledge within the field of school health, but I submit proposals and share experiences, my expertise, projects and programs. People view me as a strong, passionate leader and from that, I build relationships and partnerships and collaboration opportunities. Sometimes it leads to new work.
I read my professional journals and reach out to those that are strangers but have a similar passion to mine. I have coffee dates like they are going out of style. I do pro-bono projects often. I give back. I blog and process what I'm doing. I share documents and things I've developed with others to adapt and use.
Who can push you forward, even out of your comfort zone so growth occurs. Consider who's team you are on. Who do you inspire? Who are you are mentor to? Are you proud of your work? Are you a role model in your personal and professional life? What can you work on to walk the talk?