My name is Caitlin, and I’m a Personal Life and Attention Coach. Welcome to my little corner of the Internet!
I’m currently training with the ADD Coaching Academy (ADDCA), the only comprehensive ADHD Coach Training Program fully accredited by the International Coach Federation (ICF), the Professional Association of ADHD Coaches (PAAC) and Continuing Coach Education (CCE). I am actively working toward getting certification by ICF and PAAC.
A little bit about me:
I was diagnosed with ADHD in 1999, while taking a mandatory leave of absence from Harvard University due to poor academic performance. I share this freely because I frequently come across the misconception that people with ADHD are stupid, and if there’s anything close to a certificate for being “officially smart,” it’s a degree from Harvard (yes, I went back and finished)!
After a successful high school career, I struggled with the lack of external structure at college, and I fell into a depression. During my year off, I was fortunate to work with a therapist who happened to specialize in ADHD, and I was officially diagnosed in the spring of 1999.
I took medication for a couple of years, and then I was able to manage my life and find career success with the help of many time management classes, ongoing ADHD study and regular exercise.
Then I had kids.
When my first son was six months old, I realized that I needed more than my existing management plan, and I began taking medication again. I worked with a therapist on strategies to help minimize the negative impact of my ADHD, and play up all the wonderful gifts that ADHD gives to me.
Somewhere along the way, I became an ADHD evangelist. I have always been open about my ADHD, and love talking about our uniquely wired brains, especially with people who have it, or have kids who have it (psssst, it’s genetic!).
I spent most of my prior career (Renewable Energy) learning how to advocate for myself (for example, petitioning for an office instead of a cubicle to reduce the amount of distraction and noise around me), ensuring that I would be given an environment to succeed, which, for the most part, I did. I managed hundreds of solar projects applying for connection to the California electric grid, implemented a $108M low income solar incentive program, and oversaw the distribution of hundreds of millions in clean energy incentives throughout Northern California. I was consistently a highly rated employee, received positive feedback from my internal peers and external clients, and steady promotions throughout my twelve year career in the energy world.
At work I found myself gravitating toward mentoring colleagues, especially younger women working in my male dominated chosen field. I learned about life coaching in 2005, and I began to harbor a secret dream of coaching. While I’ll be certified in 2016, in many ways I’ve been preparing for this for more than ten years. Like many people, I was spurred into action by an impossible circumstance.
In 2015, a public an abrupt shift in my work duties, which required more executive function than my brain could handle at the time. With three young children and a 2.5 hour commute, stress piled up and I came down with Shingles. I wouldn’t wish that pain on anyone, but getting Shingles was the best thing to happen to me.
When your only risk factor for a disease is stress, it’s a very clear sign that it is time to make a change. My husband and I had been discussing a move from the Bay Area since 2004 (he is a teacher and as a utility worker, I felt my work experience could apply anywhere there is electricity and gas), and after much thought and consideration, we sold our house in Silicon Valley and moved to Portland, Oregon to pursue a more balanced life and be more present for our kids’ childhood. We craved time over money, a slower pace of life, and the emerald green landscape that comes with seven months of rain.
I now have the time and space to manifest my dream to be a coach. My favorite thing in the world is facilitating the growth in others, and I am honored that I get to witness others as they bloom and move towards a life filled with purpose.
Speaking of blooming, nature was one of the primary draws of Portland, and I incorporate it into my coaching practice. Weather permitting, let’s meet and walk outside on a trail that fits the your physical ability. If we are meeting via phone, I encourage you to walk “with” me as we talk. Exercise and nature are critical for brain health and the production of endorphins. I believe in it so strongly that I like to tell my kids that along with our daily multivitamin, we need some “Vitamin N.” If you are already taking 30 minutes to an hour for coaching, let’s kill two birds with one stone and get some exercise.
When I’m not coaching, I enjoy being outside, photography, entertaining friends, playing board games (Ticket to Ride and Monopoly are popular in our house), reading the books on my 3rd grader’s reading list, sampling the Portland food scene with my husband of ten years, and frequently rescuing my two year old from the many high surfaces that she enjoys conquering. Okay, perhaps that last one was more of a “I am compelled to” instead of “I enjoy” statement!
Thank you for considering me to be your coach, and I look forward to working with you!