I’m Donna Holstine Vander Valk, PhD.
I’m a life coach and vocal empowerment coach for high-performance, high-potential women and creator of
TEEwithD, helping you find your True Eloquence Equation.
I'D LIKE TO START WITH A STORY.
What do you expect from a communication and spoken arts geek?
When I was 5 years old, I was in the kindergarten Christmas play (back when we had such things). It was one of those unique mashups with angels, Santa Claus, farm animals, Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus … and an evil elf. I was the evil elf. The ONLY villain in the whole play.
At the end of this extravaganza, the teacher lined up the cast and walked down the line, placing her hand on each of our heads and announcing our names to the proud mothers assembled in the crowded classroom.
When she reached me, she said, "Donna Holstine." Chin thrust forward, I corrected, "Donna LYNN Holstine." There was a long pause, followed by a forced, "Donna LYNN Holstine." You could feel the eye roll.
For me, the “speaking up” thing started REALLY young.
And from that early age, I was already acutely aware of how speaking up wasn’t always welcome.
This small story has big implications. I’m not unique for having a discredited female voice. You do too. All women do.
At the risk of getting a little heavy, our culture values masculine qualities above the feminine. We’ve been told, explicitly or not, what it means to be a woman. There is a legacy of women whose voices have been silenced and shamed.
Stay small. Stay quiet. Keep the peace. Don’t rock the boat.
BUT HERE'S THE THING:
We compromise ourselves when we don’t use our authentic voices.
When you stay in your comfort zone, when you let others take up space instead of you … you block yourself from your purpose. You deprive others of your gifts. This happens in the workplace, in our families, with our girlfriends, and even with our most intimate partners.
Why are we here on this planet if not to share the gifts that are uniquely ours?
Gladly, women’s voices are rising slowly but surely, and I believe it’s time for you to take your place in this movement and explore the infinite possibilities of your voice.
Do you feel scared when I say that? You might be thinking,
“Don’t you think I’d be speaking if I knew what to say?” or “Don’t you think I’d be speaking if I wasn’t so crappy at expressing myself?”
Maybe you even feel guilty that so much progress has been made by our foremothers to allow you the freedom to share your truth … but you don’t even know what that truth is.
You’ve started to look for solutions and know there are lots of “shiny, happy people” teaching voice and public speaking and even coaching in communications.
But what if you haven’t even nailed down what it is you need to say to the world?
THIS IS WHERE I COME IN. THIS IS MY JAM.
was created to help women find their authentic voices and increase the reach (and sure, the volume) of their voices. To help them find their True Eloquence Equation.
This is my life’s work.
TEEwithD also exists to find you and connect you to our community. To help you and other badass women who are having trouble speaking their truth find each other.
We’re 50% of the planet, yo! And you—yes YOU, specifically—matter.
Knowing your truth matters.
Sharing your truth matters.
I get out of bed to try to reach more women with this message. This is MY truth.
Find your voice.
Own your voice.
Use your voice.
The online landscape is full of people who can help you with any ONE of these challenges. The cool thing about working with me is that I bring a truly unique combination of skills to the table.
From the stage to the boardroom, from TV to voice acting, from the seat of a classroom to head of the classroom, I’ve been around the block.
To call me a “lifelong learner” would be a major understatement—haha. I wish I could just say “I’m qualified” and we’d skip off into the sunset, because I really hate bios. But since I know you want to know …
I have known Donna for the past 5 years. Donna has a love of stories and helping people find their calling. Her insights and humour inspired my entrepreneurial endeavours and was a source of reassurance and direction during times of trial and tribulation.
Donna’s special genius is rooted in her vast knowledge on human behaviour and motivation along with her love of success. This love for success is not only for herself but for those around her. She is deeply committed to each individual who seeks her out. I have learned so much with much laughter and joy, what better accolade could I give her!
Farzana K, Entrepreneur, Calgary, AB
Here’s the Cliff’s Notes (or Coles Notes, depending on where you’re from).
I’ve been a communication expert for 27 years.
I have a Masters of Education in Leadership Studies, and I have a PhD in Education (Curriculum, Teaching and Learning).
I have my Certified Professional Coach designation from one of the top coaching organizations in the world (iPEC, the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching).
Then add in technical expertise: from the effective communication piece to the spoken arts, to how your body makes sound and how to effectively do it and how to safely do it, and beyond.
