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I spent two decades teaching and leading in independent schools. From faculty to division leader, each role offered opportunities to create lasting impact on the growth and development of my students, affect institutional change, empower faculty, and educate parents.

Photo of the Grand Canyon

During the first few years as a leader, I lost myself. It was a gradual slipping away, and I failed to recognize it. I began looking outside of myself for how to act and deciding what was important. I  began to feel like an imposter; I was teaching my students to be true to themselves while failing to to do so in my own life. Composed and engaged on the outside, the internal dissonance took a toll. Ironically, the worse I felt, the more I searched outside of myself for the answers.

Then fortuitously I joined a small cohort of school leaders looking inward to find the answers they sought. We met frequently, were deeply vulnerable, and learned how to question and support one another in direct, meaningful ways. That process helped me identify patterns of behavior, reveal the stories I’d crafted in my mind, define and evaluate my professional commitments, and become intentional about my choices.

Photo of Jennifer sitting at the Grand Canyon

I began to see that the questions I had been asking were externally focused, so the answers could not come from within. My cohort challenged me to consider: the role I was playing in the story, how the story served me, and multiple possibilities instead of one absolute ‘truth.’ With the help of others, I was able to shift my focus inward, re-build my confidence, and lead from a place of authenticity.

Through all of this, I found that the workplace offers us a unique lens for seeing ourselves, how we show up, the conditions in which we shine, those in which we stumble, and for practicing in the areas where we seek growth. While the growth that occurred for me during those years was challenging, even painful at times, the simultaneous reward of living into my authentic self outweighed all the discomfort.

Jennifer in tree pose on the grad canyon

 The key to my growth was that I did something different. First, I had to recognize what I was doing that was not serving me. Second, I had to be intentional about changing those patterns.

Do you want something different?

Are you willing to do something different in order to get it?

If so, let’s connect and identify where you are, where you want to be, and what you need to get there.

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Photo of Jennifer hugging smokey the Bear StatueJennifer Holding Mt. Whitney Sign at 14,505 feet on top of Mt. WhitneyJennifer Walking with rainbow over headJennifer Laughing