I sold my portion of the business and fell in love with flying. After seeing my first air show in 1992, a hot air balloon pilot friend invited me to be crew for the first air show in Mexico, which was including hot air balloons. I met a renowned hot air balloon pilot and flight instructor at the air show, fell in love, and soon married him.
I wanted to work in training, and in 1994 got a job as a contractor at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View in education coordinating a volunteer program to teach children about aviation and space science. I was immersed in aviation and really enjoyed working in the government sector and with volunteers.
In contrast to the private sector, my work in the government sector exposed me to a whole different set of values and motives. Until then the motive to work had been money and power – I thought that would make me happy and most of the people I knew were pretty much driven by the same. Profitability was the way businesses evaluated and communicated about success. So I was a bit disoriented when I came to the government sector because not only were they not profit-driven, they weren’t even as accountable as they are now. That made me wonder how government agencies knew if they were successful. I met the most passionate, interesting people of my life. This was a very different world than I’d been exposed to before… people going for multiple graduate degrees simply because they were interested in the subject. Working with volunteers, who clearly also don’t work for money, also helped me tap into passion and meaning.
This combination of experience led to my interest in coaching. While at NASA I started training to be a coach. Meanwhile, my husband and I moved to Nevada County and were commuting to the Bay Area by private plane. After a couple years of happily commuting this way, it became exhausting. I could see this wonderful community around me, but I wasn’t able to be a part of it because I was gone so much of the time. I really wanted a sense of connection and roots here.
To make a change, I wrote a one-page description of what I wanted. My vision included a part-time job in Nevada County working with community leaders on a project I believed had a positive community impact, and that paid a decent wage. Within a week I saw an ad for a United Way community assessment project coordinator, working with various sectors. Getting that job enabled me to transition here and, I was immediately hooked on being involved in this community. This experience always reminds me how we need to get clear about what we want, and that we can make it happen.Download Article 1K Club