YOU: “OK, look, Donna: I’ll get right to the point. I’ve ‘made it,’ by many people’s standards, but something’s missing. I've played by other people’s rules to get where I am. My truth, my message, the 'thing I really want to say,' has been buried for a long time. So long, in fact, that I’m not sure I could articulate what my truth is anymore.
Now I’m looking down the barrel of the rest of my life, wondering, ‘Is this it?’”
DONNA: “You’re not alone in that. Many women feel this way. As 50% of the planet, women can change things, but not if they're silent. Helping them not be silent is what I’m most passionate about.”
YOU: “I love that.”
DONNA: “So what keeps you from speaking up? What are you afraid of?”
YOU: “Secretly, I’m afraid that I'm a fraud. That I’ll never be brave enough to face down my critics or stand alone … neither in my career nor my personal life. I'm good at what I do, sure, but is that all there is to me? I’m worried that I'm really, at the heart of it, unremarkable.”
“Do you really believe that? Because I don’t.
You have intrinsic value, as a person. You have a voice—a strong, authentic voice, at that—and the world needs to hear it. It’s already there, though it might be hiding and you might not believe it right now. You are a curious, passionate, hard-working, extraordinary woman. And you and I both know if we sorted through some of your bullshit, you’ve got some diamonds in there wanting to be shared. We can get to your truth. So let’s abandon that story, ok?”
“Ok … you’re right. They’re probably in there. But sharing my message feels like this impossible feat. No matter what I do, I struggle to really 'be me.' I stumble, sound stupid, don't get the words out fast enough or in the right order. I mean, I'd LOVE to do a TED Talk someday, but I'm pretty sure I'd look like an idiot. I'm sick of being quiet and being afraid of sounding stupid. At my age, and at this point of my career, I SHOULD NOT FEEL LIKE THIS.
And the thought of being like this for the REST. OF. MY. LIFE. is more than I can handle.
Younger women who matter to me are watching and listening, and I need to do better.”
DONNA: “That’s great!”
YOU: “Uh, why, exactly, is it great that I feel this lousy?”
DONNA: “Because being frustrated means you are ready to grow. And it means the timing of this conversation is perfect.
My purpose is to help as many women as possible speak their truth (and kick ass while doing it), regardless of geography. I am a Change-Agent, Choice-Advocate, Communication Coach, Content Creator and Cheerleader for women. I do this in my capacity as a life coach and vocal empowerment coach for high-performance, high-potential women. Together we can get you the confidence that comes from knowing that your voice is worth hearing.”
WHAT OTHERS HAVE TO SAY
I thoroughly enjoyed working with Donna. I was faced with a new situation at work that made me feel like a fish out of water and Donna helped me navigate this space effortlessly. She asked me thought provoking questions that enabled me to explore what was creating so much uneasiness and ultimately holding me back.
She helped me to verbalise my feelings which led to me being able to take actions that felt authentic to who I am. This clarity gave me so much confidence in where I was and what I needed to do.
Donna has a great sense of humour: however she also asks the tough questions. This combination made me have so much fun during our sessions while still having a clear focus on the goal at hand. Donna held space for me to be vulnerable and honest with myself. I would highly recommend Donna to anyone who is ready to make serious changes in their lives whether they are big or small.
Accountant-in-Transition, Bermuda/London, UK
YOU: “Hm. I’d like to believe that. I've read books. Watched YouTube. I even took a continuing education class. I've gone to a few workshops, and I even went to a major, big-name motivational event. I paid a ton for it, felt totally jazzed when I came out, and then realized nothing had changed. How are you going to be different from the things I’ve tried before?”
DONNA: “Well, talk to me for a few minutes and you’ll know whether I know what I’m talking about or not. No amount of alphabet soup after my name can reveal what you need to know about me.
BUT REST EASY:
I have been a Communication Coach for 28 years
I have a PhD in Education and Masters of Education in Leadership. I have teaching diplomas in Speech & Drama and Effective Communications from Trinity College, Oxford. I’m a Certified Professional Coach (CPC). I have studied every aspect of communication (you can read my credentials here on my “toot-my-own-horn” page).
But what really makes me different is that I understand and appreciate you are a human who brings junk to the table … but I also know you already have everything you need to succeed. All the pieces are there. We are just assembling the puzzle. Together. Without trying to force-feed you some stupid model on how to hold your cue cards or tell you that the natural pitch of your voice is ‘too high.’”
You: “Ok, you’ve got my attention …”
Donna: “We recognize true eloquence when we hear it. I'm not talking the smarmy, over-polished, yelling-till-you're-motivated coaches. I'm talking about real people, speaking about real things they care about, with their real voices.
Together we’ll figure out your True Eloquence Equation.”
I have had the pleasure of knowing Donna since 2006 within the capacity of our graduate program at the Werklund School of Education.
Dr Holstine Vander Valk at that time was pursuing a PhD Education, focusing on Health Literacies. I worked closely with her on several international conferences as well as national and local events. This has been a long and meaningful relationship where I now consider her as a close friend and an exceptional mentor that perfectly exemplifies extraordinary leadership capabilities and admirable killer confidence. This is a rare quality in young women and rather than fixing it on her personal professional opportunities, she has devoted herself to coaching and teaching women and youth to embody this same energy and skill. I have seen with incredible admiration how her young family has grown in the past decade and how she has channelized her talents into the success of others. Knowing her has been a true privilege for my family and I.