This is what it could look like on my resume:
● Bachelor of Arts degree in Drama (Distinction)
● Master of Education in Leadership Studies
● PhD in Education (Curriculum, Teaching and Learning)
● Associate Teaching Diploma in Speech Arts and Drama (RCM)
● Associate Teaching Diploma in Speech and Drama (Trinity)
● Licentiate Teaching Diploma in Effective Communication (Trinity)
● Fellowship performance portion of the FTCL (Trinity)
● Extensive voice acting training and work experience for recording
● Improvisation training at Loose Moose (internationally renowned improv school in Calgary, Alberta)
● Written, directed and toured Theatre for Young Audiences
● Faculty at college and university level, taught and managed in continuing education, professional development and adult education (including teaching Adult Education Presentation Skills, etc.)
● Certified Professional Coach with iPEC (the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching, the top coaching organization in the world)
I was selective to reduce the obnoxiousness levels. So yeah, I’m qualified.
I meet women where they're at in their communication journey. I think entirely outside the box. I don't expect women to be men in their communication style, and I don't expect women's communication to be solely in pursuit of high-level executive roles (which the vast majority of communication coaches cater to). I am not a “single solution” provider.
My real magic superpower is my ability to ask the right intuitive questions that will help you take your authentic message from your inside world to the outside world.
I can’t wait to work with you. Let’s get you heard.
C L I E N T T E S T I M O N I A L
Working with Donna has been a treat. She's not only incredibly and obviously intelligent, but she's also responsible for being one of the more delightful and compassionate parts of my week. I feel constantly inspired in her presence. Her own clarity of expression is matched only by her deep understanding of what I, as the client, am trying to express.
In working with Donna, I've grown to understand deeper parts of myself that I didn't even know were there to discover. I am increasingly more free in my spoken word, and I feel this has been strengthened by the work I've done with Donna. She's championed me to embrace my authentic voice.
— Katrina G.,
Singer & Entrepreneur
My Core Values
WONDERING IF I'M THE RIGHT COACH FOR YOU?
I’m not one of those rah-rah, shiny, fluffy, follow-a-formula gurus.
Here’s what’s most important to me, above all else, in the way I live my life and run my business:
One of the best bits about owning your own business is the choice to make a difference. I am in a position where I can do something real to help the world.
I currently give my time and talent to The Shakespeare Company, the only full-season professional Shakespeare company in Western Canada. I help them design outreach programmes that bring professional Shakespearean theatre to young and linguistically, culturally, and economically diverse students in Calgary, Alberta.
So when you support me, you’re not just tending to the important work of strengthening your voice; you’re making a difference to the next generation of voices, too!
Ready To Take TEEwithD & Learn Your True Eloquence Equation?
I LOVE music, tea, and reading—I MEAN LOVE.
I love water and plants, but definitely not the bugs that go with them.
I love my two sons more than life itself. Fun fact: I have homeschooled them their entire education.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE to travel.
I love to hear and tell a good story … shocker, no?
"It seems like it’s a simple thing, really, to use your voice and say “Fuck Off” to set and protect a personal boundary. Yet for me it’s always been really difficult to set and maintain boundaries. And the phrase itself had its own baggage that brought up feelings of guilt and judgement when using it.
Not by accident, Donna entered my life at a time when I was needing a safe space to become present with a deep need to say “Fuck Off” – a lot.
With humor, grace, curiosity and compassion Donna navigated a path of self-exploration with me. What was it I needed and why this particular phrase?
Turns out, I needed to say “no” more often and I really enjoyed how “Fuck Off” felt when I said it. I'd done the spiritual work, I'd done the internal emotional and cognitive work. And cultivated practices and habits to carry the work forward. It was now time to give it voice and vibration.
“Fuck Off” is now my own mantra, I use it to set boundaries and say no to experiences, people, beliefs and thoughts that disconnect me from my own authenticity and power. And I don't feel bad or wrong when using it; it can be said from a place of love and compassion, and it can be said from a place of anger. Most times I say it in my head and that feels really good. Occasionally I say it out loud, and that feels even better.
Thank you Donna for walking with me, and returning myself to a powerful place of self-sovereignty.
With lots of love and a big Fuck Off!"
Get A Free Consultation With Donna
Let’s spend some TEE time together, and have a conversation about what you need and how I can help, and see if I’m the right coach for you. No sales pitch, cross my heart.Book my free consultation now