My Personal Story
A little bit of my backstory on how I got here…
In my early adolescent years, I realized the importance meaningful connection has on our well-being and fulfillment. But it wasn’t always natural to me, and throughout my life, I started asking myself the question:
“How do we create more meaningful connections?”
Then, in my late 30s and early 40s, three transformational experiences helped me truly realize my passion and purpose in life is to help people connect better.
The first experience was losing my father to a battle with cancer. I remember lying in bed, my body completely overwhelmed by grief. I thought about how there was more my dad wanted to do before he passed… It really hit me that life is short and that I have to live it fully, with purpose, and in the end, love and connection matter most.
The second experience was a time in my professional career when I was leading marketing at the winery Wente Vineyards, a 5-generation family-owned winery. I was drawn to wine, as I believe it inherently is a vehicle that creates connections.
While I was there, I noticed that while there was a long standing and rich history, there was an emotional disconnect both internally and externally. People would say they were proud to work for the company, but that people felt like they weren’t working on the same team.
I know the importance of building strong team culture and what it's like to feel stuck or challenged by relationships. So, I started listening deeply to our employees and customers, and helped the company reevaluate at what we truly cared about, our vision, mission and values. Through this, I sparked the Make Time® movement which was all about leading with purpose and helping employees and consumers make time to connect, which game-changed the culture of the company and inspired consumers on ways to connect more.
I realized that getting to know someone personally is one of the fastest ways to also build a strong professional relationship. Once I realized the power in it, I shifted how I showed up as a leader, peer, mentor, and took the time to share who I was outside of work and truly get to know people for who they are and what they care about. My relationships got so much stronger and my team’s engagement increased.
This experience really inspired me. I saw what was possible when we look at people truly as humans, having a human experience.
The third experience was when I got unmarried and felt desperate to ditch conventional living. So then, in mid-2020, I left corporate and embarked on a learning journey…I bought a campervan! I left the comforts of my home in California for the unknown of the open road, to connect with myself, nature and others all around the country.
In the time of The Great Reset, many people that I connected with had been struggling in many ways with different aspects of connection. So, I traveled all around the country demonstrating what I call ‘Acts of Connection’ to support loved ones. Like one experience, where I showed up and surprised my mom, and we started a morning coffee ritual in bed every morning where we would ask each other what is most present and have deep and meaningful conversation.
What I noticed was how by skipping the small talk, it created so much joy for friends, family, and strangers, and me as well. I realized how we show up in our conversations is the key to unlock the most powerful relationships in our lives.
With all these insights and experiences, I decided I wanted to be in service to others by sharing all of my learnings. I claimed my superpowers on how to ditch the boring small talk and just getting to its heart, and stepped fully into my calling as a Human Connection Facilitator and Conversation Coach. I now create and guide powerful experiences that help people learn and practice how to connect better. That's how Firestart Connections came to be.